There is a new classical-pop crossover band in town. After Daybreak is a trio of optimistic young men whose love for singing and spreading positive energy in uplifting melodies is carrying them through a very respectable entrance onto the turbulent current of today’s pop music scene.
The baritone David James Fritch is from Salt Lake City. Encouraged by his teacher’s passion for music, Fritch has been singing in choirs since fifth grade. His urge to perform to the crowd was sparked when he won the leading part of Joseph in his high school production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” — even before taking his first voice lesson. Bolstered by the success of “Joseph”, Fritch began taking voice lessons with Dean Kaelin. After graduating from high school and serving an LDS (Latter Day Saints) mission to Guatemala, Fritch and his dad enlisted the help of guitarist Michael Dowdle and composer/arranger David Huntsinger in the creation and release of his first solo CD, David James: A Christmas Tale.
Daniel Beck of Provo, Utah came from a musical family. Surrounded by a sister whose beautiful singing inspired in him the “secret desire to learn to sing like her” and an older brother who made singing the lead role in a high school production of “Hello Dolly” the epitome of cool, Beck was bitten early with the singing and Broadway bug. His vocal development was heavily influenced by his admiration for the singing of the original Broadway cast of “The Phantom of the Opera” and the original London cast of “Les Miserables”, along with his appreciation for many different styles of music (Whitesnake, Julio Iglesias, Frank Sinatra, ABBA, Garth Brooks, Kenny Loggins, Josh Groban, Michael Buble and many more). Beck was discovered by the songwriter/producer Kenneth Cope during one of his performances, and their fast association led to the release of Beck’s solo CD, “Love Like That”, on CDBaby.com.
Texan tenor Drew Boushka discovered his voice when it “jumped out and filled the chapel” as he, 11 yrs old and all, sang a solo line in church with his family. A high school varsity swimmer with strong lungs, Boushka’s vocal development was boosted by successes at vocal competitions and his fascination with the singing of Michael Crawford and Josh Groban. He met the songwriter Anne Pratt (who was the choir director at a church Boushka attended in El Paso, Texas) and they collaborated on his solo CD, Love Without End.
The men’s solo CD’s were chanced on by producer Andrew Bunel, who was searching around for the perfect voices and personalities to fill the classical-pop crossover trio that he was creating. David Fritch was a full-time student at Brigham Young University when he received an email from Bunel, expressing his interests in his music career. They corresponded for several weeks. “After I had sent him a copy of my CD, he called me up on Valentine’s Day and told me that he had listened to the CD, that he loved my voice, and that he wanted me to be a part of this group. I couldn’t believe it! I had made my CD with the hopes that someone might notice it, and I was doing what I could to put myself out there, but now I was actually being given the opportunity to take my music to another level.”
“Andrew told me that he had already asked another, amazing guy (Drew Boushka) to be a part of the group. At that time he was still looking for the third member. I knew of Daniel Beck and had heard how good his music was, so I asked Andrew if he had ever heard of Daniel. Andrew said that actually he had just come across his CD on CD Baby not too long ago but was going to look more into it.”
Daniel Beck: “We were all found individually by Andrew Bunel. Each one of us had released a solo album that he found on various websites (MySpace, CDBaby.com) and then contacted each of us separately. It was Andrew that had the vision to form a pop/classical trio and then went out and found the trio.”
Drew Boushka: “While Andrew was looking for singers to be a part of After Daybreak he saw my myspace page. He also saw that I hadn’t been on it for something like two years. In my defense I lost the password and forgot the email address I used to start it with. Anyway, Andrew heard some of the music from my solo album and eventually got in touch with me through Anne Pratt, the song writer of most of the pieces on my personal album. I really liked Andrew’s plans, he seemed honest, open and straight forward and most importantly very passionate about After Daybreak and its potential to succeed. I was very excited to join the group, especially after Andrew found the other members, Dan and David, who are both such amazing singers.”
What is in the name ‘After Daybreak’?
David Fritch: “Honestly, part of the story behind the name ‘After Daybreak’ involves the difficulty of choosing a group name that no one else has chosen. Furthermore, because we were looking to also release our music to an international audience as well, we had to choose a name that is not being used anywhere in the world.
We had gone over 200 names like ‘Destiny’ or ‘Primavoche’, but all of them were being used. But the first week of April, Andrew proposed ‘After Daybreak’. To be honest, I didn’t know if I liked it or not at first. I racked my brains and asked family to see if they could think of something else. But neither they or I could think of anything better.
But the name has grown on me. Now when I think about the word ‘daybreak’, the thing that comes to my mind is the sun rising over the horizon and its light spreading over the earth; it is the beginning of a new day; it is a new beginning. With that now in mind, ‘After Daybreak’ to me means that now that this beginning has happened-that our group is officially together-we are ready to share this light-our music-with the world.”
Daniel Beck: “”After Daybreak” is of course literally the start of a new day and that’s what the name symbolizes. It symbolizes a fresh start or a new beginning. When I first heard the name that Andrew had come up with I thought, “What? After Daybreak? Really??” Then when Andrew explained the meaning behind the name, from that moment it began to grow on me and now I really like it. In fact when I would tell people about us and they asked the name I would tell them, “After Daybreak,” immediately followed with the caveat, “It grows on you.” Haha!”
Drew Boushka: “Well Andrew had the name After Daybreak by the time he contacted me. He encouraged all of us to give ideas for a name if we thought of any, but it’s a tedious process and I believe Andrew had been through hundreds of names already. Besides that I think it really is a great name. It grows on you that’s for sure! For me it’s about hope, new beginnings, and always remembering that life is worth it no matter how terrible things may seem in our darkest moments.”
Being more familiar with the classical music and opera scene than I am the pop music world, I asked the trio what they thought about the widespread (mis)perception that pop music and classical music appeal to distinctly different sorts of audience; classical music being often dismissed by some pop fans as ‘stuffy’ or ‘outdated’, while many classical fans like to look down on pop music as ‘second best’ or ‘passing fads’.
David Fritch: “I have to say that I think it is so true that often classical music fans dismiss pop music by thinking that ‘pop singing is bad singing’; conversely, pop singers often view classical music as ’emotionless’. But I think what both genres have in common is that both strive to deliver some kind of message to the listener, or the audience. That message can be anything. It can be (and is often) about love; it can be about heartache; and so many others. The way in which that message is delivered is the difference between the two genres. One way classical singing seeks to deliver that message, for example, is to sing each note as beautifully and as effortlessly as possible; but in pop singing, even if you are ‘pulling’ on some notes or even half-yelling in a song, it is okay if that is going to deliver the message you want to send.
I think what makes the classical-pop genre so awesome is that it seeks to take the best of both worlds. The listener gets to hear music delivered with great vocal technique and beauty, but the vocalist isn’t so caught up in singing technically correct that the emotion gets lost. “
Daniel Beck: “As you can see from what I’ve listened to over the years, I’m wide open to pretty much any kind of music and by doing so have found that any genre or style has the power to move, or inspire, or connect with the listener. To say that one style or genre does that more than another is foolish. To disregard a genre as “stuffy” or as a “passing fad” is very close-minded to me. I can see why some would say or do that but I personally have been touched and inspired by both styles of music and couldn’t say that one is more powerful to me than the other. It comes down to the song, the music, the arrangement, the voice or voices, and the state of mind of the listener.”
Drew Boushka: “Variety is the spice of life! Well, I really think so anyway. As Daniel Beck likes to say, “these songs are musical comfort food. You’ll listen to your rock and rap music, but there will always be a time and place when you need your After Daybreak.” Well, that’s pretty close to something Dan has said anyway… For me that’s what music is. It’s food for our emotional nourishment and you sometimes need a little of everything.”
Helping the Haitian-American violinist Romel Joseph rebuild the New Victoria School after it was destroyed by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Andrew Bunel learned of the destruction of Romel Joseph’s New Victoria School in Port-au-Prince by the Haitian earthquake through a Haitian non-profit that he was working with. He shared the story with his band members, who were touched by the tragedy.
David Fritch: “We were honored when we received permission from Romel to share his story in the music video of ‘What a Wonderful World’. I would love to visit Haiti and be able to thank Mr. Romel for his courage and example for all of us.”
Drew Boushka: “Even though our help may be small to the damage and pain inflicted I hope it has a positive impact. I don’t know if we have plans to visit (Haiti) yet, but I would love it if we got the opportunity.”
The band’s positive optimistic outlook fits the cover song of its first album to a tee.
David Fritch: “‘What a Wonderful World’ has been a song that I have loved for a long time. I think it has a great message. In choosing this song, part of the reason we made it the cover song for our album is that it is a song many people know and identify with. Another reason we chose this song to be the cover song is when Andrew heard of Romel Joseph’s story in Haiti, we thought it would be a great opportunity to pay tribute to him and all those who had to go through that terrible time. At the same time, the song reminds us that even though they and each person will go through hard times, this world still is a wonderful place.”
Drew Boushka: “This goes back to the name of our group, After Daybreak, and the message it carries. The song, What a Wonderful World, is such an amazing and loved song. When Romel Joseph gave us the honor of paying tribute in our “What a Wonderful World” music video to his courage in pressing on through the catastrophes of the Haiti earthquakes. To be trapped in the collapsed music school he built and then to find out that he lost his wife and unborn child, but still have the conviction of life, hope and music to go on to start rebuilding crushed school is so inspiring. It is because of people like Romel Joseph that this is a wonderful World.”
When asked what they hope to achieve with their music, Daniel Beck quipped “Worldwide domination,” before turning more serious. “But I personally, (and I think Drew and David would agree) want our music to uplift and inspire individuals to be kinder and better to themselves and others, and just help to spread good throughout the world.”
David Fritch: “I hope that our music will inspire and uplift the lives of other people. I want as many people as can hear our music to be able to hear it. I would love to be able to perform our music for a career to support my beautiful wife, Ashley, and my future family. I look forward to continuing to work with Andrew, Daniel, and Drew in making this happen.”
Drew Boushka: “After Daybreak just had the great news of charting, which was a huge step we hoped to take. We are so grateful to everyone who supported us and made that goal a reality. I hope this helps open some doors for us and After Daybreak is on tour and performing before long. That would be a dream come true for me!”
With their first album debut, the band has started recording for the next album, which should be ready for release in the spring of 2011. In the meanwhile, you can find out more about this wholesomely versatile group and their first CD at their official blog, Facebook, and Youtube channel.