David “Ziggy” D’Amato is a Cleveland-native singer-songwriter and instrumentalist. He wanders without direction through the cloudy midwest with a head full of pop melodies, and ’60s girl-group harmonies. His new single “King Baby” is his first release since his debut pop album, Rehearted, and today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of it.
“King Baby” starts off with clean electric guitar chugs, immediately pricking up any pop-punkers ears. But you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Right after the chords, D’Amato’s rich and impeccably doubled voice comes in.
The vocals were processed in a way that is reminiscent of a vintage telephone microphone. This warm sound is contrasted with the catchy pop-rock feeling instrumental backing. The combination sets us up for the perfect earworm.
Right off the bat, we also get an interesting twist in the lyrics. For the entirety of the tune, we’re left wondering: Is this a love song, or a bittersweet memory that’s been captured aurally? Perhaps, it is both. According to the artist, he is the so-called king:
“I wrote ‘King Baby’ back in 2017, which was the pinnacle year of my struggle with mental health issues. I had just gotten home from a month-long stay at a mental hospital, where I had met this girl and developed a crush on her. There’s a psychological syndrome called King Baby, that I’m sort of referencing in this song. From what I understand, King Baby is used to describe adults who have both narcissistic traits and no emotional maturity or coping skills. At the time I felt these qualities most powerfully in the face of a pretty lady. Musically, the vibe I was going for was a combination of the Cars, Elvis Costello, and Weezer.”
In the second verse (‘Laugh at me, it’s all my fault’), we are hit with thick, quasi-Ronettes harmonies. The drums are very forward in the mix of this one, which makes the song feel even more alive. It is as if we were standing directly in front of the artist, who is performing in a large amphitheater.
D’Amato seamlessly pairs despair with energy. He talks of being inconsolable while musically keeping a peppy, yet sanguine feeling. A lush talking guitar comes in during the B section, which then crescendos into a wailing solo. This feel-good single has us all looking forward to seeing what else this artist has in store. “King Baby” concludes with a lush vocal harmony stack; a sonically rich end to this musical sentence.
Listen to the tune and read our chat with Ziggy D’Amato…
You said you were writing an experience you had in 2017. What made you finally sit down and write ‘King Baby’?
I’d had a sketchy demo of ‘King Baby’ since 2017. I forgot about it and then stumbled across it in the summer of 2021 and it made me laugh delightfully. I thought it would benefit from a more polished recording. Also I didn’t have any other good ideas at the time.
How did you get that stellar warm and vintage sound in your vocals?
I love the quality of the voices of 50’s and 60’s singers like Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, and noticed that sometimes they had this quick slapback echo on their voices. Then I combined that with something I heard on Travis Scott songs. To me it sounded like some of the echo on Travis Scott’s voice seemed to be run through a megaphone EQ. So I started putting a megaphone EQ on the quick slapback echo of my voice and got this result. The melodies in this song are inspired by Elvis Costello and Weezer. Also, I didn’t put any reverb on any of the vocals on this song.
How do you stack your harmonies? Do you write them out ahead of time, or do you figure them out as you go?
I’m a big fan of the 60s girl groups like the Ronettes and the Supremes. I like to write harmonies and backup vocals like I’m my own girl backup singers. Usually while I’m in the process of writing the lyrics I can hear the harmonies as like a feeling in my head. Then after I record my main vocals, I record harmonies until I get that feeling from what I’m hearing back. It’s a little bit of both I guess.
If you could open for one of your favorite musical artists, who would it be and why?
I’d open for Taylor Swift. She’s my favorite current songwriter and she’s also a great performer. I’d love to see how much work goes into putting on a stadium level show every night. She’s a pretty diverse and deep catalog as well. It would be a dream to share a stage with her.
Do you have any upcoming shows or releases planned?
I have a four song EP that I’m in the process of editing and mixing. It’s still probably six months away from being finished. I tend to write and record very slowly, I’m like the crockpot of songwriters. I would play shows but I play all the instruments on my recordings and would need six or seven more of myself in order to play live. So until human cloning becomes more convenient, I’ll just be recording and releasing stuff digitally.