SINGER TO STUDENTS: BE FEARLESS
Former ‘American Idol’ contestant talks about his struggles with Tourette syndrome and bullies
By Jim Williamson
Texarkana Gazette October 5, 2012
“I’ve had messages from kids saying they were suicidal, but after listening to me explain about overcoming my problems, they see hope ... I tell them find someone who builds you up and not tear you down.”
TEXARKANA -- Dave Pittman had the courage to want to be an “American Idol,” and he is succeeding despite losing the competition. As he follows his dream to create music, Pittman, who contemplated suicide, has helped young people find the courage to live. Pittman entertained Ashdown Junior High School students Thursday as part of a tour through the Texarkana region. He performed songs from his album, “Crazy Brave,” to explain his trials and encourage students to overcome their fear of bullies and physical disabilities. Every day Pittman faces a fight with Tourette syndrome, an neurological disorder that causes facial and vocal tics along with periodic uncontrolled hand movements. But when Pittman sings, the tics stop. When Pittman was a child, the other students didn’t understand the facial tics and made fun of him. Tourette syndrome put Pittman on the brink of suicide when he was 9 years old, but his parents and music gave him the courage to continue his life.
FORMER IDOL RIVAL SPEAKS TO STUDENTS
March 4, 2012
by Melissa Gute (Staff Writer)
“Hopefully, what I had to say today drives it home a little bit, and they start thinking, ‘maybe I should work on what I say to this person from now on.’” -- Dave Pittman, former American Idol contestant
SILOAM SPRINGS -- “What you say to someone can affect them for the rest of their life,” a former American Idol contestant told a gym of Siloam Springs Middle School students Thursday. Dave Pittman, who competed in American Idol season 9, spoke to students about the power of words and their ability to cause damage when used negatively. Pittman was all too familiar with the power of negative words while being bullied growing up because he had Tourette syndrome. He told his story of how he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder in fourth grade and was the victim of bullying because of his facial tics and verbal stutters. The mocking was a result of peers’ lack of understanding and not knowing what to do with the disorder, Pittman said. Life in his youth became so difficult, so discouraging that he seriously considered suicide with a family gun, but his parents walked in on him before he could pull the trigger, he told students. After that, his parents were able to get him counseling, and Pittman was able to realize that it wasn’t him who had the problem. Often bullies will pick on someone who has something different about them to hide their own insecurities or act cool around friends, Pittman explained. “I was able to realize that they were the ones with the problem, not myself,” he said. Pittman used his life experiences to give a message to both students who bully and
students who are bullied. To those who bully, Pittman said he hopes they understand the power of their words and how much damage they can do. “Hopefully, what I had to say today drives it home a little bit, and they start thinking, ‘maybe I should work on what I say to this person from now on,’” he said.
Dreams coming true
By Thomas Garrett , Baxter Bulletin, September 6, 2011
Dave Pittman wraps up debut CD
"If you have a dream in life, don't take ‘no' for an answer. Keep pushing through the obstacles until you reach it."
Gassville native and recording artist Gassville native David Pittman is wrapping up work on his debut album, "Crazy Brave" and has just finished a pre-release media tour through Louisiana and Arkansas. The CD is expected to be available in October.
Singer with Tourette syndrome becomes an inspiration instead of American Idol
By Jim Williamson
Texarkana Gazette August 20, 2011
"I was probably two seconds away from pulling the trigger when I heard my parents coming back and the front door open."
DAVE PITTMAN Singer
Staff photo by Christena Dowsett
Dave Pittman, former American Idol contestant, speaks about growing up with Tourette syndrome to children and staff Thursday morning at Watersprings Ranch. Pittman made it to Hollywood - within the top 70 of season nine.
Dave Pittman is on the move, singer headed to Nashville,
CD coming this summer
By Thomas Garrett , Baxter Bulletin, April 7, 2011
Singer Dave Pittman of Gassville still is pursuing his dream, and he has lots of projects under way, proof that his "just believe" attitude works.
The biggest change for the Season 9 "American Idol" contestant is a move to Nashville. Pittman told The Bulletin he will be moving to Music City in the next three weeks. There, he plans to continue recording and writing music along with other endeavors.
Pittman also is wrapping up work on a new CD this month. A June release is planned, along with a debut concert this summer at Mountain Home. The currently self-titled CD features both original music and cover songs, all of which are new arrangements featuring Pittman's own style.
'Idol' finalist Durbin is singing through Tourette's
By Michelle Healy, USA TODAY March 7, 2011
Among those turning heads on this season's American Idol is contestant James Durbin. Notable for his impressive vocal range, Durbin, 22, of Santa Cruz, Calif., has also caught viewers' attention with his frank and moving discussion about having been diagnosed with Asperger and Tourette syndromes.
At an Idol reception last week, Durbin told USA TODAY that he loves hearing that people are inspired by his history of overcoming adversity "because it fuels me to do better and to push myself even further."
Dave Pittman winds up Day 1 in Dallas
By Brian Mansfield, USA TODAY, January 27, 2010
We're halfway through the Dallas episode, with only three golden-ticket auditions shown, none of whom I expect to make it to the finals (and probably not the semi-finals). Can Dave Pittman, the last contestant of Day 1, change things? He's from Gassville, Ark., and he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Tourette syndrome when he was 9. The disorder causes some facial and vocal tics (he clears his throat a lot), but, like stuttering apparently, he says it doesn't affect him when he sings. (Trivia: Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson also has Tourette's.) Dave chooses Sam Cooke's Bring It On Home (a personal favorite), and he does a fine job. Neil Patrick addresses the elephant in the room, asking if he has Tourette's. "I think you're crazy brave," he says. Simon says, "I think people are going to like you."