Respected US composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist David Baron is releasing his new single ‘Don’t Give Up’, featuring young songstress Fiona Glenn on 26th February. He sat down with YMX to discuss their long standing artistic relationship, his own struggles through the pandemic and how he got his break working with artists such as Lenny Kravitz.
YMX: Hey David Baron, thanks for talking to us. How have these gloomy times been treating you?
David: As well as could be. I feel lucky that I am my family can isolate. A lot are not so fortunate. My heart goes out to the essential workers and all the others that keep this country working. I have been very busy with production work. This is mostly due to artists not being able to tour.
YMX: How did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Are there any particular episodes that inspired you in doing so?
David: My dad was a pioneer of remote recording. He started taking me on the road as a teenager so I got to see a lot of live concerts from stage view. I ended up going to a classical music Conservatory as a pianist – and realized partway through that I was more interested in composing and arranging. I interned at a jingle studio in New York City where I learned that you could make a living being a musician. I saw all the session folks, the composers, and the studios. It was a world that I felt at home in. I started writing music for television and quickly was able to make a living. I wrote music for television for the first half of my career. I switched over to album production eventually and now work with wonderful bands like The Lumineers, Matt Maeson & Lana Del Rey, Shania Twain, Jade Bird, Lenny Kravitz …
YMX: Here’s a fun game: name 3 artists, or bands, that inspire you and influence your work, and explain why:
David: The Isley Brothers – I have become obsessed with soul albums of the 1970s. It’s the atmosphere: the drums, the way the rhythm track breathes. It was before drum machines had stiffened up everything. The sounds are often quite distorted and colored by today’s standards. I have a tape machine and try to capture that. The Isley’s have the best rhythm section sound. The Band – they are a local act that backed Bob Dylan before becoming famous themselves. I like the way they blend Americana-Folk elements with more experimental sounds from their keyboardist Garth Hudson. The drummer, Levon Helm, was one of the best of any era. The music swings. Ólafur Arnalds – I think he is killing it in Neo-classical music. I like the sound of his records. I think he has tapped in a way to make classical cinematic and very accessible to folks.
YMX: You are releasing your new single ‘Don’t Give Up’ featuring Fiona Glenn on 26th Feb. Can you tell us how that project came about?
David: I have been working with Fiona Glenn for years now. She just turned sixteen. We recorded and released Whisperers when she was thirteen – and that has hundreds of thousands of streams. Everyone that hears the songs that I’ve worked on always loves the songs with Fiona the best. She has an amazing sound. A very natural talent. I wrote the song about not giving up after having a health scare. It’s about saving someone that can not help themselves. I think that is an important message in the time of Covid. I recorded it in my own studio. The 40-piece FAMES orchestra being recorded remote in Macedonia. The drums are played by my assistant Renée Hikari. She is obsessed with soul records too. The bass was played in Brooklyn by Byron Issacs (bass player for the Lumineers, Levon Helm, etc). Guitars were recorded by my friend Kevin Kadish in Nashville (also the songwriter behind All About That Bass and other hits). Acoustic was played by Larry Saltzman in New York City (Simon and Garfunkel, etc).
YMX: How did the pandemic affect your personal music recording experience? Was it easy adjusting to working remotely?
David: Yes, I have recorded remotely for many years. I am located on top of a mountain outside of Woodstock, NY. I have been sending tracks to remote musicians for years. The orchestra I work with often is in Europe. I hire a bunch of musicians from the UK frequently. No real change for me. Just more of it.
YMX: Professional livestreams seem to be really taking over these days. Is it something you would consider doing?
David: Yes, but the circumstances have not be right yet.
YMX: Since pandemic began, online music promotion has become crucial for an artist’s growth. How important is that for you, and are there any strategies you are willing to share with our readers?
David: Extremely important. I want the music to be heard. I think the most important aspect is to be genuine, reach out to people, and do not disappear for weeks at a time. People like constant presence these days. That’s why releasing music so frequently is important. It reminds folks and the system that you are there.
YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future? (releases, gigs etc.)
David: There are more collaborative songs with Fiona to be released. I am also releasing a solo piano record in March. No gigs are planned but you never know!