Jazz crooner’s big voice almost silenced permanently
Romantic ending for “What Happened To Romance” singer Steven Davis after suffering a severe vocal cord bleed
Los Angeles, California (14 July 2015): Hard to fathom how close the jazz world came to losing the grand, velvety voice of crooner Steven Davis, who is presently garnering airplay and accolades from around the world on the heels of his first big band offering, “What Happened To Romance.” A severe vocal bleed silenced him completely for seven months and doctors did not know if the Nashville-based singer-songwriter would ever be able to sing again. It took over a year for him to fully heal, rebounding remarkably to record three original albums in less than one year.
Awakened in the middle of the night in early November 2013 by a profound coughing spell lasting several hours, Davis aspirated into his lungs and mistakenly thought that he was experiencing a bronchial problem. Instead of rushing to the ER, he waited nine days before seeking medical care.
“The doctors didn’t know if I would ever really sing again as I waited too long for treatment and the bleed was severe and very serious,” recalled Davis, who was treated by world-renowned voice specialist Dr. Robert Ossoff, executive medical director of the Vanderbilt Voice Center in Nashville. “The worst concern with this sort of bleed is scar tissue in the wake of healing. I was put on a very aggressive treatment immediately with massive doses of steroids for many weeks. During the course of the next seven months, I was put on absolute mandatory vocal silence multiple times with some periods lasting a month. No talking and no whispering period. This sort of silence draws you inward. It’s a very Zen experience actually. The emotional layers take on an almost spiritual quality.”
It was happenstance that the injury occurred after Davis had taken a prolong break from singing and had just begun testing his voice in the studio in preparation for recording for the first time in many years.
“There was great irony in that I had finally come home to singing after such a long hiatus, facing my fears in stepping up to the mic for the first time in years, only to be silenced by the bleed,” Davis said.
Shortly after the extended recovery period was complete and Davis was cleared to resume singing, he met Josh Charles and Alissa Moreno, the songwriting and production team known as The 88s. Work commenced almost immediately on “What Happened To Romance,” a swinging big band session recorded in New York City with accompaniment by The After Midnight Orchestra comprised of veterans of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands. Primarily encompassing new compositions authored by Davis and The 88s that are in the spirit of the Great American Songbook, radio programmers, reviewers and enamored fans are warmly embracing Davis’s retro sound, fresh material and charming tales of romantic ardor that could become modern standards.
Davis and The 88s spent the spring in Los Angeles recording and are wrapping up a big band Christmas album highlighting original selections plus one chestnut, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” a stocking stuffer that will be released in time for the holiday season. Also in the can, but being held for release in 2016 is a more intimate Davis recording date in which the mellifluous baritone is backed by a jazz trio. After nearly losing the only thing he’s known since he was five years-old, he is passionately inspired, which is part of the fire behind the prolific period.
“On the wings of my recovery, I began writing and recording with a renewed perspective and a fresh approach to making music. There is more joy, more satisfaction, more pleasure and more fun in making music now – more than I ever could have imagined,” said Davis, whose bewitching celebration of love, “Perfectly Perfect” from “What Happened To Romance,” serves as the splendid soundtrack to an international television spot for Centralway Numbrs, a Germany-based mobile banking application. “The crisis served as a personal awakening and re-embrace of a gift that often times can be easily taken for granted in the most subtle of ways. Now I treasure the gift, I respect the gift and I honor the gift – more than I have in my entire career. I’m so lucky, so grateful for my reprieve from the edge of silence.”
For more information about Davis, please visit www.StevenDavisMusic.com.