Written by Kelly Holm
Summer may be winding down, but Neil Davis’ latest single “Chasing You” is sure to add sunshine to your day. With a music video set on a beach, its carefree falsetto chorus creates a chill vibe, but not chilly temperatures.
“It challenges me to go to a different place in my voice,” Davis says of those high notes.
On his YouTube channel is a cover of “Waving Through a Window” from the Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen. After watching, it’s easy to conjure comparisons to this song from snippets of Davis’ original portfolio with he themes of helplessness explored in “Not Better” and “Dancing On My Own” to the beat of “See You Again.”
Davis, whose musical journey started with a toy keyboard in kindergarten, grew up idolizing Sia and serenading his junior high classmates with Marc Anthony. Needless to say, he’s been in the biz for a while.
Davis was part of the first class to graduate from Tony Bennett’s Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Throughout college, he interned with major record labels in New York while pursuing music, and released his debut album, “In My Mind,” almost eight years ago. To date, it has garnered almost half a million streams.
He’s still holding steady. Recently, Davis performed for Drew Barrymore and backed up Lauren Daigle at Carnegie Hall, and hopes to release another original EP before 2019 ends.
“Carnegie Hall alone was a huge check mark off my list,” Davis said, “but then to get to sing in a choir behind Lauren [with a full symphony orchestra]… was one of the most unforgettable performances I have ever been a part of.”
Daigle’s powerhouse ballads like “You Say” and “Rescue,” after all, would not pack nearly as potent of a punch without the soulful chorus behind them.
Since that performance, Davis has been building momentum for his upcoming EP with his latest single, “Chasing You.” Although it can be interpreted as a breezy summer love song, it was also written to emphasize universal truths about life.
“It usually starts with a melody or a phrase that I can’t get rid of in my head,” Davis says of his songwriting process. In this case, that phrase was “the chase” we all must go on in pursuit of our goals, whether they be romance, genuine friendships, or the achievement of dreams.
“There’s this urgency in the song, which shares how I’m chasing these things and not giving up. My upcoming EP definitely touches upon more of that too.”
He isn’t sure yet if the rest of the EP will arrive before the decade’s up, or if just another single will drop to precede a 2020 release, but either way, he promises good things are coming.
“The songs… definitely represent the time we’re in right now,” Davis said. “The next single is definitely one of my favorites, and I think best songs I’ve ever written.”
He promises fans of “In My Mind” that he’s still the same artist, just a “more grown up or elevated version.”
“It’s not just about making music anymore, it’s about finding multiple creative ways to express yourself,” he said of his evolution in an equally ever-evolving industry.
While Davis aims to ascend even higher, performing at the VMAs is a longtime aspiration of his. But, the ultimate goal would be to, “…live on doing music full-time, in whatever that capacity is!” Sometimes, the most poignant moments in the business are the much more personal ones, such as when a fan told Davis that his single “When Autumn Falls” led him to feel the presence of his mother for the first time since she passed away.
“Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to be great,” he said. “Never forget why you’re doing [music] in the first place… if you’re not having fun, there’s no point in doing it.”
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