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David Byrne (born May 14, 1952) is a Scottish-born, American musician and artist most associated with his role as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American new wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography, opera, and non-fiction. He has received Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe awards and been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Byrne was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, to Tom and Emma Byrne. He was the elder of two children. Two years later, his parents moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and then to Arbutus, Maryland, when he was 8 or 9 years old. His father worked as an electronics engineer. Before high school, David Byrne already knew how to play the guitar, accordion, and violin. He was rejected from his middle school’s choir because they claimed he was "off-key and too withdrawn". From a young age, Byrne had a strong interest in music. His parents say that he would constantly play his phonograph from age three and he learned how to play the harmonica at age five. In his journals he says, "I was a peculiar young man — borderline Asperger's, I would guess." As revealed by Tina Weymouth in the commentary for the concert film Stop Making Sense, Byrne is left handed but plays guitar right handed.
He graduated from Lansdowne High School in southwest Baltimore County. Byrne started his musical career in a high school duo named Bizadi with Mark Kehoe. Their repertoire consisted mostly of songs such as "April Showers", "96 Tears", "Dancing On The Ceiling", and Frank Sinatra songs. Byrne then attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art before dropping out and forming a band called "The Artistics" with fellow RISD student Chris Frantz. The band dissolved within a year, and the two moved to New York together with Frantz's girlfriend Tina Weymouth. Unable to find a bass player in New York, Frantz and Byrne persuaded Weymouth to learn to play the bass guitar. She admits that the encouragement she received from Byrne, Frantz, and famed trumpet player Don Cherry (who lived in their building), was critical as to her grasp of the instrument.