TMG Artist Spotlight: Willie Blake Davis
The artist's spotlight is burning bright again this week with the upcoming release of Willie Blake Davis' new album, Foundation Solid, set to hit stores on March 10, 2009.
Willie gives us an inside look into his world of writing and creating music. Hope you enjoy!
1. When did you begin singing/performing?
I have always been a church singer, though not a very good one though. Just ask my wife and she will tell you that she used to hate sitting beside me in church while we were dating because I used to sing so flat. I guess that's why I started to play drums so no one could hear me sing! It wasn't until I heard Russ Taff sing for the first time at an outdoor festival called New Sound. He closed out the first night and I was totally blown away by what I heard. I never knew anyone could sound like that and move me so, so deeply at the same time. It was in that moment that I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to sing with that much soul and passion that I could move people to that degree. So I went out and bought everything that Russ had done to that point and have everything he has done since. And I just listened to him over and over and started to copy everything he did. I wasn't trying to sound like him but I wanted to tap into that depth of the soul and spirit that was very evident that Russ had a hold of. And according to what happens when I perform I believe that I have tapped into that vein of the spirit.
2. What inspired you to begin singing/performing?
See answer #1
3. What kind of hurdles, if any, did you have to go throught to be where you are today?
WOW, WOW & WOW again!!! Oh my Lord, have mercy, where do I start? I guess it could all be summed up that I was raised in a very legalistic pentecostal church that robbed you of your personal identity that God had created inside each and every one of us.
First of all Rock and Roll music was considered the "devil's music" and that was the avenue that I felt God leading me into. And also you were hindered from expressing yourself from the stage that was considered "worldly". You pretty much had to stand there like a clone and just sing and that was very hard for this outgoing boy to do. But I thought I was living the whole truth of the word of God, and I wanted to sing so badly that I did just that.
The incident that sticks out in my mind the most is back in the mid 90s I was at a business event and there was supposed to be a man open the afternoon session with a song. Well he didn't show up and the man I was with knew the man in charge and told him he had a more that average singer with him that could take the absent man's place. (He was talking about me.) So I talked with him and told him I would not let him down. So I took to the stage and sang Steven Curtis Chapman's The Great Adventure. (I always carry tracks with me in case the opportunity presents itself.) And something happened that day that had never happened before I brought the entire audience to its feet. I was completely charged and sang with more soul and passion then ever and became more animated than in the past.
People were coming up to me afterward and asking where they could buy my album. Well I had never made one so I said "I don't have one" and the common response was "you're kidding...well you should".
So when I got back home I told the one who I thought would be the most excited for me, my pastor. His response was this: "If your dreams don't support my dreams then you have the wrong dreams" I was crushed and the joy and passion of singing died that day. And I walked away from church and never wanted to sing again. I still had a deep love for God, but if that is how the church was I wanted absolutely no part of if.
Long story short, I got deeply involved with racing motocross and fell in love with it. There I found no judgment, people accepted me as I was and I got deep into the motocross scene. Then I had a bad crash in 2002 that laid me up for 5 months and in that time God started talking to my heart and nudging my soul and the spark to want to sing was ignited once more.
4. What would you tell other aspiring artist about the music/recording scene?
There is a lot I could say, but the biggest one is, do it if you love it, there has to be a raw love & passion for it that I believe can only come down from above.
5. How would you describe your musical style?
The style has a mixture of sounds. Anywhere from Lynard Skynard to Creed to Ozzy to Russ Taff. It just completely rocks.
6. What's the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on stage?
My most embarrassing moment singing was about 20 years ago when my wife and I were the soloists for the choir that night in church. Rehearsal went great but during the live performance when it came to my turn to sing I drew a complete blank and I had to look over to the pianist and say "you sing it." But I recovered and kept on rockin'.
7. Do you prefer the studio or the stage? Why?
The stage for sure. It is harder to capture the raw energy that the crowd feeds to you. But when I'm in the studio I become the song just as I become the character I am playing when I do theatre. I have learned how to make the transformation almost instantly when I am in the studio. Plus Jameson @ Tate just put me at ease anyway. He was great to work with.
8. Have you started work on your next album?
Yes, we have started writing our next album. We even have a title for it but you'll just have to wait and see when it releases.
9. Do you have any gigs lined up I ht near future?
You can see where we are playing next by going to www.myspace.com/willieblakedavis
The full name of our band is Willie Blake Davis & 3 Steps Away. And everyone in the band is ready to start gigging out a lot more. We have rehearsal twice a week and these guys can really rock. They make it so, so easy to sing and I thank God above for each and every one of them. And as our band motto that I tell them everytime before we walk onstage..."Let's go Rock for the Rock!!!"
Be sure to check out his new album available now at TMG: www.tatepublishing.com and in stores everywhere starting March 10!