How Pink Sweat$ Is Bringing The Philly Soul Tradition To A New Generation

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Born on Valentine’s Day and given a studio nickname based on his comfy, pink outfit, David Bowden has quickly become one of the most fascinating voices working in modern R&B. Growing up in the hood of Philadelphia, and steeped in the gospel, soul, and immense talent of the church community there, it wasn’t until his late teens that Bowden began to listen to secular music. Electrified by rappers like 50 Cent and Kanye West, and enamored with the pop sounds of Avril Lavigne and Maroon 5, he eventually began writing his own music and getting into the studio.

From there, his nickname Pink Sweat$ became a whole lifestyle, and a new movement in music with his first major single, “Honesty,” racking up two million streams on Spotify. Now, Pink Sweat$ has two EPs under his belt — Volume 1 and Volume 2 — and a slew of other cult hits bubbling under, like “Coke & Henny Pt. 2,” “Cocaine,” and “Body Ain’t Me.”

After struggling with a rare disorder called achalasia that damages the esophagus and makes it difficult for food and liquid to pass into the stomach, Bowden’s streak of success has continued beyond streaming, and he’s currently touring in the UK with another set of US dates for the Pink Beginnings tour coming up in September. Bringing the legacy of Philly soul into the 21st century with songs about the pains of love and loss in an increasingly digital world, Pink Sweat$ is bridging the gap between old-world R&B and a millennial sound.

Along with all the normal show dates, Pink Sweat$ has also been booked for a number of private showcases, including a recent PBR Sound Society event in Los Angeles and the Songkick Live concert series in New York. We’re premiering a couple of those live performances today, and had the chance to speak with Pink Sweat$ about his recent success, the influence of the church on his music, and the best way to make a song romantic.

Right off the bat with your artist name, your aesthetic evokes a sense of vulnerability and a softer side of things. What drew you to using that name for performing? I know it was an early nickname but are there other elements that drew you to it as a title?

I first got the name from this week I was studio bumming. Just spending all of my time at the studio by myself wearing this same pair of pink sweats. One day someone couldn’t remember my name but wanted to know where I was. He asked, ‘Where is pink sweats?’ and that’s how it first started. I’ve always worn a lot of pink but after that, I started buying more pink every time I saw it. My birthday is also on Valentine’s Day, so I was just born to wear it.