The son of a Chicago minister, actor David Soul actually launched his career as a folk singer. Born David Richard Solbert on August 28, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois, David moved to Mexico during his youth, when his father took a lengthy assignment as diplomatic advisor for the U.S. State Department. The experience (and the Mexican environment) engendered in young Solberg a permanent love of indigenous folk music. For the remainder of his youth, the whole world was Soul's backyard as his father was transferred from post to post during the 1950s and early 1960s. The blossoming performer could never quite shake either his inbred wanderlust (he attended Augustana College in South Dakota, the University of the Americas in New Mexico, and the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis) or his musical inclinations.
After impulsively deciding to become a stage performer, and studying with the legendary Uta Hagen in New York, Soul definitively opted to embark upon a singing career. From 1966 to 1967, the performer turned up as the hooded "mystery singer" on the syndicated television talkfest The Merv Griffin Show. At about the same time, Soul also landed gigs opening for musical acts including Frank Zappa, The Lovin' Spoonful and The Byrds. The singer's decision, not long after, to finally remove his "mask" on television and reveal himself to the public backfired; it took away the novelty, and made it eminently more difficult for Soul to book concerts.