Devon Cole Talks on Riveting New Single, “Dickhead,” and Why We Tend to Go For Them
By Zoe Blakeman
Devon Cole, a young Toronto-based singer/songwriter, writes catchy tunes about love, feminism, and well, dickheads. Cole has released multiple singles that have over 50 million streams. She writes songs about what it means to be a woman in this day and age with the support of her girls and a good idea.
Cole’s music can be described as “earworm pop with a feminist edge,” while it blends many genres and ideas. She has been nominated for Juno Awards and Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in recognition of her powerful pop anthems. Amidst the accolades and accomplishments, Cole remains rooted in her genuine desire to touch lives with her music. As she stands on the brink of a major breakthrough, she continues to captivate hearts, one irresistible note at a time.
Check out the Q&A below on the inner workings of Cole’s new single “Dickhead,” and about her journey as a musician!
ZB: Hi Devon, it’s so great to talk to you! I loved listening to your new single “Dickhead.” It’s so fun and silly and courageous considering the name. The music video was also so fun and spunky, was it fun to make?
DC: Thank you so much, that is so sweet of you! But yes it was so much fun. I was already friends with everyone in the music video. My two friends are my background singers, the drummer is my actual drummer, the guitarist is my actual guitarist, and the “dickhead” is my manager. It was very much family vibes on set which made it that much more fun to make!
ZB: Tell me more about the inspiration behind “Dickhead”? What led you to choose this particular theme for your song? Why did you choose to title it “Dickhead.”
DC: “Dickhead” was born of me literally wanting a song called “Dickhead.” I came into the session that day and thought it would be hilarious to have a song with that title. If I was scrolling through a playlist and saw a song called “Dickhead,” I would have to play it. It’s the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers.
The producer that I was working with had this wonderful track with a sick guitar riff and it just kind of all came together. I drew some inspiration from Shania Twain who is my everything. It took some convincing to get the label on my side by releasing a song called “Dickhead” because obviously, it’s an outrageous name. I’m so glad I finally got them on board because the title makes me smile! I really hope it does that for other people.
ZB: It made me smile too! I was so excited to listen to a song called “Dickhead” because I’d never listened to a song called “Dickhead.” What was the goal of the music video and what message do you want to get across to your audience?
DC: These are very deep questions for a song called “Dickhead,” but I’m so here for it. The concept for the music video grew from me wanting to do all of these crazy things and not having the “dickhead” notice. It reminded me of when a guy is playing video games or watching a football game or whatever, and you could do whatever because he won’t tear his eyes away from it.
It was that vibe where we wanted to absolutely wreak havoc and have a lot of girl power to come across. I definitely wanted us girls to band together and unite against this “dickhead.” When you’re dating someone who isn’t treating you correctly (i.e. a dickhead) that’s where you go. You go to your girlies and they’re your place of safety and solace. I wanted it to have lots of girl power, girl energy, and girl choreography!
ZB: You mentioned that your music often has a feminist edge. Do you think “Dickhead” reflects this feminist perspective, and what message do you hope listeners take away from it?
DC: My hope is that people don’t think that this is a man-hating song, that’s not what I’m trying to get across. I’ve had some comments that are like, “You’re a witch!” “You’re a feminist!” “Why are you dating a dickhead?” I think being a feminist is being a woman who is multifaceted owning that. I’m just being my true self. Yes, I would say I’m a woman in control of myself and I am a feminist and I do believe that I deserve more than what the song is portraying.
But, there have also been times in my life where I’ve chased the bad boy and chased what’s wrong for me. I think that’s fair and valid as well. I hope people just bop along to it. It’s really just a song for dancing and being with your friends in the car. It’s really, really fun and you can’t help but move and dance to it. I hope people have fun listening to it and have a good laugh. It’s showing people my truth and showing my audience who I am.
ZB: “W.I.T.C.H” and “Hey Cowboy” both received a lot of positive feedback and recognition. How does “Dickhead” fit into the overall narrative of your musical journey and evolution as an artist?
DC: “Dickhead” is definitely the most fun song I have ever released thus far. I know that “funnest” isn’t a word, but we’re rolling with it. As a person and an artist, I am very fun, I love to laugh and I love a campy moment. Some of my favorite songs growing up were always a touch ridiculous. Like “Mambo No. 5,” or “Mother” by Meghan Trainor are both a touch ridiculous.
We need more of that in the world; light-hearted fun songs that don’t have the deepest meaning in the world but they bring a laugh and smile to your face. That’s what I’m trying to do as an artist, bring some joy into the world. I think that “Dickhead” does that and it just makes me so happy. I really love this song so much and when I feel that way about a song, other people will get that from me and hopefully love it as well. I’m really excited!
ZB: I’m so excited for you and I’m so excited to listen to it on Spotify and save it to a playlist! Your music has been described as “earworm pop.” What does that mean?
DC: Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you asked because I asked this the other day too! It means it gets stuck in your head. Like it’s hooky, it’s catchy. Earworms are worms that go in your ear which is disgusting, but if it’s getting stuck in your head then I’m doing my job.
ZB: Oh wow, that is such an interesting descriptive word for music, but I kind of dig it! It’s just as unique as you and your music! But, what do you think is the secret behind creating catchy and memorable hooks in your song?
DC: This is me tooting my own horn, but I think my ability to be a concept-first writer is super important. I think the mark of a great pop song is knowing what it’s about and how it’s supposed to make you feel. I think I’m pretty good at mining for concepts and keeping my ear to the ground about how people talk and what they’re talking about. The other day I heard someone say, “You need to get your head out of the gutter,” and I thought that could be a funny song title. Just having an antenna for things like that is super important. Coming up with concepts might be where my strengths lie.
ZB: “1-800-GOT STRESS” and “Hey Cowboy” has been well-received and even reached top positions on various platforms. How do you handle the pressure of following up with another single like “Dickhead”? Do you think it will be just as successful? I personally think it will be.
DC: As soon as a song is released, it’s kind of out of your hands which is kind of beautiful. It’s out of your control at that point. You can adjust the song and make edits to the music video all you want, but once it comes out it’s out of your control. It becomes other people’s song. I love that part of music so I try not to get super obsessed with how it will play out.
You just have to hope that people love it and that so many people will give it a chance. I do have a feeling it will be really well received. In terms of the pressure of it all, it’s an ongoing thing I’m working on. I’m trying to remove the pressure and just have fun to put the play back into playing music. It’s definitely an ongoing thing for me, but I think being grateful for the song and that it’s out in the world is super helpful. I think it’ll slay as well.
ZB: To me, it already slays so I’m sure it’ll slay even harder when everyone can listen to it. Going to a different type of question, you graduated college with a psychology degree and now you’re a musician. How does your background in psychology influence your songwriting process if it does at all?
DC: I really had a whole other life before music! I would say that university helped me become a more well-rounded person and woman on the whole. I don’t know how much psychology helps me with my writing, but that experience helped me become the person that I am today. It really helped me grow up and I thank the university for that.
I don’t think psychology really leaks into my writing other than the fact that it’s made me a better writer. It taught me how to get a concept across with writing papers and things like that. Songwriting is a whole other skill within itself that I’m still learning about and working on. I would say that my university experience did help me become a more well-rounded person.
ZB: How do the nominations for awards impact your artistic journey and the way you approach your music? I know you’ve been nominated for ones such as the Juno Awards and the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, which is totally awesome!
DC: Being recognized in that way is extremely validating. As somebody with imposter syndrome and general anxiety, it’s a huge pat on the back and a vote of confidence that I’m doing something right. Your dreams really can come true. It’s a big motivator for me to keep going and that I’m on the right path. It’s a sign to anyone reading this article that it’s never too late to change your path and do what your heart is telling you.
ZB: If you could say one thing to all of your listeners, what would it be?
DC: You are beautiful, you are brave and it’s hard out there in the world. It’s hard being a human sometimes and existing can be exhausting. You are valuable, you are smart, and you are precious and precious to me. You are loved. It’s hard out there! Sometimes you need to hear you’re doing well. You’re doing well, sweety! You’re doing great and keep doing what you’re doing.
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