When David Somlo wrote and produced the thirty odd tracks of which fifteen became the Somlo & the Synths album For Charity, he had no desire to share his song ideas with anybody, it was just a way to stave off boredom and keep busy.
“A family member listening to the music suggested I try to sell the music to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association given I have a neuromuscular disability myself,” he said, hence the album title.
Fast forward several months since this suggestion and the album is now available on all major streaming platforms and fifty hard copies of the CD are available (as of June 3) for sale direct from Somlo himself. For Charity boasts nine instrumental tracks and six songs with lyrics/vocals; the theme of the songs for the most part is working within limitations and dealing with the hurdles that are part and parcel of life.
Between five and six years ago, this self-taught music producer who has been playing musical instruments since he can remember, mainly guitar starting in fifth grade, and who went through the experience of forming a band and self-releasing their music, all of which he wrote, during undergrad, stopped being able to play his favorite instrument but still had all the tools and knowledge to create music.
In this day and age, accessibility is better than it has ever been, both in terms of access for those with disabilities and the affordability of self-producing and releasing music.
During the pandemic especially, there was little else to do but learn to work around his limitations using music production software and tricks of the trade he had picked up along the way.
David’s musical career started as it does for most suburban kids with private piano lessons and music class during elementary school, for him at McGaugh Elementary in Seal Beach.
He eventually went on to be in orchestra, playing French horn under Mr. Cecil during middle school at McAuliffe and in jazz band, on guitar, and marching band, on mellophone, during high school at Los AL, mostly under Mr. Chuck Wackerman
During undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley, he formed an alternative rock band named Wart after the protagonist in Disney’s Sword in the Stone and wrote, produced, and released two short records with his band mates, performing throughout the Bay Area and a couple of times in Southern California before calling it quits as David’s illness began to progress.
Much of these recordings are available at http://soundcloud.com/glassrootsrecordings.
Becker muscular dystrophy is a more slowly progressing type of neuromuscular disease that varies in its severity across patients.
Somlo was able to avoid using a wheelchair into his late twenties but always was clumsier and more prone to falls and pulled muscles than his peers.
He maintained the ability to record and play guitar until about six years ago when his disease progressed, affecting his motivation in other areas of life and forcing him to take time off from the PhD he was working on to address his health both physical and mental.
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