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Duncan Sheik

Birth Date: November 18 1969
Birth Place: N/A

Born in Montclair, New Jersey, and raised in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Duncan Sheik spent his teen years immersing himself in the music of such kindred spirits as the Beach Boys, the Smiths, and the Blue Nile. Duncan attended Brown University, where he spent a year playing in Liz & Lisa--a band whose membership included singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb--before heading out on his own. His demo tapes circulated throughout the music industry, and Sheik eventually inked with Atlantic. Sheik's 1996 self-titled RIAA gold-certified Atlantic debut--which included the hit singles "Barely Breathing" and "She Runs Away"--was an enormous popular and critical success. In its four-star review, Rolling Stone hailed the Rupert Hine-produced album as "a defiant debut--beautiful and benevolent of spirit." Duncan Sheik reached the #1 position on both Billboard's "Heatseekers" chart of new and developing artists, and SoundScan's "Alternative New Artist Albums" chart, ultimately spending some 30 weeks on the Billboard 200. The top 20 Billboard hit, "Barely Breathing," earned a place in pop history as it became the fourth longest-running single in the annals of the Hot 100, where it spent an amazing 55 weeks. In addition, "In The Absence Of Sun," another track from the debut album, was included on the top 25-charting soundtrack album to the Paramount Pictures/Rysher Entertainment film, "The Saint". During nearly two years spent on the road with the first album, Sheik toured with such artists as Jewel, Shawn Colvin, and Jars of Clay in addition to headlining his own North American club tour. Along the way, he made national television appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O'Brien, CBS This Morning, and others. In early 1998, Sheik delivered "Wishful Thinking," a stand-out track from Atlantic's RIAA gold-certified "Great Expectations" soundtrack. In October of that year came the release of Duncan's second Atlantic album, Humming, a more band-oriented expression, characterized in part by a stronger drum presence and lush string arrangements, and for which Sheik took on the role of co-producer. His partner behind the boards was, once again, the renowned Rupert Hine (Rush, Stevie Nicks, Robert Palmer, The Waterboys, Kate Bush, Tina Turner). Stephen Holden of The New York Times previewed the album, saying, "In the late-90's garbage heap of one-hit wonders and hip-hoppers whose samplings of the past sound more like licensed theft than creative recycling, most pop nowadays is as disposable as a Big Mac wrapper. Hardly anyone is talking about 'art.' But Mr. Sheik's beautifully orchestrated meditations suggest that pop can still aspire to a lofty, searching classicism." In March of last year, Duncan joined his former Brown University bandmate, Lisa Loeb, on the Musical Bridges Foundation-sponsored cultural exchange mission to Cuba aimed at promoting cultural awareness and creating human bonds between nations. The program--whose participants also included R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, John Hiatt, Indigo Girls, Bonnie Riatt, N'Dea Davenport of Brand New Heavies fame, and others--centered around collaborative songwriting sessions between English and American artists with Cuban musical counterparts. The collaborations culminated with a special concert at Havana's Karl Marx Theater to debut the resulting material. Additional 1999 travels brought Sheik to Albania, in the midst of the Kosovo refugee crisis.
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