We are delighted to announce the debut release from new Defected signing DAVIE, 'Testify'.
Steeped in music from a young age, with his father a pastor in the local church, DAVIE joined the choir, thus starting his musical journey in the same way as so many of American soul music’s greats. Indeed, as DAVIE began to become aware of secular as well as gospel music, it was such greats who first captured his imagination. He credits Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson in particular for “shifting his brain as a teenager”, and his parents for then highlighting the fact that these artists both sang and performed, something DAVIE instantly aspired to do as he made his first tentative steps in making his own music. “I figured if anyone was going to speak on my behalf, it should be me.”
An obsessive collector of music since he discovered the seminal The Miseducation of Ms Lauryn Hill in 1998 (“I was always the kid waiting outside the record store on new release day”), he has always gravitated towards artists who, like Hill, successfully straddle “the best of both worlds, old school and new school”, namechecking the likes of Pharrell, Beyonce, J Dilla and Mark Ronson as ongoing inspirations.
After initial gospel tours and talent shows, DAVIE hooked up with Brett Manning. A vocal coach who has worked behind the scenes with many leading singers, he proved to be a crucial mentor. A subsequent move to LA after college was the moment he began to “grow as a writer.” It was here that he began to hang out at the Hotel Café. The intimate space has hosted acoustic performances by superstars ranging from Adele and Ed Sheeran to Pete Townshend and Leonard Cohen, but is perhaps most celebrated as a place upcoming singer-songwriters can be both seen and heard. DAVIE references it as the place where he could “meet writers and producers and create relationships”, which in time gave him the opportunity to perform too.
This is where DAVIE’s story collides with Defected – one evening with Simon Dunmore visiting the cinema – ostensibly a rare night off, but an A&R person’s ears are never truly off duty. He was captivated by an advert for Wild Turkey bourbon – not its lead man Matthew McConaughey, but rather the song the ad has been built around. It encapsulates the original, soulful sound that Simon is always seeking. His subsequent search led him to DAVIE, and his song ‘Testify’, which is both strikingly contemporary yet classic in feel.
Describing ‘Testify’ as, “a dance song not a gospel song ,” the record remains inspired by his upbringing up in the church, radiating all the energy and atmosphere of worship in full flow. Rich instrumentation provides the backdrop for DAVIE’s flawless vocals, along with a serious dose of funk, making this label debut nothing short of a future classic. With dues well and truly paid and ‘Testify’ proving such an enduring song, DAVIE is ready to make an imprint on the music world.
'Testify' is out on Defected Records on 19th June on digital and 7" Vinyl, pre-order on the D-Store now.