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The A List

in the spotlight
Volume 16/Issue 18

David Campbell,
New Singing Sensation

by George Patterson

campbell A twenty-four year old Australian singing sensation named David Campbell is taking America by storm after having received incredible accolades from New York City's most discerning critics. Listen:

"[He] oozes star quality. A natural entertainer-with a movie star jaw and a breezy self confidence untainted by pretension.... He conveys an aura of rapt sensitivity...his version of 'Higher And Higher' is euphorically lilting...." New York Times. Or this: "If Tom Cruise were 20 pounds lighter and possessed an amazingly facile vocal instrument, he just might be David Campell...He exudes an ingratiatingly boyish charm and a marvelously controlled and powerful voice..." Daily Variety.

Praised as one of the first male cabaret singers of note to emerge from New York's cabaret scene since Peter Allen and Barry Manilow-or Striesand as one New York weekly gushed-Mr. Campbell, presently on a coast-to-coast cabaret tour, already has two Philips/Polygram CDs on the market, has starred in Les Miserables in Australia, appeared in a special evening in London entitled Hey, Mr. Producer: The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh, a Royal Benefit performance honoring the musicals of Cameron Mackintosh (exerpts from which were recently aired during a PBS fund raising effort and is presently being marketed as a CD) and is the youngest performer ever to appear at New York's penultimate cabaret venue, Rockefeller Center's Rainbow & Stars, where he will make his second appearance Oct. 13 - 31. Before that, though, he'll be shaking down his new show at Odette's in New Hope, PA, Sept. 3-6; Cinegrill, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, CA, Sept. 8-20; the Plush Room, Hotel York, San Francisco, Sept. 22-27; The Celebrity Lounge at the Express, Fresno, CA, Oct. 2 & 3; The Manor, West Orange, NJ, Oct. 8; and, Bay St. Theatre, Sag Harbor, NY, Oct. 10 before his Rainbow & Stars gig.

In 1995, prior to his leaving Australia for these shores (and the New York Cabaret Convention where he made his initial spash and got his first gig at Eighty-Eights), he attended a master class in singing in Melbourne conducted by the legendary Barbara Cook. "You know how she talks. She said, 'Sing something real simple, honey, like Irving Berlin.' I sang and she said, 'That's terrific! Do another one,' and I did. And then she said, 'There's not much I can tell you. Keep doing what you're doing,' which I was pretty dumb-founded by."

His two CDs are called Yesterday is Now and Taking the Wheel and they give the listener a nice idea of what this young man can do with a voice that has been compared to that of Mandy Patinkin, "minus the affectations," or the smooth-as-silk young Johnny Mathis, but his choice of music is what gives his aura an added glow. From chestnuts like "I Got Rhythm," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," to folk ("Bridge Over Troubled Water"), including a masterly coupling of "The Nearness Of You" with Sondheim's "Not A Day Goes By," to say nothing of the original tunes, especially a knockout by Tom Anderson called "Yard Sale" as well as "Taking The Wheel" and "It Will Always Be You" (from a failed Australian musical which featured his dad, Jimmy Barnes, Australia's answer to Bruce Springsteen), you'll be dumbfounded, too.

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