David Michael Draiman (born March 13, 1973) is an American singer; he is the lead singer of Disturbed and of Device. Draiman has a distorted, operatic baritone voice and percussive singing style. In November 2006, Draiman was voted number 42 on the Hit Parader's "Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". Draiman has written some of Disturbed's most successful singles, such as "Stupify", "Down with the Sickness", "Indestructible", and "Inside the Fire".
In October 2011, Disturbed went on hiatus, and Draiman worked on an industrial rock/metal project with Geno Lenardo (former guitarist of Filter), which was later named Device; they released one album, in 2013. In June 2015, Disturbed returned with a single and a new album, Immortalized. In 2018, Disturbed released Evolution.
Early life and education
Draiman was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 13, 1973, the son of Miriam and YJ Draiman. His father, who had been a candidate in the 2017 race for mayor of Los Angeles, and had worked as a real estate developer and small-business owner, was arrested for embezzlement and sent to prison when Draiman was 12. Draiman's brother Benjamin is an ambient/folk rock musician who lives in Israel.
His parents, while not personally observant, sent Draiman to Orthodox schools, where he believed he was on the path to receiving rabbinic ordination. Draiman frequently spent time in Israel during his early life. Draiman attended five Jewish day schools, including Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Valley Torah High School in Los Angeles, California, where he formed his first band; and Fasman Yeshiva High School in Chicago, Illinois.. During his freshman year at Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study, he was asked to leave, as he "rebelled against the conformity" and "just wanted to be a normal teenage kid", adding that he "couldn't really stomach the rigorous religious requirements of the life [there]". Of his study at Jewish day schools, Draiman stated that he "was a bit resentful", but he later encouraged his family to observe Shabbat and was trained as a hazzan.
Draiman later enrolled at Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, Illinois, where he graduated from high school in 1991. From 1991 to 1992, he became romantically involved with a girl who used heroin and eventually committed suicide, which inspired the song "Inside the Fire". At 18 years old, on New Year's Day, Draiman attempted to do the same but woke up under a bridge nearly frozen to death instead. After detoxing, Draiman described a "moment of clarity" and never did heroin again. He spent a year after high school studying at the Yeshivas Neveh Zion in Kiryat Ye'arim, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
After returning to the US in 1992, Draiman commenced pre-law studies at Loyola University Chicago. In 1996, he graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government, Philosophy, and Business Administration. Initially considering offers to matriculate and study at law school, Draiman realized that although criminal defense law was the only area of law that interested him, he could not "really look at myself in the mirror and say 'I'm going to lie for a living and protect criminals'". During his university studies, Draiman also worked as a bank teller and in phone sales.
After graduating from college, Draiman worked as an administrative assistant in a healthcare facility. After his first year, he earned an administrator's license and commenced running his own healthcare facility. For five years before joining Disturbed and the band's signing with Giant Records, Draiman was a healthcare administrator. Leaving that position strained his relationship with his grandfather, a traditional Hasidic Jew.
Draiman said, "the first record I ever bought was Kiss’ Destroyer. And those classic bands like Black Sabbath were my first loves ... I focused on the seminal metal bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera and Queensrÿche".
Draiman continues, "But I could also appreciate the hair metal bands – When you hear Whitesnake, you can’t deny their greatness. Then I went in the direction of punk and new wave, groups like the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Misfits and later The Smiths and The Cure – that was my '80s".
"And then when the grunge revolution happened, it was like a wakeup call. I'll never forget getting my first Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains records".
Draiman is married to former WWE Diva Lena Yada; they have a son. Draiman is Jewish. In politics, he said "I'm liberal about everything that is issue-based as far as ideology, but I'm also of the opinion of a very small government. I don't agree with the fiscal policies of the Democrats, but I certainly don't agree with the right-wing craziness of the Republicans." Draiman was a supporter of Bernie Sanders against the Donald Trump candidacy. He also described himself as “a very, very strong supporter of Israel forever and for our people."
For a more comprehensive list, see Disturbed discography
- The Sickness (2000)
- Believe (2002)
- Ten Thousand Fists (2005)
- Indestructible (2008)
- Asylum (2010)
- The Lost Children (2011)
- Immortalized (2015)
- Evolution (2018)
- Device (2013)
- "Forsaken" (written by Jonathan Davis) (2002)
- "Here's to Us" (guest version) (2012)
- "Dance in the Rain" (guest vocals for Megadeth) (2013)
- Trivium - Vengeance Falls (2013)