David Fonseca
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David Fonseca

Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Pop Rock

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"The Most Popular Pop-Rock Alternative Singer in Portugal: An Interview with David Fonseca"

At the age of 33, David Fonseca is the most popular pop-rock alternative singer in Portugal. He is a writer, composer, musician and performer.

Fonseca’s first band “Silence 4” imposed itself as the biggest phenomenon of the Portuguese music scene in recent years. The debut album was entitled “Silence Becomes It” (1998), selling more than 240,000 copies (representing six platinum records), and leading to a long tour that lasted two years.

“Sing Me Something New” (2003) was the title of David Fonseca’s debut album as solo artist, playing nearly all instruments and exploring his composer and performer side.

In 2004, Fonseca joined a Portuguese super-band called “Humanos,” he sang alongside famous musicians Manuela Azevedo and Camané. “Humanos” re-recorded new versions of songs by legend singer-songwriter Antonio Variações. This tribute album received multi-platinum records and stayed #1 in the charts for weeks.

In 2005, David Fonseca was ready to release his second solo album “Our Hearts Will Beat As One” (2005), it went straight to #1 on sales charts and reached Gold status on the first weeks of sales. It was critically acclaimed by media—they referenced the album as “Pop Album of the Year” in Portugal.

“Dreams In Colour,” Fonseca’s latest album was released in October (2007), also reaching #1 on sales chart and Gold status, having established the artist as one of the most successful Portuguese artists of all time. The first single “Superstar” is an upbeat song with a contagious whistle-tune that became a summer hit. Its video was directed by David Fonseca. The second single, “Rocket Man,” was his own version of Elton John’s 1972 classic song. A stunning one-take video directed by the artist; indeed a ground-breaking video and performance.

On January 2008, MTV chose David Fonseca as “Artist of the Month” for the second time in his career. [1]
Interview

Adriana de Barros, Scene 360: You clearly have influences from the 80s era. What are some of the bands that inspired you?

David Fonseca: There are a lot of them, but back in the 80’s I would focus more on the songs, than on the bands itself. I started listening to real music (opposite to fake music that played constantly on the radio) with an album called “From Langley Park To Memphis” by Prefab Sprout. That was probably the first album I heard from start to finish… Well, I’m not considering “Breakin’ – There’s No Stopping Us,” the soundtrack of the movie, even though I danced to it like there was no tomorrow. The greatest influence I had came in the early 90’s with the most amazing band of all times: The Pixies.

You’re known to wear Converse sneakers, and and some years ago, you influenced a trend in Portugal of the “layer-look” (e.g. t-shirts over long sleeves). And now I’ve seen you with 80 style sunglasses, among other fashionable stuff. Where do you buy your clothing and accessories?

This is a tricky question for me, since I don’t pay attention to fashion that much and I don’t know much about the latest trends. I guess I’ve been wearing pretty much the same clothes for some years now and, amazingly, they fit into this era! I buy most of what I wear at very common places, nothing too specific.

You are good looking man. You promote yourself on the web, and also through print mediums with distinct and artistic photography and design of your album campaigns. It is all presented in a modern yet classic way, as if the images could be shown in twenty years time, and still look good. How important is branding one’s self to benefit actual music sales?

Well, thank you Adriana, I’ll keep that in mind when I look at Sasquatch in the mirror every morning ; ) It’s important to me to find the right imagery for the songs I’m doing and I work on them with the same spirit, but I don’t think I’m doing that for business reasons. Photography was my first love and I couldn’t do it other way, it’s just another way of releasing the passion that moves me in this job. Maybe it helps the folks down at the store, but that’s not really my thing : )

You have a film degree and you were a professional photographer working in fashion. Does this explain why you are fully involved in making your own videos, designing album covers, and more? What are the advantages of doing this yourself?

As I said, I really enjoy doing it. The great advantage is that I know EXACTLY what I’m looking for. I’m working on something that came a long way to get here, all I have to do is to put the right frame on it. I’d like to have more time to do these things, so I could get more out of it, but I put music in first place.

Videos like “Little Drummer Boy” and “Amazing Grace” have a home-made look to it. Is this showing a more realistic side of David Fonseca?

Those videos were done by myself, running around hills carrying the tripod and a guitar, no crew involved, no special effects, no camera movements. I like to do those videos because I have fun doing them, but - Scene 360


"The Art of being David Fonseca"

Despite his outward optimism, David Fonseca
has a sadness about him, something that cries, some sort of longing. His wistfulness
is never completely gone; it’s there under his skin, like a scar. Without
it, he would hardly recognize himself in the mirror.
And yet David is an accomplished chameleon. Between Waves, his just-released
fourth album, is completely different from the previous ones. It’s full of tunes
with improbable orchestrations, high-speed twists and blind turns, in which
he attempts to set down the moments lived on tour, the stories he experienced
while away from home, and which drive him to write his songs. The record was
born of countless takes, set down on small tapes, in hotels, on buses, backstage at
his shows, here and there. It is also an introspective record, one born of the morning
after the party, while on tour; a record that looks back and revisits times just
past. And David, as always, shows no reservation in exploring his experiences to
create unforgettable songs. “I never wrote anything that wasn’t personal” he says
with an intensity that is difficult to ignore.
Composing is a process of trial and error for David Fonseca, as though he lived
in perpetual chaos, one that has little to do with the idyllic concept of inspiration,
the “divine breath”: from the bewildering soundscape of creations that
he collects, he has to “drive out what he doesn’t want, and that’s where the
mystery of writing songs is born”. A self-confessed melomaniac, he considers
himself a musician constantly questing for new solutions and sounds. “There
are songs that don’t survive into records. They get left behind,” he explains.
Each new record is a media event, but David never ceases to be amazed when he reaches
the top of the charts. Between Waves is his third consecutive record
to premiere at number one in the tops. “He is an esteemed author, composer,
photographer and film director, and those who know him are aware that he
could be just as good at anything else if he just put his mind to it,” says Ricardo
Fiel, the guitarist in his band. “He has a common sense, a talent for improvisation
and leadership as I’ve only rarely seen. Not to mention his great soft skills,
and his brilliant sense of humour.”
The speed at which it all happened in David Fonseca’s career is astounding.
Born and raised in the town of Leiria, he earned a BA in Cinema – Image from
the Lisbon Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, and attended the Fine Arts
Faculty in the same city. He actually began his professional career as a fashion
photographer. What is truly amazing, however, is that he came to music by
chance. “I didn’t want to be a musician. I wanted to be a photographer. The
first Silence 4 record was released in June 1998, and we were playing the Pavilhão
Atlântico [a large indoor arena in Lisbon] by December. That stripped
success of its drama to me. It’s nothing special. I was immunised to the irresistible
draw of the summit,” he jokes.
But life is not a photograph, where things
are staged to look good, recorded, and then
become an image for posterity: it’s a chaotic,
messy, rapid, unpredictable process. The only
certainty is that everything changes. “I never
dreamed this would make a living of this. But
right on the first day on which I played with
Silence 4, in Reixida, a village near Leiria, in a
borrowed house, I knew I’d never stop doing it,” he recalls. “And when I saw that
music allowed me to dabble in other fields, such as photography and video, I realized
it would be a dream job.”
David Fonseca’s musical career began with Silence 4, a group he formed with
a few hometown friends. Their debut album, Silence Becomes It, was released
in 1998. To everyone’s amazement – including David himself – the record was
a huge hit in Portugal, selling close to 250 thousand copies (six Platinum records).
Two years later, in 2000, the band released its sophomore effort, Only
Pain Is Real, which sold over 100 thousand copies. In 2002, the band broke up,
and the following year David Fonseca produced his first solo album, Sing Me
Something New.
It is one of David’ traits: he is hyperactive, has many interests and several simultaneous
projects. “When I read a biography of Queen, I realized why they were
so special: they were always on a world tour, and released records almost every
year,” he explains. In 2005, David Fonseca released the album Our Hearts Will
Beat As One, which went to gold in its first week and was considered the best Pop
album of the year in Portugal. In October 2007, the release of Dreams In Colour
would once again earn him the spotlight in Portuguese Pop.
In little over a decade, David Fonseca has produced four solo records, two with
the band Silence 4, and one with the group Humanos; he has also released
several DVDs. Still, he is bashful of his accomplishments. Whatever his field of
choice, he is his harshest critic, a quality that often distinguishes - Voyeur


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

PRESS KIT: http://www.davidfonseca.com/mulder/david_fonseca_press_kit_2009.pdf

VIDEOS: http://www.youtube.com/davidfonsecamusic

MYSPACE: http://myspace.com/davidfonseca

OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.davidfonseca.com

David loves cats. Hes got three at home and they keep him company when hes by himself. He's one of Portugal best kept secrets, an amazing musician and performer leading an amazing career. After the huge success of his previous band (Silence 4), achieving multi-platinum in 2 years, he pursued a solo career that keeps dazzling his audience with fresh sounds and unique performances. Achieving the difficult combination of commercial success and critics praise, his first two albums ("Sing Me Something New" (2003) and "Our Hearts Will Beat As One" (2005), launched him as an amazing singer-songwriter exploring dark subjects and different musical approaches for each track, leading his listeners to a complex and personal world.

His distinctive baritone voice and musical influences that vary from Roy Orbison to Roxy Music, Aphex Twin to B-52's, Jeff Buckley to Ryan Adams, transform his albums into a strong and unusual mix supported by his multi-instrumentalist skills and close-to-the-heart lyrics.

After achieving Gold status, various radio hits, a Vodafone campaign and a highly successful tours with his first 2 albums, he released "Dreams In Colour" (2007). It went straight to 1 on sale charts and went Platinum, confirming his status as one of the most successful Portuguese artists to date. Songs like "Superstars" and "Kiss Me, Oh Kiss Me" were 1 radio hits and he did over 60 sold out shows during 2008.

David: "DREAMS IN COLOUR" is a whole new experience for me, I never thought that my music could sound so optimistic and well lit. Not that I lost the melancholic and lost kid in me, I think he'll be there for a long time, but I found out that even the darkest moments carry some kind of ironic and hopeful meaning waiting to be untied...and sometimes i'm lucky to pull the right strings."

The album includes an amazing version of Elton John 1972 classic "Rocket Man", an unexpected and pleasant surprise for everyone. The stunning one-take video directed by David (he directed all the videos for "Dreams In Colour") was a groundbreaking performance that shocked and appealed everyone who saw it.

On January 2008, MTV chooses David Fonseca for Artist of the Month for the second time in his career and he starts to get some deserved attention outside his country.

"Dreams in Colour" had an international release and was launched in ITALY, GREECE and SPAIN. David presented the album in showcases along with Gabriela Cilmi and One Republic in Italy and reached 1 in the MTV-GREECE chart, which led the music channel to invite him to play live in Athens along with bands like R.E.M and KAISER CHIEFS. He was also chosen to be the opening act for KEANE in Spain.

A live DVD with a very special performance at the Lisbon Coliseum was released during November 2008, a celebration of one of David's highest moments. A mix between cinema, theater and live music, the show got amazing reviews and received an award for "Best Show of The Year".

Written while touring, “Between Waves “ is the brand new album by David Fonseca. A collection of songs inspired by life on the road and its high and lows establishes David as one of the greatest european songwriters of his time. Written, recorded and sung by David, also playing every single instrument on the record, it's released in 2009. The acclaimed single “A Cry 4 Love” blends a retro sound with David’s own musical imagery, a timeless song becoming an instant hit.
This is the 1st release on his own independent label, “Castle of the Amazing cats”.