Singer-songwriter David Dunn doesn't like to be defined by any specific genre. In fact, he classifies himself as a genre buster–making music without boundaries.
He proved that with his new song, "Spend a Life." Sound-wise, he mixes genres to make the David sound. The song's lyrics made me curious about his songwriting. David says that the song's lyrics are meant to be an illustration of time being our most valuable commodity.
He says, "I’ve been thinking a ton about how I spend my time. When my kid was born, it was like a timer started in my head that was counting down the 18 years I had to help prepare this little human to make his own decisions. And, because that timer became real to me, I could clearly see my own mortality for the first time. I became aware of the finite number of seconds I had left on earth. And that realization led me to this: Time is our most precious, God-given resource, and I refuse to go on spending it like it's cheap."
"Spend a Life" is only one of the other singles David released over the past few months. Others include, "The Human Condition" and "Yes & No." At the beginning of the year, David dropped the Starting Now - EP, essentially a compilation of his recently released hits. Now, the singer is releasing his newest album, Perspectives. I had the chance to speak with David about his music and his new album.
Tell us about your new songs.
Every work on this project has a "perspective" theme. The songs were born, while I was wrestling with a few topics of my own perpetual perspective shifts. Things like time, church, truth, love, comfort, and need versus want. You probably don't have any idea what I'm talking about unless you listen through or keep reading.
Your last album, Yellow Balloons, tells a very strong story. I like how you used yellow balloons as a symbol for not only the album itself but also for those difficult family times as well. With that being said, I'm curious, what's the story behind Perspectives. What themes do you touch on?
"Perspective" is the unacknowledged elephant in any room. Misunderstanding and miscommunication being the major everyday fallout. Humans are products of what we understand, not what we know. And, when it comes to Jesus, we tend to forget the part we play in the understanding. We hear what He says and think we know--but we don't. We're fallible humans attempting to understand and intemperate His words through the lens of our own understanding. And, news flash, people are wrong--regularly. I defiantly am.
Perspectives is a project I created to help myself become a genuine truth-seeker, attempts made by this acknowledgment: "there is always a different way to see reality." Here's an easy way to explain this analogy: "poor" in America is "rich" in Africa; "cold" in Texas is "warm" in Montana.
Tragedy right now, sometimes, becomes hindsight's blessing. Donald Trump is the best thing to ever happen to America. Or, Trump is the worst thing to ever happen to America. I believe that acknowledges--that perspectives exist--is devastatingly important. The beginning of wisdom--truth-seeking--is in being open to the possibility that you might be wrong.
You're a bold songwriter. "Spend a Life" and the "Human Condition" illustrate that you write as you see or experience itor as mentioned on your Facebook profile, "To tell the truth and do it in a beautiful way." Can you elaborate on that?
This is a funny question to ask in this context. Since I just lauded the ability to admit that you might be wrong while calling myself a "truth-teller." Funny. I'm trying to tell the story of the development of my life. The things I think I've learned about myself with Jesus and myself with other beings. Excuse the nerdy analogy (I'm an engineer by degree). But, the message I'm relaying is like electricity, and my art (music) is like a conduit.
I want my conduit to be made of the best copper so it effectively transfers my electricity. Creating the most beautiful art form I'm capable of so that the things I have to say are effectively absorbed. That's the beauty of art. And, that's why I'm so desperate to create well.
Your music has been incredibly eclectic over the years. Would you consider yourself a genre buster? What type of music has influenced your sound recently?
Genre buster. The interesting term is this "genre." If you'll allow me to get on my soapbox for a sec. I actually have no idea what the CCM genre actually is. Because, to me, it's the only genre that isn't classified by musical sensibilities, but rather by lyrical content (most of the time). It's the only genre where Micah Tyler (country), Kutless (rock), and Tauren Wells (R&B) live in the same space.
But, in general terms, I would acknowledge that my music is very different from my loose understanding of the typical CCM genre. I think it's because I'm actively trying not to make things fit in a creative box. Not trying to force things to be successful by following the normal musical protocol. Obviously, I would love for my music to be successful. But, I'm more concerned about electricity and the conduit.
"Yes & No" is pulled right out of scripture. Can you recall a time that God said no in your life and what did you learn from that?
Funny. I'm in the music business. Thus, God says "no" to me on a regular basis. What I have to keep reminding myself in the midst of disappointment is what my head knows to be true. That my Father in heaven gives good gifts to His children. And, even though I may not understand why He doesn't do my will, that His will is always, ultimately, for His child's benefit. It's a continual perspective shift. And, it's sometimes difficult to convince my heart what my head knows.
What's next for David Dunn? How can we be praying for you?
2020 has already been the worst year of my life. A few once-in-a-lifetime tragedies have happened to my family in the last two months with no quick signs of reprieve. We could use some prayer for a heavenly perspective shift as we navigate through the grief and turmoil that this year has already thrown at us.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
NEW!BEHIND THE SONG DEVO
Colton Dixon #1020 - Pop artist talks about his new hit single, "Miracles"
Elevation Worship Artists Chris Brown and Jenna Barrientes talk about new album
NEW! THE CHH DROP
#3 - Aaron Cole, Eric... NRT's CHH contributor Joshua Galla collects what's new each week in CHH
NEW! THE ROCK REPORT
#10 - Kutless, Nine... The latest news, releases, and more in Christian rock and metal scen
Leeland We pull inspiration for today from Leeland's new and classic worship