David Mark Bulley is no stranger to CelebMix. We’ve been championing the rising singer-songwriter and his releases for some time now, from the anthemic ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ to the electronic-tinged ‘Where Are You Now’.
Last year David made the difficult decision to take a break from the music industry, which left us wondering if we would ever get the honour of hearing new music from him again. However, before the year was out, David announced that he would indeed be returning in 2019 – news which delighted his loyal fans and us here at CelebMix.
Armed with a new sound, a new mindset and a new found confidence in himself, David’s forthcoming era of music is set to be his most raw and empowering yet. Kicking off with ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ on January 18, David is ready to tell his heartbreaking yet hope-filled story and show the world exactly who he is as an artist.
We recently sat down with David to get the lowdown on ‘The Calm Before The Storm’, what we can expect from his forthcoming album, his hopes for 2019 and more.
You’ll be releasing your new single ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ on January 18. It’s been a long time since you last released new music, so why is now the right time for you to kickstart your new era?
I think looking back over the years I’ve really struggled to find exactly the artist I wanted to be. I wrote and released music that at the time felt good but not great. I really found it hard placing my sound on the tracks that I released. I think as I’ve grown up I’ve become more mature with my writing and that’s helped with the development of my music. I feel now that I’m at a place in which I know my direction and what I want to achieve. I’m going into this new era with a completely open head space and what will happen will happen.
You’ve mentioned on Instagram that this song saved your life. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ and why you chose this particular song to launch your new music?
When I was writing for the album, I wrote a hook which at the time didn’t really seem like anything. I had no verse or song structure for it and it sat as a voice note on my iPhone.
To put it bluntly, this past summer I relapsed. Over the years I’ve had some on going personal struggles which I’ve battled constantly and I got myself involved with the wrong crowd. My social life became quite toxic because of a certain group of people that I surrounded myself with who never had my best interests at heart and in a way I was killing myself. It came to a point where I gave up. I was in a really bad place and I decided to stop music as I didn’t feel anything for it anymore.
I was away with my best friends at the time and they knew nothing about what was going on. I knew that a statement was going to be posted, and for me I thought that was it. I had no clue what life was going to throw my way after it. For a few days I locked myself in my hotel room. I refused to eat, I didn’t want to talk to anybody , I didn’t want to wake up the next morning. That was probably my lowest moment. Out of nowhere I listened to the voice note and something inside me just told me to start writing. That was the day that ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ was born.
The reason I chose this song to be the first I released for this new era is because it taught me about how precious life is. In that split second if I hadn’t have listened to that voice note, I have no clue where I’d be now. I want that to be something my fans can take away from this. That no matter how dark a place you can be in, there is always light at the end – never stop fighting.
What was the creative process like? How long did it take to for the song to develop from an idea into the finished product?
I’m so lucky to be creatively producing with Simon Pollitt. We’ve worked together for nearly seven years now. Our first song together was ‘Tell Me It’s Over’ and for me that is still one of my favourite songs we’ve co-written. It’s great to be able to have a vision in your mind that somebody else can also see but put their own inspiration on.
I’m the only writer on ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ myself so I was quite nervous when I played the original demo to Simon. It was a very rough vocal and piano track. We really took our time with this one. This whole album follows quite an avant-garde theme. Each track is not quite how you’d expect it to be. We’ve moved away from the pop sound and created a fusion of singer-songwriter with a twist of electronic enhancement. The pop is still present in the structure of the songs but they have their own twist.
What was your favourite part of the creative process? And what was the most difficult?
For this whole album I wrote the demos on keys. So I play the keys on 80% of the tracks. For me I just feel an even greater connection to the songs that I’ve played on and ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ is one that I hold very close to my heart because it’s so personal. It’s kind of like writing a letter to yourself and reading it back out loud.
I think the most difficult part of the process is reopening old wounds. I wrote this song at a very difficult time in my life and since then I’ve moved on. So when it came to going back into the studio and bringing it to life, I don’t think it’s ever easy remembering that place. I for one would never like to go back there so it was quite emotional for me.
Which lyric stands out to you as the most important?
“How can I love, when I can’t love myself anymore”. It’s pretty deep but I think it’s very important in today’s society. We’re so quick to love somebody else before ourselves. I’ve learnt over the years that you have to put yourself first otherwise you’ll crumble. This is something I’m still battling everyday and it will come with time. I want my fans to love themselves for who they are and not be something they’re not for somebody else.
Will there be a music video for the song? If so, what can we expect from it?
There will be a video but it’s not going to be a video that most would expect. This song is more of an insight into what the album will be like – the first lead single isn’t being released until February. I want this song to be a memoir that it’s my past and that I’m moving forward. The video will be a memoir for my fans of the past several years. It’s hard to explain but I want them to be prepared for anything. We’re still on pre-production for it and I want to take my time with it purely because if any song deserves a beautiful and tasteful visual then it’s this one.
The song is clearly very personal to you – you even recently had a cloud symbol tattooed on your wrist. However, what do you hope that fans will take away from the song?
I have a very open relationship with my fans. I feel very connected to them. Over the years we’ve built a strong bond and trust and they keep me sane and tell me when to shut up. When they hear this song, I really want them to not to feel sad. I want them to celebrate the war that we have faced these past several years. Life can be pretty hard and I’ve grown up with them. They’re all at a stage now where they are learning how tough life can be and whenever they feel like giving up, I want them to listen to this song and know they are worth something and that they do have the chance and deserve the best life possible. I’ve always categorised myself in the music industry as being a nobody. That’s how I’ve been made to feel but my fans never left me and even now they are still supporting me. For me, that is the most important thing I could ever ask for and be thankful for.
Last year you released an album called Prologue, which you recently declared as “dead”. Why did you decide to remove it from streaming/download sites?
Prologue was interesting. It was a catalogue of songs that I’d written over several years and just felt like it should be put out there? It was released at a very bad time. I was going through a very hard break up and just didn’t connect with it at all. I have to be honest, I pretty much hate 90% of the songs on that album. I just don’t feel any connection or passion for them whatsoever. They don’t define me as the artist that I want to be. However, I will always be grateful for those songs and the support that my fans gave them. They’re part of my alumni and always will be. I made the decision to remove them from streaming sites because I just can’t perform them live anymore and I don’t want my fans to be turning up to shows and expecting them. Maybe in the future they’ll reappear but for now my heart is completely in love with this new music and I hope that my fans have the same connection with these just like they did with the old.
A lot of your previously released songs are fan favourites – is this the last we’ve heard of them in terms of live performances?
Hmmm. Good question. Right now I’m going to say no. A couple will be in the setlist and they are the ones that still hold a sentimental place in my heart, others not so much. We held the funeral for ‘Lions’ quite some time ago. However, we are currently in the process of working on a very exciting project for one song in particular that you’ll just have to wait until summer 2019 for.
Looking forward to your new music, what’s going to be different about your music this time around?
This new music is very personal. I’ve been completely open with it and experimental with its sound. I think a lot of people just see me as an artist that writes ballads however, I feel this album is very mid tempo. It’s heartbreakingly powerful and has some sexual influences in there. It’s a more mature David and that is what I wanted. My fans are growing up and I want them to be able to listen to music that defines them and something that they can relate to.
How would you describe your forthcoming album in five words?
Heartbreaking, Empowering, Raw, Passionate and Honest.
You’ll be celebrating with ‘album sessions’ parties for the fans. For anyone hoping to attend, what can they expect from it?
I wanted to create something for my die hard fans. A moment that we can share together that nobody else can have. We’ll be playing some of the new songs, we’ll be performing some of the new songs. It’s just going to be intimate and very personal. I can’t wait!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during 2018?
To focus on myself. For a long time I’ve put others before my own self worth and it got me nowhere so I’m channelling those Ariana Grande vibes of ‘thank u, next’.
What are your hopes for 2019?
I’ve set myself the goal of going into 2019 with no expectations. I have a lot of work to do. I owe my fans the world and I can’t wait to give them all of this new music. However, I want to make my mark in the music industry and prove to everyone who doubted, and is still doubting me, that the time off that I took was validated and that I’m back for good and taking control once and for all.