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Brittany Davis on How Homelessness Taught Them To ‘Never Give Up’

'I remember having keyboards with keys missing and all kinds of stuff,' says singer-songwriter. 'But it didn’t matter because I loved music'
Photo Credit: Hutton Supancic/Getty Images

When SPIN asks Brittany Davis to reflect on past adversities, the singer-songwriter admits they “don’t even know where to start.”

Davis, blind since birth, says they first experienced homelessness upon moving to Seattle around age 14. But those trials taught them about “the gratitude and the passion and compassion for others,” and the “gift” they have to give.

“It taught me to never give up,” says Davis, who currently fronts their own quartet and plays alongside Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard in the band Painted Shield. “I remember having keyboards with keys missing and all kinds of stuff that I just had to work through to get the sounds that I wanted. But it didn’t matter because I loved music. I’ve always loved music. I always like to say that I am a translator of sonic divinity, and that equates to my purpose. That’s my whole purpose for being here.”

Prompted to select one of their own songs that highlights this message of perseverance and self-acceptance, Davis points to “Loud Loud World,” which appears on the singer’s debut EP, 2022’s I Choose to Live.

“I feel like that song really includes a lot about how I’ve overcome,” they say. “How — even as a person that realizes I have this big gift — it can all get so loud, it can all get so big, it can all get so crazy. But at the end of the day, that song literally says, ‘I’m only human.’ And it’s OK to accept that and still live for a greater purpose way bigger than myself.”

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