Presenting our Seventh "GVAC Song Clinic" Podcast Guest: David Pomeranz
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, singer, composer, and lyricist David Pomeranz was inspired by a wide range of musical influences- from the Hebrew hymns sang during the high holiday services at his synagogue, to Leonard Bernstein’s music & Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics on the West Side Story Soundtrack.
He quickly learned to play the piano, guitar and drums, and began writing his first original songs at the tender age of fourteen. At nineteen, he got his first big break when Decca records signed him to a multi-album solo contract, launching what would turn out to be a long, illustrious career.
David’s songs have been recorded and performed by a number of legendary artists including Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Kenny Loggins, Freddie Mercury, Donna Summer and Missy Elliot. He’s also written or composed for a number of musical theatre shows and major motion pictures including “Big”, ‘King Kong”, and “Man, Woman, and Child.” All in all, David’s recording and songwriting credits have earned him a total of 22 platinum and 18 gold albums - selling over 40 million records internationally.
For our latest “Give Vance a Chance: Song Clinic” Episode, David sits down with our host Ronny Vance to chat about his fascinating career journey, tips for young songwriters, the moment he discovered he was an unlikely sensation in the Philippines, and a whole lot more. Here are some of the highlights from the episode:
On being inspired by West Side Story as a five year old:
Leonard Bernstein’s music, Stephen Sondheim lyrics, just touched something in me. It was a point of perfection, a point of emotional depth that nothing else gave me. Nothing else in life gave it to me…[I just said] that is beautiful. That is it. That is beautiful, and that's what I'm going to do. It wasn’t “I'm going to be a songwriter and I'm going to sing and I'm going to write.” No, it was just that I want to do this, I want to be this, I want to drink it, I want to eat it, I want to sleep it, I want to breathe this in, this incredible thing. And when I got going with it, I didn't realize…but what I was really doing was trying to share [that] with others.
On being opportunistic:
The door opens, an opportunity says hello, you walk in and you are grateful, you comply. You find out what they want and you deliver it, and you deliver it and you deliver it, and magically the whole thing expands.
On overcoming writer's block:
When I start to get in [my own] way…I have a hard time. But if I just go on autopilot and let it [fly], then I'm always surprised where it goes and I'm often delighted…But every time I'd start to tweak it too early, I I walk into this thing called writer’s block…The other thing that causes writer’s block for me…is when I don't know what I'm writing about or don't know what I'm saying. Why am I saying this? What am I saying? And as soon as I clarify what I'm saying, I either realize that I don't care and I throw it away, or I clarify what I'm saying and write it out and say, well, wait a minute, how would this character feel? Let me be this character, That's just a normal, natural thing to write about, and you start writing.
On contemporary music he’s excited by:
If it's stuff I've heard before, it's like, 'oh, I get what they're doing- they’re just repeating something so they can have a hit…' But when I hear the FINNEAS records…when you hear something that's kind of like, 'wait a minute, what's that?' Or even the Adele/Max Martin record ("Send My Love (To Your New Lover)") …it was so unusual. I was driving along [and it made me go] wait, what is that?
On Ronny coining him the “Elvis of the Philippines”:
A promoter contacted my agent, saying 'come to the Philippines. Your songs are huge here, you’re number one on the radio, etc. Can you come and perform, bring your band, we're going to throw money at you, lots of it…' I thought he was kidding around, you know, but he wasn't…And so when we first came to the Philippines for that performance, it was in a huge arena and the reporters were snapping away at the airport and I looked over my shoulder like, who's on the plane? What is going on here? I didn't get it…I toured everywhere, I kissed babies and shook hands. It felt like I was running for president…and the thing blew up to proportions that I never dreamed of.
For David’s full interview, and more episodes in our podcast series, click here