Anyone who is an American Idol fan will recognize the name Dave Pittman. Dave made a huge impression on the Idol judges in 2009 with his rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me.” When Neil Patrick Harris called him “Crazy Brave”, I’m sure he had no idea how accurately he was describing Dave Pittman’s life. After sitting down to talk to Dave, I can tell you three things for certain…
- He Is crazy brave!
- He is crazy honest!
- He is crazy talented!
Dave grew up in the Gassville, Arkansas area. The middle of three children, he is still close to his brother and sister today. When you get a chance to hear Dave talk about his family, you will soon realize how much love they have for each other. They were his support during the rough times in his life. They brought God to the forefront of every situation, making Dave the man that he is today. His father has been in music ministry for over 40 years. Dave sang his first solo at the age of 6 in his family church where his father was the music minister. When asked if he remember what he sang, Dave belted out a few bars of “I Don’t Have to Wait Until I’m Grown Up.” Apparently, momma Pittman even has this recorded and stored in the Dave Pittman archives. He says she likes to pull out the video every once in a while to show off her young son’s talent (Mrs. Pittman, if you are reading this, we would love to see that tape!).
For those of you who do not know, Dave has lived with Tourette’s Syndrome most of his life. He started showing signs of the neurological disorder when he was around 7 years old. It started with eye blinks and moved to facial tics. His parents saw his tics as developed bad habits and tried to work with him to stop. When he could not stop they decided to see a doctor and Dave was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at age 9. At school, Dave endured a large amount of bullying because of his disorder. He recalls the kids being cruel because they did not understand what was going on with him.
When confronted with the thought of going back to school his 5th grade year, Dave decided life was not worth living if he had to endure any more hardships at the hands of his school aged tormentors. He talks very candidly about deciding to take his own life in that moment. His parents were out running errands and his siblings were in another area of the house. Dave penned a note to his parents that simply said, ‘Mom and Dad, I love you and I’m going to miss you.” His 10-year-old mind could only come up with signing the letter with a frowning face, and a tear drop. He took the letter in to his parent’s room and locked the door behind him. He did not want his brother or sister walking in on him. He laid the note face up on his parent’s bed and took a gun out of his parent’s closet. Growing up in a hunting family, Dave was not stranger to how guns worked. He was seconds away from pulling the trigger when his parents came in from running their errands.
As he scurried to put everything back so his parents would not find out, he placed his note upside down on the floor. As his parents were knocking on their door, trying to figure out why their son was locked in their room, Dave rushed to hide his intentions. When he let them in, his mother immediately noticed the note in the middle of the floor. When she read the letter, everyone in the room felt Dave’s heartache. In tears, they all knew that school was not something that Dave could endure. After talking to counselor’s and clergy, they decided that he should be home schooled that next year. This year proved to be a turning point for him. His mother not only taught him his normal classroom curriculum, but also taught him that importance of accepting yourself for who you are. She told him that they may never understand why God had allowed him to have Tourette’s. Even if they never understood, it was important for Dave to accept himself for who he was. This acceptance would help others begin to accept him as well.
At the time, this concept seemed foreign to 10-year-old Dave. But with crazy strength, Dave tackled school again. His mom went to the school and helped educate the kids about Dave’s disorder. He was relieved that he did not have to try to hide his disorder any longer. To hear him tell it, he decided to not let this disorder define him. Of course it was going to have an effect on who he was, but he wouldn’t let this make him miserable for the rest of his life. With no known cure, there was nothing he could do to change it. So, it was either be miserable or live in true joy. Dave decided on joy. Strangely enough, when the kids saw that he was not letting anything get to him. He was accepting who he was. The bullying soon stopped. On top of dealing with Tourette’s he was also dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Dave openly admits that school was not his gift. He barely got through but he did.
After high school he moved a couple of hours away and lived on his own. He was working an online business and other odd jobs but music was still calling him. He knew that he wanted to sing but had no idea how he would make this passion his career. He turned to prayer for direction. After a couple of years of struggling in Fayetteville to make it on his own, it was a “chance” meeting his father had with the Sound of Liberty director from Liberty University that would set him on the path to his dreams. A path that would lead him back to his first love, music. And eventually, the American Idol stage.
The director was auditioning men for a male trio he was putting together. Dave took days off work to record the audition tape and sent it off to the music director. Over one thousand men auditioned, but before he knew it, Dave was part of the trio on a full scholarship to Liberty University. As excited as Dave was to be singing again, he was nervous about going back to school. A place that he admittedly did not excel in. Throughout, Dave sought out he Lord’s will for his life and ended up graduating with a degree in Religion.
After graduating in 2008, Dave was trying to figure out where God was leading him. He knew he was going after his music dream, but he just didn’t know how that was going to happen. He moved home to save money up so he could start pursuing his music dream. He thought he would start auditioning for shows in Branson, Missouri. He did, but nothing really panned out. It was his dad who suggested that Dave try out for American Idol. At age 27, it was the last year he would be able to try, since the cut off age to try out for American Idol is 28. Though he had thought about auditioning many times in the past, it was really his dad’s prodding that led Dave to Dallas, Texas for auditions. This trek to Dallas would put him on the Idol audition stage and made a mark that led Dave to where he is today.
Please See Part 2 – Dave Pittman – For His Life After Idol!
Staff Writer – Rockin’ God’s House
Copyright 2013 – Ecumenic Entertainment