David Davis – Quincy Jones protégé and winner of NBC’s Songland – has accomplished things in his relatively short career that even the most optimistic singer-songwriters will not achieve in a lifetime of hustling, opening for John Legend and working with legendary producers RedOne (Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj) and Ryan Tedder (One Republic, Beyonce). Armed with this experience, a glass-half-full attitude and a song that just won’t quit, Davis is ready to show the world the real him.
For as long as he can recall, Davis has been fixed on a career in music. Chicago-born and surrounded by seven siblings, he always found his way to a stage – nothing made him happier than belting out Motown classics or performing in church.
“I was very much fixated from a young age on just creating music,” recalls an instantly likeable Davis, who speaks to Headliner from his L.A home. “It wasn’t even about choosing a career, it was more about feeling like I found music, and that was it. I just knew that this was something that was going to be a part of my life in a very permanent way.”
Davis reveals that he contracted Covid-19 last year (making a full recovery), and is more thankful than ever for his voice, which he feared may have been damaged by the virus.
“If you're a singer it can really affect you, so I didn't sing for a month and a half. I got through it and was like, ‘I need to sing as much as I possibly can!’ I got my voice back, was ready to go, and everything got locked down,” he shrugs.
A self-described ‘pop-soul’ artist, Davis’ music not only highlights his impressive singing voice, but also his effortless songwriting capabilities. He perfected his piano and performance skills while studying in the nationally renowned Belmont University music program, drawing inspiration from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and India Arie. Racking up over 700 shows in the last three-and-a-half years, understandably being home so much over the last year has been a bit of an adjustment:
“I'm really, really missing performing,” he stresses. “My favourite part about performing is getting to bring people from all over the place together for that hour and a half and unite behind being joyful and singing about the human experience. This time period has been difficult because there is so much less of that, but I'm an eternal optimist.”
Davis’ voice, arrangements and productions have been featured on chart-topping records, commercials for major brands and networks, as well as across hundreds of stages internationally, including the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball, a London debut at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and a 73-show residency at the Quincy Jones’ club in Dubai.
And this wasn’t Davis’ only “pinch me” experience, as he has also been an opening act for John Legend and Jon Bellion, and has worked with legendary producers RedOne (Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj) and Aaron Sprinkle (One Republic). Taking it all in his positive stride, he sees each one of these milestones as “little victories,” adding that the best way to build and develop a craft is to get out there and just do it.
“When I left college and was doing my own act, I decided to call those people that I had worked with and said, ‘Hey, I have this new project; I'd love to come and open for you. If you're down, I will drive 10 hours overnight, show up, get paid very little, sing my three songs and get that experience in’. It started off pretty gruelling and it was definitely a hustle, but the love of music kept me in it.”