Both as a music writer and a writer of music, nothing blows my mind quite as much as the sheer originality of some artists, in the face of global imitation. It's a real inspiration, and keeps it all interesting.

Whether he's on piano, ukulele, or guitar, the songs of David Mead literally fly off in various directions with so much wind at their back that they arrive in distant and unpredictable corners instantly. It has mostly to do with his singing, which seems to know no bounds. Beyond that, though, his way with arrangement and harmony is very evolved. Add to that the wiles and offbeat wisdom of producer and collaborator Brad Jones, and you apparently get records that stand apart from everything else in the field.

I got to see David play a set in a packed joint upstairs on Sixth Street during SXSW in Austin a few months back. He had that very funky cellist with him, producer David Henry, who is also likely to pick up other instruments as the artist himself moves from one to another. The musical intelligence and the communication that moves between that duo onstage is something to see, and hear.

We hung out a little after the show, each figuring out what we were doing next. The artist is in a new frame of mind, a very entrepreneurial and self-actualizing one. He started out his solo career on a major label, then moved to Nettwerk, and now is creating his own blueprint with Tallulah! Records, as their flagship release. He's got funding, a manager he has worked with for a long time, and is very focused on putting his career on a track that fits his music and his life. Artist and fans alike will find his viewpoint illuminating, in a business that is changing too fast for anybody to have or even get a hold if it. You just have to decide what it is you want, and try to create it. You can't wait for or try to please or anticipate them anymore.

This guy is one of the greatest artists we've covered, in my opinion. Get on to him, and turn on your friends who are looking for something new.       continue to interview