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David John Matthews
David John Matthews (born January 9, 1967) is a South African-American, Grammy-winning lead vocalist and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band. He has also worked as a solo artist, and with other musicians such as Tim Reynolds and Trey Anastasio. An occasional actor, he has also appeared in three feature films.
Dave moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, a town Dave's family had lived in before he was born. It was in Charlottesville that he became part of the local music community. Pursuing various interests, Matthews tried his hand on stage, acting in various local productions. While enthusiastic for music, and a popular bartender at a local watering hole called Miller's, Matthews was intimidated by the quality of the local musicians and largely shied away from performing publicly.
Future collaborator and local star Tim Reynolds finally goaded Matthews to join him on stage one night, and Matthews stunned the audience with his performance. This eventually led to his first professional musical gig at a modern dance performance by the Miki Liszt Dance Company, singing Sensitive Feelings, composed by John D'earth and Dawn Thompson. In 1990 he hatched the idea to form his own band.
Immediately following the death of Dave's older sister Anne, he was forced to return to the United States due to unbreakable professional obligations. On January 29, 1994, he performed with Tim Reynolds at Wetlands in New York where he dedicated that performance to her memory. His later album Under the Table and Dreaming was dedicated to her.
Matthews had originally envisioned someone else singing his songs but instead decided to use his own vocals. Yet after writing his first few songs, including The Song that Jane Likes and Recently, he began to consider starting his own band. Matthews formed The Dave Matthews Band in early 1991 with Boyd Tinsley, LeRoi Moore, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, and Peter. The band's first show was on April 20, 1991, at the Earth Day Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia.
They began booking gigs on local stages even though they did not have a name. They considered Dumela, the Sotho African word for hello, but no real enthusiasm was ever felt. Originally receiving his musical training on piano, Dave Matthews took the acquired knowledge with his musical skills and transferred them over to the guitar. Matthews sang on the track Sing Along on Blue Man Group's second album The Complex in 2003. Later that year he released a solo album, Some Devil, which went platinum; its single, Gravedigger, won a Grammy Award in 2004. To support the album, Matthews toured with a group of musicians under the name Dave Matthews & Friends.
Matthews appeared solo and sang Everyday on the post-September 11, 2001, worldwide televised telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes. Matthews recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road on the 14th May 2006. Dave and Tim Reynolds recently did a three show tour performing at the Wang Theater for Performing Arts in Boston, MA, and a much anticipated show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Matthews and his band performed a free concert for the Virginia Tech student body and faculty on September 6, 2007. They were joined by John Mayer, Phil Vassar, and Nas. The whole concert lasted 6 hours and more than 52,000 people attended. Dave also has given so much more, from local to global. The Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band is administered by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. Established in 1999, the Bama Works Fund supports charitable programs in the Charlottesville area. Grants are limited to the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson and Orange. Grants may also be made nationally and internationally, but proposals from organizations beyond the Charlottesville area are considered by invitation only.
Dave Matthews has also acted in three feature films, with a fourth on the way. He played Will Coleman in the 2003 adaptation of the novel Where the Red Fern Grows. He also portrayed the character Otis, the timid and shy cousin of the owner of a small pet-shop which he is caretaking, in the 2005 film Because of Winn-Dixie, which was based on the novel of the same name. In 2007, Matthews appears briefly in the movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry where he plays a homosexual salesman. His next film is Lake City with Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity.
Dave Matthews record label ATO also recently branched out into the film industry with the company's first feature film Joshua. Dave Matthews also wrote and performed a song called The Fly for the ending credits of the movie. Since 2001, Matthews has been one of the directors of Farm Aid along with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young. Matthews owns 542 hectares (1,340 acres) of farmland near Scottsville, Virginia named Maple Hill Farm, where he grows organic vegetables, flowers, and herbs through a community-supported agriculture program. Close to the farm, Matthews maintains the 1.6 hectare (4 acre) Blenheim Vineyards which utilizes gravity flow and other gentle winemaking techniques.