Touching Base: How A Year Of Political Turmoil Shaped Devon Gilfillian’s Approach To Life And Music

At this strange, transitional juncture in the lives of so many Nashville music-makers, WNXP wanted to reach out and touch base. We asked artists who released material during the pandemic to record themselves telling us about how they’ve adapted, what’s helped them cope and how their perspectives have changed. Devon Gilfillian dove right in to reflecting on the urgency he’s felt to speak to the political realities of this moment.

Devon Gilfillian: It’s been a crazy year. I mean, wow, we all just got out of the craziest abusive relationship with a president that we could have ever had. Shout out to all of us for making that happen for most of us, and hey, shout out to everybody having the hard, hard political conversations with their family, their friends, because it’s real. And I think that this is a time where we got to know that politics is a discussion that needs to happen with love and understanding and patience and grace, because we’re all learning out there at the end of the day. Anyway, little tangent.

How have your priorities changed in the last year?

DG: Well, touching on what we just talked about, politics has become huge in my life. Very, very important. And not only speaking up, but, you know, putting action into it is very essential for anything to change in this country. And to heal. You know what I’m saying? So also trying to take care of myself, my mental health, going to therapy and all that kind of stuff. Nobody’s perfect, but we’re trying we got to keep on trying. Got to keep going.

What music has spoken to you during this time?

DG: Of course, you all know that I love Marvin Gaye. That What’s Going On album has just changed my life, changed my life. I had to cover all of it. That has spoken to me a lot.

I’m also in love with Thundercat, Steve Lacy, Toro Y Moi, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. You know, all that stuff. I love psychedelic soul. I love the Internet, I love Free Nationals’ and Anderson Paak. All these cats are just pushing soul and hip-hop forward to and mixing everything.