Mick Devine best known as vocalist with Seven expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
I think I was born singing! My first year teacher used to keep me back at the end of the day and she would play her violin and I would sing to the parents picking up their kids! I guess being a singer was always in me.
My dad was my first inspiration, he was a drummer so music was always present in our lives and I loved it!
Growing up in Zimbabwe the music that we heard was mostly from the US so I was influenced by a diverse range of bands from Toto to Earth, Wind & Fire. Van Halen to the Commodores! But as far as singers go it was the big melodic powerhouse singers like Steve Perry, Lou Gramm, Brad Delp and John Farnham that were the guys that I tried to emulate.
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?
Unfortunately Not! But I’m open to any legacy bands out there looking for a slightly past it melodic rock singer who can still rock it 😊
You have appeared on a number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
I have been really fortunate over the years to be able to write and record with many different artists and especially having been included on both volumes of the Turkish Delight Albums (which features just about everyone you can think of in this genre!). But of all the albums I have been involved in the one that I feel really fits with who I am as a writer and singer, would be the latest album I have released with Gary Pihl (Boston Guitarist). We wrote and recorded the album together as a band called The Roads, the album title is Simple Man. It features some great players and also has my son Josh on drums and Lin and Ben (my wife and other son) on backing vocals. It’s the album I am most proud of! Give it a listen 😊
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
It has been a while since I have had the pleasure of performing live as the recent work I have done has been focussed on writing and recording, so a load of studio work. Still nothing can really replace performing live especially when you are with playing with great players!
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
I am pretty chilled about my voice and don’t have a particular regime to keep my voice in shape. To be honest I think my voice has got better as I have got older and I think that is in part by not being too paranoid about it! I am sure if I was doing a long tour I would have to take more care to make sure it says in good shape, but that generally is about enough rest and not too much alcohol! One tip I was given years ago from John Parr who thankfully came to see us when we were playing at Wembley arena and I had lost my voice and was in a blind panic, was to get a small glass of port and heat it up, gargle with it and spit it out! Not sure how it works but it gave me my voice back and we played a great show. I have used that one many times since, Thanks John 😊
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
It is an endless list that is almost impossible to prioritise! I have been really blessed to work with many great musicians but my bucket list had a huge tick when I was able to record The Roads album with my son on drums (he is truly world class) and so if I died tomorrow I won’t feel like I have missed out!
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days in the bands you’ve been involved with that could be released?
When we recorded the first Seven album back in 2014, we trawled all of the old recordings and demo’s to complete that album so I feel we have done it already. It’s all new material going forward.
Was it difficult to become a musician growing up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)?
Yes, in those days Zimbabwe was under many political restrictions, so importing gear into the country was almost impossible. All of the music on the radio and sold in the shops were from overseas artists and there was a very small club scene where bands could do their thing. I haven’t been back for decades so I would hope that it has improved, but I doubt it.
Do you have any plans to release another solo album or perhaps another Seven album?
Yes I am blessed to be part of the Escape Music family who is run by two guys who have endless passion for producing great music. I am working on new tracks for another solo album and also a second The Roads album with Gary Pihl, but I don’t think there will be another Seven album in the future.
With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK?
There is nothing planned at the moment but I would be open to any opportunities that may come my way. 😊
Would you be interested in doing some production work for other bands?
Yeah if the right project came along I would love to.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?
Apart from continuing to write for the solo and The Roads albums, I seem to get regular writing and backing vocal slots on loads of different projects. It’s awesome to be involved in other people’s albums and especially to hear great singers singing the melodies and lyric’s you have written, it’s a real buzz.
Interview by Stuart Dryden