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Singer Anthony David evolves, but stays true

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You've undoubtedly heard the saying that there's no such thing as an overnight success. Well folks, it's true — especially when it comes to soul singer/musician Anthony David.

David — who hails from Savannah, Ga., but lives in Atlanta — has been on the grind since the mid-1990s, but with each album he's released (from 3 Chords and the Truth to The Red Clay Chronicles to Acey Ducey), he's garnered more fans and more accolades (including a Grammy nomination for the song "Words" and a shout-out from President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, citing him as an artist in their iPods.) And his latest album, As Above So Below, is turning out to be his biggest project yet.

Since dropping the CD in February, David has already snagged his first-ever appearance on Tom Joyner's popular syndicated morning show (the aptly name Tom Joyner Morning Show), released a cameo-filled music video for the song "4evermore" (featuring soul brethren like Phonte from The Foreign Exchange, Eric Roberson and Algebra, among many others), and earned a spot on the Black Entertainment Television-sponsored Music Matters Tour (alongside singers Marsha Ambrosius and Melanie Fiona), which is currently crisscrossing the nation. Best of all, he's managed to — year by year — grow his career and his fan base without compromising his own artistic vision.

"I've always had creative control over everything. I've never said anything I don't want to say. And I've never done anything, pandering to try to get an audience," David says. "I do what I like to do, and I try to make songs for people who like it, too. ... I don't do shit like: 'Ooo that's what they're doing now — I gotta do that!'"

Still, don't think that a refusal to alter his music due to industry pressure means that his music hasn't evolved; his sound has most definitely changed. Just take a listen to his first album and you'll hear a collection of pared-down, blues-flavored, acoustic tunes ("Spittin' Game" and "Cold Turkey" for example). Fast-forward to As Above, however, and you can hear that his songs are peppered with funky drumbeats and futuristic-sounding keyboards (on tracks like "Let Me In" and "Body Language" ). That said, David's sonic transformation has been an organic one — although not all his fans are ready to let go of his earlier material.

"Three Chords and the Truth — as an acoustic album coming out — I think a lot of people perceived that as my sound, but that was just a collection of guitar songs I had. It just happened to be the first thing I ever came out with," says David. "So the next two albums was me going, 'Let's keep exposing people to what I think is good. And some of it involves guitar and some of it don't.'"

Interestingly, during his set of the Music Matters tour, David performs new songs (and some older stuff) in an "unplugged" format — melding together many of his multifaceted and divergent elements.

"The way I do acoustic, we incorporate things that a lot of people don't really do all the time. We incorporate a little electronic stuff," he says. "We're going to shock people with our acoustic set."

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