1.) Tell us about yourself.
My name is Devin Miguel Woodson, I am a native Detroiter, I have always found inspiration in my city. As a child, I could sing before I could even speak and could find a song anywhere I looked. In the years since I found my calling at Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, I has gone on to attend the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) where I currently study voice under DeAnna Johnson and Kisma Jordan-Hunter.
In my music, I has discovered a calling bigger than myself. I aim to be a voice that is getting louder for Civil Rights movements including racial, human, and LGBTQ. I try to live by the words of Jimi Hendrix, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
I have never liked to limit myself in a genre of music, so I sing any and everything that I can get my hands on. From classical, pop, jazz, musical theater, Country, Gospel, R&B soul, and even rock. Bringing all of the above together, I have tried (and am still trying) a sound that is truly unique and is sure to touch the hearts of Detroit and beyond.
2.) What has your experience been like studying at U of M?
I feel that just as any other school the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) has its issues, but I honestly would not trade it for the world. This environment for artists is like none other. A place where we come together to not only get a true understanding for who we are as artists, but also as human beings. I have seen and been in situations both good and bad here, but all teaching me something about myself along the way. That I know I will be forever grateful for. My school is almost a very interesting balance between conservatory and traditional university and that definitely adds to the uniqueness here. But I will definitely be getting all that I can while I am still here. So many of the administrative staff and my vocal instructors (DeAnna Johnson and Kisma Jordan-Hunter) have especially made my time worth wild.
3.) What is the greatest challenge you've faced in your college experience thus far and how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge I have faced thus far, and quite frankly am still facing but getting better day by day is that of finding my true voice. Vocally, as I said earlier I have been singing since I could talk, but all that being mostly imitation. I have always had the ability to “sound like” someone else. Anyone I wanted really, and while I enjoy that it has never been me. When beginning college I realized how often it happened and why it was so dangerous for my career. To be an impressionist is one thing and that’s fantastic if it is what you want for your life but, I know the direction and vision I have for myself goes much deeper than that. So through practice and trying new things with my voice, also I have stopped listening and comparing myself to others. That is even my dangerous then imitating. Remember there is only one you, and NO ONE can do you better.
4.) What lessons did you take from your Mosaic experience that influenced your work at U of M?
Being in Mosaic definitely gave me a leg up on entering a school such as DIME. Besides being immediately accepted into the program based on training I received while in mosaic, once entering the program I realized one of the many things mosaic had given me was experience and exposure. While in mosaic we had performed for Presidents, travelled the country singing, and above all the taught me to stay ready, so I never have to get ready.
5.) What are your plans for the future (post-college)? What is your big dream?
This is definitely a loaded question, not because I don’t know what I want to do, but I don’t know what I want to do first. Since my days in mosaic I have always had a love and passion for musical theater, so possible moving and trying my hand at Broadway is a possibility. Of course I want to travel, and record music. I have a loving for acting as well, though I never actually had an acting role in any of our mosaic productions I took great pride in my understudy roles! I will one be on the hit ABC drama, “How To Get Away With Murder” alongside the amazing Viola Davis. I would definitely be lying if I said, I don’t care about awards, of course I want to win Tonys, Grammys, and Oscars but I also know those things do not define you as an artist. So though it would be nice, I would still be abled tot go on living a wonderful life without them as long as I know I touched someones heart along my journey. Almost above all the things, I want to be a teacher. Have my own school, teach voice, but more importantly, teach love.
6.) What advice would you give a current or future Mosaic Young Artist?
The largest piece of advice I would give to Mosaic young artist is to always remain humble and kind. Know your gift and your worth, but know that you don’t have to be a mean or hurtful person to do that. Success is and always will be a journey, never a destination. Don’t fret you’ll get where you want and need to go in due time. Take time to love one another, because life is simply too short. Always say this to yourself, “The question isn’t who will let me; its who’s going to stop me.” And what I always live by, as my birthday buddy Tupac Shakur once said, “I may not change the world, but I will spark the mind of the person who does.”