David McAlmont

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David McAlmont
David McAlmont by Anthony Elvy (2011)
David McAlmont by Anthony Elvy (2011)
Background information
Birth nameDavid Irving McAlmont
Born (1967-05-02) 2 May 1967 (age 53)
Croydon, London, England

David Irving McAlmont (born 2 May 1967 in Croydon, Surrey)[1] is a British vocalist, essayist and art historian.[2][3]

Early years and Thieves[edit]

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 David 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.[10]

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"[11]), 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.

Success[edit]

McAlmont continued his solo career – including opening for Morrissey on at Theatre Royal Drury Lane[12] – 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 did not tour and made few public performances; including festivals such as T in the Park in 1995. They also performed "Yes" on the BBC TV show Later with Jools Holland. 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 wrote some songs and reunited with McAlmont, and they were signed by EMI[13] and created the album Bring It Back (2002) which 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[edit]

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 David 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.[14]

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.[15] The album received critical acclaim from several newspapers.[16][17]

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.[18] 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 David 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.[19]

In 2013 McAlmont fronted a four-piece band at the first[20] 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.[21][22]

In July 2014, when David Arnold performed his debut live orchestral concert, at London's Royal Festival Hall, McAlmont appeared as this former collaborator's surprise guest vocalist – "my secret weapon," said Arnold – for the songs, "Surrender" and "Play Dead".[23]

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;[24] 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.[25]

McAlmont is openly gay.[18][26]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album UK Albums Chart[27]
1994 McAlmont
1995 The Sound of McAlmont and Butler
McAlmont and Butler
33
1998 A Little Communication
2000 Be
Unreleased
2002 Bring It Back
McAlmont and Butler
18
2005 Set One: You Go to My Head
2009 The Glare
David McAlmont and Michael Nyman
2011 Live From Leicester Square

Singles[edit]

Year Single UK Singles Chart[27] Album
1993 "Unworthy"
Thieves
Unworthy
1994 "Either"
"Hymn"
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
"Working"
2002 "Falling"
McAlmont and Butler
23 Bring It Back
"Bring It Back"
McAlmont and Butler
36
2006 "Speed"
McAlmont and Butler
Non-album single
2010 "The Coldest Place on Earth"
David McAlmont and Michael Nyman

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "McAlmont and Butler's unfinished business". The Irish News (10 July 2015). Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  2. ^ "girl.boy.child at Kingston Lacy". National Trust. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  3. ^ "David McAlmont". Medium. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  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 "David McAlmont". HuffPost UK.
  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. ^ "HuffPost is now a part of Verizon Media". consent.yahoo.com. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  11. ^ Pim, Keiron. "David McAlmont on teaming up with Michael Nyman". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Morrissey at Theatre Royal Drury Lane (London) on 26 Feb 1995". Last.fm. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Universal Music Group". Emirecords.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  14. ^ "AA School". www.aaschool.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  15. ^ "The best albums you never heard in 2009". BBC News. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  16. ^ Price, Simon (1 November 2009). "Album: David McAlmont & Michael Nyman, The Glare, (MN Records)". The Independent. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  17. ^ Mulholland, Garry (31 October 2009). "McAlmont and Nyman: The Glare". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  18. ^ a b Burston, Paul (1 December 2011). "David McAlmont and Guy Davies interview". Time Out London.
  19. ^ "HuffPost is now a part of Verizon Media". consent.yahoo.com. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  20. ^ McAlmont, Michael (17 June 2013). "Starman performed at Wall to Wall: Bowie". thehideawaylive. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  21. ^ Mason, Janette (11 January 2020). "Wall To Wall Bowie". janettemason.com. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  22. ^ Polaris, Andy (25 January 2020). "McAlmont reinvents Bowie at London's Hideaway". apolarisview.wordpress.com. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  23. ^ Green, Martin (7 July 2014). "Review: David Arnold at the Royal Festival Hall". Beigeuk.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Alex Webb & the Copasetics: Call Me Lucky review – golden age jazz creatively revitalised". The Guardian. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  25. ^ Webb, McAlmont& (15 November 2019). "The Last Bohemians". McAlmont & Webb. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Interview: David McAlmont, singer". The Scotsman. 18 October 2009.
  27. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 336. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

External links[edit]