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David Byrne (born May 14, 1952)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


David Byrne speaking at the 2006 Future of Music Policy Summit.

David Byrne (born May 14, 1952) is a Scottish-born musician and artist most associated with his role as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American new wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Although a resident of the United States since childhood, Byrne is a British citizen.

Biography

Byrne was born into a family of Irish origin in Dumbarton, Scotland, to Tom and Emma Byrne. He was the elder of two children. Two years later, his parents moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and then to Arbutus, Maryland, when he was 8 or 9 years old. His father worked as an electronics engineer. Before high school, David Byrne already knew how to play the guitar, accordion, and violin. He was rejected from his middle school’s choir because they claimed he was "off-key and too withdrawn". From a young age, Byrne had a strong interest in music. His parents say that he would constantly play his phonograph from age three and he learned how to play the harmonica at age five.[3] In his journals he says, "I was a peculiar young man — borderline Asperger's, I would guess."

He graduated from Lansdowne High School in southwest Baltimore County. Byrne started his musical career in a high school duo named Bizadi with Mark Kehoe. Their repertoire consisted mostly of songs such as "April Showers", "96 Tears", "Dancing On The Ceiling", and Frank Sinatra songs. Byrne then attended the Rhode Island School of Design for one year before dropping out and forming a band called "The Artistics" with fellow RISD student Chris Frantz.[6] The band dissolved within a year, and the two moved to New York together with Frantz's girlfriend Tina Weymouth. Unable to find a bass player in New York, Frantz and Byrne persuaded Weymouth to learn to play the bass guitar. She admits that the encouragement she received from Byrne, Frantz, and famed trumpet player Don Cherry (who lived in their building), was critical as to her grasp of the instrument.

After some practice and playing together they founded the group Talking Heads which had its first gig in 1975. Multi-instrumentalist Jerry Harrison joined the group in 1977. During his time in the band, Byrne took on outside projects, collaborating with Brian Eno in 1981 on the album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, which attracted considerable critical acclaim and featured a groundbreaking use of sampling.

While working on the film True Stories, Byrne met costume designer Adelle Lutz whom he married in 1987. They have a daughter, Malu Abeni Valentine Byrne, born in 1989. Byrne and Lutz divorced in 2004. He is currently in a relationship with artist Cindy Sherman.

Byrne lives in New York City.

Work in music and film

In 1981, Byrne partnered with choreographer Twyla Tharp, scoring music he wrote that appeared on his album, The Catherine Wheel for a ballet with the same name, prominently featuring unusual rhythms and lyrics. Productions of The Catherine Wheel appeared on Broadway that same year. In Spite of Wishing and Wanting is a soundscape David Byrne produced for the Belgian dance company Ultima Vez.

As part of Talking Heads in 1978

His work has been extensively used in movie soundtracks, most notably in collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su on Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. In 2004, Lead Us Not Into Temptation (music from the film "Young Adam") included tracks and musical experiments from his score to Young Adam. Byrne also wrote, directed, and starred in True Stories, a musical collage of discordant Americana released in 1986, as well as producing most of the film's music. Byrne also directed the documentary Île Aiye and the concert film of his 1992 Latin-tinged tour titled Between the Teeth. He was chiefly responsible for the stage design and choreography of Stop Making Sense in 1984. Byrne added "Loco de Amor" (Crazy for Love) with Celia Cruz to Jonathan Demme's 1986 film Something Wild.

Byrne wrote the Dirty Dozen Brass Band-inspired score for Robert Wilson's Opera The Knee Plays from The Civil Wars: A Tree Is Best Measured When It Is Down. Some of the music from Byrne's orchestral album The Forest was originally used in a Wilson-directed theatre piece with the same name. The Forest premiered at the Theater der Freien Volksbühne, Berlin in 1988. It received its New York premiere in December 1988 at BAM, the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The Forestry Maxi-single contained dance and industrial remixes of pieces from The Forest by Jack Dangers, Rudy Tambala, and Anthony Capel.

In 1990, Byrne contributed a version of "Don't Fence Me In" to the AIDS benefit compilation album Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter produced by the Red Hot Organization. In 1996, he contributed a version of "Waters of March", in a duet with Marisa Monte, to the album Red Hot + Rio produced by the same organization. Byrne appeared as a guest vocalist/guitarist for 10,000 Maniacs during their MTV Unplugged concert, though the songs in which he is featured were cut from their following album. One of them, "Let the Mystery Be", appeared as the fourth track on 10,000 Maniacs' CD single "Few and Far Between". Byrne worked with the "Queen of Tex-Mex", Tejano superstar Selena, writing, producing and singing a song ("God's Child (Baila Conmigo)"), included on Selena's last album, "Dreaming of You", before her death. Byrne was the host of Sessions at West 54th during its second of three seasons and collaborated with members of Devo and Morcheeba to record the album Feelings in 1997.

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