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David McAlmont

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David McAlmont
Birth nameDavid Irving McAlmont
Born (1967-05-02) 2 May 1967 (age 57)
Croydon, London, England
Occupation(s)Vocalist, singer essayist, art historian

David Irving McAlmont (born 2 May 1967)[1] is a British vocalist, essayist and art historian. He came to prominence in the 1990s as a singer, particularly through his collaboration with Bernard Butler. In the 2010s he returned to academia, working with the University of Leicester[2] and the Architectural Association School of Architecture.[3]

Early years and Thieves


McAlmont was born on 2 May 1967[4][5] to a Guyanese mother[6] and Nigerian father.[7] His mother was a nurse and his father, a law student.[7] He, his mother and sister moved to Gorleston on Sea, Norfolk, where his education continued at Peterhouse Primary School.[8] In 1978 the family departed the United Kingdom for Guyana. The family resided with his grandparents in Lovely Lass Village Berbice, and with his aunt in Wismar, Demerara, moving onto the East Bank of the Demerara River at Grove and Craig. In 1978, McAlmont scored well on his Secondary School Entrance Examination and attended the Queen's College, Georgetown, Guyana.[9] David's education continued from 1989 at Middlesex Polytechnic where he read Performing Arts on the BAPA programme before leaving to sign a publishing contract with Chrysalis Music in 1992, followed by a record deal with Virgin's Hut Records two years later.[7]

McAlmont first came to attention in the London band Thieves, who attracted early attention with the 1992 single "Through The Door". Despite the release of a third single, "Either", Thieves split acrimoniously in 1994 shortly before the release of their first album. Following legal wrangling, the album was eventually released as the debut David McAlmont album (under the project name and album title of McAlmont). Despite some positive press attention, much of it still focusing on McAlmont's startling voice (Melody Maker journalist Taylor Parkes commented "One day he will open his mouth and a cathedral will fall out"[10]), the album was not a commercial success.

Saul Freeman went on to form the band Mandalay with Nicola Hitchcock. He and McAlmont were reconciled in 2000, but have not worked together again.



McAlmont continued his solo career – including opening for Morrissey at Theatre Royal Drury Lane[11] – until he was approached by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. The collaboration produced The Sound of McAlmont and Butler, an album of songs including "Yes" (1995), which reached number 8 in the UK Singles Chart.

McAlmont and Butler performed "Yes" on the BBC TV show Later with Jools Holland in June 1995. Another single, "You Do", was released later that year, and peaked at number 17. Shortly after McAlmont and Butler went their separate ways.

The producer David Arnold then worked with McAlmont on a version of "Diamonds Are Forever". They went on to work together in 1998 on McAlmont's second album A Little Communication.

In the years that followed McAlmont worked occasionally with Ultramarine and Craig Armstrong, and prepared his third album Be. Although hailed by The Guardian as "Britain's first Zen Pop album" it was shelved by his record label, Hut Records, leading to McAlmont's departure from the label.

In 2001, Butler reunited with McAlmont, and they were signed by EMI.[12] The resulting album Bring It Back (2002) spawned two single releases, "Falling" and "Bring it Back". This time they were more conventional in their approach to the music industry, and took part in interviews, and completed a series of public performances throughout 2002.[5]

Recent work


In 2005, McAlmont released "Set One You Go to My Head" on Ether Records. The label folded at the end of that year. McAlmont performed material from that album at various jazz venues including Ronnie Scott's.

In 2006, McAlmont joined the faculty at the Architectural Association Interprofessional Studio in London. He is currently Studio Master with the AAIS and Diploma Unit Master at the Eureka Unit.[13]

In 2007, McAlmont provided backing vocals for Gabrielle's album Always, with Paul Weller on a song called "Why" which sampled Weller's "Wild Wood". Butler approached McAlmont to provide backing vocals for Duffy on Rockferry and for Sharleen Spiteri. A Little Communication, his follow-up to the first McAlmont And Butler album was digitally reissued on 23 June 2008 on iTunes. A performance of the complete album was hosted by the London Jazz Festival on 16 November at The Jazz Cafe in Camden.

In 2009, McAlmont released The Glare, a collaboration with leading classical composer Michael Nyman. Each of the songs is based on a different news story from the year.[14] The album received critical acclaim from several newspapers.[15][16]

In February 2011, SFE records released a live McAlmont set (featuring Bernard Butler on three tracks) as a CD and DVD package entitled Live From Leicester Square.

In October 2011, McAlmont and Guy Davies announced their collaboration and the formation of Fingersnap.[17] The first release comes in the form of the Smokehouse EP. McAlmont and Davies originally met back in 1997 and they previously worked together on the albums A Little Communication and Set One: You Go to My Head. The release of the Smokehouse EP was supported by live performances throughout the UK in November and December 2011.

In 2012, McAlmont decided to return to higher education and began a second degree in the History of Western Art & Architecture at the University of London's Birkbeck College, which he completed in 2016.[7]

In 2013 McAlmont fronted a four-piece band at the first[18] of an annual series of live concerts titled Wall to Wall: Bowie, duetting with singer Sam Obernik at London's Hideaway nightspot. Bowie classics were rearranged with a jazz twist by musical director Janette Mason who released an EP of them in 2020.[19][20]

In July 2014, McAlmont again appeared with David Arnold at Arnold's debut live orchestral concert held at London's Royal Festival Hall. McAlmont appeared as a surprise guest vocalist on "Surrender" and "Play Dead"; Arnold described him as "my secret weapon".[21]

In 2014 and 2015, McAlmont teamed again with Bernard Butler to perform live at various venues, including the Lauren Laverne radio show. In 2016, McAlmont sang on the album Call Me Lucky by Alex Webb (musician) & The Copasetics;[22] he has subsequently collaborated with Webb on a words-and-music show based on the music of Billie Holiday. In 2019 McAlmont again collaborated with Webb to publish a new album titled The Last Bohemians.[23]

McAlmont is gay.[17]




Year Album UK Albums Chart[24]
1994 McAlmont
1995 The Sound of McAlmont and Butler
McAlmont and Butler
1998 A Little Communication
2000 Be
2002 Bring It Back
McAlmont and Butler
2005 Set One: You Go to My Head
2009 The Glare
David McAlmont and Michael Nyman
2011 Live From Leicester Square
2023 Happy Ending
HIfi Sean and David McAlmont


Year Single UK Singles Chart[24] Album
1993 "Unworthy"
1994 "Either" 91
Ultramarine featuring David McAlmont
65 Non-album single
1995 "Yes"
McAlmont and Butler
8 The Sound of McAlmont and Butler
"Saturday" Non-album single
"You Do"
McAlmont and Butler
17 The Sound of McAlmont and Butler
1997 "Look at Yourself" 40 Non-album single
"Diamonds Are Forever"
David McAlmont/David Arnold
39 Shaken and Stirred: The David
Arnold James Bond Project
1998 "Honey" A Little Communication
1999 "A Little Communication"
"Lose My Faith"
2000 "Easy" Be
2002 "Falling"
McAlmont and Butler
23 Bring It Back
"Bring It Back"
McAlmont and Butler
2006 "Speed"
McAlmont and Butler
Non-album single
2010 "The Coldest Place on Earth"
David McAlmont and Michael Nyman
2013 "Time Stands Still"
Julian Butler feat. David McAlmont

See also



  1. ^ "McAlmont and Butler's unfinished business". The Irish News (10 July 2015). Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  2. ^ "girl.boy.child". University of Leicester. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  3. ^ "David McAlmont". Architectural Association School of Architecture. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  4. ^ Barr, Gordon (12 January 2011). Preview: David McAlmont, The Sage Gateshead. ChronicleLive. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b "David McAlmont". The Knitting Circle. Archived from the original on 17 August 2007.
  6. ^ "By David McAlmont". Guyanese Online.
  7. ^ a b c d "David McAlmont". HuffPost.
  8. ^ McAlmont, David (25 October 2010). "A Tale of Two Primaries". Mcalmont.wordpress.com.
  9. ^ McAlmont, David (19 January 2014). "Insolent Queer Negro Boy". Mcalmont.wordpress.com.
  10. ^ Pim, Keiron. "David McAlmont on teaming up with Michael Nyman". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Morrissey at Theatre Royal Drury Lane (London) on 26 Feb 1995". Last.fm. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Universal Music Group". Emirecords.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  13. ^ "AA School". aaschool.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  14. ^ "The best albums you never heard in 2009". BBC News. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  15. ^ Price, Simon (1 November 2009). "Album: David McAlmont & Michael Nyman, The Glare, (MN Records)". The Independent. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  16. ^ Mulholland, Garry (31 October 2009). "McAlmont and Nyman: The Glare". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  17. ^ a b Burston, Paul (1 December 2011). "David McAlmont and Guy Davies interview". Time Out London. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  18. ^ McAlmont, Michael (17 June 2013). "Starman performed at Wall to Wall: Bowie". thehideawaylive. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  19. ^ Mason, Janette (11 January 2020). "Wall To Wall Bowie". janettemason.com. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  20. ^ Polaris, Andy (25 January 2020). "McAlmont reinvents Bowie at London's Hideaway". apolarisview.wordpress.com. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  21. ^ Green, Martin (7 July 2014). "Review: David Arnold at the Royal Festival Hall". Beigeuk.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Alex Webb & the Copasetics: Call Me Lucky review – golden age jazz creatively revitalised". The Guardian. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  23. ^ Webb, McAlmont& (15 November 2019). "The Last Bohemians". McAlmont & Webb. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  24. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 336. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.