The first string instrument his mother bought him was not a guitar, but a ukulele. With an interest in music, a young David Lehr found it difficult to learn his first songs.
“I had really small hands, so sometimes, it was a really big stretch for me,” Lehr said in an exclusive interview with FanBolt. “One of the first songs I distinctly remember learning on the ‘uke’ was ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ It was very difficult and I hated playing it, but nonetheless, I think I would play for a few hours each day.”
Eventually, Lehr obtained a guitar and extended his practice times, and remembers playing his six-string for eight straight hours in one day. After learning the basics of the guitar, Lehr’s parents thought it would be a good idea to learn from a guitar performance major.
“Being 12, I didn’t really know what it meant to be taking guitar lessons,” Lehr said. “I hadn’t really done that before, but I was totally excited for it. Looking back though, I love the fact that I took from [the guitar performance major], because he taught me such a strong structure of music theory and chord analysis; something a lot of students never get from taking lessons that young.”
Lehr feels that the guitar teacher that he has now has a completely different vibe than his previous teacher.
“He has a whole different outlook on things,” Lehr said. “I think it worked out perfect though, because the teacher I had when I was 12 was great for me at the time, but as I’ve progressed, I know for sure that my current teacher is exactly right for me. The most important thing I’ve learned from my teacher is just a good way to approach building chords. It doesn’t always have to be super hard to play, but it doesn’t have to be the same old way everyone plays something. He’s helped me build a solid style.”
In 2009, Lehr used his newfound style to reach over 138,100 plays on his Myspace and PureVolume pages. Before focusing on his solo act, the Indiana resident was previously in hardcore bands as well as a two-person acoustic rock band. Lehr enjoys playing solo and often receives positive feedback from his websites.
“At first, I put my music on Myspace because I thought that’s what everyone did,” Lehr said. “I only used PureVolume to distribute my music for free. To my surprise, a week after releasing my EP, Daisy, I was the number four top downloaded [album] on PureVolume. That was pretty exciting to see. My favorite song on the EP is probably Daisy, just because it has a lot of personal significance. Almost all of the feedback I’ve heard from the EP has been good, and people are excited to hear what’s next!”
Lehr describes his music as “simple but unique.” He believes that he takes a different approach to writing his music than a lot of different artist.
“There are so many different ways to approach writing a song,” Lehr said. “Something I do most is try to look back at strong feelings that I’ve felt in the past. Good or bad. Those strong feelings really make people unique, and at the same time, give listeners a chance to relate. Another thing I enjoy writing about, is thinking ahead about a specific person I haven’t spoken to in a while, and thinking about what it would be like if they just called me out on something, or I called them out. “How would I feel? How would I respond?’ That kind of thing.”
The message Lehr gives his listeners through his music is to be calm and approach situations with a clear state of mind.
“Just be chill,” Lehr said. “I think sometimes problems get dragged way out of proportion, and if we were all just a little more chill, then the world would be a better place.”
The 17-year old records all of his music in his room and has experimented with home recording for the last seven years.
“I go through the same process every time I record,” Lehr said. “I got some free recording software and a webcam microphone and just went to town. I love it almost as much as I love music. I think that’s why I [record] at home as well. I find it really enjoyable.”
Since Lehr does not pay to record his music, he does not see a reason to charge his fans to download songs.
“I just love music and want to share what I can do with anyone and everyone that I can,” Lehr said. “I think I have something new to bring to the table. Something unique that I’d like to think a lot of other artists don’t have, and that is actual knowledge of music and how it works. I think there’s a huge different between playing or singing a song, and actually knowing why you’re playing and singing, and I can do both.”
Even though he has not toured with his music, he has played shows around his hometown of Indianapolis. For those fans who are not able to watch him live, Lehr’s music is readily available at Myspace, Twitter and PureVolume pages.
Article By: Kim Gallagher