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Five minutes with David Davis

Debonair catches up with the new resident at Q’s Bar & Lounge

I’m really inspired by the era when a performer would just walk on stage and just do everything he or she could possibly do, and do it with expertise.

Chicago native David Davis is ready to take to the stage as the new resident act at Q’s Bar & Lounge. Described as a soulful, vocal powerhouse and expert showman, Davis makes his debut on January 22, and will be performing here until May 2.

Inspired by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and India Arie, Davis has made a name for himself recording with producers such as RedOne (Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction) and Aaron Sprinkle (One Republic, Eisley).

Davis’ debut album, The Long & Short of It featuring the single Little Mo’ Betta, is now available on all streaming platforms.

“I can’t wait for you all to witness what makes David Davis a “Little Mo’ Betta” and experience his electric energy on stage,” says legendary producer Quincy Jones. “Dubai, you don’t want to miss this cat because he’s got the moves and the grooves.”

Debonair caught up with Davis.

I’m really inspired by the era when a performer would just walk on stage and just do everything he or she could possibly do, and do it with expertise.

Tell us five qualities you love about yourself.

  • I’m optimistic; if I fall flat on my face, expect me to make a dance move out of it.
  • I love how goofy I am. I’m definitely not good enough to be a stand-up comedian, but my mum thinks I’m hilarious.
  • I’m spiritual. I have a few core beliefs. I believe in a sense of synchronicity and am constantly inspired by the shared experiences of the people around me. I believe in connecting to something bigger than myself. And I believe that we all speak in song lyrics — most people just don’t know it!
  • I love my passion for life, which gives me a sense of urgency to discover how I relate to people, music and the world around me.
  • I’m very social. Nothing’s more fun than getting good friends together, cooking a big meal, drinking good whiskey or wine and having a grand piano around. Those nights always bring the best memories.

What is the one thing you would tell your 16-year-old self? Nobody is going to believe in you more than you do, so start loving yourself because it’s the only you that you get… and you’re awesome!

If you could wake up in someone else’s body for just one day, who would it be and why? I’d love to wake up as my little brother. He isn’t a professional musician, but he loves and feels music in a way that comes from an ability to not overanalyse it. If it feels right, he loves it. He’s also studying to become a doctor, and his knowledge of the human body is admirable.

How would you describe your personal style? I like to combine a classic vibe with a current edge. My performance uniform is “suited and booted”. More casually, I’m all about comfort meeting cool — asymmetrical hoodies, jean jackets and sweaters. I like wearing pieces and accessories that I’m personally attached to, like the lapis lazuli ring I bought in India while teaching music out there.

Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it special? Growing up, I used to camp at a place called Beaver Island. We had to canoe to get there and my friends and I would spend a few nights. We’d do the typical things — sing around a campfire, roast marsh mellows and all that good stuff. What made it really special was how well you could see the stars. You could have your back to a tree with a guitar in hand and get lost in the night sky. It would feel like the stars were singing with you, like they were your audience.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? I’m from Chicago but I don’t live there currently. Whenever I visit, I have a steady diet of the Chi-town staples: deep-dish pizza, Portillo’s hot dogs and chocolate cake, and Potbelly sandwiches. Lots of temporary guilt with lasting pleasure.

Who would play you in the film biopic of your life? I’m not sure, but I really hope Denzel Washington is the narrator.

What’s the most-played song on your playlist, and what makes it special? Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder. It’s the anthem for so many amazing memories, and the opening melody makes people stop in their tracks and groove to the music. I’ve sang it everywhere — from Portland, Oregon, to Mumbai, India. It always receives the same response — the quietest audience member will throw their head back and yell “HERE I AM, BABY! SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED I’M YOURS!”

What three films could you watch over and over again? Remember the Titans, Forrest Gump and The Truman Show.

If you could raid anyone’s wardrobe, whose would it be? Lenny Kravitz. Does that need any explanation? He’s an icon and will always take a risk. One time, he wore an over-sized blanked as a scarf, and the only thing more badass than the scarf was his confidence. I think I framed that photo.

If you could time travel to any gig or concert ever, which one would it be? I’d love to be in attendance at any of the Rat Pack shows, especially for Sammy Davis Jr. I’m really inspired by the era when a performer would just walk on stage and just do everything he or she could possibly do, and do it with expertise. I would also have loved to see Beyoncé at Coachella — even one year on, I’m still looking back on it and I’m in awe.

Tell us about your latest project, being the resident act at Q’s Bar. I am thrilled to be joining the roster of acts that have performed this venue. I went into planning and pre-production for my debut album, The Long & Short of It, exactly one year ago. Despite not having major backing, my instinct told me to create an authentic body of work. I listened to songs from my favourite singers — many of whom were produced by Quincy Jones himself. On my vision board, I even had one of his quotes. That’s why I was astounded when five months later, I received word that Quincy Jones Productions attended my single release show, and had a residency in Dubai they’d like me to perform.

I feel deeply honoured to have a chance to travel the world under the tutelage of such an icon. My mission is simple — to give every bit of myself on that stage each night, and grow more as a musician and performer, and leave this world a “Little Mo’ Betta” by singing what I feel needs to be said. We’re going to have a great time together, Dubai!

What gives a man sex appeal? Authenticity.

David Davis will perform at Palazzo Versace’s jazz lounge, Q’s Bar & Lounge until May 2.

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