'The Soul of David's World: Revealed!'
It’s tough to pigeonhole David Morgan. He is a musician who is truly in love with music and finds many avenues to express it. As a pianist, songwriter, singer, producer, arranger and educator, his goals are to always bring this love, skill and dedication to every project he is a part of.
David has been playing piano since the age of 5, when his parents realized that a formal music education might help this hyper kid who wouldn’t stop breaking household heirlooms while banging rhythms them! He soon started learning Beatles songs by ear and winning piano and keyboard competitions by performing jazz tunes to Debussy to Emerson Lake and Palmer epics. Piano is one of the loves of his life. Graduating from the University of New Orleans Jazz Studies department in 1992, he studied jazz where jazz was born under piano legend Ellis Marsalis. He has since performed with musicians from jazz great Wynton Marsalis to rocker Peter Himmelman to cabaret vocalist Diana Canova.
David began the producing side of his career with Neshama Carlebach’s 1998 release, “Dancing With My Soul” and he hasn’t stopped since. He fell in love with album production and since then he has had a steady stream of very satisfied artists and fans who adore his work.
With his new album Ordinary Glory now out in the stores, we caught up with David ... and noting that it had been stated in his press that this new album "... originated from the heart and soul of the music that lives within David Morgan," I first asked him to reveal just exactly where this music resides within his body! "The heart and soul, yes they're in your body but it's well documented in the Jewish tradition that your soul is at least partly contained in your blood which flows through your heart and your entire body. It's the hidden spiritual force that keeps you alive. Music has always been a part of my life and I feel, keeps me alive too, on some level - you know, really alive. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I try to write and perform music that comes from this "soul" place, beneath the surface - most of the time. I hope people feel that from my music too."
And noting that the words 'David' and 'Soul' were closely linked there, I'm wondering if the former Starsky & Hutch '70s singing star was an inspiration to you in any way?! "Yes, a huge influence - NEVER underestimate David Soul's influence on popular music. I try to fix my hair into that curly Jew Hair thing as much as possible. I also unbutton my shirt pretty low down and since I'm fairly light on the chest hair naturally, I glue it on for shows and wear the gold chains - you know, for the ladies. It sells albums."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying the new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "This is a tough question for me. It's hard for me to describe my sound. Maybe I don't feel like I have one. Every album is a work in progress. I have three jazz albums and this is my first "not jazz" album. I have a lot of different influences - rock, jazz, pop, classical, folk music. I know that people want to pigeonhole you as an artist - I can't do that for myself. Sorry! What do you think?"
I'm thinking your new CD is a 'Rock-Pop-Jazz-Folk-Classical inspired work of art' ... and your album title Ordinary Glory is an interesting choice also. But perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "The title comes from a book I read called "The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee." I feel like these days people have a difficult time finding the miraculous within the mundane. I'll put it this way, the relationship I have with my kids is not built on buying them expensive clothes or throwing them $2000 birthday parties. It's about being there for them when their diaper's are dirty or feeding them lunch or being their biggest cheering section when they do something they're proud of. These are the truly glorious moments that bond people, but you have to have eyes for that. As a culture, I feel like we're losing those eyes to an extent - we're a bit desensitized. The song "A Moment Away" deals with this subject a bit. "
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated David Morgan at his musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "'Nothing Hurts That's Easy' for the vocals and 'It's Love' for the lyrics. I had a lot of co-writers for the lyrics on this album who are better lyricists than me. Peter Himmelman wrote the lyrics to 'Nothing Hurts That's Easy.' It's tough to top a lyric like that."
Beginning your career by producing Neshama Carlebach's '98 release 'Dancing With My Soul,' I'm wondering if producing or actually singing is your #1 passion these days? "It's hard to say what's #1. I absolutely love everything about producing an album form start to finish. The whole process is exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable. Producing Neshama's albums have always been an incredibly fun and creative experience. I love to sing, but I think playing the piano has always been what communicates the parts of myself that I can't communicate in words - it goes pretty deep for me. It's also the thing I've worked the hardest for. If I had to choose a #1, playing piano would be it."
Please tell us more about your Morgan Music Studio and what gets accomplished there on a weekly basis? "Let's see, this week is a pretty diverse week - it'll give you a good idea of what we do here. We're finishing Neshama's vocals for her new pop album, writing some football music for CBS Sports, mixing a personal song I wrote for a bar-mitzvah in California and recording three solo piano tracks for a songwriter who lives in Westchester, NY. My engineer, Matt Sietz does everything with me - he's fantastic."
Being that you've been playing the piano since the age of 5, and that you began by learning Beatles songs by ear, why was it that group that drew you in in such a manner? "The Beatles are a lifelong love for me. They're my first musical love/obsession and it continues to this day - but it's hard to say what drew me to them at that time, way back then. But I can say that I've never met a kid who didn't like the Beatles. Everything about them is phenomenal - the songs, the vocals, the production, the personalities, the way always moved forward - and they did it all before they were 30... C'mon, it's ridiculous! I think, really, the bottom line is that they just wrote such fantastic melodies."
If you could cover any '80s (possibly cheesy!) pop song, which one would it be ... and why?! "Cheesy - Air Supply's 'Lost In Love' - I could have so much fun with that one as a goof. I'd like to do it on Saturday Night Live."
"Not Cheesy - Peter Gabriel. Anything from So. That's my favorite 80's album. The songs are incredible and it's got that great mix of 80's-like production and classic Peter Gabrielness. That album meant a lot to me during the summer of '86 and still does."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Don't have a lot of feeling for them, but maybe it's a lack of knowledge. What do you like so much about Penguins? Are they really cool? I never saw that new Penguin migration movie - maybe I should?"
Penguins are just so cool, no pun intended as they're always dressed for dinner, never argue with your point of view, and always appreciate the homely benefits of 'having your own space'! Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future. "Thank you so much and let me just say, I liked these questions - goofy and somewhat serious - nice and refreshing. Best to you, Russell."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of David's new CD, just answer this easy question: David has taken his jazz trio to the Blue Note in Fukuoka, Japan and even recorded a live album at which cafe in New York?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before November 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: DAVID MORGAN SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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