David Gray (musician)

David Gray

Gray performing in Redmond, Washington, US
9 December 2010
Background information
Birth name David Peter Gray
Born 13 June 1968 (1968-06-13) (age 43)
Sale, Cheshire, England
United Kingdom
Genres Alternative rock, folk rock, rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1992 – present
Labels Hut, IHT, Polydor
Website davidgray.com

David Gray (born 13 June 1968) is an English singer-songwriter. He released his first studio album in 1993 and received worldwide attention after the release of White Ladder six years later. It was the first of three UK chart-toppers in six years for Gray, the latter two of which also made the Top 20 in the US.


Early career

Gray was born in Sale and brought up in Altrincham, Cheshire before moving with his family to Wales where he grew up in the small coastal town of Solva in Pembrokeshire and went on to attend the Carmarthenshire College of Art. He later moved back to the north-west of England to attend the University of Liverpool.

Gray's first two albums A Century Ends and Flesh were issued in 1993 and 1994 respectively and led to Gray becoming popular in folk-rock circles, but both failed in terms of commercial sales.[1]

In 1996 Gray released his third album, Sell, Sell, Sell. With his first two albums having been entirely composed of acoustic folk music, this was his first mature exhibition and saw him use his now-trademark blend of folk, alternative rock and electronics for the first time.[citation needed] Despite critical acclaim, the album did not chart, but the song "Late Night Radio" received some airplay on alternative UK radio stations.

White Ladder (1998–2002)

The re-release of Gray's fourth record album, White Ladder, in 2000 on ATO Records, brought him commercial success and critical attention.[2] The album included his best-known songs: "This Year's Love", "Babylon", "Please Forgive Me" and "Sail Away". White Ladder was originally released on Gray's own label IHT Records in November 1998.[3] After its re-release, combined with the release and success of single "Babylon", it sold 100,000 copies in Ireland alone, making it number one for six weeks,[4] and it remains the biggest-selling album in Ireland.[5] In August 2000, "Babylon" hit No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart; it remains his biggest UK hit to date. In the United States, the album received a boost from jam-band leader Dave Matthews, who made it the first release by ATO Records, the record company he co-founded. "Babylon" was also the first of three US chart entries for Gray to date. In Ireland, White Ladder remains his biggest-selling album.[6]

Gray performing an acoustic set on 17 August 2003

The album was No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, two years and five months after its original release,[7] spending a total of 151 weeks on the chart.[8] Aside from "Please Forgive Me," which charted at No. 72 on the UK Singles Chart, all other single releases charted within the Top 20:[8] the re-released "Please Forgive Me" charted at #18, and "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" and "Sail Away" peaked at #26.

The year 2001 also saw the release of two compilation albums of Gray's early works and unreleased material, The EPs 1992-1994 and Lost Songs 95-98, both of which followed White Ladder into the Top 20 in the UK Albums Chart.

In November 2002, Gray released the follow-up to White Ladder, entitled A New Day at Midnight. The new release did not receive the same critical acclaim as its predecessor, but still went straight in at Number One, famously beating Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates's debut album What My Heart Wants to Say to the summit and selling nearly 150,000 copies in its first week of release; it went on to reach platinum status within a year, eventually being certified four times platinum overall, and was the second-biggest selling album by a UK artist in 2002, behind Pop Idol winner Will Young's debut album From Now On. A New Day at Midnight spawned two further UK Top 30 hits in "The Other Side" and "Be Mine" and a minor US hit with "Dead in the Water".

Recent career

Gray and his band performing in 2006

After a three-year hiatus which saw him wind down his recording and touring schedule due to exhaustion, Gray returned with his seventh album, Life in Slow Motion in September 2005, which, like its predecessor, also hit the top of the UK album chart in its first week of release. After the much-criticised A New Day at Midnight, Life in Slow Motion was hailed as a return to form by many critics. Lead single "The One I Love" was a Top 10 hit in the UK in October 2005 and spent three months in the UK chart. Following the relative commercial failure of follow-up singles "Hospital Food" and "Alibi", Gray again went into hiatus during 2006.

In March 2007, Gray released the compilation album Shine: The Best of the Early Years.

On 7 July 2007, Gray performed with Damien Rice at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium in London. Gray released a compilation CD of live covers entitled A Thousand Miles Behind exclusively through his official website on 8 October 2007 on CD and digital download.

On 13 November 2007, Gray released a Greatest Hits album which includes many of his best known songs as well as two new songs, including the lead single "You're the World to Me."

On 28 May 2009, Gray announced that his new album, entitled Draw the Line, would be released on 14 September 2009 in the UK and on 22 September in the United States. The album features guest appearances by Annie Lennox and Jolie Holland. The album's first single "Fugitive" was released on 7 September 2009. An expansive worldwide tour coincides.

On 19 September 2009, Gray performed his self-proclaimed first pool-side concert at the Rooftop Pool at The Colonnade Hotel in Boston for the Mix 104.1 End of Summer Bash. Gray performed songs from the new album, including "Fugitive," "Draw the Line," and "Jackdaw."

In an interview for an issue of Hot Press released on 3 December 2009, Gray revealed to Jackie Hayden that he was working on his next album, Foundling. Gray also revealed that one of the tracks will be called "The Old Chair." According to Gray, "It features just a drum kit and me on my Steinway piano. It's very quiet."

Originally, Foundling was to be released on 14 September 2010 in the United States. In an interview with the Miami Herald, Gray reiterated that it would be released in September 2010. However, it was released in the UK on 16 August 2010[9] and in the US on 17 August.[10] Foundling is a double album: the first CD consists of eleven new songs and the second bonus CD consists of eight previously unreleased songs. A ninth previously unreleased song is included when Foundling is ordered through iTunes.

Musical direction

Gray's early music was in a contemporary folk-rock, singer-songwriter mode; his primary instrument was acoustic guitar, with occasional piano. 1996's Sell, Sell, Sell featured some rock arrangements and electric instrumentation. Starting with the release of White Ladder, Gray began to make significant use of computer-generated music to accompany his voice and acoustic instrumentation, a technique which differentiates him from many of his peers.[citation needed] A New Day at Midnight continued this direction, although lyrically it was darker in tone than White Ladder and the instrumentation much more downbeat. In the liner notes, Gray dedicated the album to his father, who died in 2001. Gray also provided vocals on the electronic-based band Orbital's 2001 single "Illuminate." Despite the move to more complex music, Gray has used small-scale, often home-based, recording methods and equipment and espoused a do-it-yourself approach to music production. However, 2005's Life in Slow Motion is a collaboration with the record producer, Marius de Vries. For summer 2011, he will also be playing at the Dave Matthews festivals in Atlantic City and Chicago.


  • David Gray – vocals, acoustic guitar, piano
  • Rob Malone – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Neill MacColl – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals
  • Keith Prior – drums, percussion
  • Tim Bradshaw – keyboards, lap steel, backing vocals

Those former longterm band members left the band in late 2006:

  • Craig "Clune" McClune – drums, percussion, bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
  • David Nolte – guitar, backing vocals



Gray has been touring since 1993. Prior to his breakthrough album White Ladder in 1998, Gray had been the supporting act for the likes of Kirsty MacColl, Dave Matthews Band and Radiohead, He has had multiple tour dates in many different places such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.[11]

Personal life

Gray is married to Olivia, whom he wed in Los Angeles in 1993.[12] Gray and his wife have 2 daughters.[13] David Gray is an Atheist.[14]

Venus in Furs

The band Venus in Furs was formed in 1998 for the film Velvet Goldmine. (The band is named after the Velvet Underground song "Venus in Furs" whose title and lyrics in turn reference a novel of that name by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.) Gray provided vocals in the band which also included Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, Andy Mackay of Roxy Music and Bernard Butler of Suede.


I'm as mystified now as when I started. I'm no closer to understanding the difference between the ingredients of a really great song and a mediocre one.[15]


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 399. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  2. ^ "Biography". Official Community of David Gray. http://www.davidgray.com/about/bio/. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "NME Album Reviews – White Ladder". NME. UK. 14 July 2000. http://www.nme.com/reviews/david-gray/2555. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Perrone, Pierre (16 April 2000). "The infinite shades of Gray". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/the-infinite-shades-of-gray-720989.html. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Contact Us". Absolute Radio. http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/vip/profile/wjd8260/blog/104898/OBSCURE__LOVE__SONG_OF_THE_DAY___DAVID_GRAY.html. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Harrington, Richard (30 September 2005). "It's a Gray area". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/29/AR2005092900609.html. Retrieved 28 October 2007. 
  7. ^ http://www.billboard.com/#/news/gray-climbs-ladder-to-no-1-in-the-u-k-999161.story
  8. ^ a b "David Gray". Chart Stats. http://www.chartstats.com/artistinfo.php?id=732. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Discography – DavidGray.com". http://www.davidgray.com/music/discography/DG_AlbumDetails.aspx?albumid=72f24b39-952c-4a87-af1b-10f820e94bfb&Cat=Albums. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Discography – DavidGray.com". http://www.davidgray.com/music/discography/DG_AlbumDetails.aspx?albumid=f0670f7e-eed6-4e4f-a16a-4981e63f11de&Cat=Albums. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "Tour". Official Community of David Gray. http://www.davidgray.com/tour/. Retrieved 16 May 2008. 
  12. ^ Fine, Jason (2 May 2001). "A Brighter Shade of Gray". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/davidgray/articles/story/5918912/a_brighter_shade_of_gray. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  13. ^ McCann, Fiona (8 August 2009). "A line under the ladder". The Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2009/0808/1224252211919.html. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "Hot atheists and agnostics – Photo No. 1 – Houston Chronicle". Houston Chronicle. 7 June 2010. http://www.chron.com/channel/houstonbelief/photogallery/Hot_atheists_and_agnostics.html#21965791. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 

External links

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