David Gray’s first album, White Ladder (1998), was recorded on a shoestring budget in a bedroom in Stoke, England, and though took a year to make it to the British charts, it eventually climbed to Number 1, spawning hit singles like “Babylon” and “Sail Away”, and revealing a hypnotic, heartfelt purity fans couldn’t get enough of.
Now, 23 years, 12 studio albums—including a live album and three compilation albums—later, so many circumstances have changed, but, undeniably, David still brings that same very same bare-all, heartbreaking vulnerability that he did in those early years to every single track.
His newest album, Skellig, was named for a rocky island in Ireland where, in 600 AD, a group of monks made a pilgrimage to be closer to God.
“The more I contemplated the idea of a small group of people landing on those rocks and establishing a monastic life there, the more overpowered I became by a dizzying sense of awe,” David explains. “How close to God could you possibly wish to get? Life must have been unbelievably hard for them and trying to fathom the deep spiritual conviction that compelled them to escape the medieval world lead me to acknowledge my own deepest longings to be free of all the endless human noise that we now so readily accept as being such an inescapable part of our day to day lives. Dreams of revelation, dreams of a cleansing purity, dreams of escape. Ideas that I think almost any 21st-century person shouldn’t find it too hard to relate to!”
Here’s a day in the life of David Gray.
Date March 2, 2021
Time I woke up 8:00 a.m.
Every day starts with Letting the dogs out.
Breakfast consists of Coffee, banana, granola with milk and blueberries.
To get going I always Have a shower.
I don’t feel dressed without A good pair of shoes.
Before I start working I must Detach from the demands of the real world.
Currently working on A song for a charity record about curlews. The curlew is Europe’s largest wading bird and is suffering horrific population declines. It has an unforgettable, haunting song. I’m in the process of sketching lyrics but still pondering how best to make my musical approach.
But I’d really love to be Out in the wilds listening to curlews!
Book I’m reading Ice by Anna Kavan.
I don’t know how anyone ever Thought body-hugging, brightly-colored Lycra was a good look.
If I had to play one album on repeat, it would be A recent discovery: The Ready Made Boomerang by Deep Listening Band.
The perfect midday consists of A feast of fresh air.
To help get through the day I need To take a couple of steps back.
Not a day goes by without speaking to My wife, Olivia.
My daydreams consist of Physical longings, wild places and poetic flights.
In a perfect day, in a perfect world I play the perfect show to the perfect crowd and then get perfectly hammered with family and friends at the perfect aftershow….
I’ll always fight for The underdog.
Currently in love with “The Desperate Battle of the Birds” by Barnaby Brown.
Hoping to make time to watch The Sky At Night Mars: Perseverance Special (I’m presuming this programme actually exists).
By my bedside I always have A lamp, A book, A water bottle, my phone on charge.
To help get through the night I Make sure I put the dogs out before I head upstairs.
Bedtime 11:00 p.m.
When I think about tomorrow, it’s always With a sense of anticipation.