Alumnus Profile

Music With a Message

Grammy-winning producer Doug Davis championed a recording project featuring “Dreamer” musicians.

Doug Davis accepts a Grammy
Doug Davis accepts a Grammy for the American Dreamers album. “Putting those kids on stage,” he says, “was the greatest achievement, a moment I’ll cherish my whole life.”

The Grammy Doug Davis ’94 BA (PSc) earned this year as co-producer on the jazz album The Omni-American Book Club was nice, but he’ll tell you the one from 2019 was special. On that album, which he also co-produced, 53 musicians living in America as DACA “Dreamers” played patriotic jazz music and told their stories. “A Grammy is huge for a citizen,” Davis said from the Grammy stage, “but seismic for an undocumented American.”

Davis, who also holds a JD from Fordham, first entered sports law but found it too “transactional,” less fun. “In music, everyone is a fan and is living their dream,” says Davis, who had glanced that dream as the son of legendary music producer Clive Davis. He now oversees a U.S. News top-ranked law firm and two firms doing music production, publishing, and administration.

But the DACA project, American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, was extraordinary—bolstering, he says, for Americans whose social status is often otherwise nebulous. Davis’s contributions were myriad. “With projects like these,” he says, “that are lifted by the bootstraps, producing involves a little bit of everything”—like wrangling use of a local pipe organ for one of the musicians, only to discover the church housing it serves as an immigrant sanctuary.

The project tapped into “politically aware roots planted at Maxwell,” Davis says. Today, he’s involved with a long list of nonprofits. It pays off personally. He still hears from the Dreamer musicians “how their lives were changed,” Davis says. “They each became hometown heroes. It was incredibly rewarding.”