Milan-based, Italian-Nigerian singer-songwriter David Blank has just released his new music project. Standing in line is the first of a series of four singles spread over time that will make up his second EP, produced by ilromantico and FLUIDOSTUDIO.
We met Blank three years ago, on the occasion of his solo debut EP, A cuor leggero, which was entirely sung in Italian; and in 2017 he was also among the guests of our event, Sangue Misto (Mixed Blood): Sound, Identity, Representation.
David Blank grew up around music. His father, a Nigerian preacher in the small Italian town of Camerano, introduced him to singing at the age of 5. In his church’s choir, the Cherubim & Seraphim (Love Divine), David learnt that music could bond people together like a family. Growing up a queer, black kid in a small Italian village, he could hardly find a sense of belonging. At the age of 15, struggling to cope with the small-town mentality, he moved to London, where he completed his studies and found a new, chosen family with other kids in the quest for freedom and fulfilment.
“Standing in line is like a mantra. The song is a prayer to coming out of the comfort zone, and making one’s voice heard. It is a testament to the fears and despairs that haunt us from childhood and to the blazing discovery of our own substance, which leads us to a new capacity: awareness,” the singer states.
The song starts with a few Italian words, then quickly shifts to English, while the final part unexpectedly turns to his Nigerian roots. In a recent interview on I-D, Blank revealed: “My life always gets back to the same point, the church. At the end of the video I sing in Yoruba, my parents’ language, which is also the other language they used to celebrate mass. The hymn you hear me sing is about healing, and it was the first one that came to mind when I was creating the song. Since I don’t believe in fate, I think it’s a good message after all this waiting [related to the Covid-19 pandemic], it’s the beginning of a journey even though it feels like it’s not getting anywhere.”
Filled with r’n’b, soul and afrobeats, David jumps on a time machine, travelling back to his childhood and exploring universal feelings such as waiting and solitude, introspection, transformation, and evolution. This intense journey is captured in the music video for Standing In Line, which depicts the fall from his innocence, to the loss of past, people and places he once loved, to the present.
“Where do I start?! This is the most personal song I have ever released and to be honest, I don’t know how to feel about putting my feelings on blast like this. This song is about that feeling of standstill, of when you feel like things aren’t moving forward, of when you feel like you’re being overtaken by everyone and it’s always been a constant for me as I’m my worst enemy and my main saboteur,” Blank confessed.”This song being out is a step forward, a hand reaching for that rope while drowning in quicksand, a ray of sun on a rainy day. Do what you will with it guys, this is one side of me and I hope that you can relate to my story.”
Watch the video and listen to Standing in line.
Follow David on Instagram
All images | by Alessio Barchitta
Tell us about a project or news you would like to read on GRIOT. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest posts by GRIOT (see all)
- Àsìkò’s visual representation of emotions | The personal becomes universal - August 7, 2020
- ‘Dancing at Dusk’ | 38 dancers from 14 African countries restage Pina Bausch’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ - July 24, 2020
- Open Call For Images | GRIOT curates next Guest Room over at Der Greif - June 15, 2020
- Watch Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years 1984-1992 - June 7, 2020
- George Floyd and Italy | The (black) grass is always greener on the other side of the fence - June 3, 2020