The Ocean Breeze Called Her


Frankfurt-based singer-songwriter Maryanna Devlin’s voice and songwriting style have been compared to Brandi Carlile, which is saying something.  Devlin just released a song, “Manchester-by-the-Sea,” inspired by her youth and a family day trip to Cape Ann.  We sat down with her to learn about the song and what inspired it.

Erika Brown (Q):  I guess I would start with your connection to Manchester.  How did Manchester-by-the-Sea inspire you to write your beautiful song?

Maryanna Devlin (A):  I'm from Millis, Mass., about an hour away from Manchester.  I have a very good memory of going there when I was a child with my family.  And it was like, I was actually not so young.  I was like 13.  We took a day trip randomly once, and it was just one of the most beautiful memories I have.  It was a beautiful summer day.  We drove around in our minivan.  I couldn't believe that these places existed.  It was such a good memory for me, even before I wrote the song.

Q:  And the song itself?  What inspired it?

A:  Actually, I had started meditation, and I had heard that focusing a creative exercise directly after meditating could produce good things, so I tried it.  I sat down with my guitar after meditating one day, and this line— “I've been going to old Manchester by the Sea since I was very young”—just came out.  I hadn’t thought of Manchester for a long time, but there it was.   The memories of visiting Manchester came back.  I remember everybody seemed like they were in a really good mood. And it was sunny. I was listening to the album “Everyday” by the Dave Matthews Band.  It was happy, and we walked around and went to the beach. 

Q:  Well, it’s beautiful, as I said.  Your voice and the song itself is lovely.

A:  Thank you. Thank you. That's nice to hear.  

Q:  Did you begin as a singer/songwriter?  You live in Frankfurt, Germany now with your husband and baby son.  But you began in New York?

A:  Yes, I went to New York to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  And it really helped me learn how to “do” art, if that makes sense.  Over time, I started playing the guitar as a creative outlet and it really helped me look at myself.  For a long time, I was pretty shy about my music.  I didn't share it for a long time.  But then a couple years later, I started to do open mic nights and stuff around New England.  Then I moved to Nashville.  And I met my husband, who is from Germany and was attending Vanderbilt College.  Eventually I moved here to Frankfurt to start a family and do my music in a different way.

Q:  So “Manchester by the Sea,” the song, will be on your album “A Great Many Things” which will be released in September.  But the song is available now by streaming, correct?

A:  Yes, the album name comes from a line in “Little Women,” which is one of my favorite books.  And the song is available now on Spotify, or Apple.  And Soundcloud.

Q:  Well, we’ll have to get you here the next time you’re in Massachusetts to play some more of your beautiful music for us.

A:  Thank you.  I would love that.

Manchester By The Sea

By Maryanna Devlin

I've been goin' up to old Manchester by the Sea since I was very young

I've been old at heart since I was young 'cause he was lost at sea

Lost at sea

I've been holdin' up in old Manchester by the Sea since not that long ago

Let the cold air come

Open up the windows

Feel the ocean breeze callin' me

Tell me was it wrong

Tell me was it wrong to write about you in a song

I've been cold at heart

Since I was young and we went to the beach

Where I watched Him drag you off

The god I loved

Like a limb torn from me

And I run

And I hold on but I'm so weak

Tell me was it wrong

Tell me was it wrong to write about you in a song

I can see the kingdom come

I can see the kingdom come

You mouthed I saw it all along

I saw it all along

I saw it all along

Want to hear Manchester by the Sea?  Listen here.

erika brown, brandi carlile, vanderbilt college, maryanna devlin, american academy of dramatic arts, singer /songwriter, soundcloud, nashville, new england, massachusetts, manchester, cape ann, germany