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David M. Bailey :: Life
David M. Bailey
David M. Bailey
Artist Spotlight Archive - Nov. 2003
If we need an inspiration to live life to the fullest, maybe we can turn to David M. Bailey.

Told by doctors on the Fourth of July, 1996, that he had a malignant brain tumor and had less than a year to live, David defied the doctors and turned to his first love of songwriting and performing for inspiration, purpose and strength.

Since then, David has produced 8 albums and performed in dozens of venues around the world. His story of courage has been featured on various news programs such as 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, Family Health channel, NPR, and countless number of magazine and news articles.

» David M. Bailey's Web Site
» Buy David's Albums

Through his songs and music, David is a genuine story teller. His songs are the ones we can all relate to and deep down, admit the truth of. Endowed with a rich baritone voice and a command of an acoustic guitar, David's true talents lie in the lyrics that convey the little things we often take for granted.

Influenced by a wide variety of musical artists from James Taylor and Cat Stevens to Kahlil Gibran and J.S. Bach, his songs speak of the human experience. Listening to some of his songs may evoke happiness, heartache, inspiration, and contemplation but behind them, there's always... hope.

» "Only Love" by David M. Bailey
» "Pray For Peace 2003" by David M. Bailey

Exclusive Q And A
Q:  What made you decide to contribute some songs to our project?
A:  I grew up as an American kid in Beirut, Lebanon and experienced war first hand as a child and a teen. Having seen the horrors, peace has been a big theme in my life and my music ever since - I was excited to see your project and am thrilled to be a part of it.

Q:  Are you in remission from your malignant brain tumor?
A:  Well, when folks ask me that in person, I simply look them in the eye and say "I'm here today" - which is really all that matters. I've learned that to live in the moment really is the best way to live and to let tomorrow worry about itself.

Q:  How have the events in your life so far affected your view of peace?
A:  Growing up in a war will change anyone - I think it's hard to fully understand how nasty war can be until you've been in it. Then it's real. When it's real, then you hate it and know that peace is the only way and love is the only way to peace.

I've been stopped and threatened through countless road blocks, even kidnapped for a day; I've had bullets through my bedroom window, I've watched jet planes bomb peaceful villages, I've hid in hallways and basements, passed the maimed begging on the streets, watched homes, families, businesses, lives and so much more destroyed by war. All for nothing.

Q:  I understand there was an original version of your song "Pray For Peace". Why did you rewrite it into the version you submitted?
A:  The first version, "Pray for Peace" was a comparison of real war images in the East with more subtle, yet nonetheless troubling and profound issues of strife in the West - the song concluded that peace was needed in both realms for different reasons but to the same end. And thus it was out of duty to pray for peace in the West and in the East and, by implication, the North and the South as well. The "Pray For Peace 2003" is actually a different song, not a new rendition of the original - but in my own little world, I was trying to suggest that here we are, so many years later and we still needed to pray for peace.

Q:  What's the story behind "Only Love"?
A:  Beirut in late 70's, I had just learned to play my first few chords on the guitar. After getting bored with the songs in the guidebook, I started trying to write my own songs, not realizing I was embarking on a lifelong journey. The vast majority of those early compositions were really, really bad. There was one, however, that never seemed to go away. I'd forget about it for years and unlike so many others, pick it right up again.

As I got older, I thought the song was perhaps simply a naive expression of a young boy in over his head, but from where I am now, I think I was actually closer to the truth, as children are so often able to do. And I've also come to realize that I'm hardly the first one to have said "love your enemies" - I think I'm in good company.

Q:  You've written songs for a lot of albums; your most recent album being "Rusty Brick Road". Does it get any easier and has your style changed?
A:  I guess I'd have to conclude that my style has remained fairly consistent, lyrical, acoustic, etc, but I think it has also grown in terms of intricacy and depth. Whereas much of my early writing I see as being one-dimensional, I tend to think and write now in terms of layers, adding more richness to a central thought. Well, that's what I'd like to think. Could be it's just that I've written so much for so long that I'm bound to get lucky a few times.

I think it has gotten easier but it's still a balance between craft and inspiration, and the more you have of one the less you need of the other. Perhaps the biggest change over the years is a definitive understanding for my own writing about the chicken or the egg question: I always write the lyrics first - if the lyrics do not communicate exactly what I want then I figure there is no point in putting music to it.

Q:  What advice do you have for people who may be facing some strong adversities in their lives?
A:  First... do not get bogged down with the "why me" question - even if you knew, it wouldn't change anything. The better question is "what now?" Ask that question every morning and look for answers all day.

Second... that hope is real and becomes stronger the moment you share it. By helping others in your own hour of need, an amazing kind of goodness and positive energy is created that is the kind of power that changes lives.

Third... as much as it sounds trite, live now and never pass up the chance to let those you love know how much you do. Life is fragile and fleeting but love is not.

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