Josh Devine wants his fans to know he’s more than just the drummer for One Direction.
The 24-year-old, who has been drumming since he was 3 years old, sings and plays piano, guitar and bass. Devine has always been around music since he can remember; his dad was a singer in the U.K. band Seven. When Devine decided he wanted to pursue music, he said he took every opportunity he could get to put his name out there.
The young musician’s first big break was when he worked with One Direction on their first live performance after finishing third on The X Factor in the U.K.
“One day I woke up and I had a phone call from Chris Leonard — he wrote ‘Lego House’ [with] Ed Sheeran,” Devine tells Billboard. “He was putting together at the time a band for this new boy band who had just come off a TV thing, and they asked me if I’d be interested, and of course I’d accepted.”
Devine joined One Direction’s band full-time and has been touring with them for the last four years, nonstop. But now, the musician is taking a new turn in his career: He is set to release his EP, Through the Fire, on Aug. 24.
Devine partnered with U.K. songwriter Ollie Green for the EP. The two first met during that One Direction post-X Factor performance, and they started writing back in 2014 during any free time they could find after Devine’s studio sessions with One Direction.
“It’s a crazy time in my life,” he says. “We actually wrote [our songs] for other people. It ended up we thought, ‘Eh, this could go pretty cool — we should just keep it.'”
The drummer says the EP is a mix of his own sound, which he describes as a bit of rock and pop, and Green’s, who is a fan of rap and dance music. They created the pop-rock tracks for themselves, despite Devine’s 3.6 million Twitter followers and thousands of fans waiting for the EP release.
“It’d be cool, doing my own music, instead of being in the background sort of playing other people’s music — which I love,” Devine says. “But it’d be cool to see music that I’ve written sung back to us. That’d be the dream.”
Devine says he finds himself writing tracks that are more guitar-driven. He describes his personal taste as edgy and gritty, like the Foo Fighters and Linkin Park — but he loves how the pop songs that One Direction sings can get stuck in your head. His goal with Through the Fire is a combination of the two: a catchy pop-rock EP.
“I try for everything I do to have a positive message. There’s so much negativity these days,” he says. “I can just write music that’s uplifting and music that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel good about the world around you. I just try to stay as humble as possible.”
Despite his new direction and passion in life, Devine says he’ll stick with the guys who helped him launch his career.
“I’ll always play for One Direction as a drummer as long as they want me to,” Devine tells Billboard. “I’m with them till the end. Drumming is my passion at the end of the day.”
Check out his new video for “Through the Fire” below and preorder his upcoming EP on iTunes: