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Devaki Sokaris

Music that touches the heart

Devaki's music journey

I grew up and lived in New Zealand for 21 years of my life and it was common to go to lots of parties where someone or two there would have a guitar and voice to sing along with, usually a Maori as a lot grow up with music and can naturally sing and play as in many Polynesian cultures. People used to tell me I could sing, I took no notice and still don’t believe that I have a great voice.

However, through my song writing and recording I have come to realize that it is the songs I write, and the energy behind them is what people have been moved by. Having an exceptional voice is one thing but being able to connect with people is another so I choose to be grateful for my not so exceptional voice.

My father bought me a guitar when I was 9 years old, but in the end, he was the one who ended up playing it. When I moved to Australia my brother while visiting me bought himself a guitar and when he went back to New Zealand he left the guitar with me. He was later killed in a car accident, so I kept the guitar only because it had belonged to him. I strummed it a few times here, and there but nothing serious, so it ended up in a cupboard only to be thrown our several years later needing too great a repair.

Before I was married my now husband heard me singing and said I didn’t know you could sing, I thought ‘here we go again. He said, ‘do you play an instrument’, and I said not really but I’ve got my brothers old guitar in the cupboard. I pulled it out to discover it needed a lot of repair, as the neck had warped among other things, so it was virtually not worth repairing for the cost involved, and it wasn’t a great guitar in the first place. I let him talk me into buying a guitar and within a week I had written a song manta. I also didn’t know until then that my husband could mix and master music.

In 2002 after we moved to Melbourne, Australia, we began to buy the things we needed for a home recording studio. In 2002 I began recording my love is album which Patanjali mixed and mastered. It was released online and into Jb hi fi music stores in Australia in 2004.

As an independent label and artist, we didn’t have the money to promote the album, so it didn’t do so well.

In 2006 we moved to Sydney. Up until about 2012 I was just flying solo until my husband became interested in playing guitar, so I gave him one of my guitars. He picked up lead guitar quite quickly and later went on to playing mandolin, and bass guitar as well. We then decided to become the folk duo DevaKnighT where I continued to write the lyrics and music.

In 2012 my husband began building a soundproof recording studio in our lounge room. In 2013 we recorded live to YouTube which was challenging to get them right straight away. They didn’t do so well due to lack of promotion. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue so touring or doing live gigs isn’t a possibility for me for promotion and it is difficult for independent artists to raise funds for advertising.

For financial reasons in 2017 we pulled down the recording studio and sold all the musical and recording equipment including microphones, guitars. I bought a Taylor Gs mini, so I could continue to play, write and sing.

Going forward, I still plan to record some music again, and I am continuing to write new lyrics and music.

Song writing ^

I write songs as I am guided to, so I am unlikely to be a songwriter with 100s of songs to my name. There is no special formula or order they come in. It can be lyrics before music, or the other way around. I might just get a chorus and build it around that or even just a name.

Some lyrics are just stories, and some are inspired a little about me, but not totally. Many of them are drawn on from the wisdom of life experience and observation.

I write about love, spirituality, life experience and life’s learning lessons. If I write spiritually, I prefer to deliver it in a universal sense as spirituality is personal, and I would rather it embraces all.

Guitar style ^

I play finger style-rhythm guitar. Over the years I have developed my own finger style and often weave this in with rhythm-lead style nuances. Folk, country, pop and jazz have influenced me, so there’s a little of all that, but my style is probably more folk with a touch of country, pop and jazz.

Musical genre ^

I prefer not to be put in a tight box. There’s no doubt what I do is folk based, but country does have an influence. If I was asked to put it in a box, I would call it country tinged folk.

There is pop in me, you only have to listen to earlier music from me to hear that, but I am more folky acoustic these days today which has changed the dynamics.

Musical influences ^

So many people have probably influenced me. I grew up in the sixties and enjoyed many different genres and styles of music. I particularly liked country, pop, folk, blues and jazz.

It’s hard to them all, but to name a few (Did I say a few?):

  • Carol king, Carly Simon, Dusty Springfield, Rod Stewart, Eagles, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan, Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil young, Dolly Parton, Olivia Newton John.
  • Eliza Gilkyson, Janis Ian, Patty Griffin, Allison Krauus, Stevie Nicks, Rene Geyer, Mark Knopfler, David Bowie, Tom Waites, Elton John.
  • Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Sting, Beatles, Dire Straits, Jackson Brown, Ryan Adams, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp.
  • Jewel, Dixie Chicks, Eva Cassidy, Keith Urban.
  • You get the drift; the list goes on…

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