Later, past the rapids, we paused to consider
if chance or destiny had brought us here;
whether it was more than pleasure and a shiver
we’d found by plunging into the wild river.
- Gregory Orr, “The River”
Devan Glover and Khalid Yassein are not strangers to plunging into new waters and committing to their love of music. They were born in the nearby communities of Toronto and Bowmanville, although their paths did not cross until they attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Both Devan and Khalid were raised around music, and independently developed a deep passion for it.
Devan spent her childhood in England, exposed to classic folk and rock music before exploring her interest in more diverse influences. She began singing at an early age and over time progressed into the powerhouse vocalist and musician she is today. She has a dynamic voice, and has the ability to move seamlessly between sweet, soft tones to belting vibratos and everything in between. Devan’s magnetic voice has become the signature sound in all her musical endeavours.
Khalid grew up on a farm in rural Bowmanville and also found music at a young age. Starting young on the piano, he was also able to play various instruments with ease; playing any song he heard by ear. He picked up the acoustic guitar in his early teens and fell in love with the instrument, and then also began to refine his vocal skills. It was at this time as well, that he began developing his skills as a lyricist and songwriter. Today he is the primary songwriter for the band, and writes songs that are not only lyrically deep and rich in meaning but also strikingly melodic.
Good fortune brought Glover and Yassein together in 2012 when they met at Queen’s University in Kingston. Studying psychology and biology respectively, their musical aspirations were humble at best. Introduced by mutual friends, the two decided to collaborate and perform together. They discovered a special musical chemistry – and at once realized an exceptional musical harmony as well. Between the unspoken understanding, and the unique blend of their complementary vocals, the two were a duo – Devan & Khalid.
Three years later, Devan & Khalid progress from a coffee house duo to a principal musical act in the quiet cultural gem of Kingston. They have released the EP, This Town with three original songs and a music video, which has been widely played in Kingston and beyond. They have played shows all over Ontario and Quebec, with renowned Canadian acts such as The Wooden Sky, Cowboy Junkies, Craig Cardiff, and Alvvays. Their EP single “No Ribbons” has garnered national radio airplay, and they were voted to the Top 10 New Artists in the country in CBC’s 2015 Searchlight contest.
Now based in Toronto, Devan & Khalid are taking the next step in their career path. Their sound has expanded as they delve deeper through folk and indie rock, ranging from songs with catchy hooks to the soft ballads. To enrich their harmonies, the two have added good friends and collaborators to the live lineup. Oakville natives Ben Labenski on drums, and Andrew Oliver as a bassist/multi-instrumentalist add a rich dimension to the live act. These two talented musicians have added a depth of sound and meaning to the band. As a group they take the next step in their journey and plunge into the unknown. Brought together music and a dream, the four become one entity, “Wild Rivers”.
On April 16 2016, the band released their self-titled debut album, 'Wild Rivers', which you can buy here. The 9-track album was recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, Ontario, and produced by Dan Hosh. Since the release, Wild Rivers have completed two Eastern Canada tours, and are now breaking geographical boundaries and venturing into the USA this fall. With over 1 million streams on Spotify, this album is sure to continue to take them many places this year. There is lots in store for this promising young band.