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Artist Story: David Gaffney, from street performer to award-winning songwriter

David Gaffney has come a long way, from street performances in the UK to winning two songwriting awards. After releasing his debut album "Boneshaker" in 2021 he is back with new music and talks about his musical journey, influences, and plans for the future.

Published on
April 26, 2023

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What's your band/artist name? Can you tell us a little bit about you and your career/projects so far?

David Gaffney. I was given a guitar by a family friend when I was 10 years of age, ever since that moment I was obsessed with songs. How they were formed, melody lines and the strong connection with lyrics always consumed my imagination. Over the years I’ve been involved with many bands and solo projects. I count these as my ‘learning years’, picking up experience, life and musical, along the way. Leaving my island home life in Jersey Channel Islands, I set out on a mission to make something of my songs by performing on the streets in most cities of the UK. One evening I was performing on the streets of Liverpool, when, the German actress Meret Becker, stopped, complemented my voice and asked for my email address. A few months later she invited me to Berlin to tour with her wonderful band and start a life in Berlin. It was here when my musical career really took to another stage. Following such a life changing event, I then had the pleasure of bumping into Martin Bach and Mona Kairies, whilst performing at a party. We hit it off straight away, collaborated and started writing music together, as a trio, in 2015. We really hit the ground running as a team and picked up the ‘European Songwriting Award’ in 2019, followed shortly after by the ‘German Songwriting Award’ in 2019. Since then, we continue to write music together and in 2021 we released our debut album ‘Boneshaker’, which was featured on ‘MDR Kultur, Radio Wins & Bayern 2’. The album was produced by Martin Bach and Simon Steger. 

How did you get into music and what were /are your influences? 

My father was my main influence into music, I would spend hours listening to his CD’s and accessing the lyric books whilst the music was playing. He’d hand me James Taylor and Pink Floyd discs, I remember spending hours listening on weekends and then eventually trying to sing the songs. Music moved me massively from a very young age, and a very distinctive, emotional memory for me was hearing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ by The Dubliners.

Which partners / artists have inspired / accompanied you on your way and how? 

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Meret Becker, she was the first person to ever really give me a big chance at proving myself. She showed me that I had something special to give. It was, and still is, a major highlight in my life. I’m eternally grateful for her belief in what she, and her daughter Lulu Hacke, seen in me on the streets in Liverpool that particular evening. As my story continues, the three gems that are Martin Bach, Mona Kairies and Simon Steger, have reignited my musical path. They also seen something in me, that maybe I couldn’t see at the time, that has propelled me to the next level in songwriting. Performance and vocally, I owe a huge amount of love to Martin Bach and Mona Kairies for helping me push boundaries continuously. 

How would you describe your music or your sound? 

‘Sounds like’ questions are not my strong point...but our most recent works would go something like: Falco meets Adele meets Mike Skinner meets Lewis Capaldi meets Haim and they all have a party! 

What was your most formative experience in your career so far? 

This is easy. The creative and hell-raising experience of making a debut album during the height of a pandemic. The team work and mental strength we all as a team had to endure, was really quite something. You learn loads in these moments and I think it’s shaped us to be a proper strong unit. My beard started turning grey during this period but, looking back, it was a fuckin ride! Recording in the Bavarian mountains and in barns in Brandenburg...we had such a good time. 

Can you tell us about the ups and downs of your musical career? How did you master them and what did you learn from them? 

I’ve had some incredible lows on the road as a musician, but I try not to dwell on them too much, I rather put them into songs. My achievements musically far outweigh the lows, and it was all worth it. One major highlight was opening the stage for Peter Doherty at Huxley’s Neue Welt (Berlin) in 2017, shortly after the birth of my son, Ruben. A moment I will never forget. Music is super challenging, you’re told so much bullshit over the years and you have to follow some sort of path to find those highlights. 

How did you hear about MusicHub and why did you choose our platform to distribute your music? 

We read about MusicHub after deciding, that the independent option is the only option for now. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for independent artists to have everything under one roof. It’s a top feeling to know your songs and interests are held in safe hands. We’re mega happy with the functionalities of MusicHub and we’re here to stay! 

Tell us more about your latest MusicHub release. 

'Lights of Love' is a heart wrenching confession of two hearts. Picture a broken person sitting on a sea wall, asking the questions to, that once, huge love. The acoustic guitar flows constantly like the small streams running to the ocean. The warm, emotional strings flying like seagulls in the background and the echoing voice of love speaking back to you, as you pour your feelings into a love song. ‘Lights of Love’ is a song that, I reacon, Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi would also be very proud of ;)) 

What goals do you still want to achieve? What are your plans for the future? 

This is simple. Radio plays and stage time. I'd love to go on the road with a bigger artist, to see how it feels playing night after night, in cities around the world. The cherry on top would be a Top 10 Single in the German Charts. 

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