Interview: David Ramirez, from Music City to Strangetown

Promo photo by Paige Newton.

David Ramirez didn’t move to Austin for the world-renowned music scene. The singer-songwriter moved here for a girl.

“It wasn’t really until (we) broke up that a year later I took a look around and I was like, ‘Oh shit,’ there’s a lot of music here,” Ramirez said.

He’d known Austin had music, but he previously lived in Nashville—another American music hub—and didn’t enjoy himself. “So I didn’t come here and take note of that and try to really be a part of it,” he said.

In school, Ramirez was a jock before he became a musician. After he put his baseball glove aside, he auditioned for the choir. He was reluctant to do so, but his friends talked him into it. Through choir, he met people who played guitar and wrote songs. So he picked up the guitar and wanted to try his hand at writing songs. “I got the disease and it’s hasn’t been cured yet,” he says.

Ramirez released a new CD, Strangetown EP, earlier this year. With the help of friends and beer, Ramirez recorded the album in Austin in what he calls the greatest studio experience of his life. “I think everybody was enjoying themselves and feeling the same moments at the same time,” he said. “I thought it was a very beautiful moment. It was a good week, for sure.”

Ramirez also starred in his first movie, Between Notes, which premiered in April at the Dallas International Film Festival. The film, about a guy who befriends a musician in a park, is available on iTunes and Amazon. Ramirez’ acting background was in high school theater, but he accepted the film role because his friends, who made the film, were very convincing. He also wrote the music featured in the film.

“I felt really connected to the music already, and they were having a hard time nailing down another actor to do it,” Ramirez said. “So I was like well, they are my songs. Why not give it a shot?”

He has done another film since Between Notes, but Ramirez said that he doesn’t think many others will come. He prefers music. When Ramirez is not in Austin, he’s on tour, which he books without label support. According to his bio, he performed 150 shows in 2010. To him, touring gives people a first impression of his music.

“It’s like getting acquainted with somebody new,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to keep going back to the same cities multiple times. Hopefully, they’ll keep coming out.”

But for Austin, Ramirez said that it’s like the city doesn’t know who he is or likes his music. However, he does have fans. He loves the people who do listen to his music, because he thinks they not only like it, but also believe in it enough to share with their friends.

“I think it has a lot to do with just the types of people here,” Ramirez said. “If they find music that they love and they believe in, they’re going to shout it from the rafters, or at least tweet about it.”

“Shoeboxes” – Strangetown EP

David Ramirez will be performing in Austin on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Stubb’s indoor. Advance tickets are available online through Front Gate Tickets here. Follow Ramirez on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Sarah Vasquez

Writer - Sarah Vasquez has been writing about the music scene for 8 years with her website and for various other publications such as Austin Community College’s The Accent, Austin Sound and whoever else will take her. When she’s not writing, she’s studying at Texas State to finish up her journalism degree. At live shows, she may seem standoffish but really, she’s just shy. So if you see her, just say hello.

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