David Nathan (music writer)
David Nathan (born 15 February 1948) is a British-born biographer, journalist, authority on soul music, and singer. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was the co-founder of the Soul City record label and a contributing editor to Blues & Soul magazine. Living in the US between 1975 and 2009, he wrote several biographies of musicians as well as hundreds of articles and liner notes, and founded the website soulmusic.com. He has also recorded and performed as a jazz and blues singer, both under his own name and as his alter ego Nefer Davis.
Life and career
David Nathan was born in London, and at the age of 16 set up the UK's first fan club for singer Nina Simone. In 1966, with Dave Godin and Robert Blackmore, he established Soul City, in Deptford, South London, claimed to be the first record store outside the US specialising in American rhythm and blues and soul music. The shop also started a record label in 1968, to release US R&B singles in the UK.
In 1970, he began working in London for Contempo International, which owned Blues & Soul magazine. He moved to New York City in 1975 as contributing editor for Blues & Soul, leaving the company in 1981 when the magazine's ownership changed. After a period working for Werner Erhard and Associates, he then moved to Los Angeles and worked as a freelance journalist. He wrote Lionel Richie: An Illustrated Biography (1985), as well as contributing to Billboard, USA Today and other magazines including Blues & Soul which he rejoined in the mid-1980s, and writing many CD liner notes. In the 1990s, he also worked as a producer of compilation reissues, and established a media coaching service. He wrote The Soulful Divas, published in 1999, and Break Down and Let it All Out, a biography of Nina Simone co-written with his sister Sylvia Hampton, in 2004. He founded a website dedicated to soul music, SoulMusic.com, in 2001.
He released his first CD as a singer, Reinvention, in 2003 on his own Nefer Music label. In 2007, he released his second album, Wistful Elegance, with jazz/R&B group Pharaoh's Dream. In 2010, after returning to live in the UK, he began singing as Nefer Davis, a name derived from his interests in ancient Egypt.
Since coming back to live in London, Nathan has established the label SoulMusic Records in association with Cherry Red and as of April 2014, SoulMusic Records has reissued over 100 CDs by popular soul, jazz/funk and Motown artists.
- Lionel Richie: An Illustrated Biography, 1985
- The Soulful Divas, 1999
- Nina Simone: Break Down & Let It All Out, with Sylvia Hampton, 2004
- David Nathan profile at Rock's Backpages. Accessed 20 June 2011
- Soul City Records at Ska2Soul. Accessed 20 June 2011
- "Soulmusic.com". Soulmusic.com. 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
The World Of David Nathan, founder of Soul Music.com
- Nefer Davis at reverbnation.com. Accessed 20 June 2011
- Rhythm & Blues Foundation: Board. Accessed 20 June 2011
- Christopher Loudon (December 2004). "Sylvia Hampton with David Nathan -- Nina Simone: Break Down & Let It All Out". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
... fawning, fan-written biography. ... saccharine disservice to Simone's long, complex and utterly fascinating life we learn that co-author Nathan (who five years ago penned an equally effusive tome entitled The Soulful Divas) formed the very first Nina Simone Appreciation Society in 1965 ... revealing a lot more about themselves and their sadly disproportionate idolization than they do about Simone ... gushy, syrupy prose usually reserved for teenage girls' diaries.