Free form jazz: David Raleigh

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Singer, songwriter and piano player David Raleigh was raised in Seattle, Washington. After attending college and living in California for a while, he made New York City his home. Raleigh performs nightly at some of the city’s finest clubs, restaurants, and hotels, including The Waldorf Astoria. As a musical romantic, he finds joy in singing songs about love, longing and the fortitude it takes to live and be in love. It’s not uncommon to see couples hold each other that little bit closer during his shows.

You will be playing at Fringe Club on Friday 13, which can be unlucky for some, what songs will you be playing?

The music I am sharing on this tour is mostly original. I’m really excited about the new tunes I have been writing [in] collaboration with my producer. I’m hoping that the people of Hong Kong will like them as much as I do! [Laughs], and here’s a great segue... I Do! is the name of the first single from my upcoming CD that I am promoting on this tour. I'll also be performing some songs from my first CD, Never Alone, as well as a few standards and classics that are popular in my New York shows from the Great American Songbook.

What are your impressions of Hong Kong?

Well for a start, I'm so happy to be here! I've heard people say that Hong Kong is the new New York... I guess I'll be the judge of that! [Laughs], I really just want to share my music with the people of Hong Kong and extend my fan base. I’m a true believer that music and love transcend every culture, so I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. As well as my double header at The Fringe, I will also be performing at Red – a truly beautiful venue owned by Andy Young, a friend of mine who I met in New York and who was very instrumental in bringing me to Hong Kong. I’m excited about that gig as well.

Tell us about your new single I Do!
I Do! is a song I wrote about the commitment to love between long time lovers, partners, spouses and even just friends. It’s a happy tune, a ‘driving with the top down’ kind of number. My producer Nathan Leigh Jones – an incredible singer-songwriter and performer himself – did an amazing job bringing the song to life, as well as the single's B-side, The Only One. The mix by the legendary J. Chris Griffin, who has previously worked with Madonna, Janet Jackson and Kanye West, was the icing on the cake.

You have been hailed by some critics as ‘the Nat King Cole of the new generation’. How do you feel about that?
Nat King Cole was one of the major greats in the singer, songwriter, piano-playing genre: a genius on the ivories, an honest sweet voice, not to mention a fearless pioneer in the fight for the civil rights of all people. I have long treasured his music, and his infamous performance style, and am honored each time that someone sees a bit of him in my musical style and delivery.

Your dining and entertainment venue Club Raleigh at the Oaks opened in Greenwich Village during the fall of 1998 to outstanding reviews. It also seemed to attract New York’s gay population. Would you consider your music gay friendly?

Well, I guess gay people have impeccable taste in music and food! [Laughs], Club Raleigh definitely had both. I've always believed in the ‘foursome’ of great friends, great food, great music and great drinks. I think it’s the best way to celebrate. As for my music being gay-friendly – absolutely! Love is love. If my music can make anyone from any walk of life appreciate love that little bit more, then I feel I’ve done my job. 

Henry Chung

David Raleight plays:

Thursday 12: Red, 4/F, Two IFC, Central, 8129 8882 

Friday 13: Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Rd, Central 2521 7251

Saturday 14:  The Pawn, 62 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, 2866 3444


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