David Mead (musician)
|Birth name||David Worth Mead|
|Born||September 3, 1973|
Syosset, New York
David Worth Mead (born September 3, 1973) is a Nashville-based pop singer-songwriter. Over the years he has toured extensively, headlining as well as opening shows for John Mayer, Fountains of Wayne, Ron Sexsmith, Liz Phair, Joe Jackson, and Shelby Lynne.
Biography and album releases
Born to a traveling-salesman father and schoolteacher mother, David Mead's family moved often during his childhood, mostly around the southern United States, before settling in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1986. As a kid, he sang in the church choir and school productions like The Sound of Music. When he was 13, he got his first guitar and was soon writing his own songs; three years later, he was gigging out professionally. His travels eventually took him to Nashville, where he played in bands such as Verdant Green; Blue Million; and Joe, Marc's Brother. Drawing on a wide range of influences, from the Beatles and Broadway to the Police and Rufus Wainwright, Mead has honed a highly melodic and emotionally direct style of pop.
Mead moved to New York City in 1997 and signed a major-label deal with RCA Records the following year. The initial sessions for his debut – three songs recorded with Gus Dudgeon (Elton John, XTC) – proved unsuccessful and were scrapped. Mead then regrouped with producers Peter Collins (the Cardigans, Rush) and Jason Lehning (Emerson Hart, Alison Krauss), and between October of '98 and February of '99 cut The Luxury of Time. "The title came from the fact that I had all of my life up to that point to write the songs," Mead said. Indeed, the album's 13 songs were culled from 32 demos. Released in the fall of '99, the album garnered strong critical response and featured performances from Rusty Anderson (Paul McCartney), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins), and Paul Deakin (The Mavericks).
Mead's second album, produced by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), was recorded at New York City's legendary Sear Sound studio (John Lennon, Steely Dan) and released in May 2001 on RCA. Featuring guest performances from Dominique Durand (Ivy), Sean Pelton (the Saturday Night Live band), Danny Weinkaupf (They Might Be Giants), and Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne), its 14 songs were recorded from 34 demos. Two of the album's most notable tracks, "Standing Here in Front of Me" and "Girl on the Roof," were written one week before recording commenced, after RCA asked for more "single material." "Standing Here in Front of Me" was later featured on CBS's The Bold and the Beautiful, and "Girl on the Roof" appeared in the motion pictures National Lampoon's Van Wilder and The Sweetest Thing, both released in April 2002.
After Mine and Yours, Mead delivered a follow-up for RCA, but it was made under a proverbial dark cloud after an A&R person for the label proclaimed at the recording's commencement dinner that, given sales of Mead's first two albums, it was a "miracle" that a third was being recorded at all. The album was completed but ended up being shelved after BMG, RCA's parent company, merged RCA and J Records to form the RCA Music Group in 2003 and laid off approximately 50 staffers, including ones who worked in promotions, sales, and A&R; Mead and other artists were subsequently dropped from RCA's roster. He moved back to Nashville in late 2002 and, in between road gigs, started an EP with Nashville producer David Henry (Matthew Ryan, Guster); it soon blossomed into the full-length Indiana, released in May 2004 by Nettwerk America. Featuring some of Mead's best-loved songs, including the title track, "Nashville," and "Beauty," it remains his most recognized and critically acclaimed album ("A knack for telling stories via catchy, concise pop ditties," declared No Depression) to date.
Mead's third album for RCA, recorded in 2002 in Woodstock, New York, and Bath, England, finally emerged as a six-song EP in June 2005 via Eleven Thirty Records. "I got the album back when I left [RCA] but felt, after releasing Indiana, that the full package was confusing and not indicative of where I was going musically anymore, so I tried to frame the songs as more a lost piece of time," Mead says. PopMatters raved that Wherever You Are contains "mature songs that express genuine warmth and emotional intelligence."
In 2005 Mead married artist Natalie Cox and began work on his fourth LP. Produced by Brad Jones (Jill Sobule, Butterfly Boucher, Josh Rouse), Tangerine was released in May 2006 courtesy of Mead's own Tallulah! Media (his contract with Nettwerk wasn't renewed after Indiana). Paste magazine described it as "the sound of a singer/songwriter finding his voice," and it was nominated in the category of best pop/rock album at the sixth annual Independent Music Awards in 2007 (Mead's website was nominated for best band-website design).
In 2008, having spent the previous year living in Brooklyn, New York, Mead moved back to Nashville after he and his wife separated. Mead reteamed with Brad Jones and recorded the intimate collection Almost and Always in seven days, most of it live. The majority of the album was cowritten with Bill DeMain of Swan Dive; they originally conceived the project for an imaginary chanteuse. The track "Last Train Home" was an NPR Song of the Day and was featured in a 2009 episode of ABC's Private Practice. Mead and DeMain also cowrote a second, as-yet-unreleased album, "1908 Division," a conceptual suite about the denizens of an apartment building where Mead once resided. Almost and Always was first released in Japan in October 2008, then in the United States ten months later on Cheap Lullaby Records.
In late 2010 Mead enlisted the financial support of his fans on Kickstarter to raise $20,000 to record and distribute a new album, Dudes. Recorded in nine days in New York City and produced by Ethan Eubanks and Mead (Adam Schlesinger is credited as executive producer), it deepens Mead's songwriting with strains of Randy Newman-esque wry humor ("Bocce Ball") and sharp storytelling ("The Smile of Rachael Ray"). Dudes was released in November 2011. Earlier that year Mead married yoga instructor and nutritionist Liz Workman.
On January 25, 2019, Mead sent an email to every address on his website's mailing list to announce the release of his seventh studio album and elaborated that he would be emailing links to all ten tracks, as well as demos and other content, over the next ten days. Cobra Pumps first became available for purchase on January 29 on iTunes. To promote the album, Mead created a semiserious LinkedIn page that lists various jobs and phases of his career, including: Recording Artist, Nettwerk Records, November 2003–July 2005 ("I toured all over the world for long periods of time. I was lonely"); Piano Player, Emerson Hart, March 2007–June 2008 ("Aside from the dissolution of a marriage and physical deterioration from accelerated alcohol abuse, there were no drawbacks"); Rental Manager, Workman, Inc., March 2010–Present ("I acquired advanced carpentry and maintenance skills. If it breaks and it's not an HVAC unit, I can usually repair it"); and Father, Meads, October 2012–Present ("I impregnated my wife with gusto and now co-parent two small and precious boys: Isaac, 5 3/4, and Moses, 2").
Mead has been involved in two high-profile side projects. In 2009 he cofounded Elle Macho, a power trio with Aussie singer-songwriter and bassist Butterfly Boucher and drummer Lindsay Jamieson (Ben Folds, Brendan Benson). They've released two EPs, ¡Es Potencial! (2009) and VoVo (2016), and one full-length, Import (2013) (which includes all five tracks from ¡Es Potencial!), and their zany videos and high-energy live shows have made them a Nashville favorite.
Mead also formed Davey Ukulele & the Gag Time Gang, a quartet that released The Adventures of Davey Ukulele & the Gag Time Gang in 2010. Jim Ridley of Nashville Scene wrote, "Sounding like a cross between 'Whip It'-era Devo and the pop pastiches on Phineas & Ferb (a mighty high compliment in my household), this merry kids' band actually camouflages a genuine Nashville supergroup: the tag team of David Mead, Swan Dive's Bill DeMain, Brother Henry's David Henry and The Mavericks' Paul Deakin."
Several times a year, Mead travels to Key West, Florida, to perform in a cover band called Phanni Pac (with Jason White, Scotty Huff and Paul Deakin) at the Hog's Breath Saloon. He has also been a regular guest singer with Nashville's popular '80s cover band Guilty Pleasures.
This article contains wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. (September 2012)
"David Mead is one of my favorite singer-songwriters." —John Mayer
"I have 'Nashville' by David Mead stuck in my head." —a tweet by Taylor Swift
"A major tunesmith." —Mojo
"A clear-voiced tunesmith ... he scores with sweet melodies ..." —Entertainment Weekly
"Mead makes blue-collar rock of the most delicate kind, his soaring but unshowy falsetto and luscious harmonies far above the ordinary." —Uncut
- The Luxury of Time (RCA, 1999)
- Mine and Yours (RCA, 2001)
- Indiana (Nettwerk, 2004)
- Wherever You Are [EP] (Eleven Thirty, 2005)
- Tangerine (Tallulah!, 2006)
- Almost and Always (Cheap Lullaby, 2009; originally released in Japan in 2008)
- Dudes (self-released, 2011)
- Cobra Pumps (self-released, 2019)
Songs used in films and on television
"World of a King," in Boys and Girls (Miramax) and In Search of John Gissing (Sunlight Productions)
"Everyone Knows It But You," in Restaurant (York Entertainment)
"Only in the Movies," in Ed (NBC)
"Standing Here in Front of Me," in The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
"Beauty," in The Days (ABC)
"Only Living Boy in New York," in Everwood (WB)
"Hallelujah, I Was Wrong," in Men In Trees (ABC)
- "David Mead Plays At Charles And Myrtle's Saturday". The Chattanoogan. Chattanooga, Tennessee. April 29, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
- Mead, David Jr. "Born on September 3, 1973". Facebook. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
- Mead, David (September 9, 2011). "Shoot No One". Still Waiting for the Phone to Ring. Blogspot. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
The arrival of September always brings with it the beginning of another year on earth for me. So far, 38 feels like a winner.
- Hartenbach, Brett. "David Mead – Music Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
- Orr, Jay (October 7, 1999). "David Mead's coming home". Nashville, Tennessee: The Tennessean. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
Born on Long Island, Mead has lived in Nashville since 1986, when he moved here with his family.
- Oppelaar, Justin (January 8, 2003). "RCA will lay off 50 as Davis builds team". Variety. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
- Goodman, Frank (June 2004). "A Conversation with David Mead" (PDF). Puremusic.com. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
... I got signed to RCA, and did two records for them which were released, and a third one which has yet to be. That relationship came to an end in, I guess, the beginning of last year. Indiana kind of came about as a byproduct of that, because I had done this record and turned it in right as RCA merged with another huge record label. So basically, anybody who hadn’t sold 500,000 records [laughs] at that point was kind of let go.
- "David Mead – Indiana". No Depression. Freshgrass Foundation. May 1, 2004. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
- "David Mead: Wherever You Are". PopMatters. PopMatters Media, Inc. August 1, 2005. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
- "Tangerine CD". David Mead. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
- "Past IMA Programs". Independent Music Awards. Music Resource Group LLC. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- "NPR Shines A Light On David Mead". American Songwriter. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
After spending 2007 living in Brooklyn, Mead separated from his wife and returned to his native Nashville in early 2008 ...
- Thompson, Stephen (August 14, 2009). "David Mead: Warm And Bittersweet". NPR. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
- "David Mead – "Bedtime Story"". We Own This Town. January 25, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
- "Cobra Pumps". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
- "David Mead, CEO at Cobra Pumps". LinkedIn. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
- "Elle Macho – ¡Es Potencial!". BlackberryWinters.com. October 6, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- "Elle Macho – VoVo". Discogs. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- "Import — Elle Macho". Spotify. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- "The Adventures Of Davey Ukulele And The Gag Time Gang CD". David Mead. Retrieved January 12, 2022.