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Houston Sensation Soars as LA's Next Rising Star

By Billy Montgomery

Poised to follow in the footsteps of iconic Houstonians like Beyoncé, Solange, Lizzo, and Megan Thee Stallion, Devyn Kelly is one to watch in 2024. Fresh off the release of her EP, "L.O.V.E.," Kelly said she’s ready to be H-town’s next. Kelly's journey began in the vibrant streets of Houston’s Third Ward, a neighborhood known for its rich cultural heritage and artistic soul. Starting in pre-school, music was in her DNA as she felt a magnetic pull toward the stage, yearning to share her voice with the world. “I have been singing since I can remember. My first memorable solo was at age three,” Kelly said. “But at age five, they started selecting kids at school for solo performances. Then, it got real. I wanted to make sure I sounded the best.” She also credits her music teacher “Mr. Givens” for challenging her to rise to the occasion. “He was very spirited, and serious, and made me feel that singing was a job. I felt serious about singing,” Kelly said.

During her pre-teen years, she spent her time outside of school developing her skills in music theater. She auditioned for various shows as they came to Houston and even wrote songs. As a teenager, Kelly's talent continued to flourish as she found herself performing frequently, as the energy of the crowds fueled her passion. Inspired by the success stories of Houston's legacy as a breeding ground for greatness, she also realized that she needed to leave the familiar behind and venture out to test herself. After finishing high school, she left her hometown of H-Town to pursue her passion for performing arts in Los Angeles. She enrolled in the prestigious American Music and Dramatic Academy and completed a full curriculum in the performing arts. Although she spent time in New York to further explore her artistry, Kelly said returning to Los Angeles provided her with greater networking opportunities as she was able to readily meet various producers and industry insiders. “While attending school we weren’t allowed to do professional work or audition professionally, but my friends and I would walk around Hollywood and just (randomly) meet industry professionals. Amongst them were producers who offered us opportunities to record demos,” Kelly said. Those chance encounters led to her recording demos for major producers and writers who wanted to help her develop her talent as well as bring her talent into their projects. “I was able to get sync placements on BET and other TV programs that allowed me platforms, so when I did release my music, people would believe I am an actual artist,” Kelly said.

Her latest project, "L.O.V.E.," is a seven-song EP showcasing Kelly's raw emotion and lyrical authenticity. It's a powerful and soulful collection of songs that is sure to resonate with listeners and establish Kelly as an artist to watch in the coming years. Photos by Billy Montgomery Heart of Hollywood Contributor Billy Montgomery

Billy Montgomery stands as a seasoned photojournalist, accomplished writer, and adept digital content producer with a rich and diverse portfolio. His extensive experience in media production has taken him to illustrious cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Atlanta, where he has successfully crafted compelling photography, videography, and podcasts for a diverse clientele. Beyond his role as a media producer, Montgomery is committed to education, imparting his knowledge through classes and workshops focused on media literacy and production for both youth and adults. He believes in the transformative power of media education to empower individuals in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of digital content creation. In the realm of writing, Montgomery champions innovative thinking as a cornerstone of journalism. His perspective emphasizes the importance of embracing diverse viewpoints, acknowledging that true growth comes from listening to a chorus of voices rather than the echo of one's own. Living by the motto, “We don’t grow by listening to our own voice,” Montgomery encourages a dynamic and inclusive approach to storytelling that reflects the richness and complexity of the world we inhabit.

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