Bio

David Berkeley’s gift as a songwriter and storyteller is that he sees both the tragedy and comedy in life, writing songs that first break and then heal the heart. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the singer-songwriter and author a “musical poet,” and the New York Times praises his “lustrous, melancholy voice with shades of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake.” He was a guest on This American Life, and he’s won many songwriting awards and honors including ASCAPs Johnny Mercer Songwriting Award. Berkeley has released eight studio albums, one live album, and authored two books. His 2017 release was a never-before tried concept: a novella comprising ten intertwining stories and an album of ten accompanying songs (one for each story). Berkeley’s 2018 EP contains some of his most relevant and powerful music to date, a set of political love songs called The Faded Red and Blue. David is back with Oh Quiet World, an album written during the lockdown after his family escaped Spain due to Corona. It’s an intimate and uplifting collection that we all need to hear right now.

Berkeley and his family decided to leave Madrid, where they had been living for the year, as Corona numbers began to skyrocket. They packed in haste, leaving much of what they had acquired over the year behind, and managed to get on one of the final commercial flights out. David had planned to leave it behind, but on their way out the door, he grabbed the half-century-old secondhand Spanish guitar he had bought in the city. It was lucky he did, for it was on that guitar that he wrote all the songs for his latest release, Oh Quiet World. David and his family self-quarantined in a friend’s empty house near the Rhode Island coast. He set up a makeshift studio in the attic and began writing and recording songs. “I wrote a song a day that first week back,” Berkeley explains. “Songwriting gave me a way to process my fears and frustrations. It gave me a purpose, something small I could contribute.” The songs are his most stripped back, supported by his wife and children’s singing and the most barebone arrangements with touches of horns, accordion, and banjo. Despite the hard topic, Oh Quiet World manages to find hope through the hard times. The whole album plays like a prayer, beginning with the call to “wake up in the early light,” and ending with the word, “amen.”

In addition to his solo career, he is also one half of the wildly creative Trans-Atlantic costumed duo Son of Town Hall. Berkeley’s music has also been remixed by many of the world’s top EDM DJs. He tours extensively all over the country and world and has opened/toured with Dido, Don McLean, Ben Folds, Billy Bragg, Ray Lamontagne, Nickel Creek and many more. He was a Kerrville New Folk winner, a New Song and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Finalist. He’s performed on Mountain Stage, The World Café, the Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, XM Loft Sessions, Acoustic Café, to name a few. Berkeley lives with his wife and two boys in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

PRESS IMAGERY

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All photos by Nicole Moulton

PRESS

"Berkeley sings in a lustrous, melancholy voice with shades of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake…as his melodies ascend to become benedictions and consolations, the music shimmers and peals."

–The New York Times

“Sensational.”

– Philadelphia Inquirer

“So spellbinding…Quiet, contemplative, heartfelt and forlorn, this latest album is built around some of the barest designs imaginable, a sound that requires the listener to lean in and focus.”

Blurt – [Cardboard Boat Album Review]

“A performance from David Berkeley is always an intimate and contemplative one, rich with vivid lyrics and passionate yet understated vocals. Despite his studio albums’ success, there’s something particularly special about hearing the singer-songwriter’s work performed live.”

– Paste Magazine

“If you love a good story as much as a good song, you need to check out David Berkeley.”

– The Boot

“Dashing singer-songwriter David Berkeley delivers his warm, thoughtful songs, along with a reliably hilarious line in onstage banter.”

– Time Out New York

"There's a quiet beauty in David Berkeley's voice that carries a strength with it. He's a storyteller. He's a heart breaker. He's at once a gusting tornado and an elegant whisper."

– SF Gate

“David Berkeley creates a layered landscape of sounds that envelop the listener.”

– John Platt, WFUV

"Berkeley sees both the tragedy and comedy in life, managing to both reveal the sorrow at the heart of the human condition and the blazing joy and beauty in the same."

– Albuquerque Journal

"He's a musical poet."

– San Francisco Chronicle

“Berkeley’s a sixties-esque troubadour with songs to swoon by and a voice sweeter than incense and peppermints. … He’s a double fantasy of Nick Drake and Donovan.”

– Rolling Stone.com

“Berkeley’s songs are supremely melodic, in ways only the most skilled singer/songwriters are able to convey. Hearing a Berkeley song from any of his five studio sets, offers a sense that you’ve heard this music before, and in turn, can allow you to fully embrace it. It’s moving, insightful, poetic and flush with the skill and craft that can turn small observations into a grander view that can affect us all on a common scale.”

– No Depression

“While the subject matter is often political and sometimes devastating, the songs on this EP are delicate and filled with love. Berkeley has used his music to try and appeal to our common humanity and a hope that it still exists, somewhere.”

Americana UK – [The Faded Red and Blue album review]

“Singer-songwriter David Berkeley delivers an intimate collection of acoustic songs, bringing to mind everyone from Damien Rice to Alexi Murdoch to Nick Drake. With a voice that sometimes recalls Ben Ottewell from the band Gomez, Berkeley can tonally go from gruff to sweet on a dime, thus giving his often quiet folk songs some real, emotional resonance.”

– ABC News

“Emotional story-telling lyrics, charismatic stage presence, and hilarious anecdotes.”

– The Boston Globe

“David Berkeley is a singular voice to arrive on the music scene.”

– Bruce Warren, WXPN

"One of the most expressive and highly emotional voices in the EDM scene at the moment."

– Flux BPM

“One of the most promising singers to emerge in recent times”

– Relix Magazine

VIDEOS