Shining, talented Manchester-born singer/songwriter David Gray (1969-) is a musical present that you can give yourself. Described as a cross between Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, and Bob Dylan, his music is dark, soulful, and full of hope.
Gray called himself an incurable romantic and credited Dylan, Van Morrison, and Joni Mitchell as musical influences. "I love playing live," he said, laying his foundation by singing his heart-felt songs in pubs for many years before catching on commercially.
"And your heart ain't yours to control, no matter how tight the reigns, love will find it's own direction," he sang with rich rasp sounds.
With direction geared toward worldwide exposure, Gray self-financed and released White Ladder (1999), which certified platinum seven times in the UK with sales of over 2.2 million. He toured America and saw his (great!) Babylon (1998) video heavily rotated on MTV: "Let go your heart, let go your head, and feel it now."
"I only make the records that I want to make, and then whatever will be, will be," Gray said. "I didn't design White Ladder to be some huge hit, but then the whole thing just went crazy. And life goes on, doesn't it?"
Gray signed with Dave Matthews' ATO label and Matthews said, "David is one of my absolute favorite artists--beautiful in the purest and most honest way. Anything I can do to turn more listeners on to his music, I will."
Quite a high-powered endorsement, and not the only one. Joan Baez called Gray "the finest lyricist since Bob Dylan" and Bono told Andrea Corr that Gray's music would "change her life."
"Most of my songs are lit by the wonder of being alive," Gray explained. "In a song, when the world is revealed in all its magic, people believe that."
Hey, That David Gray