Huntington Beach Singer-Songwriter David Rosales Talks Music and His NonProfit Work

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

When the pandemic pushed back the release of his new album, the follow-up to 2018’s breakthrough “Brave Ones,” Rosales dreamed up The Driveway Hop Summer Tour, a series of solo concerts in his neighborhood that extended into Fountain Valley and points beyond. When the Meaningful Meals program he started with his wife and close friends ran into a roadblock because of COVID-19, they switched gears and began delivering food to hospital workers, sheltered youths, and others. Now, in time for the delayed release of “Revive,” he talks about his music, his nonprofit work, and the benefits of improvising at both.


On March 20, I went out on my driveway and took out my PA system, my speakers, and my guitar and told some of the neighbors, “Hey, if you guys want to come out and drink some wine on your driveways, I’m going to play some songs until the streetlights come on.” And people really liked it. It was a breath of fresh air. So I said, “I’ll be back next Friday, let’s do it again.” It was a really beautiful thing that brought our neighborhood together.


I was in a hard rock band from my 20s to 30s, and I wrote a lot about darker stuff—partying, drugs. Once I had Amélie, my first (child), it kind of opened up a well of new emotions. I feel like being a parent is the most punk rock thing because you just stop caring about what people think. I wrote my first album, “Smile,” and went from there. I got into that country-Americana vibe: a mix of folk, country, rock, bluegrass, soul. Now with this album, I was listening to a lot of Sam Cook, Al Green. It’s got a little more soul and rhythm and blues. It’s also got this laid-back beach vibe that I can’t get rid of.


(BraveOnes) Foundation got going a little over two years ago. Our two best friends, Jeff and Rose Kunze, had a child; his name was Hendrix. He had a number of tough cards dealt his way, and after a year of life, in and out of Children’s Hospital Orange County, he passed away. After about a year of grief, Jeff and Rose said, let’s start a foundation. We saw a need at CHOC for a neuroscience playroom. We raised more than $100,000 for it in about a year’s time.


Jeff and Rose told us (that) when you’re in a hospital dealing with your child, you’re not thinking about yourself, you’re just worried about that little one. The day some orange juice and bagels were brought in, it was a huge boost for them, and they remembered that. So we partnered with local restaurants and began to bring in a meal twice a month for these families. It became the Meaningful Meals program. Once the pandemic hit, Children’s Hospital stopped allowing outside charities to come in. So we thought, let’s expand it to the first responders and health care heroes. Then we saw another need at the Waymakers Youth Shelter in Huntington Beach. Food is love, just like music is love to me.

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