With an EP on the way and a sold-out first gig under his belt, sophomore David Dennis is bringing a soulful voice to the Curb College of Music Business’s 2015 Urban/Pop Showcase on Saturday.
The commercial voice major got his start early singing gospel music at his childhood church, but he didn’t consider making music into a career until he came to Belmont.
“Literally when I got out of the womb I was singing. But I’ve been singing in church. My grandfather was a pastor before he passed, and I was always singing in church, having sermonic solos and so that was instilled in me,” Dennis said.
Dennis describes his sound as soul with “a taste of gospel,” which he attributes both to his religious background and inspiration from the performances of Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.
He will be accompanied onstage by Alex Church on guitar, Andrew Salminen on drums, Mike Windsor on keys, Jeffery Scott on bass and Jared Mitchell and Alaya Morris on background vocals .
Set to perform a cover of Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” and original songs “Heartbreaker” and “You’re the One,” Dennis relishes the opportunity to learn through hands-on experience, working beside other student musicians as his performances move away from what Dennis is used to.
“I wanted to–if it was God’s will– experience performing for people outside of the church. I’m at times reserved, so this is really taking me out of my comfort zone and pushing me to grow. I’ve learned so much already, and I’m grateful for that,” Dennis said.
Although unexpected, having the chance to perform in the showcase early in his college career offered Dennis an introspective look at how far he has come with his music and what his plans and motivations are moving forward.
“Sometimes I want to give up, but when I look back to my freshman year, I see how much I’ve grown, so I kind of become futuristic,” Dennis said. “If I’m here right now, just think where I’m going to be two years from now. So I encourage myself along the way. It helps me.”
Dennis aims to connect with his audience and keep them engaged in the performance.
“I really want to interact with the crowd, and I’ve thought of different ways to ensure the crowd is getting into it instead of just watching me perform, but we can all just have a good time, have a party,” he said.
The 2015 Urban/Pop Showcase will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Curb Event Center. Admission is free.
Photo by Marisa Boras.