Response is the feeling you get once your moment of reflection hits and many times you catch yourself jotting ideas for that next project or tweaks to make your craft better.
– Vernell Anthony Davis
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
VAD: I was born at Oakland Kaiser and raised in between Berkeley and Oakland for the most part of my life. I have a gigantic family and a majority of them reside in Berkeley so most of my days were spent being exposed to all walks of life and being influenced by different cultures and ways of living. I grew up going to Church, Jewish Synogugoes, Toast Masters and doing various activities because my parents believed in exposing us to the world and letting us build our own story. We made our mark in Berkeley by owning one of the best Barbeque restaurants in the East Bay called KC’s Barbeque. I don’t come from your typical city boy background. We’ve really taken on this whole western style meets city life by having a southern style barbeque restaurant and owning an entire ranch with horses, pigs and chickens. Once I graduated from Berkeley High School I made my way down to Los Angeles where I lived for almost seven years while also traveling to various countries like Spain, Morocco, India & Sri Lanka. I recently found myself back to the familiar streets and neighborhoods that started it all for me. Berkeley will always be home for me but I’ve found myself longing to venture out into the unknown once again.
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?
VAD: My definition of reflection is everything that has influenced and gotten me to the position I’m in today. Reflection is my DNA, my purpose, meditation, my peace and joy. Reflection is the gathering of thoughts and mapping out a plan of pursuit.
After reflection naturally you respond and build on the inspiration. Response is everything thats impacted your life and caused things to transpire the way they do. Response is the feeling you get once your moment of reflection hits and many times you catch yourself jotting ideas for that next project or tweaks to make your craft better. Hearing certain instruments and notes in a song can really strike a chord in you. You can’t help but respond to good music.
How does your song Lavish fit in with that definition?
VAD: I recently wrote a song titled Lavish. I was sitting in my friend Sam’s room having never written in my life and he says, “hey start singing to these chords” and proceeds to pick at the guitar. The feeling was pretty weird. The song is just a reflection of my feelings on paper. I was so accustomed to singing songs by other artists and portraying how they felt but once you write your own it brings you that much closer to the music. I found that I enjoyed the writing process and I learned that so many things can come from it. I anticipate writing more.
Lavish is a song about your current or future love. I want my wife to know that she’s the one I was destined to be with and the one I vow to love forever. I don’t want her to feel as though she’s alone on the journey but to know that I’m going to lavish her with love every day of the rest of my life. I know many partners in relationships may carry doubts that their significant other really loves them or if they’re just going with the flow of things until a better opportunity springs forward. This is a song to reassure one’s love and to encourage that person to walk in confidence. You are loved.
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?
VAD: I’ve been working on putting videos together for my youtube channel coming soon. I have a weekly gig at a popular pizzeria near Cal Berkeley called Sliver with a full band. Since performing there I’ve been invited to perform at various venues and even gotten a request to serenade someone at their workplace haha that was awkward but something I definitely grew from. A girl hired me to sing to her boyfriend on Valentines day at his office and in front of everyone. I had to really swallow my pride and simply be free with it. This past year has been quite the whirlwind for me considering the fact that I’ve never fully committed myself to music until now.
I’m working on collabs with local artists and pushing to get myself out there and heard.
I’m excited to complete some of these newer projects with my producer buddies and just being open and available to any new opportunities. I really couldn’t tell you what’s next for me, but I know it’ll be musical and I’ll put my all into it.
Who or what inspires you?
VAD: I can say wholeheartedly that my inspiration comes from God, my family and friends. For some odd reason they support everything I do. Whether it be going to the London Olympics on my last penny or attending an Indian Sangeet ceremony in India. I grew up around nothing but musicians like my uncle Cliff, my mother and a heap of uncles and aunts that can rock a mic. I’ve always been told since I was a toddler that I had a gift of music. A gift from God that wasn’t given to me to keep but to share. My family and friends’ love for me as a person inspired me to elevate to where I am mentally today. My parents raised my sisters and I with the mindset that the world is at our fingertips and we would be fools to ever limit ourselves.
This kind of inspiration inspired me to do things I never imagined possible. I’ve been blessed enough to travel and see the world and have life-altering experiences all because I dared to look beyond what I was familiar with. I managed to graduate from college while having quite a blast along the way. I find joy and inspiration by helping other people pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. I get inspired by living out my wildest dreams and knowing that I can reach for the stars. Why not? I grew up with a father who would always tells me that the height of anything he attains in life is just the foundation or floors to where I begin. You can’t help but want to live life to the utmost degree.
Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?
VAD: The night I was contacted about this interview I was going through so much self-doubt. I’ll be honest, it was a divine appointment when you guys reached out to me because I began to lose my inspiration and scratch out ideas I have brewing inside of me. Even though this is fairly new for me I’m learning and developing as an artist. Your team of supporters can’t believe in you more than you do yourself because you’ll never perform to your full potential. I’m so grateful for this outlet and just the inspiration and community that comes with it.
Shout out to…?
VAD: My high school buddies Vicken & Peter for putting such an awesome idea together to expose artists who are passionate about their crafts and open to a new way of thinking/collaborating. Thank you for your inspiration and diligence. Shout out to everyone who never stopped believing in me and always being so supportive. It’s finally happening guys! I’m going for it! Haha Shout out to everyone chasing their dreams and not taking no for an answer.
Keep up with Vernell!
Reflection and Response.