As the son of two musicians, Davis Whitfield's early years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were filled with music. He began playing guitar at age five and moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, at eight, where he began studying piano. While attending high school, Whitfield was accepted by the Jersey City University Visual and Performing Arts Program and served as the principal pianist in its jazz ensemble for four years. In 2008, Whitfield became the assistant director for the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, writing arrangements and performing weekly at the Jazz Standard in New York City.
Whitfield received a scholarship from the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts and attended the 2011 YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. He also received full scholarships to attend the Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop in 2009–2010 and a presidential scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music for his undergraduate degree.