Billy Newton-Davis is eager to get reacquainted with his new jazz EP Have We Met? — previewing today on Tinnitist.
Slated for release on Dec. 21, the Toronto sing-songwriter’s five-song disc is a jazzy, soulful, gospelicious offering that features some of his favourite classics from the Great American Songbook — Cole Porter’s Night and Day, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s Where Or When, Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s Will You Still Love Me, Bill Withers’ Grandma’s Hands and Jerome Kerns and Oscar Hammerstein II’s All The Things You Are. Captured live off the floor, the EP features Juno winner Mike Downes on bass and arrangements, Stu Harrison on piano and Ben Ball on drums. It was recorded & mixed by Brad Nelson at Cylinder Sound.
Newton-Davis grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and as a teenager he was one of two lead singers in a local soul band called The Illusions. He received his Bachelor Of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University and upon graduation moved to New York to pursue his dreams on Broadway. He appeared in several shows including Bubblin Brown Sugar, Eubie, Got Tu Go Disco and Stop The World, starring Sammy Davis Jr. His debut singing gig, in 1973, was as a backing vocalist to Gloria Gaynor, and in 1989 he released Can’t Live with You, Can’t Live Without You, a duet with Céline Dion.
A formidable presence in the Canadian music industry, Billy received Junos for Best R&B/Soul Recording for his first two albums Love Is a Contact Sport (1986) and Spellbound (1989), and more recently for Dance Recording Of The Year for his work with deadmau5 on All U Ever Want. Billy is featured on releases by The Boomtang Boys, Nino Anthony and MelleeFresh. From 1991-93, he was a member of The Nylons.
In Toronto, Billy has become a favourite performer for philanthropic and corporate events, and regularly appears in the city’s best live venues performing jazz, gospel and R&B. For decades, he has been lending his voice as an activist for HIV/AIDS awareness and the ongoing fight for equality.