People often reflect on the way that music has the power to metaphorically “take them to another place.” For singers with abundant talent and ambition however, music really does transport them to many surprising settings. Baltimore native and recent The Voice contestant Davon Fleming is one such singer. His sonorous stylings, “ I like to call it soul fusion,” he says, “a little bit of this, a little bit of that, you know.”, have already taken him to such far-flung locales as Switzerland and Italy. In fact, Fleming had literally just landed in Los Angeles and gotten to his hotel, when we spoke.
Like many singers, Davon has a gospel background, singing from the age of three in church, He continued singing gospel in high school. Amazingly, he didn’t attend the famous Baltimore School of the Arts. “They didn’t choose me” he explains, his voice betraying no regret or resentment. “And I had nieces and nephews who went there, they shoulda got me when they coulda had me.” He says jokingly. Instead, Fleming attended Northwestern High School. They didn’t have a choir there so he would sneak to Milford Mill High School at the end of the day, jetting back and forth “leaving a little early just to get to their rehearsal.”
Fleming just came off a whirlwind experience as a contestant on The Voice where he remained a so-called J Hud team member for the duration. It was almost immediately evident that Davon was going to be special. Eleven seconds into his first song, the judges had all turned their iconic red chairs around. Judge Adam Levine stood up during his entreaty to get Fleming on his team. However, Fleming was swayed by Jennifer Hudson’s soulful and creative use of a sartorial accessory. Deeply moved by his singing, “Jennifer Hudson threw her shoe at me.” He remembers, laughing. “She’s very genuine, very sweet, just pure-hearted.”
As to whether he holds any hard feelings about not winning the whole thing, Fleming expresses nothing but genuine gratitude for the experience. “This was a great ride. I ended up inspiring people not knowing that I would. I’ve gotten love and appreciation from people across the world.”
Fleming is still in his twenties but can teach people of all ages a lot about achieving their goals and dreams. He says, “All ages, no matter if you’re young or old, whatever you aspire to in life, never let fear and doubt stop you from what you want to do. You have to dream big, believe that you can do it and you have to know you’re worth it. Stay focused encourage yourself sometimes.”
One of the biggest perks of the experience was being mentored by singer and actress Jennifer Hudson. The five foot nine songstress got her own start on a program just like this one, American Idol and came in a stunning seventh place. Since then however, she has had a solid career that includes winning an Oscar. Fleming, who says “What I love about Jennifer is that conversations were geared toward me as a person. Before anything vocally, she was concerned about my well-being as a person.” Fleming not only appreciated Hudson’s caring nature but also her wisdom Hudson. Among the things he says he learned from her was, “Nobody can dictate your dreams but you. Never let anyone dictate what you want to do.”
Lately, Baltimore has achieved even greater levels of visibility and influence partly because of cultural powerhouses who have come from and/or worked in the city. Fleming has just joined the ranks of the city’s cultural ambassadors. He says, “I love my city because we are a city that’s on the rise and if I can help inspire and be the face of change for my city, absolutely.” He elaborates, “There’s nothing like coming home to love and Baltimore is a place of love. Now with this platform, I can inspire children. I never thought I would be traveling to Italy and Switzerland or chilling at Jennifer Hudson’s house, but here I am. The mayor of Baltimore wants to give me the key to the city. You know, a lot of stuff is transpiring all because I chose to believe and step out on faith.”