About David Nathan

Soul Music Historian, Author,
Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Storyteller, Poet and more…

About David Nathan

Soul Music Historian, Author,
Singer, Songwriter, Performer and more

Established as a renowned expert, historian and award-winning music journalist and writer in the world of soul music with almost five decades of accomplishment, London-born global communicator David Nathan – the founder of SoulMusic.com – has consistently reinvented himself, ever-expanding and expressing his multi-faceted creativity through new and exciting possibilities.

“I’ve stepped up my game!” says the renowned R&B expert and award-winning writer – known throughout the music industry and beyond as ‘The British Ambassador of Soul’ – is referring to the natural evolution of his career from journalist, liner notes writer, reissue producer, media coach, broadcaster to singer, songwriter, record producer and poet.

The Beatles, Dionne, Martha and more…

David’s introduction to the music of black America came when he bought albums by The Beatles that mentioned original R&B versions of songs they had recorded. “It was Dionne Warwick whose music I first bought when the song “Walk On By” came out. After that it was Martha & The Vandellas’ “Heatwave,” then Gladys Knight & The Pips, Irma Thomas and then I was hooked.”

Nina Simone, Dave Godin, Soul City….

David formed the first British fan club/appreciation society for the iconic Nina Simone and his first writing assignment for the magazine Rhythm & Soul USA was a feature on Dionne’s sister, the late Dee Dee Warwick. Still in his teens, he co-founded Soul City with Dave Godin and Robert Blackmore, the very first British record store which sold exclusively the music of black America and later became a combination A&R and publicist for the company’s record label.

Contempo, John Abbey, Blues & Soul…

In 1970, David joined the staff of Contempo International, a multi-faceted enterprise started by John Abbey, the original publisher and editor of Blues & Soul magazine. The company’s Central London office became renowned as the ‘must visit’ shop for U.S. imports of funk, soul, R&B, disco and jazz-funk in the ‘70s and while busy Saturdays were spent selling the latest releases by Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, Roy Ayers to the likes of future famed UK black music pioneers such as Jazzie B. of Soul II Soul, Bluey of Incognito, Leee John of Imagination, Junior Giscombe and renowned DJs such as Peter Tong and Norman Jay, David’s primary passion became contributing to Blues & Soul.

New York, New York…Aretha, Diana, Chaka, Luther…

Pursuing his love of writing, David relocated to New York in 1975. As the main correspondent for Blues & Soul, David established an increased presence for the magazine within the U.S. music industry, conducting hundreds of in person interviews with major entertainers such as Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Al Green, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield and Luther Vandross.

Maurice White, Reincarnation, Ancient Egypt…

One of the most significant interviews that David conducted was with Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire in the summer of 1975, when the group was starting to achieve mainstream success. The only way to do the interview as the cover story for Blues & Soul was on a memorable flight from Los Angeles to Seattle during which David asked Maurice about the inspiration for some of the EW&F songs leading to a discussion about reincarnation. Maurice suggested some books for David to read which literally changed his approach to life, in particular with what developed as an ongoing interest in Ancient Egypt including an amazing visit to Egypt in 1984…

Los Angeles, Lionel Richie, Billboard….

In 1984, David moved to Los Angeles, authoring his first book, an illustrated biography on Lionel Richie which was published by McGraw-Hill in the U.S, and Virgin Books in the U.K. Considered one of the premier music journalists and historians working in the area of black music and culture, David launched his career as a free-lance music journalist in 1985 and his work appeared in a number of key publications including U.S.A. Today with an exclusive interview with ‘Queen Of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin . Articles on such international hitmakers as Janet Jackson, Sade, Bobby Brown, Anita Baker and Whitney Houston were published throughout the world by the “News America/Times Of London Syndicate.” In 1987, David began an association with Billboard magazine, contributing feature articles in a regular basis until 2001 as well as writing for a variety of other music industry trade publications including Black Radio Exclusive (BRE) and The R&B Report.

Soul Music Historian, Liner Notes, Reissues…

Using his body of knowledge as a writer and columnist, David began accepting assignments from various record companies – including Rhino, MCA and Motown – for liner notes for key reissue projects. To date, he has penned notes for well over 500 reissue packages including box sets on Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin and Earth, Wind & Fire. In 1994, David started working as a compilation producer on various reissue projects for his own Ichiban Soul Classics series.

Media Coaching….Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton

At the beginning of the ‘90s, utilizing his background as a music journalist, David was a pioneer in the field by launching his own media and interview coaching service. His clients have included global best-selling artists such as Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Toni Braxton and Pink.

The Soulful Divas…

In 1999, David’s acclaimed book “The Soulful Divas” included a foreword by the late Luther Vandross. Quotes from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Ashford & Simpson and fellow author Nelson George were a testament to the book’s validity as a first-of-its-kind collection of portraits of such legendary women as Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Millie Jackson, Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman, Roberta Flack, Doris Troy, Esther Phillips and Natalie Cole. A special chapter entitled “The Young Divas” profiled Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Toni Braxton.

SoulMusic.com, Rhythm & Blues Foundation…

The same year, David founded the world-renowned website, www.soulmusic.com which today includes a number of David’s classic soul interviews from the ‘70s.

In 2004, Sanctuary Books (UK) published, “Nina Simone: Break Down & Let It All Out,” a book he co-authored with his sister, Dr. Sylvia Hampton.

An L.A. Chapter Governor for The Recording Academy, David served as Secretary for The Rhythm & Blues Foundation for ten years and was the first recipient of the Journalist’s Award from The International Association African-American Music. An established media expert, David has been seen on CNN, BBC, TV One, Swedish television and other outlets in documentaries and news pieces on the music and careers of prominent artists in the soul music world including Aretha Franklin, Barry White, Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, Roberta Flack, Phyllis Hyman, Donny Hathaway and others.

Back to London, SoulMusic Records…

Returning to London in 2009 after a short stint in Philadelphia, David established SoulMusic Records (SMR) as the UK’s leading soul music reissue label with over two hundred titles in its catalog of classic recordings by legendary artists.

Singing, Recording, Songwriting…

David’s love for creating music himself began during months he spent in Los Angeles in late 1975 with a recording session of blues and jazz tunes such as “Makin’ Whoopee,” “God Bless The Child” and “In The Dark.” Upon his return to New York, he began composing songs with the late John Simmons, the former musical director for Whitney Houston and the late Phillip Ballou (former primary touring and studio vocalist with Luther Vandross); remarkably, recordings of those tunes – including “Ain’t Nothing Like The Love” began receiving renewed attention in the digital age in 2017 via samples and reissues.

With the release of his first full-length CD “Reinvention” in 2003, David stepped out front, encouraged by musical friends such as Bonnie Raitt and Doris “Just One Look” Troy to pursue his musical dream. In 2007, he released a second album “Wistful Elegance” (under the name “Pharaoh’s Dream”), which featured special guests Kenny Lattimore, Will Downing, Najee, Peggi Blu and Thelma Jones and boasted liner notes by the incomparable Roberta Flack.

Producing, Teddy, Jody, Peabo, Regina and more…

Continuing his musical activities, David and award-winning multi-talented music man Preston Glass (whose extensive credits include recordings by Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Kenny G., Natalie Cole, Diana Ross and many others) co-produced the 2009 Time Life album, “Songs 4 Worship-Soul,” which features new recordings by such artists as Teddy Pendergrass, Deniece Williams, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle, Jody Watley, Freddie Jackson, Melba Moore, Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King and others – many of whom David has known since the start of their own recording careers.

“Music….my first love”…

“Music is my first love, my lifeblood, my enduring passion. For years, I’ve been involved with writing about the artists, expressing my appreciation for their incredible and soulful talent. To be a part of creating music with them is the ultimate reward for me,” says David, who solidified his songwriting activities in 2013 in London, collaborating with UK producer Amar Naik, resulting in three compositions, one released by independent soul artist Bashiyra and two for Naik’s Zed Soul project, all of which have garnered strong UK soul radio airplay.

Shambhala, mystical music…

Subsequent digital releases have included a full album, “I Used To Rule The World” (2011) and a 2018 EP with Indian violinist/producer, Aritra Bhattacharya, “A Long Way From Blue,” which featured a series of vivid cinematic mystical soundscapes, resulting in high praise from the likes of the legendary Chaka Khan, who says, “Shambhala is one of the most BEAUTIFUL songs I’ve EVER HEARD!!!!!! I’m profoundly impressed and it moved me in such a way that I’m changed (for lack of a better word) so now I’m needing more!!”

SMR Digital, Preston Glass, Pharaoh’s Dream…

In 2018, David launched the digital arm of SoulMusic Records and in association with award-winning music man Preston Glass, the label has released music by such iconic artists as Larry Graham, The Spinners, Lenny Williams and Maurice White among others, with worldwide distribution via X5 Music/Warners.

As a songwriter, David has collaborated on a number of compositions with Preston Glass, including “Have It Anyway You Want It” (Jermaine Lockhart), “U Live In My Heart” (Angel Rose) and “Always On The Lookout For Love” (Grady Harrell & Brenda Lee Eager).

In 2020, he relaunched the brand ‘Pharaoh’s Dream featuring David Nathan’ for a series of new compositions and recordings including “Midnight Angel” (co-written and produced by UK-based producer Amar Naik of Zed Soul Productions), a reissue of “Who Stole The Moon?” (from sessions in Los Angeles with co-writer and producer J.J. Schoch) and an expanded edition of David’s personal tribute to Nina Simone. A spring 2021 digital release, “Follow” (featuring renowned saxophonist/flautist Najee) has established Pharaoh’s Dream with global listeners with ongoing plans for new releases throughout 2021 and beyond.

The Diary Of A British Soul Man…

While continuing to work on soul music reissue projects, his memoirs, ‘The Diary Of A British Soul Man’ and as a sought-after industry consultant and music historian with the ‘My Classic Soul’ podcast series, David is bringing his deep interest in metaphysics and spirituality (inspired by his 1975 conversation with EW&F founder Maurice White) to the fore with the completion of a new book “Soul Deep Connections: The Journey Of A Magic Dreamweaver” – based on ‘recall’ of six incarnations (in Egypt, Nepal, Cambodia, Haiti, Benin and Mississippi) – due for publication by Balboa Press in 2022.