Tim Devine, Keyboardist

by Kenny Kerner

Keyboardist Tim Devine (not to be confused with the A&R person having the same name) had a decided advantage in achieving success in the music business. He knew all along that his future would be involved with making music--but I don't think he ever envisioned getting a Grammy nomination at this year's 44th Annual Grammy Awards.

TAXI member (that's right, I said TAXI member) Tim Devine was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Classical Crossover Album for arranging and conducting the orchestra on the CD Enrique Chia: La Musica De Ernesto Lecuona.

"I grew up in a musical family and when I was literally two weeks old, I was on the road with my parents who were touring theatres in England (Tim is from London) performing in musical variety shows." Though Tim didn't receive any kind of formal musical training until his classical piano lessons began when he was six years old, he does recollect a photo of himself in a local newspaper blowing on a trumpet when he was only two.

Name: Tim Devine
Residence: Miami, Florida
Age: 46
Occupation: Arranger/Composer  
/Producer
Joined Taxi: 1996
Songs Forwarded:   20
Deals: Pro Music
Email:   timsoundz@att.net

As he got more competent on the piano, his dad showed him chord charts, some jazz tunes and how to read music. "Even though I was trained on classical music, when I was in the British National Youth Orchestra I was the only member who had absolutely no intention of having a classical career. I just knew that classical music didn't really interest me. I grew up listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and American bands. I was taking all of it in. All of it influenced me but what really turned my head was when I first heard Yes--especially their Fragile album. That was a defining moment for me. Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer were the keyboard masters. And that's what really turned me toward keyboards and synthesizers and all of that."

Unlike most musicians, Devine did not make a conscious decision to pursue a career in music--it was just obvious to him. "For me, there was nothing else that I was ever going to do, so there wasn't a realization or dawning for me. It was something I was going to do, but I didn't quite know in what exact form. Initially, I thought it would be more related to performance and entertainment, perhaps having an act, like my dad. But as I got older, my journey took me in a different direction."

Though Devine had honed his craft on keyboards for many years, he did not begin writing music until the late Eighties, putting him into his middle thirties as a fledgling songwriter/composer. "I'm sort of a late bloomer when it comes to writing. I got involved with so many other things that I didn't start seriously writing until the late 1980s. Back then in England, there were no music schools like the current music schools. None that had courses like film score writing or composition--that didn't exist for me back then. So I decided not to go to University because there was nothing there for me to further my career. I got a job playing in various bands and then touring the world on a cruise ship backing cabaret acts. That's where I got experience writing and arranging."

In 1979, Tim moved to the United States and attempted to get into the tightly-knit studio musician scene. With no manager or agent, Devine was left to his own imaginative devices for procuring employment. "I just made phone calls, knocked on studio doors and did whatever I could to get a job. I wore out a lot of shoe leather trying to get to do sessions. Eventually, I started getting some work as a sideman at recording sessions which I continued doing for quite a few years. Some of my first memorable dates were with Status Quo, Melanie and Julio Iglesias--before he was known in the U.S."

Devine kept up his torrid pace of session work until 1987 when Julio called and asked the keyboardist to join him on the road. He did that and one better, by eventually becoming the artist's musical director and getting to place a few songs on Iglesias' records. Since then, Tim Devine has recorded with a who's who of famous artists including Juan Gabriel, KC + the Sunshine Band, Arturo Sandoval, Patti Austin, Dion, and has written music for CNN, McDonald's, 7-Up, and the TV shows Caroline in the City and Veronica's Closet.

To avid readers of the Meter, my next question should be fairly obvious: A Grammy nomination, original music on dozens of records and in major television shows, a successful career--why join TAXI? Well, I'll let Tim close out this interview in his own words:

"Although I did have contacts before joining, they were limited to certain kinds of music. I wanted to do other things, as well. I felt that I would be able to get feedback on anything I sent in and that would be constructive. I really wanted that constructive feedback. Through TAXI I made contacts. They opened other doors that were not previously open to me. They allowed me to have access to other markets. They helped me get work and put into sharp focus my writing style by virtue of their critiques which are excellent and on target. So, even though I'm well-established in the music business and work with a lot of different Latin artists here, in Miami, I find TAXIs service to be excellent and I value their integrity."









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