Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Knopfler grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North of England. With a guitar, a piano and a drum kit by age 11, it's not surprising to find him master of the many instruments he uses. By 14, he was performing his own songs in folk clubs. Despite a college degree he can't recall any other aspirations beyond composing and playing music. In 1977 David founded Dire Straits, and with brother Mark, recorded three albums and toured extensively before resigning three years later to broaden his horizons. "In the Straits I learned how to translate the intimate from the bedroom to the arena. Since leaving I've been wondering how you put the genii back in the bottle. I'm still interested in the way the personal can also translate lyrically to universal themes, but hopefully with less hoopla and distraction. I now make my work for that special someone willing to make time to listen quietly to the work and be reflective. It's the listener who makes the creative connections and finds their personal story. Like any artist, I need the work to excite and involve me, but I also hope my songs provide a vehicle for the listener to put themselves centre stage and relate to the emotions and ideas."
David has always made uncompromising life choices. His relaxed but disciplined approach to both work and life (showing no regard for hanging out, or to the platinum discs piled up in his cellar) is indicative of Knopfler's entire philosophy. David believes in defining success without reference to fame - In finding happiness without hype or glory, preferring to choose the low road and the substance of real work and the loyalty of real friendships and relationships to those more fashion conscious, ephemeral insecurities that so beset the pop glitterati who like to be seen at awards ceremonies."I'm commited to what I do and to everyone feeling fulfilled by what we create together. I believe inevitably our solidarity as artists communicates positively in the work, whatever the project."
He lives quietly in the English countryside, slowly notching up an impressive list of writing credits. An understated integrity and honesty define Knopfler in both his work and private life. An uncompromising family man, David remains happily married to his first wife Anna. His son, whom David always made a more important priority than work, is now regularly working in David's studio. A lifelong member of organisations like Greenpeace, Amnesty and Adopt a Minefield, David is more prone to sending a cheque than using charities to further his own publicity. That he has deftly avoided the usual media intrusions and the drink, drugs -burn out cliches for so many years, unperturbed in the marketing and promotion led hysteria this business engenders, is testament to David's consistent ongoing maturation and development. David says "I don't regard what I do as remotely glamorous. I write and record music because I completely love doing it, despite any so called "celebrity status" that sometimes comes with the job." His heroes are diverse but if pressed to name them, he'll usually offer Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Lowell George and Bob Dylan among others.
Knopfler has been lucky enough to touch a wide audience without prejudicing his own aesthetics. While he has enjoyed the respect of his peers, critical accolades and chart successes abroad, in his home country, Britain, he appears, with evident mischievous enjoyment, to have managed to keep his profile so low as to be almost invisible. "I enjoy pottering around the garden. The stars here look completely amazing at night."
Knopfler remains unmoved by hyperbole: "I'm just a songwriter" he says " all this talking about the process has nothing to do with whether my next song will be the best I ever wrote - or the best I ever recorded, or whether my next live performance of it will be my best rendition i.e. whether I can communicate it effectively... the rest is so much air. This new record is easily my best work to date and I dug deeper than I ever have before to create it. I hope the critics and public will agree with me"
"I can't exactly say what lends a song, or a story, power but I know when I hear it. It's not a clinical thing. It's something you feel in a chill of excitement. Hitting that nerve for me is the whole addiction. I wouldn't want to mess too much with it. Songs either work on your emotions or they don't. It's something I've been doing all my life and in the end it's just about the songs... either they hit that spot for you or they don't."