Singer-songwriter L Devine has been on our radar for a while, and in that time she has grown and cemented herself as one of the UK’s most exciting aspiring musicians.
After grabbing listeners’ attention with tracks that offer a new perspective on queer love and sex – including the heartbreaking Daughter and the mercilessly horny Naked Alone – she has just released her most provocative single to date, the candid and catchy Bop Girls Like sex.
For our Over The Rainbow interview series, we chatted with the singer about the LGBTQ artists who inspired her the most and the Pride performance, which could have ended in disaster but ended up being a memorable moment …
What’s your favorite Pride memory?
I’m pretty down because I was supposed to be doing Brighton Pride last year and this year, so I can imagine that these would have been my favorite Pride memories.
The last Pride I performed was in Madrid and it was amazing. Somebody told me that there were 40,000 people there, which you don’t really want to hear when you go on stage. It was definitely the biggest gig I’ve done so far and the atmosphere was just amazing. Especially because my whole band is gay too, so we were all in our element.
So I got up there and my guitar broke during Daughter, which is kind of my gayest song, and that’s the moment of the show where I talk about my own coming out experience and then I play that song. And my guitar just didn’t work. And there was a little language barrier with the guitar technicians because we were obviously in Madrid.
I just had to get up quickly and in the end I put the guitar down and did it acapella and everyone got their phone lights out and it was such a beautiful moment – when I could really have been booed off the stage. But no, it was absolutely beautiful and that will always be my favorite Pride memory.
Gareth Cattermole via Getty ImagesL Devine will perform at WE Day in 2020
Who is your LGBTQ hero?
Growing up I never saw anyone who made me feel like I was represented or to whom I was related. But so many more LGBTQ + artists have appeared in the past few years that I really feel connected to.
When I was 15, I remember seeing a Hayley Kiyoko video for the first time and I just thought, “Wow, that’s so cool, here’s a pop star who happens to be gay and music videos with queer storylines makes”. It just blew me away.
She definitely has a huge impact on the community because she was one of the first people to really do that, and you can tell that everything really comes from her, that it’s her truth and her story that is so, so important to me find . Your videos aren’t being shot by a guy trying to get two girls to kiss in a music video, it’s really authentic and really important.
Rich Fury via Getty ImagesHayley Kiyoko will perform in LA in June 2021
What’s your favorite Pride anthem?
Pussy is god of King Princess. There are so many reasons this is my Pride anthem. But since I’m definitely a lesbian, this song is very good for me [laughs].
This song gets me back on the bus with my drummer Gabby, and she played this song all the time, so it really reminds me of just sitting on the bus and having fun.
What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie?
I have so many, I’m a real queer film nerd. The maid is brilliant – I’m not going to try to sum up the plot because it’s the most twisted, twisting story ever, but just check her out if you haven’t seen her already.
And another classic if you want something a little lighter is But I’m A Cheerleader. This is so fun, so brilliant and Natasha Lyonne is the best.
Mark Lipson / Kushner-Locke / Ignite / Kobal / ShutterstockNatasha Lyonne in But I’m a Cheerleader
What was an LGBTQ TV show or TV moment that made you feel represented?
It’s pretty embarrassing, but I had what I called “the gay episode” of Season 3 Skins with Naomi and Emily downloaded to my iPod in my head. And I’ve always looked at it!
I think I went on Limewire and downloaded it or something, and I secretly watched it because I didn’t want my mom to see on the family computer that I had seen it.
Channel 4Lily Loveless and Kathryn Prescott as Naomi and Emily in Skins
Who would be your ultimate queer icon?
I always say Christine And The Queens, but she’s helped me so much with how I express my gender and bend those norms and stuff. I think she’s just a super liberating artist and just totally embodies being yourself.
And an ally who embodies the spirit of Pride, I would probably say Charli XCX. Their shows are like a Pride festival in an hour, it’s totally mental. The majority of the crowd is gay so that probably helps. And then I find the music so liberating and crazy, you just get lost in it, and that’s what Pride is about. It’s just a super fun time. I am a real little Charli fangirl.
Matt Jelonek via Getty ImagesCharli XCX on stage in February 2021
What is your message to LGBTQ young people this month of Pride?
I’m feeling pretty bad for queer young people this Pride season because if this is their first experience of Pride it’s probably very disappointing, you can’t really go out and party. But I just want people to know that next year it will be so worth it and we will come back with a bang. It’s going to be amazing.
And to everyone struggling to get stuck for the past two years – I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am and some people have been stuck in homes where they might not be able to be themselves – but I want that young queer people know that we are waiting for you with open arms and that we love you so much.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Check out L Devine’s latest single Girls Like Sex below: