Living in Nashville, Tennessee for the past two years I have been introduced to countless bands and musicians and if I am being brutally honest, most of them sound the same or are trying hard to sound like someone else. If I had a dollar for all the Luke Bryan or Taylor Swift clones in this city I could probably afford to get Liam and Noel Gallagher to set aside their differences and get Oasis back together. It’s not a knock on anyone in particular but I am always trying to find artists who pride themselves on going against the grain. One of the main beacons of hope for the music city comes to us in the form of David Abundance.
David is one of those rare individuals who quite literally stands out in a crowd. In addition to being well over 6 feet tall, his incomparable fashion sense sets him apart from almost everyone else in the city. Typically wearing bright floral print suits and matching cowboy hats, he is almost impossible to miss in any crowded setting. All fashion sense aside he is an extremely talented artist who is gearing up to take the world by storm. His latest single “Woo Wagon” has become the official party bus song of downtown Nashville and it seems like only a matter of time before things break loose for him. David recently took some time to chat with us about all the things that make him one of the coolest and most unique individuals in the state of Tennessee!
Could you tell us a little bit about your musical journey? Have you always been making music and performing?
- David: I was fortunate to grow up with parents that listened to a lot of great artists. My mom named me after David Bowie, and played plenty of Prince in the car. Dad showed me the raw talent and expanded consciousness of Jimi Hendrix, and I sat right in front of the tv rewatching his (now my) Led Zeppelin concert footage box set until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I sang in the choir in school, briefly played drums and guitar early on, and wrote half-finished songs, but I didn’t get going, in my mind, until I started singing in a cover band, the Half-Ass Ass-Hats (or whatever we wanted to be named that week). It was my first step into playing shows, and we covered artists from Sublime to Guns ‘n’ Roses. When COVID hit, I nabbed the freedom to move wherever I wanted, and I moved to Nashville to get closer to my dream of making music, and making something of myself. Then, one fateful day, I went to a Broadway bar and club with some friends; the singers on stage offered to bring me up out of the crowd to sing a song, since my purple crushed velvet bell-bottoms and gold blazer made me look the part. Truthfully, they didn’t know if I’d sound the part, and just the same, neither did I. But a few minutes later the crowd was cheering, not jeering, and I felt something beginning. Through other strokes of luck or fate I started singing up and down Broadway at other bars and clubs, and with that confidence, I started writing and composing my own songs.
You have an awesome sense of style, who are some of your favorite designers and what motivates you to dress like you do?
- David: I appreciate that. If a designer is big on floral patterns, splashes of color, or sparkles and they catch my eye, I’m big on them. A big fashion motivator is my motto: ‘Always be Stage Ready.’ And I think my style is also a way of letting people around me know that I am open, that they can just let go and be themselves like I am, and that I’m probably not going to bite. If you look interesting, people may want to hear what you have to say, if you’re not completely full of it, some of those people might stay.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
- David: There have been so many compelling artists before me in the last 80 years or so of music, it’d be like trying to pick what to eat off a 10-page menu. So many big personalities whose character, accomplishments, and essence make them larger than life. Completely separate from them, there’s a vast amount of songs that are moving and influential all on their own, independent of whoever created them; their lyrics, or just their music, or sometimes both, are the influence without any regard for who created them. Overall, I’d say I draw inspiration from my experiences, my inner-child, and my hopes for the future.
Your latest single “Woo Wagon” is awesome! So what exactly is a “Woo Wagon” and why did you write this song?
- David: That means a lot to me, thank you. Within the song, ‘Woo Wagon’ is an umbrella term for all the different ways to ‘party on wheels.’ Nashville has tons of open-air party buses, pedal pubs, tractors pulling flat trailers, old military trucks and fire engines, and other rides that tow tourists and locals around who are drinking, dancing, and hollering ‘WOOOO!’ til their voices crack. I can hear them outside as we speak, no joke. But I think it’s broader than that. A lyric that got left on the cutting room floor captures it: “No matter where you are, plane train or back of the car, pop the cap an’, turn it to a woo wagon.” To me, wherever you are, it’s about having a good time on the way to where you’re going, however you’re getting there. That said, I think the woo wagon scene Nashville has cultivated is unique, and I hope to get more people excited about it and the sense of fun and community this little escape brings.
What are some of the most difficult aspects of being an independent artist?
- David: Marketing. With more music being released than ever before, independent artists must find a way to cut through the noise. It takes time, effort, and creativity, on top of the time, effort, and creativity you already spent to create the music itself. Many labels have the money and resources to beam their artists out everywhere, but you just have yourself, and you have to really think outside the box to get traction on your own. Finding time to create. Having to be your own marketing agency, business manager, and breadwinner means there aren’t enough hours in the day. Someone said that artists need time to just sit and do nothing, which they do to have the time and space to just ponder and create. I wish I had more of that sometimes!
What is your relationship with social media and do you think its effects on the music industry are positive or negative?
- David: Before seriously pursuing music I had no social media, other than a Facebook I’d deleted years before. Generally, life, people, and interactions as they exist out in the real world are not really what is portrayed and pushed on social media. But it has turned into a great tool, especially for independent artists, to be seen and heard by a wider audience. The ups and downs of it flow from the same spout: social media amplifies everything. Twist the knob and there are great artists we never would have heard of if not for a boost from social media. But twist the knob and there is also a profit driven industry that can push whatever makes dollars and cents rather than musical sense.
What do you think of the Nashville music scene? Who are some of your favorite bands or musicians from Nashville?
- David: I think putting this many musicians in such a close tight space together is either the best or the worst idea ever. The scene can be a wild powder-keg, it can be ugly, and it can be a great beautiful geyser of creativity, with so many big and colorful personalities bumping into each other. Picking favorites is liable to get a guitar smashed over my head, but the artists I admire most are the ones that truly grind day in and day out, performing two or three hour-long cover sets a day downtown, or churning out dozens of new songs and executing new ideas every day. It’s hard laying it all on the line!
If you could have lunch with any musician alive or dead who would it be and why?
- David Bowie. I would bring my mom along and make her dream of meeting and speaking with him come true. More important than lunch with anyone! (Plus I owe both of them my name).
What does the rest of 2023 hold for you?
- David: I wish I knew. For the last few years I couldn’t have predicted how amazing and surprising each year would eventually become. What I do know is I am starting to train with a vocal coach to really perfect my craft. I’ll also be filming a music video for Woo Wagon complete with woo girls, flashy suits, and other fun surprises, and performing the song on Broadway in Nashville this summer. I have two new songs I am releasing towards the end of the year or the beginning of 2024, and I am sitting down to conceptualize and put together my first album.
If you were given a box of all the things you have lost in your entire life, what would you look for first?
- David: My old notebooks and loose pages of angsty poetry and half-written songs from middle school, to see how much I have changed, and how much I have remained the same. But first, I would mentally prepare for the straight up cringe that is about to occur.