Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Is David Glasper Doing In Southeast Asia?

Somewhere in southeast Asia, there is a man who can be found strumming his guitar in the afternoons, playing acoustic tunes only for a cameraman and the occasional small crowd who happen to be present at that time. But he's unlike your average street performer.

He's a middle-aged musician who once was a teen heartthrob in his native England. Along with two schoolmates, he formed a band and recorded three U.S. top-10 hits, two of which peaked inside the top-5. At one point in time, fellow Englishman George Michael rated his voice as one of the best he's ever heard.

So who is this fallen angel of a singer? His name is David Glasper, and his voice has gone unnoticed for far too long.

Glasper first achieved fame in the late 1980s as the frontman for Breathe, a British pop band. Their debut album, All That Jazz, was released in 1988, and three singles - "Don't Tell Me Lies" (#10 in U.S.), "Hands to Heaven" (#2), and "How Can I Fall?" (#3) - thrust the young man from Wales into the spotlight practically overnight. With his smooth vocals and heartfelt emotion, Glasper was poised to have a long, prosperous career. But after the release of his band's sophomore album, Peace of Mind, in 1990, contemporary tastes soon shifted from sophisticated pop to hard-rocking grunge and rap. While two singles - "Say a Prayer" (#21) and "Does She Love That Man?" (#34) - had moderate success in the U.S., it was evident Glasper's pop appeal was drawing its final breath by the early 1990s.

For well over a decade, up until the mid 2000s, Glasper remained out of the public eye. Aside from a single songwriting credit for Clay Crosse's debut CCM album My Place Is With You in 1993, it's unknown what Glasper was up to during this time, both professionally and personally. But by 2006, he resurfaced with a MySpace account, back when MySpace was still cool. He even released a few demos of original recordings for fans to hear, as if to say he hadn't fallen off the face of the Earth just yet.

But soon he did.

Somehow, someway, Glasper went from England to Thailand, had (or brought) a family there, and removed himself from all forms of global communication. Again, when exactly he did this is unknown. But what is known, albeit vaguely, is that he began having serious personal problems in the late 2000s. Among other troubling tidbits gathered throughout the World Wide Web is that Glasper's wife passed away, and this put him into a tailspin. He fled to neighboring Laos for three years, where he struggled to cope with said problems.

Then, on May 16, 2011, the first video of Glasper in twenty years surfaced on YouTube. The five minute clip featured him singing a rough demo of a song called "Soul Confidant" outdoors and shirtless. Not exactly the most flattering way to make a comeback after such a long hiatus, but it marked one of the few signs of his existence to a global audience since his singing days with Breathe. Later videos show him sporting a dragon tattoo over his right arm and ostensibly performing more demos before a small crowd.

So what exactly is he doing in southeast Asia? Depending on how you look at it, he's either at the end of his rope or grasping onto a stronger one. Like many other musicians whose success came primarily in the 1980s, his impact on pop culture has long since passed. But unlike many of those same musicians, Glasper has gone halfway around the world living in virtual obscurity, all the while dealing with his personal issues. Most would say from this that his troubles have gotten the best of him in spite of his success, even though he's still alive and only 46 years old (as of this post). But word on the web is that his experiences over these past several years have reinvigorated the songwriter within him to record a studio album's worth of new material. A forthcoming album, according to these posts, is expected sometime in 2012.

For longtime fans of Breathe and 1980s adult contemporary pop, this is a breath of fresh air from a voice whose presence has been sorely missed from the airwaves. It's not so much that David Glasper was an overlooked talent in a time dominated by fellow Brits, but in that he disappeared as quickly as when he first hit the charts with Breathe. To see him resurface, after a two decade hiatus and considering the circumstances he went through in recent years, is to see a man sharpened by adversity. It's a long-awaited redemption story finally coming full circle. All that's missing is the music to match the man's God-given talent.


Photo courtesy of Melissa Ott

17 comments:

  1. Great stuff. Terrific voice, incredible songs, incredible delivery. Songs still make their appearance at proms, weddings, mixtapes, anniversaries, etc. and collectively get millions of hits on youtube today. The guy may be a victim of his own success if he is having trouble and can't see his options.

    Some of the marketing narrowed his audience today; young handsome straight white guy singing ballads in the 80's and 90's... terrific to sell to girls at the time but I know I as a guy wouldn't go to a record signing though I think he is one of the best singers around. It just is what it is with these things. But his voice and the songs transcend that.

    Like I said, he still has an audience and if he did the whole independent thing with facebook, twitter, direct sales from a website, etc., he could tour and do very well. I dunno what the deal is economically but he is obviously making music and interested perhaps in sharing it. Why not?

    I definitely would get to a show to hear him or buy his music and I find it a shame that he isn't around and unfortunate that he is going through some stuff- even enough so to comment about it.

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    1. I agree with what you are saying in regards to David doing the independent route. I understand he doesn't like the internet. It can help him tremendously. I know many people who would see him perform again. Have you checked out his youtube demos? They are great! He has matured, as we all do, but he is still David, a great vocalist/songwriter/guitarist. I wish he used the internet so he could understand that he is well supported and missed!

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    2. I agree Mel, many miss his voice and hope he knows there is support out here for him. Such talent really needs to be shared.

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    3. Thank you for this great article about David Glasper. I, too, am a big fan of Breathe and David Glasper's voice.

      Your article does a great justice for David as we, the fans, counting down the days he finally emerge musically in the entertainment world once again.

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  2. David Glasper was favourite voice of mine from the 80's. Still IS a favourite voice of mine. So sad to find out of David's struggles. I've very often wondered where that angelic voice went. Now, sadly I know. Quite a story.

    I fell in love with David's voice from the first words I heard him sing with Breathe. His vocals on both of their albums were like magic in my opinion, unlike so much of today's music.

    I think he still has so much to offer emotionally, as well as musically both vocally & lyrically. I hope with help from family, friends, fans past & present David finds his way again and back to music. I hope he finds him self surrounded by good people to get him back on track and doing what his talents are clearly meant to do.

    I love music and have spent a lifetime wishing I had the talents of a beautiful, striking voice. If I had even a wee bit of the talent he so obviously still has today, I wouldn't waste a minute.

    I would love to have new music to listen too and see him perform. From what I've seen in just a few hours tells me many more feel the same as I do. Here's to hoping that with some help from his friends/fans known & unknown we will be hearing from again soon, better than ever. I hope he truly finds his way back to the music industry and a fresh start at life.

    David, I know it can't be easy, but keep trying. I've had my share of struggles so, I know it's hard. Life only gives so many chances, do waste any of them. Run with them. Don't give up.

    Joanne Reid

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  3. Dave was on a self destruct path after his dad died in the early nineties and Breathe got dropped by the label, his wife died last year. As a friend i really hope he turns his life around as his talent is huge, but there is an old saying....you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink.

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    1. Such life events are unfortuate, we all have our shares of challenges in life, it's just how we overcome them. Where there's a will, there's a way, hopefully he will see the gifts he still has to give. Keep your chin up, David! Positive vibes are being sent your way!!! :)

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  4. Definitely a God-given talent - interesting choice of words, as one of the things I've noted from so many of the Breathe songs is the strong spiritual under-current, either direct ("raise your hands to heave and pray") to the more subtle. Breathe was also one of the few refreshingly clean pop musical acts from the 80-90's timeframe, with lyrics you could sing without offending...

    It would be great to hear more - anything - from this group again.

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  5. Was just listening to one of Breathe's songs and decided to do a search- I'm so glad I did. He has one of my all-time favorite voices, so beautiful! I truly hope he did start/make another album. I will definitely be buying it. Thanks for this post!

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  6. So happy I found this article. I was wondering what had happend to this wonderful voice. One of the first ting I searched back in the mid 90s when the internets started…Was what happened to Breathe? I couldnt find anything. I hope he returns to the airwaves. His listeners re still here a waiting for a new album. Im listening to the Peace of Mind album right now. Thanks Spotify!

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  7. I hope to find him soon and bring his act to Manila. The Filipinos love David and Breathe's music a lot.

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    1. He's in Thailand, just a few miles away from us! I live in the Philippines too. Go David! Share your talent with the world! iamyourteacher.com

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  8. He is working on a solo album. I received a tweet today from David or who tweets on his behalf. I very much look forward to any music from him! Very excited for him and those of us who missed him and support him now. Spread the word! Help this talent keep finding his way back to using and sharing his talents.

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  9. Breathes two albums are regularly played on my playlist. I have often wondered what happened to the band, and I have fond memories of listening to All That Jazz in my car, driving with my then girlfriend (now wife). Even today, twety two years after we got married, we had that album playing on the stereo, and we were singing along with it.

    I hope David does come through with some new material. That sort of talent deserves to be heard.

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  10. Taken from the lyrics from their hit "Hands to Heaven", "So raise your hands to heaven and pray. That we'll be back together someday". Would love to see these guys reunite, heal old wounds and there's fans like me still waiting for them to play again.

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  11. David has more YT vids on the channel and is underway with making a better effort in connecting. Yes, he's still not into the net just yet but through his trusted friend and not manager Kris, David puts up vids as demos. The music is still in him and he wishes to share it at this time. Let's hope he keeps the wheels turning - Traci #TeamDavid

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  12. Loved Breathe, have their CDs, just heard one of their songs on the radio this morn. & looked them up to see what became of them. David was such a talent, had that great breathy quality to his voice, just like George Michael. Would love it if David made a comeback.

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