Dubuque’s Very Own Piano Man Fills the Tri-States with Lovely Music
One of the most exciting parts about my job is how frequently I meet interesting and talented people all around Dubuque and the Tri-States. In a little over a year, I've met some extraordinary individuals. This week, I finally got to meet Dubuque's very own "Piano Man."
I had heard the name "Leo David" before, but never had the privilege of making his acquaintance. That changed this week, when the soft-spoken and big-hearted pianist came into the studio for a chat about his career as a musician. Leo performs with several different bands all around the area, taking his talents everywhere from a local bar/restaurant to a church, and everywhere in between.
Because he performs so frequently, it's tough to say for what Leo is best known. Maybe it's his weekly performances at Wicked Dame. Every Tuesday night, he performs what he calls "Leo-oke," piano music infectious enough that the crowd can't help but sing along. "You are the star," is one of Leo-oke's slogans. "Anything can happen" is another. Those are big promises delivered in full by a spectacular local talent.
Or perhaps it's The Lonely Goats, another band of which Leo is a part. Him and his bandmates make magic happen with a variety of lush instrumentation and beautiful melodies.
Leo was kind enough to talk with me about everything from his busy performing schedule to the roots of his love the piano. He vividly recalled being a toddler and asking his mom for a piano; a request she wasn't so quick to fulfill:
I was about five or six when I first encountered a monster [a piano] like that. Then I started just playing around with it and loved it [....] I told my mom that's what I wanted. She was like, 'you're crazy... we can't afford that.' But I insisted, and then she said, 'look, just take some [piano] classes, learn some piano, and if you really, really want it, we can talk about it.'
So, three years later, when I was about eight or nine, she was like, 'wow, this guy's serious.' So, she bought me a piano.
Leo still has that piano his mother bought him. It's very old and needs a lot of work, but he continues to play it. It's a priceless heirloom; a reminder of where his passion began.
Leo's calm voice and easygoing dynamic is reflected by the Jimmy Buffett/Landshark-branded hat he wore to the studio during our discussion: "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On." And Leo keeps on moving, performing at various bars and venues, hoping to instill a love of piano onto his audience, whether they sing along with Leo-oke or simply indulge in the sounds of the wonderful instrument.
Find out more about Leo David on the Leo-oke Facebook page, and be sure to catch him at the Wicked Dame every Tuesday evening at 7pm. Take a listen to our interview below!