You guys. Where do I begin?
I’d ask you to pinch me, but I don’t think that would even convince me that Saturday actually happened.
I’ve been wishing and hoping that David would come to Toronto since the last time he performed here… singing two songs for the CHUM Christmas Breakfast event in 2008. Heck, it’s why I started this site, lol. My not-so-subtle way of sending out “PLEASE COME UP TO THIS CHILLY PLACE!!!” vibes.
Leading up to the weekend, I was so nervous about it, I was downright nauseous… you’d think it was going to be me performing.
I thought the event was going to be so amazing because David would be performing in my home town… steps from my former office… right next door to one of my favourite butcher shops! I mean, come on! Pretty dang special!
But it became so much more than that.
I’d always hoped he’d do a full concert here, of course, and I’d invite… basically everyone I know.
But then two years ago, my sister got very ill and it made me sad that if David did do a show here, there was no way she could handle being in such a crowd, with all the noise and the hubbub. But then this miracle popped up. To be held in a small, intimate place with no hustle, no bustle. Just David.
Even still, I wasn’t sure she’d be up to coming, but she rallied for me, and she does love David’s voice and songs (as does my niece and my hubby, who also came with me).
And I’m not exaggerating when I say this was the most wonderful experience in all my years of being a David fan.
Sitting there with the people I love most in this world and experiencing the magic and wonder that is David Archuleta alongside them. Hearing them whisper “Wow!” as he finished a song, chuckle at his Davidisms, and watch them soak in his wise words, and later shake his hand. I still can’t believe it happened, tbh.
My sister was so engaged by it all, she even asked two questions during the Q&A… if he has any favourite places he likes to go for inspiration … at which point, he started spontaneously singing “You’re my inspiraaaaation” 🙂
(Answer: When he’s alone, especially surrounded by nature, in the mountains or the woods… “it’s easier to hear inspiration there… no distractions”).
And how does he envision success… what that looks like to him now?
He said that was a good question because it’s ever-changing. He said he’s learned over time that success is making a positive impact on people’s lives, initiating a change, however small, to become better.
He also said he wants to reach as many people as he can, making music that will get on the radio or on playlists (which have replaced radio somewhat), creating songs that will catch people’s attention but also instigate that change… “continuously moving forward and lifting people along the way”). As I chanted internally, GO DAVID! GO DAVID! At least I hope it was internally.
I’m still processing the whole experience, to be honest.
It hit me that I’ve walked along that strip of Queen Street West countless times (one of my favourite stores in Toronto, Mokuba, which sells nothing but ribbon is on the next block) and never dreamed I’d be opening that door someday and walking upstairs to a kind of heaven.
The studio itself is extremely cool. I suspect it was a cool, funky apartment slash loft at some point, with cozy rooms decorated with antique rugs and music industry plaques and a wall of signatures, David’s included.
The little kitchen area was set up with snacks and beverages and I got a chance to introduce my family to the lovely and amazing Kari and to Charlotte (aka @mydearwriter!!!), and David friends from far and wide, and even met some new ones, which was awesome.
After about 20 minutes, we were invited into the next room, which was set up with rows of folding chairs. A beautiful grand piano was tucked into an alcove at the front, surrounded by strings of twinkly lights. I tried to take some pics and videos but I was too far back and they just came out as blackness, unfortunately.
David got a warm welcome when he came in and he asked who was from Toronto or Canada in general, adding, “I’m not from Canada but I enjoy being here.” * verklempt *
Earlier, my sister and my niece had told me their favourite songs on the last album were Numb and Postcards in the Sky, so I was so happy he sang both.
He started with Numb and then told a story about when he first signed with Jive after Idol. Apparently, he showed the label a song he’d written, which was about letting your voice be heard, and they told him, “that song is too mature, it isn’t really you.” He said that since he was 17 at the time, they’d wanted him to be a “‘teen bop’ kind of singer.”
I’d never heard him do Numb on the piano and it was so raw and vulnerable, a different take than when he sings it with the band. His voice trembled with emotion and I could really feel the angst of that struggle he’d gone through.
Next, he sang Invincible and then told the story behind I’m Ready… how his late friend Annie Schmidt, whose voice is on the album version of the song, helped him during the writing process.
It was awesome to learn more about her and what she was like. David said she liked hipster stuff like hiking and flannel shirts, and then said, “Oh, you guys in Canada like hiking!” and a bunch of us called out “and flannel”… everybody laughed and he said, “I like flannel as well.” 🙂
Then, he said we’d all have a “chat”… and that’s just what it felt like. It was like having David over to your living room, if your living room was this super cool downtown loft place with a ginormous grand piano in it… it was so relaxed and laid-back and David seemed like he was in such a good place, it made me really happy to see.
Someone asked how his grandma was and he explained what had happened when she went missing and that she’s back home now and doing well.
The lovely @rosieelinda asked what have been his favourite places to travel to and he thought about it for a while and said Waterton, Alberta, (“it looks like Scandinavia… or maybe Canada 😆 ) … and he added that he’s never made it up to Banff, at which point the entire place let out a collective “awww” in disappointment for him. Oh, Canada, lol.
The lovely @Pastelpastel asked him how it feels to have people at his shows say they’ve waited more than 10 years to see him live, and he said he feels very grateful, and that even though his music isn’t “in people’s faces” commercially, knowing that he has a following of people who are engaged in what he’s doing makes him feel “I must be doing something right,” which motivates him to keep going. (Yay!!!!!!)
A young gentleman (sorry, I didn’t catch his name) asked if he wasn’t a singer, what would he be, at which point David noticed that the young man was wearing a Detective Pikachu hat. It turned out that he had bought one for David too… he told David that the guy who sold it to him said, “It’s kind of dorky” and so he said, “okay, perfect.” 😆 😆 😆
David said his alternate career would be as a psychologist and talked about courses he’s taken and that the instructor said he was doing really well and if he’d ever thought of pursuing that and he said, yes! But that he realized he learned a lot about how the mind works and that he can use that in his music.
The lovely @Suttygal asked about the hardest thing about therapy and also what journey his new music will take us on. So David talked about the benefits of therapy and how using their techniques consistently is probably the hardest thing. He said his new music will talk about how it’s okay to have those battles inside you. He said he’s realizing therapy isn’t about fixing himself but learning more about himself. And a lot of the new songs will be about that… the “next chapter.”
Another gentleman asked about collaborations and David said he’d like to collaborate with a rapper (he was in Canada after all, so a bunch of us called out “Drake!” 🙂 )… he said that many rappers are messengers and he marvels at how they work.
My favourite question was, “what was the last lie or white lie you’ve told.” 😆
David said he’d told a white lie recently when a friend stayed at his place in Nashville but stayed longer than expected and then also had his son stay as well and asked David if that was okay and David paused and said, “sure?” He explained that by the time he gets back to Nashville after tour, he likes his alone time,* (“to sing karaoke by myself!” 😆 ) so that’s why he hesitated, but that he did explain everything to his friend later.
*I noticed my niece nodding vigorously at this, lol.
The lovely @honeybeemelx asked David how he handles depression and he talked about celebrating small victories in a day to help you get through it. He compared it to having a knife in your back… that you can’t pretend it’s not there… you have to acknowledge it, explain you need to take it out and move it aside.
He then sang an amazing Happy Birthday to the stupendous @refnaf whose actual birthday was on Saturday… her hubby joked to David that they wondered if that was his reason for coming to Toronto on that particular day! 😆
David then sang Postcards in the Sky and Glorious to a track. My niece was blown away by both and said Glorious was a great “singing in the shower song.” 😆
Then we all went back into the kitchen area for snacks, mingling and to line up for pictures with David. Even though it wasn’t rushed at all, I always feel like I’m taking up too much of his time, so we just did one group shot, which was awesome. At which point my hubby thanked him for being good for my “mental health” … yes, he said those actual words. Luckily there was a sofa I could hide behind. And my sister told David he could be a motivational speaker. (“Who sings!!!!” I wanted to add. 🙂 )
THEN…. cue the swell of dramatic instrumental music…
We were called back into the room with seats for a super secret sneak peek of some short clips from a couple of David’s brand. new. songs. I repeat. Brand. New. Songs.
We were all asked to leave our bags and phones etc. out in the kitchen area because of the super secret nature of it all.
No problem. I’ll leave my phone, house keys, wallet and driver’s license outside on the sidewalk if it means I can hear even a snippet of what David’s working on!!!!
The first clip was the studio version of Paralyzed… sooooooooo goood!!!! crazy crazy crazy gooooood!!!! Everyone loved it, you could tell. And he didn’t even play the best part… that crescendo he builds up to at the end!
Next clip was a mid-tempo song with David’s vocals layered throughout. I remember lyrics about not being able to breathe, and it seemed like it was talking about sabotaging a relationship, or something like that. Loved it. Very cool vibe, kind of dreamy.
The last one was my favourite (along with Paralyzed)… I’m guess it’s called Brave (or has “brave” in the title) but the delivery was super fresh and current, almost hip-hoppy, super catchy and made you want to move… it had all these layers and sounds and yet his voice still shone out loud and clear. And then it hit me that if he hadn’t played the best part of Paralyzed, he probably hadn’t played the best part of these either AND YET THEY WERE AMAAAAAAAAZING!!!!!
David said they were “just demos” … exsqueeze me? demos?? who on earth sounds like that on a demo?? Ah, right, of course, David, that’s who.
He asked for a show of hands of which of the three we liked better but it was impossible to pick just one… it seemed like most people liked 1 and 3 the best but I may only think that because those were my faves, hahahaha.
Sorry for the stream of consciousness play by play, you guys, there’s probably more but my brain is mush from magnificence overload… I’ll add more in the comments if I remember anything else. The BEST thing about it all was that he said he’d be back. YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!!!!!!!
He also said he’d be in Toronto for a bit to work on some NEW CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Still wrapping my mind around that one. We just got the incredible Winter in the Air last year and there’s going to be more?? And he’s working on it here?? Maybe this all was just a dream, lol.
I admire David so much for not giving up … on his gift, on sharing that gift, on staying true to himself, on not listening to the naysayers and following his own voice. He did say he’s heard “no” a few times this year and that’s been hard but he’s determined not to let it stop him. And it occurred to me why we’re here.
The music business is a tough one, a brutal one, in fact, and I really think we’re here to be “patrons” of his, the way Mozart and Da Vinci had patrons (albeit royal ones)… so the artist knows they have a dedicated core group of supporters in their corner to cheer them on… to support them and the art they’re making, in ways big and small.
David is an artist I feel honoured to support in any way I can… his talent and his generosity of spirit are remarkable and the fact that he came all this way to reach out to fans here is a testament to that spirit. I feel incredibly grateful right now. And further astonished than I already was. How does he do that??
And so so so sorry to David and Kari and everyone who travelled here from elsewhere about this freezing weather. But this is the land where winter never sleeps, so there you go.
Videoooos from the splendiferous @peacesignpam!!!
Photos swiped from the lovely and amazing @cadthu’s insta post. 🙂
“TORONTO, ONTARIO” … a little too not over this!