Nicholas David was singing everywhere — Vikings and Twins games, an all-star tribute to Prince, 89.3 the Current’s birthday party, a presidential inaugural ball and at his own gigs at the Minnesota Zoo, First Avenue and elsewhere.
The St. Paul soul-rock singer had been busy since placing third on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012. But last year he played only two gigs — his holiday show and a TPT taping — in the Twin Cities.
With David set to make his debut at the Dakota Jazz Club on Friday, we recently chatted him up by phone with the youngest of his three children in the background. Here are eight things you should know about the artist formerly known as Nick the Feelin’.
1. His 2015 tour went nationwide. “I played coast to coast,” he exclaimed, with only a week or two off. The touring included the 35-year-old’s first trip to the revered music city of New Orleans.
“It was a dream of mine,” he said. “I made sure to bring every keyboard I had to it so they would be blessed.”
That was four keyboards.
His only Twin Cities performances were at the Parkway Theater, which was taped for the TPT series “Lowertown Live,” and his annual holiday show at the Fitzgerald Theater, where he collected a truckful of toys for the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. “It was overwhelmingly beautiful,” he said.
2. His band will expand at the Dakota. “I’m super pumped,” David said of making his debut at the club. “We’ve been wanting to play there for a while.”
In 2015, David toured with a trio. This year, he has expanded the band to six pieces. At the Dakota, he promises to play some originals and “dust off” some classics he sang on “The Voice,” because “my audience fell in love with me because of my interpretations of those songs.”
3. A new album is in the works. David has written many new tunes and he’s been recording with the likes of Mark Murphy of Wookiefoot; Aaron Cosgrove, formerly of New Congress, and Dylan Nau, who used to play with David’s band, the Feelin.’ Some of the recording has taken place in California and some at Rich Mattson’s Sparta Studio on Minnesota’s Iron Range.
There is no title or release date. David is listening to some labels — he had offers after “The Voice” — but is likely to release it on his own imprint, Wake the World, which has put out his previous six records.
4. There are limits on what he can record. David is contractually restricted from recording any of the songs he performed on “The Voice” for five years after appearing on the program. But he is free to sing any of them in concert. In fact, several of the songs, including “You Are So Beautiful,” “The Power of Love” and “Put Your Records On,” had been in his live shows before he landed on “The Voice.”
5. He maintains a relationship with “Voice” coach Cee Lo Green. “We text and talk,” David said. Yes, they have discussed working together, but nothing is definite.
6. He is a hat-and-scarves act. David, known for wearing those accessories onstage, used to take four to six hats on the road but he found he didn’t have a proper box or case for them. “They were getting smushed,” he said. So now he takes only one or two on tour.
7. He was a high school jock who did double duty. Nick Mrozinski (that’s his real surname) was an athlete at Eagan High School (football, baseball, basketball and track) — until he discovered music and theater.
“As a junior, I found out I could sing,” he said. “So my senior year, I punted on the football team and then went to theater. It was pretty rad.”
8. He has a new mantra. Anyone who has seen David in concert knows he is a spiritual person who has a penchant for shouting “hey now” at any time — in mid-song, between songs, when a fan shouts at him, etc.
He consciously avoids saying “hey now” in concert as much as he used to.
Instead, he’s got a new mantra: “C’mon.”
“It just started coming out.”