BK Davis is a Steinway International Artist, one of only a few hundred elites amongst the tens of thousands of professional musicians working today. The Steinway International Artist designation is an honor bestowed on pianists with an impressive body of work. Davis’ Steinway peers are legends such as Elton John, Billy Joel, Harry Connick, Jr., and Herbie Hancock.
It is no accident that Davis is in such an esteemed company. He has been composing and performing music for 40 years. The jazz pianist/singer composed his first song at age 13 and had it performed by a 150-member church choir – that he was directing – on national television a year later.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, home of 20th-century jazz great Bix Beiderbecke, Davis was raised in a musical household. His father, Bishop Ezekiel Davis, conscripted him as a teen to serve as musical director for the seven churches he oversaw, while his mother, Rose Davis, an accomplished vocalist, attended to his vocal and instrumental training. Davis is a multi-instrumentalist who plays more than a dozen instruments besides the piano, including guitar, organ, and drums.
He served in the U.S. Army, was honorably discharged, then continued his musical studies at Western Illinois University.
Jazz, R&B, gospel, soul, and pop are the genres that propelled Davis to travel around the world. His artistry enticed promoters in Europe, Japan, North America and on the high seas to book him, and not one has regretted it.
“What BK has, intellectually, is the capacity to know what the audience wants and when,” a Florida club owner said. “He can take you on that magical trip; when it’s smooth, he takes you up a hill – then he sets you on fire.”
A restless musical intellect, Davis has an impressive and disparate list of accomplishments to his credit:
- Wrote theme music for the Boy Scouts of America and an Indianapolis 500 race among dozens of commercial jingles that he penned
- An early adopter of musical independence, he shunned a record contract, created his own company and sold tens of thousands of CDs of his original music
- Musical and/or choir director for several large churches in the Midwest and on the West Coast
- Band leader
- Band member for several well-known artists, such as Johnnie Taylor, BB King and Billy Preston
- Co-wrote original music with rock and roll legend Little Richard, as well as McFadden and Whitehead, the recording duo best known for their signature tune “Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now”.
Davis and his band are currently headliners at the Fox Restaurant in Tampa, FL, which is rated by Downbeat magazine as one of the 214 best jazz cafes in the U.S.
Davis’ latest project is to pursue the one accolade he hasn’t received: a Grammy nomination. He is in the studio composing a new album and negotiating with a major record label for representation so the new album may be eligible for honors by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the body that bestows Grammy awards.