Rock Musician & Author of The Language of the Blues
Believes in: A woman's right to rock
“Debra Devi is a supersonic fret-burner who writes hauntingly memorable songs, blending the cleverness and intricacy of a good jam band with the catchiness of vintage power pop.” JamBase
"Devi leads a ferocious guitar-driven band equally adept at sprawling psychedelic jams and terse, soulful rockers."
New York Music Daily
Debra Devi fell in love with electric guitar as a girl, listening to her teenage neighbor play Led Zeppelin while he worked on his car, and her brother's rock albums. "I always sang the guitar solos, instead of the lyrics," Devi says. Growing up in that Milwaukee suburb, though, she got the message that only boys played in bands.
When she saw Bonnie Raitt perform in college, Devi couldn't stifle her longing to play anymore. She bought a Fender Mustang at a pawnshop and moved to NYC. There, Devi joined punk bands, touring the US, Canada and Europe.
When Devi began to develop as a solo artist, though, she found herself creating a classic rock-meets-Americana sound and discovering her love of guitar solos. Devi's self-produced debut, Get Free (True Nature Records/Redeye), received raves from Vintage Guitar, Jambase, Marie Claire (Italy), Guitar International and more for her soulful voice and powerful guitar playing.The album was inspired by Devi's late friend, Zen Guitar author Phil Sudo.
Devi became a Fender artist, and the first female guitarist to record for Guitar World’s “Lick of the Day” app. She played festivals and club dates from Memphis to Montana.
After helping her nephew through a life-threatening health crisis, Devi returned to the studio to produce her new Wild Little Girl EP. "Wild LIttle Girl reflects my desire to encourage girls and women to be creative and free, and fulfill their potential," Devi says. Music videos for the EP have premiered on The Alternate Root, American Blues Scene, Guitar Girl and The Pop Break. Devi became the first female guitarist to endorse Homestead Amplifiers, which builds custom amps for Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr. and Marcus King.
Now Devi and her seasoned band are supporting Wild Little Girl at clubs and festivals along the East Coast, opening for national acts like Marshall Crenshaw and Ana Popovic.
Community is important to Devi, who produced the Jersey City Rocks White Eagle Hall show in Jan 2018. The concert drew 500 people and featured her band, four other JC bands, and artist Robert Piersanti.
Devi is also the author of the popular blues glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John), which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding book on music. The book is blurbed by Bonnie Raitt, Joe Bonamassa, Hal Willner, Ministry singer Al Jourgensen, Ed Sanders, Bob Margolin and Jimmy Vivino.
Devi has given her popular "Language of the Blues" talk at TedX Jersey City, A. Schwab in Memphis, Jersey City Theater Center, Luna Stage in South Orange NJ and other venues. She is interviewed about blues lingo in the films America's Blues and Mr. Handy's Blues, and by USA Today, NPR All Things Considered and BluesMobile.
A long-time yoga practitioner, Devi's favorite mantra is lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, "may all beings everywhere be happy and free."