New York pop-rocker Neil Davis is all sunshine and smiles, but what made him almost walk away from music?
When Neil Davis’s dad suddenly passed away in 2017, Neil took a year off from songwriting to deal with his grief. But now he’s back and better than ever! With his new single ‘Chasing You’ accompanied by a feel-good, dreamy music video. It’s the perfect lazy song to linger long past the warm nights of summer and carry us into fall.
His upbeat attitude swims amongst all his songs, even when writing about hardships. It’ll make you want to grab your bestie, or significant other, and dance around in the kitchen or bounce around at one of his live shows.
We caught up with Neil to ask him his favorite guilty pleasures, his upcoming EP, tour goals, his dream tour partner, and what keeps him so positive through the tough stuff.
When did you start making music again after your dad passed away? What challenges did you run into trying to find yourself again?
I started writing music about a year later. The first year was really shocking for me since it happened so suddenly and unexpectedly. But I knew I had to get things out through my writing or music, so I did begin journaling right away to just get it out of my body, and then eventually created actual songs about a year after. I found the loss to be too overwhelming to put into words the first six months, so I had to just go through the motions and live it and also just write words in a journal. I documented a lot of my grieving as journal entries, which eventually turned into one of my singles, ‘Not Better’.
Courtesy: Neil Davis
What can fans of Neil Davis expect from this new EP? What’s changed from your former EPs?
It dives in a little deeper romantically and touches on topics that are really relevant to the culture we’re living in right now. There are a lot of flavors and themes on the new EP, and I think people will be pretty surprised at some of the sounds. Generally, it’s still very true to me – but I also wanted to push myself and do something a little different. So, hopefully you’ll get to find out soon!
Your sound is very upbeat and positive, but everyone has their bad days. What is one thing that always puts a smile on your face when you’re down?
Thank you! My music also reflects those good and bad days, but if I am feeling down, I usually blast on some of my favorite upbeat music that will put me in a good mood! Don’t think I won’t blast the Spice Girls if I have to. Or, I’ll go for a workout or go for a run with my dog!
What or who inspires you and how do you use this to fuel your creativity
That’s a great question. I’m honestly inspired by daily life events, and I’m also inspired by other musicians that I’ve discovered myself on a smaller scale. I try to spend more time outdoors and in nature these days, to re-connect and disconnect from electronics. Or even walking down the streets in New York City inspires me a lot. There’s so much energy there, so I’ve definitely caught myself singing into my voice notes on the street before so that I don’t forget a tune. Literally, anything and everything inspires me.
Having been in the music scene for so long, what changes have you seen whether good or bad? What other changes do you wish to see in the future?
Oh, I’ve seen the changes since CD’s were the norm and Instagram didn’t exist and followers didn’t count! I don’t love the changes, to be honest, because I think it has taken part of the value out of the whole thing. I remember getting so excited about an album release day for my favorite artists so I could run to the music store to buy their music. But then there’s also the upside now, which means getting to self-release music and directly engage with your fans. I’ve seen how streaming services really changed the landscape of income for artists, which isn’t great. It’s debatable, but I personally would love to see music services go back to downloads only. Artists work so hard on creating music for their fans and it’s worth so much more than just a stream.
Music was always meant to be a part of your life. What other hobbies do you enjoy outside of making and creating music?
It’s funny. Sometimes I think I should get more hobbies outside of music because I pretty much do things in music for fun. I love to go see shows, music concerts or Broadway shows. I love discovering a good coffee shop or a cool restaurant. Also love walking the streets in New York that I haven’t seen.
Courtesy: Neil Davis
What musical influences do you have, or did you have growing up that you feel really shaped your own sound?
My first memory of music growing up was discovering Cyndi Lauper’s first record in my parent’s collection. I was three years old and can still remember being amazed at the tone of her voice and her catchy, rocking songs as well as her unique, unapologetic style. And then from there, I heard Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Mariah Carey…lots of great ‘80s voices and souls.
Who would be your dream tour partner? Why?
Hmm…so many thoughts. Probably Adele because I think we’d chat a lot and have fun. But then I also want to say Sia, because I’d hope we’d get to write a song together on the tour at some point! I can only dream!
What was it like playing for Drew Barrymore? Who else would you like to perform for in the future?
It was surreal, as you can imagine. Literally, while I was singing and playing the piano, I would just look over at her rocking out and in my head, I’m like, is this really happening? It was such a great time. I really will never forget it! I’d love to perform for Elton John. That would be legendary.
What are your goals for 2020?
So much! To get on the road. I’d love to open up for some great acts. I also am exploring songwriting opportunities for other artists as well as music for TV and film. I also don’t have an official full-time manager right now, so that is a goal for 2020!
What’s one guilty pleasure in New York you can’t live without?
Thai food! Or of course…coffee! Although, I don’t think either is too guilty.
Interview by Amanda McFadden
Check out latest single ‘Chasing You’ from Neil Davis below. Neil will be playing at NYC’s Bitter End for a special performance on October 30th at 9pm EST. For more info, visit www.neildavismusic.com.