Wizard of Awe*

I have come to appreciate how focused David Archuleta is in his intent, be it how he sings a song, or his efforts in the recording studio.   Never, in my mind, is this focus more evident than when David improvises.

It never ceases to amaze me that, even when he sings a song he’s sung many times before, he can find a way to add some new riffs, runs and notes, and it becomes a song reborn.

Take his latest TBWY, for instance (see below).  The first three minutes are pretty much what we have heard in the past, though extremely heartfelt.  After that, David takes it away – check it out at 2:56, 3:17-3:32, 3:48, 4:28-4:32, and 4:38 to end.  Oh, the ending!

What blows my socks off with awe and wonder, however — and reminds me of the impact David had on me when I first heard him sing Shop Around (hence my screen name) — are his improvisational skills when giving an impromptu performance.

Think back to when he attended the REO Speedwagon concert and jammed with them onstage. Did he not wail on it?! No fear at 0:16 when he takes over the mic!  And most recently, at the Murray concert of Brooke White, Benton Paul and Michael Johns, joining in on Let It Be and Proud Mary.  With these two songs, his “inner soul-man” burst out. I love his total lack of inhibition with both REO and on Let It Be.

Curiously, I wonder why this happens.  How he’s able to feel so free? Because he’s only doing one or two songs?  Is it less stressful, pressured, because it is not his own show, allowing him to feel more relaxed?  Since there’s no time to over-analyze, do his musical instincts take over more than usual?  Or is it because his album songs were penned to be sung as pop songs – with not as much R&B influence – and he has that in mind when he performs them, but not so the songs he sings for his spur-of-the-moment appearances?

No matter, David sings through his very soul and I’ll take it anyway he hands it out.

*Title credit: Kizzi. Vids: rob4121983 / 88Aladdin

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17 Responses to Wizard of Awe*

  1. TOfan says:

    How does he do that, awestruck? Great post, and I think the impromptu performances are so free and experimental because (as David said in a recent tweet), it “Feels great just jamming out with buds! It’s like a musical freedom of speech.”

    Brooke blogged about his part in her concert here:
    http://www.popeater.ca/2009/10/02/road-report-brooke-white-covers-the-beatles-with-david-archulet/

  2. refnaf says:

    awestruck, great post (love the title, thanks Kizz). I just adore what David does with Let it Be. Perhaps it is because he is less stressed, just doing his thing with no concerns and like you said, his musical soul takes over. That is why I have so many version of his different live performances, I can pick which one I’m in the mood for. His acapella “My Hands” is one that I can’t get enough versions of as well as “Angels”. TOfan, his musical freedom of speech tweet, priceless. How can he be so wise as well?

    omgdja, thanks for sharing your info in the previous thread….I’m a 50something mom as well, lol.

  3. awestruck says:

    Thanks guys… The one thing that I am still not really sure of is associating his focus with his improvisation OR is it that it’s simply instinctive? I certainly don’t think he plans it out ahead of time, at any rate.

    Refnaf – when I saw Kizzi’s Wizard of AWE I knew I had to use it somehow, lol

    Don’t miss checking out the links to the songs by clicking on the the Red REO, Let It Be and Proud Mary.

    TOfan I see you have commented on MCL’s review of Let It Be, but for others – David’s talent never ceases to amaze. With all due respect to Brooke and Michael, this song truly comes alive when Archie hits the stage. He has mad, wicked talent and it is always such an immense honour and pleasure to watch this young man sing with such soulful passion. I can only imagine what the future holds for this very talented young man. His voice is extraordinary and his charisma – sublime.

  4. TOfan says:

    Awestruck, I think it was Dean Kaelin who mentioned how amazed he was at David’s ability to do multiple takes of a song, each one different and yet each one fantastic.

    There’s no doubt his focus is intense, I mean, it’s as though hearing that first note is like a starting pistol being fired and he enters “the zone.”

    But I get the feeling it’s a focus that’s so innate, so deeply ingrained that it’s not something he thinks about, but rather surrenders to it, like breathing.

  5. TOfan says:

    Was reading about the submissions for Grammy noms on AceShowbiz and came across this great comment from Truthbetold:

    “truth be told cook fans posting here, the number of albums sold, or submissions tallied has no bearing on the reason archuleta is more deserving of the bna nomination. this is the reason… archuleta is indeed an a r t i s t. he is an a r t i s t on a level unseen in this business, for decades. artists, true artists, are never readily appreciated nor readily accepted when they come on the scene. pop music has strayed so far from its roots that it’s taking the culture a while to readjust their sensibilities to a real, bona fide, masterclass musical artist in their realm. david is all that – and more. he is already on a level vocally singers 2x his age and experience would kill for. and his youth gives him more years to refine his special genius. disagree all you want, but there is a gulf dividing david from the majority of performers in pop music today, and through no fault of his own, he will always be a cut above, artistically. archuleta for the nomination. archuleta for best new a r t i s t.”

  6. refnaf says:

    amen!!!

  7. kti2008 says:

    Awestruck…awesome post.

    refnaf: “his musical soul takes over”

    Awestruck: “OR is it that it’s simply instinctive”

    For me, these two thoughts mean the same thing and I think it just happens. For example if you look at the EmpStudio of “Let It Be” at around the 4:11 mark David lets go. Right before letting go he is kind of chuckling likely at free wheeling approach by the group and then CLICK. He blows your away. I have noticed this in the past for example the first time he sang the Selana song (can’t remember the name). He giggles at trying it on a whim and then CLICK. I don’t think he can help himself…lol.

    So real life has kept me quite busy for the last two weeks and I have gone back and read some of the excellent posts and comments. Thanks Tofan and Kizzi for the kind words. It was so nice meeting you as well. It was a fangirl moment when I met each of you and I said to you both, “OH! I love your writing” In reading your comments and posts, I have thought, these are people I would like to meet and know. I am so glad that happened!

    Hi to my friend, omgdja!

  8. Kizzi says:

    Awestruck – Shop Around was the 2nd performance I saw by David. It was so different from Imagine that I was yet again captivated by his voice and his artistry. And Let It Be and TBWY this past week were such treats. Everytime he sings I wonder what will be different. He is definitely the song. Beautiful thoughts Awestruck.

    kti2008 – I am so glad I got to meet you too! It made the Pittsburg concert stand out.

    Am going to Wicked tonight with my sister and niece in San Francisco. Looking forward to it!

  9. Kizzi says:

    Off Topic:

    I just want to say that most of us mature adult David fans understand adversity in life and in relationships. And we also GET dealing with difficult situations with sensitivity with the overall objective of accomplishing the greatest good. In any relationship where we wish to show our respect, this is the primary motivation. We don’t hide our heads in the sand or create fractured fairy tales or satirical allegories.

    Some would use labels such as “love fest” or “not wanting to deal with the negative” or perhaps not wanting to bring things into the “sunlight” because of the mature choices we make to show honor and respect for the important people in our life.

    As always there are choices: if one feels “tough love” is called for they can demonstrate that “tough love” with a sledge hammer and all the collateral and irreparable damage that creates OR they can deal with it openly, kindly and with a delicacy and sensitivity that they hold as the path to show respect not only to the artist but to our peers, the fans.

    And when it comes to “celebrity” some would make the argument that putting oneself out there as a “celebrity” means they signed up for any and all behaviors from fans. I believe David is teaching us how to be his fans as all great artists do. We respect his work, we enjoy his work, and we critique his work with respect and sensitivity as that respect is derived out of our AWE of his artistry and his approach to life.

    And, again, we have a choice as to how we critique. The argument that there is an acceptance of “no holds barred” in fandom because David is a celebrity and that “something needs to be said” to address a perceived “difficult” situation is ultimately, in my humble opinion, self-serving. I believe, that we his mature fans, can support David with a high level of respect and sensitivity, deal with real and/or “perceived” adversity openly and kindly and serve a role, at the very least in our minds, as GOOD fans.

    I thank you, TOfan, for this site. I was very impressed with your article on certain aspects of fan behavior that were disturbing. I have always been a fan of your writing style and your ability to take a sensitive topic and present it with the utmost respect for David.

  10. kti2008 says:

    Kizzi, your “off topic” post above is exactly what I am talking about when I say I am a fan of your writing.

  11. awestruck says:

    TOfan thanks for posting Truthbetold’s comment. Yes, yes and yes to all he/she said.

    Kti2008 – “I don’t think he can help himself” So true. I’ll pay more attention for his giggle/laugh “que” from now on! I kind of think that he put everyone off a little with his improv and they got out of sync. Brooke did her best to get them back on track.

    Kizzi – thanks and enjoy Wicked

  12. awestruck says:

    Kizzi re your off topic comment –

    I take great pleasure in reading everyone’s comments. They allow me to ‘see’ different viewpoints. BUT, espcially when I read comments such as this one, they help me keep perspective and focus on being positive – even when handing out “tough love” (my 19 year old comes to mind)

    Thank you

  13. awestruck says:

    How do you empty your cache? Isn’t this what you have to do to get your ‘new avi’ to show up?

  14. refnaf says:

    “Kizzi, your “off topic” post above is exactly what I am talking about when I say I am a fan of your writing.” Amen kti and welcome to snowangelz. Kizzi your words need to be said!!!Thank you!
    “As always there are choices: if one feels “tough love” is called for they can demonstrate that “tough love” with a sledge hammer and all the collateral and irreparable damage that creates OR they can deal with it openly, kindly and with a delicacy and sensitivity that they hold as the path to show respect not only to the artist but to our peers, the fans.”
    RESPECT is missing in many areas of life, and definately in the blogoshere.
    TOfan rocks!!
    Awestruck… go to tools then down to internet options and then delete …. that WFM….

  15. TOfan says:

    Kizzi, thanks for getting “off topic,” esp. with: “the mature choices we make to show honor and respect for the important people in our life.”

    The words “mature choices” and “show honor and respect” jumped out at me and brought to mind the VIP (in Florida, I think) where a fan asked David to sing a hymn.

    I remember being so touched reading that he hesitated at first (and checked that it would be okay with everyone there) because he said he didn’t want to offend anyone.

    He could easily have barreled ahead and sang one, then justified it later by saying, “This is for their own good, so that makes it okay.”

    But no, he made a mature choice and treated those people with honor and respect. Makes you want to try your best to respond in kind.

    KT! *waves*

  16. awestruck says:

    thanks refnaf – will see if it WFM too! OK, so maybe I’ll try rebooting.

    Harumph… I remember someone saying that sometimes it take a day or so?

    TOfan – I’m liking this Edit Comment button

  17. TOfan says:

    awestruck, LOL …

    Item from SLC Tribune: “A matter of degree? » After her concert at the Energy Solutions Arena Tuesday night, Miley Cyrus was seen getting into a limo for a ride back to her hotel. Conversely, former American Idol runner-up David Archuleta was seen riding TRAX to the University of Utah on Wednesday afternoon.”
    Where are the paparazzi when you need them? 😆

    SLC Trax2

    http://bit.ly/ggXll

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