I am a singer and songwriter living in Rossland, BC  by way of Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.  I grew up steeped in 60s North American folk music with a good dose of classical music thrown into the mix.  

I got my start singing and playing ukele at my parent’s cocktail parties.  When I was five I made my public debut at our local Pentecostal church.  In grade four they handed out guitars in music class and I never put mine down.  Shortly thereafter a little Bell piano arrived at our house and  thanks to my mother I got to all my  piano, theory and voice lessons over the next 8 years.    Following a year of music studies at university I began working as a professional musician and continued private music studies,  including a year in London, England.  Fast forward through twelve years of bars, lounges, restaurants, folk and jazz music festivals, I switched gears and began to earn my living as a writer for arts and health organizations.  

You can hear a collection of my early studio sessions (1980s) on SoundCloud. During my Vancouver years I recorded several of my original songs as well as several jazz standard arrangements with Vancouver jazz musician/arranger Alan Matheson.  

 It wasn’t until I moved to Powell River in 2006 that I returned to songwriting and performing, releasing my first CD of original songs, Nothing But Sky in 2009,  and my second CD, Live Studio Sessions - a collection of 18 original songs recorded live in various studios as demos, in 2017.  Journey Home, ten original songs was released May 2019.

Music, for me, is necessary. Throughout my life it has been my guide, my source and my joy.  Whether singing my own songs or the songs of others, it is the gift of connection through honest, heartfelt expression that inspires and sustains me.  

About writing songs:

People often ask me how I write songs. I don’t have a method, but most often it is words that come to me first and from there I start singing them into a melody as I accompany myself on guitar or piano. Words and phrases come to me when something has moved me or touched me deeply.  When I start to write and compose I follow my inspiration. I don’t force it.  I am most often inspired by people…the amazing, puzzling, complex, sorrowful and joyful web of human-ness and soulfulness that we are.  I pay attention to dreams; I am inspired and uplifted by nature. 

Musical influences:

I was completely mesmerized with the great folk singers and songwriters of the 60s, and later on pop, jazz and country music as well. I was listening to The Kingston Trio, The Brothers Four, The Clancy Brothers,  Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell,  Judy Collins, Gordon Lightfoot, Linda Ronstadt, Bruce Cockburn, Karla Bonoff, Joan Armatrading, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, CSN&Y, Emmylou Harris, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, J.J. Cale, Jesse Collin Young, Van Morrison, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington  -   I love great songs sung really well.  These days some of my favourite singer/songwriters/musicians include Laila Biali, Mandolin Orange, John Gorka, Kathleen Edwards, Bill Bourne, Bahamas, Harry Manx, Leonard Cohen, Jesse Cook, Brodie Lee Dawson, Lynn Miles and the list  goes on. 

photo credit: Kelly Tatham 

© Devon Hanley 2018