Sunday, 15 June 2008

David Archuleta - What is all the fuss about?

So what is all the fuss? What has brought us all together as a zealous and passionate fanbase and have come out in force from all regions of the globe to show our love and support for this young talent? Jeff Archuleta released a message yesterday thanking everyone for his Fathers Day e-card that had been sent by a legion of Arch-Angels. What is it about this person that we celebrate even his parents wherever and whenever we get the chance? David was throughout the course of the show, the most discussed contestant by anyones measurement. He was the talk of all the forums, blogs, commentator sites, newspapers and everything Idol related all season long. He set his mark very early on. So what is it about him that has left us with this glorious aftertaste and an ever larger appetite for more, even as runner-up, now that American Idol is finished for another year. This is my insight as to why...

Davids appeal embodies the spirit of Art. Music especially has that ability to dive down deep into your soul, break you down and reveal that inner core. It possesses that ability to make you feel things you never thought were possible, or at least possible within the context of reality. Its an expression thats more than words, a way of communicating beyond the boundaries of speech and literature. Music can send you to another world and back within space of a few minutes making you feel calm, excited, love struck, emotional and even inspired, to name just a few. David embodies that spirit. I myself am a lover of all music, but my inclinations are more towards the Rock genre, i even dive into the realms of Metal and other far-removed genres as far away from David as possible. So why does his simple method of just 'standing and singing' reach into the very depths of me every time? David possesses an ability that cannot be taught. An ability that varies in amount but is something you either have or you don't. Its called Musicality. Its that natural ability to express yourself with music and communicate from your heart to everyone else's in that room and beyond. That ability to make a grown (well, almost grown) man cry. The sheer scale and intensity in which David possesses this ability is quite remarkable and something very special, even mind boggling when I really think about it. Every time I play a song of his on my iPod or a video on my PC I'm cast into another world, nirvana in fact, and that is something very few people can do to me. His musical instinct is of a prodigal and epic amplitude

It almost seems that for himself singing is that place, that place where he can sit there and speak from his heart and soul. I was always so intrigued at how his whole persona transformed when his performance began. He went from being a shy, humble, slightly awkward and quirky boy to becoming a poised and confident performer. Performing on stage to a lot of people diminishes their personality when they are up there but to David, it revealed and amplified it. He always looked truly 'at home' on stage. David is also unique to the typical Idol contestants. The people that establish themselves on this show are the people with the biggest, loudest and most elaborate singing style. A great performance to the Idol crowd was the best song with the longest, loudest, highest note at the end to cap it all off (cue Jennifer Hudson, Tamyra Grey to name just a few). David was never about that. His performances were about the subtlety's, the nuances throughout the song delivered with great passion and intent that would send that tingle down your spine and the expression was therefore astounding. Its fairly ironic because he was the best technical singer of season 7 without a shadow of a doubt but he never indulged in what usually makes great performances on the Idol stage, despite the fact he so easily could have. His performances were always his vision, his interpretation, never what he thought people would expect as a great performance or an attempt at re-creating the original. That made him so different to many other Idol contestants. He always delivered for that reason.

And on top of all of this he is a truly humble, gracious and very fine human being. That is what all the fuss is about. He is everything an American Idol should be, beyond the singing. A true role model who has inspired myself and millions of others. I think that is what really makes us all devote ourselves to him, because he devotes himself to us. And that is something that wont be forgotten.

Come discuss the post and everything Archie over at the 'Always Archuleta' discussion board over at Planet Idol!



Anonymous said...

Hi, this is newarchiefan from idf. That was a great post. I agree with everything you said. I especially like the point about the subtleties being what David was all about. In Dean's journal he talked about how David was always hesitant to do the really high strong notes because he felt that wasn't what he did best. His performances were always more about how he communicated to the audience his feeling in the songs.

Like you I'm another person who mainly listens to rock, but finds David's music incredibly captivating. That sense of musicality you mentioned is exactly what draws such a diverse group of fans to him. It doesn't matter what type of music David is singing, we all want to listen.

watchtower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
watchtower said...

It's interesting that you touched upon the subject as to what makes Idol performances great, because for the most part, they have indeed been those "with the longest, loudest, highest note at the end to cap it all off". In other words, these performances needs to be "in your face".

But this season, David has redefined my personal criterion as to what makes a performance truly amazing. The performances this season which I consider very special tend to be those from David which were very subtle yet full of emotion, like Imagine and LMT. In a way, you have to pay attention just to get something out of it; and when you do in fact get into it, magic happens.

Anxious Black Woman said...

You really hit the nail on the head: Subtlety. This is probably why I was so moved by one of his fewer celebrated performances: "And So It Goes."

The way his voice echoed on that song was so haunting, it stayed with me a whole week, and I couldn't stop singing it!

It's hard to figure out if Paula was trying to sabotage him with "yet another slow ballad" or if she too had appreciated his subtle tones and knew he would shine on this song. But David transcended everything else and made everything his own.

Thanks for creating this blog! :)

blackcherrypa said...

I love how David always seems like he is discovering music, all while he is the very embodiment of it. For example, after he performed "Heaven" he was surprised by the tingly feeling he gets when he sings.

In fact, I think music is very physical for him, which contributes to his great technique. He uses his whole body to sing (while some just use the throat), which leaves him as breathless as a dancer. When the music starts his body is just a vessel. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" left him drained yet high, so high he carried it through the remaining performances. Clearly the night was emotional and huge for him, but he was able to channel that through his performances rather than being affected in a negative way by the emotional pressure-cooker. It will be amazing to go to his live performances in the future. He's a very intimate singer and I feel like he just reaches inside of both himself and me.

chocomel said...

Thank you so much for filling the void left by Rascal! I have enjoyed notingdavid since the beginning and was about to finally contribute to the David discussions when the site shut down. I'm not making that mistake again :)

You, Chenson, hit it right on the nail when you highlighted the subtleties that make David special. I've been involved in music for most of my life, as I sing, play piano, and choreograph dances. I don't consider myself a great singer, but I thought I had a pretty good ear when it comes to great singing - until David. Like watchtower, David has redefined my criterion for what constitutes great singing. High-powered notes and solid vocals no longer impress me. This is why AI singers like Carly, Syesha and Cook, while outstanding singers, do nothing for me. I now look for 2 things: interpretation and artistry. David has a unique gift in that he is quite capable in his young age of delivering the message of a song the way he sees it with the appropriate emotion, sensitivity, and strength - showing that he is truly "in the moment" and wants the listeners to journey with him. When David sings, you tune out everything and are led to wherever David decides to take you... he is a "Pied Piper" so to speak. To top that off, he treats singing as an art form, playing his voice like an instrument. Sometimes I find myself listening to him sing just to hear the stylizings and various vocal dynamics he applies to his singing so effortlesssly. What amazes me is that his artistry only advances his interpretation of the song, rather than taking away from it. I've often been distracted by the vocal gymnastics of other singers; David, however, knows how to strike the proper balance - making him the vocal master in my book.

Sorry for babbling, as this would by first comment on anything David on the web (even though I lurk here and there). Please keep this blog up! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You've done it again, Lord Christopher - wonderful post! I got that 'tingly feeling' reading your words :-). I think you're totally spot on about David's musicality and how he's all about the subtleties and nuances. Like I've said before, David doesn't feel the need to hit everyone on the head with his frying pan of talent. He's secure enough in his capability and understanding of the songs to just stand there and emote. If it means staying soft and quiet, then he'll do that. If it requires more power, well he can do that too. It seems to me that with David, the song takes centre stage rather than David the performer. There's the Archuleta stamp of course, but he lets you feel what he's singing. You end up focusing on how the words and music affect you and not being distracted by the glory notes or extraneous vocal stylings. Oh, and I must add that I'm enjoying reading the comments as much as your posts. You've gathered quite the following of passionate and intelligent fans.

Becky said...

Sof_ansmom here...

Fantastic Chris! I wrote a Master's Thesis on music and people with autism. There's a reason that music therapy is a degree at many universities.

I think one of Carly's problems was that she didn't quite get the subtlety (although she was making progress). Her voice is incredible, but it's more than screaming out the high notes. I'm being redundant, but I love talking about what makes David so special!

Kylie said...

Great commentary, Chenson. Found this blog from IDF. Looking forward to more!

This part of your commentary aptly describes the beginning of "And So It Goes" - it was so haunting, its scary!

"The sheer scale and intensity in which David possesses this ability is quite remarkable and something very special, even mind boggling when I really think about it. Every time I play a song of his on my iPod or a video on my PC I'm cast into another world, nirvana in fact, and that is something very few people can do to me. His musical instinct is of a prodigal and epic amplitude.

It almost seems that for himself singing is that place, that place where he can sit there and speak from his heart and soul."

Kizzi said...

Hi Chenson - Thanks for opening this site after Rascal's closed.

Glad to see a new archie fan, sparkle5 share their insights.

I find Love Me Tender the one song I play more than others. Like you said Watchtower, magic happens when you stop an listen to DA's songs and that is magnified for me in LMT.

And, anxiousblackwoman I still have ASIG echoing in my head when everything else quiets in there--like it is always playing in the background. In reviewing AI season (1st one I ever watched), I think Paula's insights, although on the surface appear flighty and shallow, are actually quite accurate. In retrospect, I think she sees more deeply than given credit for.

In the discussion about David's subtleties, I remember Rascal saying simply that David had taste which was rare in todays recording culture.

Thanks, again, Chenson for opening this site.