‘BLESSED’ LIFE

MEM­PHIAN BEAU DAVID­SON, A FIX­TURE ON CMT’S “THE SINGING BEE,” NAMED ONE OF “OUT­STAND­ING YOUNG AMER­I­CANS.”

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - 901-529-2797 By Michael Donahue donahue@com­mer­cialap­peal.com

When he’s not per­form­ing on CMT’s “The Singing Bee,” writ­ing and record­ing songs or act­ing, Beau David­son makes per­sonal ap­pear­ances around the coun­try.

“I was han­dling al­li­ga­tors this morn­ing and I’m kind of tak­ing a break,” said David­son, 32, dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view. He was hold­ing some al­bino ga­tors at an al­li­ga­tor farm in Houma, La. Later that week he sang his orig­i­nal song, “Blessed,” at an early In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tion on the grounds of Houma’s Civic Cen­ter.

A na­tive Mem­phian now liv­ing in Nashville, David­son re­cently was named one of the United States Jaycees “Ten Out­stand­ing Young Amer­i­cans” for 2013. For 75 years, the Jaycees have hon­ored men and women un­der age 40 who best ex­em­plify the high­est at­tributes of the na­tion’s emerg­ing young lead­ers. Past re­cip­i­ents in­clude pres­i­dents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clin­ton, Ger­ald Ford, Richard Nixon and Teddy Roo­sevelt and en­ter­tain­ers Pat Boone and Wayne New­ton.

An­other honoree was Elvis Pres­ley, whose singing style heav­ily in­flu­enced David­son. Elvis’ award is on dis­play at Grace­land.

I want my voice to be known for sub­stance, for qual­ity. I’m clas­si­cally trained. I’d like for peo­ple 100 years from now to be talk­ing about me as op­posed to two months from now.”

“It’s all banged up,” David­son said. “He brought it every­where he went. It hon­ored him as a cit­i­zen, a hu­man­i­tar­ian. (He wasn’t) just looked at as a singer.”

“Like Elvis, Beau was not cho­sen as an honoree due to his ac­com­plish­ments and his

cho­sen in­dus­try,” said Laura Ch­es­ney-Gadd, Ten Out­stand­ing Young Amer­i­cans di­rec­tor. “Rather, the im­pact he has made and con­tin­ues to make rais­ing aware­ness and en­gag­ing first-time vot­ers in the po­lit­i­cal process and be­ing rec­og­nized for all the phil­an­thropic en­deav­ors, like his sup­port of colon can­cer aware­ness, sup­port­ing the Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy As­so­ci­a­tion, mil­i­tary vet­er­ans aware­ness and Fash­ion for Ev­ery­BODY, an or­ga­ni­za­tion for fight­ing eat­ing dis­or­ders in Ten­nessee.”

David­son, who per­formed at cam­paign events for pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney and was on the ad­vi­sory board of a coali­tion called “Young Amer­i­cans for Rom­ney,” gave a speech at the Ten Out­stand­ing Young Amer­i­cans Award cer­e­mony in Seat­tle. “I talked about how we had an obli­ga­tion as young Amer­i­cans to con­tinue pass­ing the torch to a new gen­er­a­tion be­cause it has been passed to us,” he said.

He wrote “Blessed” for a Vet­er­ans Day episode of “The Bold and the Beau­ti­ful,” on which he played him­self. “The open­ing lines of the song are ‘What is courage and what is honor? Are th­ese words or just ideals long for­got­ten?’”

David­son sings about “freedom, glory, honor and ser­vice” and asks, “Do th­ese words still ex­ist or are they an­ti­quated terms that have been passed down to us in sto­ries?”

The song goes on to say that peo­ple in the U.S. are blessed to have freedom, food, shel­ter and a voice. “We have a unique un­der­stand­ing of lib­erty that two-thirds of the world does not.”

David­son per­formed “Blessed” on the soap in front of an au­di­ence of mil­i­tary vet­er­ans. “There were ac­tu­ally real tears com­ing out of th­ese peo­ple who’d never heard of me or my song.”

The song also was used in a Fourth of July Bos­ton Pops con­cert. “It gets a lot of plays dur­ing mil­i­tary hol­i­days, Me­mo­rial Day and Vet­er­ans Day, in par­tic­u­lar.”

He also made a video to “Blessed,” which fea­tured vet­er­ans of all branches of the mil­i­tary. The video pre­miered on July 4, 2012.

Singing along at age 2 to a Michael Jack­son record­ing of “Bil­lie Jean” is David­son’s ear­li­est mem­ory of per­form­ing. He later com­peted in the Mid-South Fair Youth Tal­ent Con­test, mak­ing it to the fi­nals. Fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion from Mem­phis Univer­sity School, he at­tended North­west­ern Univer­sity, where he grad­u­ated magna cum laude with a de­gree in vo­cal per­for­mance/opera and po­lit­i­cal science.

In 2008, David­son moved to Los An­ge­les, where he guest-starred on “Days of Our Lives” and “Gil­more Girls.” He also wrote mu­sic and re­leased a dig­i­tal EP, The Good I can do to hang on for life and try to en­joy the ride. Hurt. His de­but sin­gle, “More Than I Can Give,” was in­te­grated in the on­line stream­ing li­braries of MTV, VH1, CMT and Great Amer­i­can Coun­try.

David­son got his start on “The Singing Bee” through mu­sic com­poser Steve Dorff, who also is the show’s mu­sic di­rec­tor. “He took an in­ter­est in me and my tal­ent. He sug­gested me to the net­work when a spot be­came avail­able, and I got it. He knew about me through so­cial me­dia. I sent him a mes­sage about the fact he did a lot of mu­si­cal scores and Broad­way com­pos­ing, which I’m in­volved in. I said, ‘ You’re a guy I need to meet.’ He re­sponded and we struck up a friend­ship. This is an ex­am­ple of where so­cial me­dia can lead to pro­fes­sional suc­cess.”

David­son recorded “Tear Down All the Walls,” one of Dorff’s com­po­si­tions.

“He did great,” Dorff Read more from him at uur­rff. blogspot.com. Be­come a fan of “Be­cause I Said So” on Face­book: face­book.com/al­ley­green­berg. said. “On top of his at­ti­tude and pos­i­tive en­ergy, he’s an enor­mous tal­ent and has a great singing voice and per­son­al­ity. And I think those are all the things that cre­ate a per­fect storm for some­one’s who’s go­ing to be highly suc­cess­ful.”

On the show, David­son sings a por­tion of a par­tic­u­lar song and the con­tes­tant has to per­fectly fill in the next phrase or the rest of the song. David­son has to cover ma­te­rial “as early as Bob Dy­lan and as cur­rent as Justin Bieber.”

David­son isn’t sup­posed to “mimic the artist who orig­i­nated the song;” he has to bring his own artistry to it. “Your voice is im­por­tant, but your look is too. You’re read­ing a teleprompter, but there’s a lot of cam­era and eye con­tact. They want to make sure you’re just as much a per­former as you are a vo­cal­ist.”

David­son, who hones his opera chops by record­ing arias and art songs he sang in col­lege and re­leas­ing them on so­cial me­dia, said, “I want my voice to be known for sub­stance, for qual­ity. I’m clas­si­cally trained. I’d like for peo­ple 100 years from now to be talk­ing about me as op­posed to two months from now.”

He keeps i n shape, work­ing out three to five times a week. “I’m lucky I’m pre­dis­posed to be­ing thin. My diet is pretty good. I do love sweets. I love seafood. I love chicken. For the soaps, they ex­pect when you come in there to have a great physique.”

In 2009, David­son was in­cluded as one of the 51 Hottest Bach­e­lors in Cos­mopoli­tan mag­a­zine. He still gets stopped on the street by peo­ple who rec­og­nize him from that mag­a­zine.

“I just got an e-mail f rom Cos­mopoli­tan. They’re run­ning a thing about the Cosmo Bach­e­lor All Stars. They were won­der­ing what I’ve been up to. I might have my shirt off, so I’d bet­ter be in shape if they fea­ture me in that mag­a­zine again.”

KEVIN SOM­MERS/SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­MER­CIAL AP­PEAL

Mem­phis na­tive Beau David­son has been singing since age 2, and is also a song­writer and ac­tor.

COURTESY BEAU DAVID­SON For the video to his song “Blessed,” Beau David­son fea­tured vet­er­ans of all branches of the mil­i­tary. The video pre­miered on July 4, 2012.

Past re­cip­i­ents of the U. S. Jaycees honor in­clude Elvis Pres­ley, whose singing style has in­flu­enced Beau David­son.

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