Meet Your Creator: Devyn Rush
By Caitlin White
Devyn Rush grew up in a family of musicians, which means she was already cast in her first musical at the age of four. These days, her work has come all the way back around to include working in musicals in a new way, but during Rush’s earliest years, learning the part of Gretl von Trapp in The Sound Of Music is what got her hooked. With a rocker dad, a voice teacher mother, and a sister who is also a songwriter, it was inevitable that this Philadelphia native was going to pursue music, too. As a teenager influenced by legendary blues vocalists like Billie Holiday, a whole host of jazz and R&B singers, and pop powerhouses like Christina Aguilera, Rush started writing original songs as young as 14 and 15.
Around that same time, she was also tapped to originate a role in the musical Spring Awakening and moved to New York directly after high school to continue pursuing work in acting and singing. Eventually, though, it became clear to Rush and the people working with her that singing should be the focus. “I started to realize that when I was auditioning, I wasn’t getting excited anymore,” Rush said in a recent interview. “When I was 20, my manager called me and said: I want you to re-sign your contract, but also, American Idol is coming to New Jersey, and I think you should audition. At that point, it had become clear that singing was really, really my thing—and acting was secondary.”
Though she didn’t get much farther than round two on American Idol, the whole experience helped clarify that music was indeed her outlet, and Rush’s emphasis on original songwriting increased. Initially writing songs out of deep personal emotion from a bad breakup, Rush began co-writing with other people, which led to a connection with producer Matt Anthony. Since plenty of songwriters don’t perform themselves, Rush became the go-to vocalist for her community and would collaborate with the writers she was singing for. During this process, Rush met songwriter David Amber, who introduced her to the world of K-Pop, and the pair went on to write tracks for Choi Soo-young of Girls Generation, and WJSN, among others.
“Unbeknownst to me, I was writing K-Pop,” she laughed. “Some of the songs we were writing together in New York got placed with K-Pop groups, and then he moved to LA and we continued to write together. My early twenties was this time of realizing I could write music for my work, and I can work with other people who come from all different angles. Now, I love co-writing, it’s so much fun.” Rush moved to LA herself a few years after discovering the world of songwriting, and began working with Michael McGregor, who introduced her to the world of sync. “At that time I didn’t know anything about the world of sync licensing, and Michael opened up that world for me,” she remembered.
McGregor also introduced Rush to Caron Nightingale, APM’s Director of Sales in Canada, who continued to help shepherd her into the world of sync. “What’s so great about sync and licensing is I can write so many different types of music,” Rush said. “What I’ve realized is I like so many different things, and we shouldn’t have to pigeonhole ourselves in any one specific genre or outlet to express ourselves. Getting to work with APM and getting to write different types of music is a really fun challenge and a really fun stretch.”
Another way Rush is stretching her skills, and circling back to the world of musical theater, is by singing demos for the writers of new musicals, portraying the parts of different characters, and laying down a guiding track for the female roles within a show. “That’s been really fun because I do a lot of session work where I get to change my voice and do different characters,” Rush said. Between that and the variety of work she’s getting now as a sync artist, an emphasis on constantly trying new things is the only constant. “Sync is opening up a world for me,” Rush said. “My mind is getting more tuned into the idea that I can write all different types of music. It’s just so much fun to have that freedom."