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David Gray on music, football, James Blunt, Babyshambles and his new musical direction... or not.
John Walshe, 20 Jul 2006
David Gray doesn’t like talking about music and he readily admits as much. In a recent UK interview, he described the act of talking about his chosen art-form as “a fruitess exercise”.
“It’s a funny old thing you’re involved with, every time you put a record out, just gabbing on about it,” he muses down the phoneline from his London home. “It’s just a dance that we have to do and it’s not the most revealing thing. I think talking about football or cookery or gardening would be more revealing. I actually enjoy the more throwaway chats than the serious ‘let’s talk about the album’ thing, when I find myself immediately constipated in terms of my verbal flow.”
For the last seven years, David Gray has had to do more than his fair share of gabbing about music, though.
One of the trappings of success is that one’s promotional obligations are far more time-consuming than they used to be, which he accepts as part and parcel of the music business and his phenomenal success therein.
There are now upwards of six million people worldwide who own David Gray albums.
Indeed, so pivotal has Gray been that there’s an accusation that he's single-handedly responsible for making emotional music accessible again.
Consider the case for the prosecution: pre-White Ladder, the charts were clogged up with manufactured pop acts, whereas now the upper reaches of the top 10 are more likely to be filled with Coldplays and Keanes. How does he plead?
“I’d have to say that I am implicated in this one, but I don’t know if it’s something that’s a good or bad thing,” he laughs. “There was lots of talent around on the acoustic scene when I was starting out, but there was nowhere for them to go. All that changed was that people in the business suddenly saw the whole thing completely differently and they’ve been given a chance.
“But that’s pop music, isn’t it? Once one thing happens, a whole swathe of bands or singers come along in a similar style. So there are a lot of earnest singer-songwriters but it could be worse, depending on your taste. People talk about the need for a cull and they might have a point.”