Posted On 22 Mar 2019
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and producer David Leonard recently released his highly anticipated solo album The Wait via Integrity Music. Born out of personal experiences and set against a backdrop of alternative pop, The Wait tells Leonard’s story of wrestling through heartache, depression, confusion, and redemption with his family and God. PRESS HERE to listen.
“This record is me being fully 100 percent me and being fully 100 percent authentic with the God I worship and love. I hope everybody can insert themselves in the songs and I pray they can find hope in The Wait.” – David Leonard
Sonically, The Wait feels like a beautiful combination of all three of David’s previous bands – Jackson Waters, NEEDTOBREATHE, and All Sons & Daughters. Lyrically, the album showcases his vulnerability through transparent and universal themes that were influenced by personal experiences, including the Leonards’ struggle with infertility. The project was produced by Leonard, Brad King, and Seth Talley for The Creak Music, a production studio and independent label co-owned by the trio based in Franklin, TN.
Tying into the album’s release, music videos for each track were combined to make a short film that tells one overarching narrative. The innovative film was directed by Elliott Eicheldinger and is the visual companion to the album’s journey through confusion and heartache to clarity and hope. PRESS HERE to watch.
An Arkansas native and Franklin resident, David Leonard has been playing, singing, writing and producing music since high school. In addition to his former recording and tour work with bands Jackson Waters, NEEDTOBREATHE, and Grammy-nominated duo All Sons & Daughters, Leonard is an acclaimed songwriter. His production credits with The Creak Music include All Sons & Daughters, NEEDTOBREATHE, Jaci Velasquez, Brandon Heath, and Ben & Noelle Kilgore.
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Learn more about David Leonard in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I am sitting in my house in Nashville, TN. Just enjoying the night!
Growing up, how important has music been in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make? Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what could you see yourself doing?
I grew up around music, my dad did music in churches and my grandmother played piano and organ at the church. I grew up in a small town and music was like a hobby, nobody ever did music for a living. I grew up loving it and singing, but never thinking that this was actually something that I could be a part of. I had probably a million different careers that I thought I was going to end up doing before this. I tried to do graphic design, tried to do other good stuff, but I was always pulled back into music and I never could get rid of it.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise so far in making music is that people actually listen to the stuff! And it matters to them. I think you sit here, and you create this stuff, and you just think it’s these songs that get breathed into the atmosphere. You don’t realize a lyric or a melody can change a person’s perception on life. I think the thought of it changing someone’s perspective on life is a serious, heavy thing. It blows my mind that that kind of stuff happens, and that it does on a daily basis. I know it does for myself, like when I’m listening to records and songs that I can remember that have shaped me and molded me into me. I take it seriously and I carry the responsibility of what this is.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
My hometown is very different than where I live now. I grew up in southeast Arkansas in a little town called Monticello. It’s about 9,000 people and it was the delta, the dirty south. Music was – you were either into country or you were into hip-hop – and I fell more on the hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll side. I think my roots have been shaped by where I came from. I think there was a sense of realness that was there, people were able to see through things really quickly. I think that shaped me and caused me to ask those questions whenever I’m creating stuff.
Let’s talk about your brand new solo album, “The Wait.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process and once you got in the studio to record it?
It was actually really easy. I spent the majority of the time writing these songs for other people’s records, just writing with friends for fun. There wasn’t this grand pressure of creating a record. It was just a beautiful surprise at the end of it that we had something really special. It was pretty awesome.
While it’s difficult to choose, can you pick out a few of your favorite songs from this new album and talk about the inspiration behind them? How did it get to be on this collection?
I think my favorite songs change on a daily basis. Right now, it’s for sure “Come As You Are.” I think that’s a daily reminder to me that God still finds joy in me. No matter where I’m at, and no matter what’s going on in my life, I’m still loved and cherished. I’m thankful for that.
I would love to know how your various songwriting, recording and touring experiences with other groups has affected the kind of musician that you are today and the kind of music that you are making now?
Being in a bunch of different bands has definitely shaped who I am musically and as a person. I think I learned so many amazing things from each one of them and it shaped me into who I am. When I was in Jackson Waters, it was learning the fact that you have to know who you are and who you’re writing songs for. And then when I was playing with NEEDTOBREATHE, I learned the beauty of having people walk into a room and making them forget where they are and allowing them to get lost in something I also learned about doing something with such excellence. And then for All Sons & Daughters, it was the beauty of space. Allowing people the space to have a real conversation whether it was with themselves, or with God, or with a friend. We created an environment that allowed people to ask questions and take things in. And I think I’ve done all of that with this record. I’m really excited for it.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
I’ve had an amazing team help me with the social media stuff. It can be extremely difficult. Nowadays, social media is such a key piece, it’s so different than whenever I started doing music. I have some amazing people pouring in. My man Gilbert is keeping everything looking good and it’s so fun to get to dream and create with him. We’re having fun creating a space for people to come find out everything that’s going on with us.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Right now, I love Khalid, I love what the guy’s doing. He inspires me greatly. There’s a ton of stuff right now, it’s a list that’s probably to long to lay out. Jon Bellion and all of his stuff, I’m hooked on it. I’m loving where music is right now and thankful to be able to make it in the time where we are right now.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I’ve got no clue! It’d probably be really fun and an amazing party with all my friends.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would probably take my Teenage Engineering OP-1. I can make beats with it, I can make synth sounds with it, I can record into it. It’s a one-stop shop. It’s a no-brainer, OP-1 for the win.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
My family and I watch a lot of funny shows and I don’t know if my music would be great on them! But my daughter would think I was the coolest person in the world if my songs were on The Goldbergs. We love that show and think it’s hilarious.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope that people find hope and they find that they’re not by themselves. That’s the comfort that I’ve found through all of this. It’s easy to seclude yourself when you’re walking through hard times and luckily, I was surrounded by a lot of amazing people. The hope is that these songs will surround you, just like people surrounded me. And that you’ll find beauty in it.