I've lost track of the number of press releases that tout a performer as "a local legend" or "beloved cultural figure of this region." And for good reason – many performers with discernible, tangible talent thirst for that next, seemingly logical step that will "break" them nationally or internationally. But for most of them, local or regional success will ultimately be the pinnacle of their recording career.
Once upon a time, Dan Zanes was a beloved cultural figure in the East. Laurie Berkner was a local New Jersey legend. Tom Chapin was just Harry's brother. Even Raffi was a coffeehouse performer somewhere in Canada. But for every one of these artists, there are a stack of able-bodied, full-voiced, credible musicians who never got past that "foot in the door."
Dave Hamilton is embarking on that next baby step. Known as "Mr. Dave," his new CD, FEELING GOOD, contains 10 songs to educate, amuse, and energize children in his native Chicago – and hopefully nationally and internationally. Dave operates a children's music studio (with his wife, Christina) and his music exudes the confidence of someone who has no fear of parking sunny SoCal white rap ("Pelican Kid") next to a Mr. Rogers' singalong ("Song In All Of Us").
Dave has a unique back story. He and three high school friends formed Second Look, a hip-hop dance/vocal group. After auditioning for Star Search (hosted by Ed McMahon), they were placed behind the Backstreet Boys for a slot on the show. After the Backstreet Boys signed a recording contract and dropped out, Second Look wrote and recorded a new song in a matter of days and became Star Search finalists. From there, Dave decided that in some form, music would be part of his future.
The fate of every children's music performer comes down to generating a new audience every 3-5 years, and whether or not the birth and growth of their own children conflicts with their aspirations. Some musicians choose to "age" their material with their progeny. Others bring the kids into the act and make it literally a family show. A majority of performers record a few CDs and then life takes them in other directions. But for now, Mr. Dave is a local legend seeking to make his mark on the larger children's music arena. You can hear clips on his website or YouTube channel. That'll make him feel good, if you like his FEELING GOOD.
FEELING GOOD is available from Mr. Dave's website, iTunes, Amazon, CDBABY, and Spotify.