David Draiman

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David Draiman
Draiman performing in 2016
Draiman performing in 2016
Background information
Birth nameDavid Michael Draiman
Born (1973-03-13) March 13, 1973 (age 49)
New York City, U.S.
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1996–present
Member ofDisturbed
Formerly ofDevice

David Michael Draiman (Hebrew: דוד מיכאל דריימן; born March 13, 1973) is an American singer and songwriter. Noted for his distorted, operatic, baritone voice and percussive singing style, he is best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Disturbed since 1996. He has written some of the band's most successful singles, such as "Stupify", "Down with the Sickness", "Indestructible", and "Inside the Fire". In 2006, he was ranked at No. 42 on the Hit Parader list of "Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". During Disturbed's hiatus from 2011 to 2015, he worked on an industrial metal project with Geno Lenardo, which was later named Device. They released one self-titled album in 2013. Disturbed returned with the album Immortalized in 2015 and Evolution in 2018.

Early life[edit]

David Michael Draiman was born to Jewish parents in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on March 13, 1973.[2] His father, YJ, had worked as a real estate developer and small-business owner before he was arrested for embezzlement and sent to prison when Draiman was 12 years old.[3] YJ would later become a candidate in the races for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2013,[4] 2017,[5] and 2022. Draiman's brother, Benjamin,[6] is an ambient musician who lives in Israel.[7][8] His grandmother Ziona is a Yemenite Jew whose family immigrated to Israel in the early 1900s.[9]

While not personally observant of their Jewish faith, Draiman's parents sent him to Orthodox schools, where he believed he was on the path to receiving rabbinic ordination. He frequently spent time in Israel during his early life.[7] He attended five Jewish day schools, including Valley Torah High School in Los Angeles, where he formed his first band; Fasman Yeshiva High School in Skokie Illinois, a near north suburb of Chicago; and the Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study in Milwaukee.[7] During his freshman year at the latter, he was asked to leave as he "rebelled against the conformity" and "just wanted to be a normal teenage kid", adding that he "couldn't really stomach the rigorous religious requirements of the life [there]".[7] He has admitted to being "a bit resentful" about his time at Jewish day schools, but nevertheless became trained as a hazzan (cantor) and encouraged his family to observe Shabbat.[7]

Draiman later enrolled at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, and graduated from high school in 1991.[7] From 1991 to 1992, he became romantically involved with a girl who used heroin and eventually killed herself, which would inspire the Disturbed song "Inside the Fire". At the age of 18, on New Year's Day 1992, he attempted to kill himself but says that he instead woke up later to find himself nearly frozen to death underneath a parked 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass. After detoxing, he described having a "moment of clarity" and never used heroin again.[10] After high school, he spent a year studying at the Yeshivas Neveh Zion in Kiryat Ye'arim on the outskirts of Jerusalem.[7]

After returning to the U.S. in 1992, Draiman commenced pre-law studies at Loyola University Chicago.[7] In 1996, he graduated with a BA in Political Science and Government, Philosophy, and Business Administration.[11] Initially considering offers to study at law school, he realized that criminal defense law was the only area of law that interested him, which made him unwilling to pursue law because he knew he would not be able to "really look at [himself] in the mirror and say 'I'm going to lie for a living and protect criminals'".[7] During his university studies, he also worked as a bank teller and in phone sales.[7] After graduating, he worked as an administrative assistant in a healthcare facility.[7] A year later, he earned an administrator's license and ran his own healthcare facility for five years before joining Disturbed.[7] Leaving that position strained his relationship with his grandfather, who was a traditional Hasidic Jew.[12]


Draiman with Disturbed in 2009

Draiman became the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Disturbed when its original lead singer left in 1996, two years after it had been formed under a different name. He auditioned and was asked to join the band after answering an advertisement the other members had placed in a local music publication in Chicago, which he later revealed was one of around 20 auditions for other bands he had attended that month.[13] Guitarist Dan Donegan said of Draiman's audition, "You know, out of all the singers that we had talked to or auditioned, he was the only singer who was ready to go with originals. And that impressed me, just to attempt that. After a minute or two, he just starts banging out these melodies that were huge... I'm playing my guitar and I'm grinning from ear to ear. [...] I was so psyched. Chill up my spine."[13]

Draiman has written some of Disturbed's most successful singles, such as "Stupify", "Down with the Sickness", "Indestructible", and "Inside the Fire". In 2006, he was ranked at No. 42 on the Hit Parader list of "Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time".[14]

During Disturbed's hiatus from 2011 to 2015, Draiman worked on an industrial metal project with Geno Lenardo, which was later named Device.[15] They released one self-titled album in 2013. Disturbed returned with the album Immortalized in 2015 and Evolution in 2018.


Draiman has said of his influences, "The first record I ever bought was Kiss' Destroyer. And those classic bands like Black Sabbath were my first loves. [...] I focused on the seminal metal bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera and Queensrÿche. But I could also appreciate the hair metal bands – When you hear Whitesnake, you can't deny their greatness. Then I went in the direction of punk and new wave, groups like the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Misfits and later The Smiths and The Cure – that was my '80s. [...] And then when the grunge revolution happened, it was like a wakeup call. I'll never forget getting my first Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains records."[7]

Personal life[edit]

On September 25, 2011, Draiman married model and actress Lena Yada. Their son was born in September 2013.[16] He was born three weeks premature, and the birth took 23 hours of labor.[12][17]

Besides English, Draiman is also fluent in Hebrew.[18]

Draiman said of his political views in 2015, "I'm liberal about everything that is issue-based as far as ideology, but I'm also of the opinion of a very small government. I don't agree with the fiscal policies of the Democrats, but I certainly don't agree with the right-wing craziness of the Republicans."[19] He supported Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.[19] He has also described himself as "a very, very strong supporter of Israel forever and for our people". In 2019, he described Pink Floyd member Roger Waters and other activists seeking to boycott Israel for human rights abuses as "Nazi comrades".[20]


Draiman in 2004



Guest appearances

As producer


  1. ^ "10 Best Nu-Metal Vocalists of All Time". July 26, 2021.
  2. ^ Draiman, David (interview), Hartmann, Graham (interviewer) (August 19, 2015). Disturbed's David Draiman – Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction? (Part 1). Loudwire. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  3. ^ Disturbed's David Draiman - Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction? (Part 1), retrieved August 12, 2022
  4. ^ Melnicoff, Mars (April 6, 2011). "YJ Draiman, Dad to Disturbed's Lead Singer: Top 5 Reasons Unknown Underdog 2013 L.A. Mayoral Candidate Is Freaking Interesting". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Kandel, Jason (March 4, 2013). "8 Vie for Los Angeles Mayor in Upcoming City Primary". NBC Southern California.
  6. ^ Ouellette, Mary (October 16, 2013). "David Draiman's Brother Ben Draiman Performs Disturbed's "Stricken"". Loudwire.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Brinn, Davd (January 2, 2011). "The hazan who became disturbed". The Jerusalem Post.
  8. ^ "David Draiman's Brother Ben Covers Disturbed's "Sticken"". Blabbermouth.net. October 10, 2013.
  9. ^ @davidmdraiman (January 20, 2022). "My Savta, Ziona Draiman. A Yemenite Jew whose family immigrated to Israel in the early 1900s. Tough as nails. Love…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Disturbed's David Draiman – Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction? (Part 1)". YouTube. August 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Ellerbee, Jacob (December 30, 2011). "Before They Were Famous". Metal Mentality. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Disturbed's David Draiman – Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction? (Part 2)". YouTube. September 2, 2015. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021.
  13. ^ a b M.O.L. (Media notes). Nathan "Karma" Cox. 2002.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  14. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET – ROB HALFORD, ROBERT PLANT, BON SCOTT, OZZY Are Among 'Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists'". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "Disturbed's Draiman on Band's Hiatus: 'It's the Right Time to Step Away'". Billboard. July 29, 2011.
  16. ^ "Disturbed's David Draiman: Still Angry After All These Years". Yahoo.
  17. ^ "Disturbed (band)". David Draiman. May 7, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  18. ^ "Disturbed's David Draiman sings national anthem in Israel, calls Roger Waters "a very sick man"". NME. July 4, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "DISTURBED's DAVID DRAIMAN Throws His Support Behind BERNIE SANDERS". Blabbermouth. December 16, 2015.
  20. ^ Bandler, Aaron (June 4, 2019). "Disturbed Lead Singer Criticizes Roger Waters, BDS". Jewish Journal. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  21. ^ "Mainstream Rock Songs – Week of January 15, 2022". Billboard. January 11, 2022. Retrieved January 11, 2022.

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