Night of Joyful Voices is just around the corner and this year roots musician David Newberry will be taking the stage to perform for the masses.
We checked in with Newberry to learn more about his music and his community involvement.
Megaphone: Tell us about you and your music?
David Newberry: I’m a Vancouver based songwriter/performer. I try to write music that reflects the times we’re living in now. For me that means taking stock of the challenges we’re facing as a city, country, and society, and trying to find the hopeful parts without naively ignoring the hopeless parts. I’ve always been really inspired by both folk music and punk music (they’re more similar than you might think), and my own music probably lands somewhere in the middle.
M: Why is community important to you?
DN: In BC and Canada we’re faced with a style of governing that seems to ignore the well-being of citizens in favour of something (suspiciously) called “economic development.” Needless to say, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for progressive change at the higher levels of government, so if we’re going to see any meaningful improvement in our day-to-day lives, it’s going to have to come from a community level for the time being, whether that’s a geographic community (be it Mount Pleasant or the Downtown Eastside), or some more abstract community (like a community of journalists, environmentalist, musicians, etc.).
M: How do you get involved in this community?
DN: I try to meet my neighbours, co-workers, fellow musicians, and so on, and have conversations about what we need in our social, economic, artistic, and political lives.
M: What is your involvement with the North Shore Lookout Society.
DN: For the last three years I have worked as Community Liaison for Lookout Emergency Aid Society’s North Shore Housing Centre (which provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and outreach support to homeless and at-risk residents of the North Shore). I try and work on developing good relationships with the community so that the other employees of the shelter can focus on providing supports to shelter guests, tenants, and outreach clients. I consider myself really lucky to do this kind of work in a community like the North Shore.
M: What do most people not know about you?
DN: I had never planned on being a musician. In 2001 I was training to be a carpenter when I injured my hand very badly on a table saw. My physiotherapist suggested I learn an instrument to improve the healing process. Needless to say, I’m not a carpenter. Also I am absolutely terrified of almost all social situations.
M: Why do you support Megaphone?
DN: Megaphone provides an opportunity for dignity-building to a community of people who are often systemically denied these types of opportunities. Once people become marginalized, chances to prove self-worth become less and less available, which can lead to a bit of a trap that might be hard to get out of. Megaphone helps people who are in this situation to build their own sense of self-worth by making the assumption that vendors and writers are capable of running their own business, or of being creative. It’s a simple idea that is unfortunately rare. I support Megaphone because I’ve seen the magazine change people’s lives by providing self-directed, low-barrier, flexible employment to a community of people who need it.
Learn more about David by checking out: DavidNewberry.ca