David Gray

David Gray Artistfacts

  • June 13, 1968
  • He was born and raised in the UK, but his most fervid support comes from Ireland, where according to the Irish Recorded Music Association, his album White Ladder is the best-selling album in history.
  • Gray got a big break in 1993 when he appeared on Later With Jools Holland, performing "Birds Without Wings" before his first album was released. In a sign of his aversion to genre classification, he shook his head when Holland said he was in the "folk idiom."
  • Gray's music has always been impassioned, but in places on his first three albums there was a palpable anger that came through. "When I began recording, I was hammering my guitar, hammering my vocals," he told AOL.
  • He's been married to his wife, Olivia, since 1993. Many of his songs are about the travails of love, but they're not specifically about him. He's explained that he's a "vicarious" songwriter, often channeling the experiences of others.
  • The album that changed his life is Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. "I didn't know what to make of it on first listen, and somehow it hooked me in and I began to become obsessed with it," he said in a Songfacts interview. "I realized it was like a stream-of-consciousness moment where there weren't any certainties. It was like quantum music-making."
  • He was signed to EMI in the mid-'90s but released just one album on the label: Sell, Sell, Sell in 1996. At their behest, he recorded much of it at Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca, New York, which according to Gray was a disaster. The album flopped and Gray left the label, going independent for his next album, the seminal White Ladder.
  • White Ladder, recorded in 1998 on the cheap in Gray's home studio, benefited from advances in technology. He used an 8-track digital recorder and a Groovebox, a device introduced by Roland in 1996 that could create beats and generate the sounds of string instruments.
  • Gray spent a year promoting White Ladder in Europe, then another year promoting it in America. The grind and repetition took a tool and depleted his energy for the songs. It was years before he would discuss the album again, and one track, "Babylon," he had to stop playing for a while for the sake of his mental health.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Marvin Gaye

Marvin GayeFact or Fiction

Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?

Country Song Titles

Country Song TitlesFact or Fiction

Country songs with titles so bizarre they can't possibly be real... or can they?

Steve Morse of Deep Purple

Steve Morse of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple's guitarist since 1994, Steve talks about writing songs with the band and how he puts his own spin on "Smoke On The Water."

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"They're Playing My Song

Chris and his wife Tina were the rhythm section for Talking Heads when they formed The Tom Tom Club. "Genius of Love" was their blockbuster, but David Byrne only mentioned it once.

Gary Lewis

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.