From being a one-time aspiring Fortnite pro, recording in his sister’s closet in Houston to a sold-out show in London’s Islington Assembly Hall, 18 year-old d4vd has done more in two years than many musicians could hope to do in a lifetime – and it almost seems to be by accident. As he regales to NME in this week’s Cover chat, the idea of making music was as much a surprise to him as it was the world; chance and circumstance elicited his early recordings, as did music creation app BandLab.
As the crowd arrives at the north London venue, their devotion to the songwriter – real name David Burke – is clear. Nearly all of those attending have come kitted out in white dress shirts desecrated with fake blood, paired off with a white rose in hand. While at first glance, the gig could be mistaken for a Halloween-inspired show by The Smiths, any presumptions about the night are quickly shifted; when the lights drop and d4vd comes running out with pep and energy, he comes clutching spare roses for those who didn’t get the memo.
On ‘You & I’, ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Bleed Out’, it comes as no surprise how the genre-bending musician has resonated with listeners worldwide. Confidently striding around the stage as if it were his second home (this is only his second-ever show in the capital), part of d4vd’s charm comes from his ease when it comes to poking fun with his audience. At one point, he chats about Snapchat streaks, and states that anyone who wants to get in touch can do so on his Discord page.
It is at the latter section of his show that you can see how his stripped-back songwriting style has allowed him to share his innermost emotions. On ‘Here With Me’ and ‘Don’t Forget About Me’ he shares his vulnerable sides, and the audience are more than happy to embrace that emotional connection, too. A special guest appearance of British singer-songwriter and labelmate Holly Humberstone – also signed to Darkroom, alongside Billie Eilish – of unreleased song ‘SuperBloodMoon’ only heightens the theatrics.
But closer ‘Romantic Homicide’, the 2022 track that cracked charts and garnered over 600m streams on Spotify, is proof of his wild, emotional rollercoaster of a journey. “I’m sick of waiting patiently for someone that won’t even arrive”, he and the crowd croon, but the era of d4vd is very much here.
‘You & I’
‘Here With Me’
‘Don’t Forget About Me’
‘SuperBloodMoon’ (with Holly Humberstone)
‘Take Me 2 The Sun’