Like most third-culture kids with an inner-most longing for home, I find myself in a constant search for truth & belonging. Throughout the years, this quest has consistently proven to me that home is not where you are but rather wherever you take yourself—as you are home.
With Turkish & Sri Lankan origins and an upbringing along the winding boulevards of Paris, I embraced the tantalising history, art & culture that constructed the very walls of the city, developing an unwavering love for the likes of Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras & Édith Piaf; their prose and poetry built the foundations for an insatiable thirst for combining lyric & music, and a passion for turning tragic stories into something beautiful. This third-cultural displacement only became apparent after I moved to London to pursue studies in Spanish & Italian literature at UCL, where the bubble of Parisian beauty soon burst, exposing me to the unending stretch of this metropolis and all its diversity.
Among the waves of this immense ocean of diversity, I bore witness to a vibrant amalgamation of new cultural expressions emerging that worked to turn pain into pleasure and loss into life. From the fleshy latex of Queer techno raves to the thrumming of Afro-Caribbean beats throughout East London, this new world was an opportunity for me to redefine what it meant to bring light to the darkness of a dreary mind.
Between the techno and afrobeats, I had the opportunity to spend a year oscillating between Florence & Valencia as part of my literature degree. The tranquillity of the Tuscan landscape and its artistic spirit was reminiscent of my past, allowing me to return inwards and begin to heal childhood wounds that had never before been addressed. I would spend my days roaming the slopes of the Giardino delle Rosse, finding shade under the roses to read Leopardi’s poetic laments to lovers lost, while perfecting Dante’s own Tuscan dialect. As spring emerged, I found love within the beaches of Valencia, where the Jardín del Turia meets the Mediterranean Sea, fostering space and time for more inner-healing.
This year of escapism allowed new ways of creative expression to emerge in the form of musical compositions, inspired by years of Jazz and piano-playing that fascinated my mind and captivated my open heart. A particular course on grief-stricken poets of the 20th century catalysed this musical manifestation within me. The writings of Sylvia Plath and Yukio Mishima, who both were plagued by unresolved senses of otherness & isolation ignited inspiration to create a legacy of music that brought me back to life. In putting pain to paper, I was indeed able to transform my grief into something beautiful and tangible, leading me to write my final year dissertation on powers of musical expression in healing transgenerational grief.
This paper focused on African-American Blues, ballads of Iberian Flamenco as well as the tragic phenomenon of the Broken Beauty; a term I conceived that explores the antithesis between the beautiful yet broken nature of exalted female artists and their untimely demise; including Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse & Lana Del Rey.
I now live between London & Paris, writing, composing and performing, in constant search of new spaces and ways for my music to be heard & felt, under the name ‘Kris Devadasi’.