i met Tim Davis at Jody McBrayer's wedding in 1998. we remained friends of friends for a while, but have recently reconnected in the last couple years and realized... we are just plain friends now. Tim is a master vocalist, knowing what notes go where and why. i'm pretty sure he has hidden sets of ears because he hears things others don't. i have only worked with him a handful of times, but i know that every time i do i'll learn something. currently Tim is the vocal contractor/arranger for Glee... all those songs on that show? all those vocals? they sound good because of Tim Davis. i asked Tim to answer the music monday questions because 1. he's bright and perceptive and, as i mentioned... he knows things. and 2. because i love his heart. he's a genuine man of God with humility and compassion, and we could all use a bit more of that. but brace yourselves... he's got some truth-in-love stuff to share:
1// what part do you play within the music industry?
I am primarily a studio singer, but have morphed into a vocal arranger, and vocal contractor and conductor.
2// briefly describe how you got where you are; tell us your story.
Briefly? Oh dear. Not an easy one for me, but I’ll try.
I began singing at the age of 17 and continued through college. Out of college I joined a gospel vocal group, where I began to learn the skill of recording in the studio. I loved it. I moved to Nashville with one goal: to be a background singer on artists’ records. in 1995, my wife Melody and I moved. I worked as a waiter for 5 months, and then the Lord gave me the desire of my heart. I started working as a session singer, and haven’t stopped since. We moved to the LA area in 1999. I sang on a number of films, commercials and tv shows in LA before being asked to be a part of Glee. This brings me to today.
3// what advice would you give someone that wants to do what you do?
My advice? Humble yourself. Don’t promote yourself. Consider others better than yourself. Make no reputation for yourself. Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, and He will lift you up when it’s time. The Lord most High is the ruler over all the kingdoms of men, and at His discretion, He places men and women in positions of power. Truly. That is my advice. Promotion does not come from the east, west, north, or south, but from the Lord alone. All of this defies the wisdom of man. Godly wisdom usually does.
God began teaching me this at the very beginning of my career, and He has done crazy amazing things in my career which have proven His word to me in this way without fail. I have not been perfect, but I have made a point choose to humble myself. When the wisdom of man says “promote yourself!” the Holy Spirit whispers “stay low... let Me do it”. One of the main fruits of this approach is that the Lord has freed me from the fear of the opinion of man, which is the thing that this industry is run on.
If you want incredible promotion, and to be free from the fear of man, do it God’s way. There is no alternative.
4// whats your take on the future of the industry? where do you see it going? will digital music take over the world?
I can only speak of my little corner of the industry. The future for session singers is definitely to be a self contained singer with the ability to record remotely. More and more producers and composers are emailing their trax to singers to record in their home studio. To be competitive today, being able to record yourself at home is a must.
5// what is the best way for an aspiring artist to get their foot-in-the-door?
“Do you see a person of great SKILL? He will stand before KINGS, he will not stand before unknown men” Prov. 22:11 It’s our SKILL that will get our foot in the door and in front of the kings and queens of this industry. Be the most skillful and the best at your craft, and trust God to place you before these kings and queens. I can guarantee you based on my experience... He will.
6// how does one get a demo heard by the right people?
Same as above. Wait for someone to ask... “let the lips of another praise you and not your own...” Proverbs 27:2
7// what is the Christian industry looking for as far as future talent?
I can only speak as a Christian in the secular industry. I want to see people who are called to minister to the church. In my estimation, it seems that most “Christian artists” are singers who are seen as marketable by the “machine”. Cynical? Perhaps. But look at the fruit. What is the result of the person “ministering” on the road? Are people coming to Christ at their concerts? or are people simply entertained? Are they giving something of substance that will challenge peoples lives? i would hope that's the case. my advice is that great care needs to be taken and young artists (all artists) need to have accountability as the “artist” typically is a baby themselves, and has little to say about their own experience with God. Not their fault, but it is the fault of the labels who perpetuate and enable this money making machine called Christian music. Now - don’t get me wrong. I DO believe that some are indeed called to minister both to and outside the church, and the power of the Holy Spirit is evident when they open their mouths. Crystal Lewis is one of those. I’m not speaking about the exception, though... unfortunately, the Christian industry seems to have deteriorated into nothing more than an shallow, churchy, entertainment factory with no substance.
8// itunes or physical product you can hold in your hand?
9// what artist(s)/music are you listening to and/or inspired by right now?
I don’t really listen to music. :)