David Byrne, the singer-songwriter, performer and iconoclast, is the longtime drummer and backup vocalist for the Talking Heads, a 1970s-era rock band considered to be one of the most influential bands of the last 50 years. As the band’s leader, Richard Patterson, died of cancer in 2003, he handed the reins to longtime collaborators and The Last Poets, a Harlem-based group of poets and musicians.
In his life before and after the band, Byrne acted as a producer and musician for many other groups. For the 1994 Grammy award-winning album, I Zimbra, Byrne sang with a string band, singing about Bolivia’s indigenous people. His other Grammy nominations included a 1999 Album of the Year nod for his work with The New York Philharmonic. His last solo album, America, was released in 2004.
Byrne has been writing poetry and short stories for decades, releasing at least five books of short stories, poems and nonfiction essays. According to a 2011 interview, Byrne is halfway through his 10th book.