Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the sexiest interviewee ever: Mr. David J. Baldwin. Seriously though, this guy is a BEAST. David and I did Snatched at Mark Fisher Fitness in October/November of last year. What’s Snatched you say? Only the best, most effective 6-week workout/nutrition program/intensive ever (Check it out here: http://markfisherfitness.com/snatched-in-6-weeks/). It will change your life.
My point is: David won that round of Snatched by being the most dedicated, driven, sexy person there is. Check out his fantastic transformation:
I digress… David also happens to be a very talented singer and pianist who is doing a recital this month on the 19th. I’m beyond excited to interview this guy. Check out him and his art in this interview:
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself and what your personal art is?
DB: I’ve been singing since I can remember, but also playing piano. I double-majored in Undergrad and Grad school, then lived in Chicago for 10 years, where I did a lot of singing. I moved to NYC 2 years ago to accept a contract with The Metropolitan Opera for one show in the chorus. They’ve hired me back for 2 more shows since then, and I’ve also had the chance to sing with The American Symphony Orchestra, many churches and small opera companies, and music-direct/perform several cabarets here in NYC. I’ve really been connecting with my love of jazz and cabaret singing lately, so I’ve been pursuing that, and it allows me to use my piano and vocal skills together, which is exciting (that doesn’t happen in opera!)
Who are some of your biggest influences?
DB: In high school, I was obsessed with Ella Fitzgerald, in college Sarah McLachlan, in grad school, Audra McDonald, and in recent years Judy Garland. They are all great singers who are so passionate that they draw you in!
How did you get started singing?
DB: The first thing I can remember is music class in elementary school with Mrs. Tietjen, who would later become my piano teacher. I remember breathing deep breaths in and hissing out long slow breaths. It’s still helpful to this day! In college I started taking voice lessons seriously, and I really fell in love with the pursuit of ease and excellence.
What makes a good collaborator in your opinion?
DB: I think listening is the most important skill in collaboration. A great collaborative pianist listens to the singer and goes on the emotional journey with them. When I’m playing for someone, I’m pretty sure I breath right along with them. And I can sense when they need a little more of me or a little less from me. It’s the same when singing with other people. If I’m listening, I can blend and we can work together, rather than just alongside each other.
How do you think bettering yourself as a person makes your a better artist? What are some things you do to better yourself? Cause I know you do stud.
DB: The greatest artists are those who connect with their audience. So I think that the greatest thing we can do to further the emotional impact of our music is to connect with other people. It’s what I’m working on most this year–to turn off the phone and distractions, and sit with people, really truly listening, and relating, connecting. I’ve been reading some books on connection (recently Brene Brown’s “I Thought It Was Just Me” and trying to put those principles in action.
Unfortunately, relating deeply with others sometimes results in hurt and pain, and I’ve been in some relationships that have ended badly. But broadening the depth of my experience only broadens the resources at my fingertips when I’m performing. Guidepost 1 in Michael Shurtleff’s “Audition” is Relationship. “Find the Love” is what stood out to me when reading this. All songs are really about love: needing it, wanting it, hating it. And everyone can relate to love. So I may be over-simplifying, but if we can find the love in every scene, or song, we can create something that is spiritually or emotionally meaningful for our audience.
Where can I see this recital and when?
DB: I’m singing a recital of Copland’s Old American Songs and selected favorite Gershwin songs, bringing together my love of the classical and jazz worlds!
It’s February 19 at 7:30pm at Church of the Transfiguration, 1 E. 29th St. (29th & 5th) in Manhattan. I’ll be accompanied by the fabulous pianist Claudia Dumschat.
BONUS QUESTIONS: LIGHTNING ROUND
DB: Chocolate. In all its forms.
Who did you blow to win snatched at MFF? (JK. But seriously.)
DB: Brian Patrick Murphy, obviously.
Also, I’m a very competitive person and very hard on myself, so I worked my ass off.
(Oh we know you did, stud.)
DB: In 2008 I traveled southern china, Tibet, and Thailand. I don’t think I could beat that, but if I were to try, I think I’d go to India for a few months and study yoga.
Give me a quote that you absolutely love and the author.
DB: “I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love,
I’m gonna learn to love without fear.”
From the song Born, by Over the Rhine. (the source of my wrist tattoos.)
Worst. Comic. Ever. But I love it.
DAMN! What a sexy interview. This guy is amazing folks. A true testament to how bettering yourself as a person can lead to better work as an artist. I 100% agree with his point about listening. Being present and in the moment with people is something we neglect so much in this day and age. If you’re making art with a collaborator or just having a cup of coffee with a friend, turn off the phone, engage in the conversation, and be present.
Until next time, stay awesome. I love your face.
Like what you just read? Got a project coming up that you want to be interviewed about? Let me know! I’d love to have you on my blog, you beautiful creature. Message me, facebook me, tweet at me. I’m here for YOU.