The first time I listened to David R Blessed, I couldn’t put my finger on his vocal texture and who it reminded me of. I knew there was something familiar about it. Christmas came and went, as did New Year. I still couldn’t identify it; Maybe it was a vocalist from a different genre. I finally let it go and decided to interview him anyway. It would eventually come to me.
The 21-year-old from Thane always had a connection with music. Once a dancer, he picked up the drums at 13, then the guitar a few years later and eventually pursued a full-time career in music at 19. Music’s the only thing he ever wants to do.
“I took a conscious decision to drop out of college, even though I had just a year left. I wasn’t really interested or attending lectures anyway, so instead of letting it drag on, I got into music full-time. This is as good a time as any. Many see it as a substantial risk, but to me it’s inevitable.” He tells me.
Music is a perilous business, so I asked David if he had a back-up plan.
“The funny thing is that when I dropped out, I knew nothing about music theory, I hadn’t even figured out what my first song would be and how I would go about making it, I just knew that was what I wanted.” He laughs.
Deep inside, we all know the best education needn’t come from an institution. I guess David knew it as well.
“If I’ve pursued music, then I have to go all out. My Plan B is Plan A, no two ways about it. I’m also learning everything around the business of music, like marketing and promotions, how various social media platforms can help, etc. If I’ve understood one thing, it’s that there are a lot of talented people, but it’s important to learn the business side of it too, branding for example. Plus, one has to be very consistent, which is why plan to release music regularly. If I can do that through thick and thin, I don’t see how I won’t eventually get to where I want to be.”
Seeing how I love playing the devil’s advocate one of my first question to the young singer was - Many musicians were born from the pandemic, in any other year they wouldn’t have done as much as they’d done in 2020. Do you think this enthusiasm would continue or die out if we eradicate COVID-19?
David politely disagreed. It was almost like he’d been thinking about the retort to this question for months.
“First, I feel that those who have been releasing music during the pandemic have pushed themselves to not be lazy and do something productive which they've done very well. It’s not merely about having a lot of time. Things were difficult mentally during the lock down as well. But not taking that as an excuse and actually putting in work is commendable. Second, the audience is now used to it. They also have had exposure to indie stuff that they otherwise wouldn’t have listened to. Many are now used to listening to music beyond the popular hits.”
“As I’ve mentioned before, my backup plan is also music, so one of the first things I did was to invest in equipment, in a home studio set-up. I was minor jobs from the age of 16 and by the time I turned 19, I had a decent amount in savings,”
David has come a long way since 2017, the year he started out. From belting out his early originals on a cheap mic to now owning the works - good monitors, a professional keyboard and a fast computer system running Logic Pro X.
Today he also produces music for other popular YouTubers and does regular work with local rappers.
“I took a four-month break to work on my own music!” He beams. In fact, his most recent single Keep It One 100 had us humming its more-than-addictive hook all day.
David and his 19-year-old brother Daniel collaborated on Keep It One 100 for the first time together. In fact, they recorded this song back in August, but he released it only in early December.
“We were in the studio and Daniel just started playing these chords out of no where. I really liked it and instantly took out my phone and recorded some vocal melodies and... Voila! That was it!”
I finally got to asking about his influences; This has always been that ‘lip-service’ question, anyway. But I was hoping I’d finally get that niggling thing out of the way - Who did David’s voice remind me of?
“I’m influenced by a variety of genres that aren’t really related to the kind I create. For example, I listen to a lot of punk rock - Green Day and Blink 182 are my favourites. I also listen to mumble rap. Some melodies are superb. I don’t much care for the rest of it because they’re mostly loops, but now and then I come across these amazing tunes. I also listen to classic rock. So my influences are varied and many times not connected to each other.”
And there it was - His vocal-style reminds me of Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day. That is, if Billy Joe Armstrong did RNB!