I am proud to say I am a big fan of David Raleigh. Now, anyone who has paid attention to my posts would know that was not breaking news, for I've shared his music over the last couple of years. In fact, it's been a little more than two years since I traveled to New York City to see and hear David and his friend/producer Nathan Leigh Jones perform at Joe's Pub. And it has been almost three years since the singer was featured on the blog for the first time, with the music video for 'That's What Friends Are For', which also featured recent Tony-winner Billy Porter, Sir Ari Gold, and Emmy-nominated Alan Cumming, all interested in raising funds for the Ali Forney Center, a New York City shelter for homeless GLBT youth. There was so much talent on this project, and it introduced me to some talented I didn't really know before, always a great thing.
When David recently announced he would be heading back in the studio to work on a new album, I got excited. And when he announced the Kickstarter page, to begin a crowdfunding campaign, you better believe I wanted to be a part of it. You see, I am the type of guy who wants people making music I love to keep it going. And David certainly falls into that category. Now that I have made my pledge, I was able to bring my mind back to the blog, and had to chance to ask a few questions of the singer/songwriter, which I am thrilled to be sharing with you now. First, I wanted to know how David decided to take a swim in the Crowdfunding pool? "Am I swimming?! Yay," he exclaimed! "Well, I was in the studio with my producer, Nathan Leigh Jones, working on the tunes for this next album. We were sitting around shootin' the shit, and the question of how the album would be financed came up. (As unfortunately it always does) Nathan brought up the idea of using Kickstarter. I had heard of artists having success on various crowdfunding sites and had been intrigued by the idea, but had never actually thought of using one myself. But I looked into it and and researched a few of them. Kickstarter won me over. I loved the platform, it's 'reward' concept seemed fun and engaging. So I decided to jump in head first! I hope that a few of your readers will jump in the pool with me too! The water's warm!." I am always interested in how an artist sees and hears their own music, so I wanted to know how David would define his own music. "Funny that you ask that question," he answered with a smile. "Well, actually NOT funny, but you know what I mean. People always ask me that and I'm always hesitant to answer. I feel as a lot of artists do that my music isn't always easy to define. I like all different kinds of styles and want to be able to explore everything. It's a dilemma! Ha Ha! But when pressed, I like to say that my music is pretty much a cocktail (and who doesn't like COCKTAILS!) A generous pour of R&B mixed with a dash of Jazz, poured into a large, chilled pop/rock ice filled glass with a floater of Cabaret on top. YUM! Uh-huh, don't be shy, you know you want some!" His piano-driven songs are definitely a mix of styles, a wonderful melange of influences. You can see how well this works in this clip from last year of David singing "I Do", off his album 'Beginning Again'.
On his Kickstarter page, David talks about the budget for the album, and that would include costs to record in Australia. While I know David shares time between New York and Australia, I wanted to know why in Australia? "I split my recording between New York and Sydney," he remarked. "I've been working and collaborating with my producer for five years now and he happens to live and work between Sydney and New York, so with the bi-continental studio and engineering connections that he has, and the bi-continental musical connections we both have it just makes sense to create and record in both cities. I think it really gives the project a rare depth that we are lucky to experience as a part of our lives." So I dying to know if the different homes inspired him musically? "I would say not really, but I don't know if that would be entirely truthful," he admitted. "I LOVE NYC. It's in my blood and I feel it's who I am as a person. I'm inspired and juvenated by it, even when I'm not in it. The way I act, live, respond, create and perform is the embodiment of being a New Yorker. That being said, I feel as a writer, I'm at my most creative when I'm in Australia. Specifically Sydney. I LOVE that city as well. It's my "safe place" my haven. Every breath I breathe there is nourishing and inspiring. So even though I don't think the two countries, or cities inspire "different" music, I approach writing differently in each city because of the different forms of inspiration they give me."
Now, I was intrigued, and wanted to know if there is a difference between playing shows in New York City and in Sydney? "Well one fantastic benefit of touring as a musician from New York City is that everyone loves New York City. In theory if not in actuality," he said with a smile. "My experience is that Australians more so than most are hugely influenced creatively and artistically by America. Vegas, LA, and NYC being at the top of their "favorites" list. I love that my style, my music and my story are unique and a bit exotic to them and It brings me happiness to share my music with them, because I know that deep down inside it highlights the similarities and "oneness" that we all have with each other."
On his Kickstarter page, David talks about wanting to make a 'definitive' album. So I couldn't resist asking him what albums by other artists would he would call definitive? "Ha! Another good question, H," he said, once again offering that trademark smile. "Well, I'm attracted to and highly influenced by the pop/rock and singer/songwriters of the 70's so I would have to say MY biggest "definitive" album influences are Carole King's 'Tapestry', Stevie Wonder's 'Songs in the Key of Life', 'Hotel California' by The Eagles, The Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway album, and 'Escape' by Journey. There are tons more that moved me and some were even recorded in the 80's and 90's! Ha! Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and Prince's 'Purple Rain', Maxwell's 'Urban Suite', Erykah Badu's 'Baduizm', and Pearl Jam's 'Ten' to name a few. I'm a sucker for emotional singers." Well, I can certainly identify with that!
There are two weeks left for you to join in the crowdfunding campaign! You can find David on Kickstarter, which closes out on August 15, 2013. Once on the page, you can see the pledge levels, from $5 to $10,000. There are plenty of rewards for those pledges, from personalized thank yous, to the chance to hear the album before anyone else, and give it a name! For more about David Raleigh, visit his official website. You can also 'follow' him on Twitter, and 'like' him on Facebook. I know he'd love to hear from you, and to say "hello". You can find his last album, 'Beginning Again', on iTunes and Amazon.