David Ullman:
The TVD Interview

Northeastern Ohio native David Ullman is trying like hell to release his next album on vinyl. “I’m hardwired to write, perform, record and release music,” says Ullman in his RocketHub video. “For me, if you’re going to release music in this day and age of digital downloads, that’s not real to me. Music on this [holds up MP3 player] is not as real as this [holds up a 12”]. We have relationships with the records we love. By putting out a vinyl record, I can connect with people that appreciate vinyl records.”

Here’s the TVD exclusive on David’s “first albums,” why he chose to partner with RocketHub to fuel his vinyl dream, and his thoughts on the lineup for this evening’s Beachland Ballroom & Tavern show that will serve as the last big push towards funding his album.

How long have you been making music?

I guess I first started making music when I was 7 or 8 and off and on since then. But since 2004 or 2005, I’ve started playing out under my own name.

When did you decide that you enjoyed singing?

Oh, well, that’s probably around that 7-to-8 period. I saw the movie La Bamba and shortly after that, the Buddy Holly story about the fifties rock ‘n’ rollers, and that really got me going. My dad played guitar, and he taught me how to play Buddy Holly songs when I was that age. I used to make tapes in my bathroom.

Aw, that’s cool!

I was a big weirdo. [laughs] Sounds cool now, but as a 7-to-8-year-old it was a weird thing to do. Those were my first albums, you could say. I used to draw little covers for the tapes based on Christian rock or pop tapes my parents had. I haven’t thought about that in a long time. I’d love to see one of those tapes now…

What do you think brought you back towards music after you dabbled in making movies?

I think that the main thing was I got married young and divorced very soon there after. And suddenly I found myself with a lot to express, and music was such an immediate way of release. When I had that dramatic life change at 24, I had a lot to say for myself, a lot to sort out. Music provided a great sort of healing and release for me. Since then, I’ve really had the main motive of sorting the world out and expressing myself.

Are there any vocalists that you would cite as inspirations?

I really respond to the dynamic singers, that can sing a song softly and in the next moment be bellowing or screaming. That appeals to my sense of drama and relief. I also really like Glen Hansard from the Frames; I’ve gotten into Bruce Springsteen a lot in this last year; I love Bono a lot as a singer. I don’t have a lot of obscure references. Trent Reznor. I love his attack. I love anything that musically feels like a kick in the balls. That’s what I aspire to do for myself, to sing with a passion that can’t be ignored.

Let’s talk a little bit about your project. What prompted your decision to go with RocketHub to fund your album?

I actually chose RocketHub because I heard an interview on a do-it-yourself music podcast with one of the cofounders, Brian Meece. He was talking about the platform and how he started it up as a musician and was one of the pilot projects. I really responded to his story, which was basically the same as mine, as somebody who continued to play music throughout their life and felt the need to share it with people but was never in the place where it was a sustainable enterprise. But the way that he focused on the audience you already have, I think that musicians can get easily obsessed with growing a support base, and you can forget how precious the ones you’ve already garnered can be. Also he talked about what he found people to be responsive to in his project: perseverence. I just really responded to RocketHub’s whole approach to the whole thing, which was really inclusive and personal.

The show lineup is really interesting. What can we expect?

I think you can expect a very unique evening. The show is curated by Terry Durst. I think it was his goal to put together a bill of eclectic acts. He’s seen a lot of shows at the Beachland, and I think for him it was kind of the intent to try to put together a bill that doesn’t make sense in as obvious a way. I’m trying to prepare a unique set. I used to play once a week for the last few years. For the last nine months or so, I stopped doing that because I felt like I wasn’t growing as much from it, and I felt like it was costing me opportunities. It’s kind of a new and exciting thing for me to make sure that each of my performances are unique and different. I think unique and different and eclectic are all words that apply to the lineup.

I feel very proud to garner his approval so early. My first show there, he was working the door, and he was really complimentary. And I thought, “Wow! What a cool thing to have happen.” That’s a very sought-after venue by performers in this area and around the country. It’s a cool place. To have someone there take such an interest in me has been really gratifying. I’m just grateful to be a part of it and looking forward to giving people a hell of a show.

Cleveland, if you’re looking for somewhere to be tonight, we strongly suggest you head out to the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern and catch the eclectic lineup of The Giggitys, David Ullman, and Miss Firecracker. Let’s help one of our own reach his dream of pressing vinyl! And for all you out-of-town folks, if you were touched by David’s story, please support him on his quest to make an album by visiting his RocketHub project site.

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