Wizard of Awe: The David Archuleta factor

“Whether witnessing the spectacle of the Northern Lights, gazing at the Grand Canyon or hearing a sublime piece of music, the experience of awe quiets our self-interest and amplifies our desire to give, to sacrifice, to be generous … to give part of ourselves … to give greater meaning to our time on earth.”

When I heard these words on the radio recently, I thought of one person. David Archuleta.

The person who spoke them was Dr. Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at University of California, Berkeley. He’s the director of the Greater Good Science Center at USC Berkeley and author of the book Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

Dr. Keltner’s research shows that experiences of awe and wonder do much more than make us smile and feel content. They also “inspire feelings of gratitude” and motivate us to be kinder, gentler people — to reach out to help our fellow man and woman.

He refers to these “awe” moments as “high wattage experiences that transcend the self and energize us in the pursuit of a meaningful life and support of the greater good.”

Sounds like a David experience to me. In fact, listening to the interview with Dr. Keltner, I kept thinking back to when David first sang Imagine on Idol. I remember him talking about being blown away by the overwhelming response to the performance and how everyone who thanked him for it seemed to use the same word — inspiration.

And week after week of AI7, and afterward, the magnitude — and manifestation — of that inspiration hit us. Stories came flooding in of all the ways fans turned the awe-inspiring experience of David’s singing into benevolent action by rallying to support a slew of good causes. And this was long before David had mentioned his own involvement with any specific charities.

It was around that time I read these words on Chenson’s Always Archuleta blog:

“That feeling of euphoria that touches you through his music encourages you to look at yourself and look at the world and seek that feeling in your own life by doing what is right.”

I think Dr. Keltner would agree. According to his research, during an experience of reverence and awe, the self-interested part of our brain turns off and we expand outside the self — in these moments we transcend the self and reach out to connect to one another, to our community.

That would explain why, after a David concert, I feel an overwhelming sense of connection, not just to other David fans, but to the universe, the galaxy … I feel like hugging the whole world.

Tomorrow night (April 22), David will sing two songs at the BritWeek Gala Dinner for Sir Richard Branson. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit Virgin Unite and Save the Children.

We might not know what songs he’ll sing but we do know he’ll leave every person there in awe. Their hearts will open like flowers, toward the loving warmth of the sun.

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58 Responses to Wizard of Awe: The David Archuleta factor

  1. Tawna21 says:

    Beautiful words, ToFan. A very pleasant calm after a horrendous storm. You’ve given some great thoughts here to be contemplated and absorbed. Thank you!

    I’m greatly anticipating any and all news from tonight’s performance. So sad that it isn’t televised. 😦

    TW

  2. munkmusic says:

    Wonderful article ToFan. awe……… I think David is healthy for the soul. His music and example fill up our souls with…..well….peace and hope….and you could say happiness too. I think that is why we miss him so much. There is so much negative stuff in the world Our souls hunger for the positive, the light, the joy, and David brings it all. Even in adversity and darkness. So David, we love you! Keep pushing forward. And I am so looking forward to all things David in the future. Thanks again Tofan.

  3. YJfanofdavid says:

    Thank you Tofan for yet another beautiful article. It really helps illuminating the David Archuleta Effect on us. “Born to be Good” — it might as well be the title of David’s biography!

  4. Josie says:

    TOfan, you and this site are such a breath of fresh air for my soul. I have been so busy the past few months I haven’t had much time to stop and visit. Now that I’m going to control my life and my time, I’m so glad to know I have a place to come, hang out, post if I wanna, just read if I don’t and have wonderful conversations with mature, intelligent people whom I admire so.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  5. awestruck says:

    TOfan – Oh, so very true. Thank you for this insightful article.

    Because of David and his fans, not only do I listen to new music, but I read new books… this one is on my ‘get from the library’ list.

  6. awestruck says:

    (((Josie))) these feelings are in my heart as well!

    • Josie says:

      awestruck – see??? this is what I’m talkin bout. We’re all part of the same family so we share feelings…Hugs ♥

  7. abanana77 says:

    I love this post <3333. Everything about it is sooo true. David makes me want to be a better person. I've definitely changed a lot since I first discovered David (that of course could be just because I reached that "maturing"-type age, but I believe Mr. Archuleta had a big impact on it). You know when you watch an interview or a performance or read a tweet or a blog and find yourself uplifted by his humility/kindness/optimism/everything else? And it keeps you happy for the rest of the day? And then that feeling makes me want to act similarly so that other people can feel the same thing and hopefully create a beautiful cycle of happiness. <33333

    I don't think that made sense but it made sense in my brain haha. Basically David makes the world better.

  8. Kizzi says:

    Great connection TOfan. Gotta read Dr. Keltner’s book.

    Hello to all.

    • Josie says:

      KIZZIIIII – hi and how are you? I think of you often 🙂 ♥

      • Kizzi says:

        I’m great. I think of you and Noni so often.

        Was just wondering last night if she watched AI this year. I had traded some emails with her about X-Factor last year.

        {{{Hugs}}} to you and Ms. Noni.

        This will be you, Noni and me dancing to the music & singing our hearts out at the next NE David concert —–> Bouncy 4

  9. TOfan says:

    Thanks so much, Tawna, munkmusic, yj, awestruck, kizzi, abanana {{{Josie}}} (have missed you, J.!),
    and after such kind comments I’m embarrassed to say I got the dates mixed up on the BritWeek Gala *blushes* … it’s actually tomorrow (Thurs.) night. Impatient much? 😆

    Tonight, David’ll be walking the red carpet at the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) awards. I love that he’s invited to a strictly songwriter/composer event. That’s where he belongs, imo, as opposed to the usual celeb fests.

  10. refnaf says:

    “The magnitude and manifestation of that inspiration hit us” (((TOfan)) Beautiful words TOfan…..David’s voice does give me a similar experience of awe that some moments in nature have. I have always connected to the divine through nature but with music not so much….till now> guess who has done that for me?????
    Thanks for this article … i think we need to start a book club…. The Alchemist, Born to be Good, Chords of Strength….

  11. Josie says:

    Kizzi-yes, Noni IS watching AI – however, she is less than impressed. Of course, she’s incredibly biased since David is in every other sentence she uses! I mean, he has a spot on her wall of 13 grandchildren! Right smack dab in the middle of them! LOL she cracks me up.

    You can bet we’ll be dancing in the aisles, the streets, anywhere we can! Let’s get this party started!!

  12. refnaf says:

    ((((josie)))) Noni is adorable, give her a hug for me. Dancing in NE??? CAN NOT WAIT to see you all again!

  13. Josie says:

    ref-I am ready! I have missed my friends from the October concert and regret (yes grrr) not getting to a Christmas concert. I know that one would have been very special, but…it didn’t work out, so no crying over missed David Concerts – there’s more to come rigggghhhtt?

    Hugs! ♥

    • Abrra says:

      Can’t wait to see you and Noni again! The party given by Kizzi was a blast. It was nice to meet so many fans I knew online.
      Abrra

  14. mormonarchuletafan says:

    Ohhh! It think this is fascinating! I will definitely have to read that book!

    “According to his research, during an experience of reverence and awe, the self-interested part of our brain turns off and we expand outside the self — in these moments we transcend the self and reach out to connect to one another, to our community.

    That would explain why, after a David concert, I feel an overwhelming sense of connection, not just to other David fans, but to the universe, the galaxy … I feel like hugging the whole world.”

    That exact feeling is why we’re addicted to David events. I felt it most strongly after Pittsburgh and also after SLC concerts last November. Our brains and souls crave the connection not only to others around us but to all that is higher than ourselves.

    And how lovely when you feel like hugging the whole world that there are fabulous David fans around to do the honors!

  15. betsy says:

    This sounds like such an interesting book. It just all makes sense.
    Hugging the whole world.
    Yes, I felt that way and did alot of that.
    This, though I typically feel uncomfortable hugging anyone outside of my family.

    {{{hugs}}} to you all.

  16. TOfan says:

    Josie, I’m LOLing at the thought of Noni’s wall of grandchild pics, with David smack dab in the middle! Give her a huge hug from me too! & tell her I tried a wheatgrass shot so I can tell her what it was like! lol

    momjulee, “how lovely when you feel like hugging the whole world that there are fabulous David fans around to do the honors” so very true! (& I updated your new link to Peace, Love, David, btw! 🙂 )

    … and that means you, too, Betsy, like it or not! 😆

    I was thinking David would probs sing Angels tonight but now I’m thinking Imagine on piano or maybe POTC? … would love to hear Long & Winding Road again too (British & all) … sigh

  17. awestruck says:

    A write up of the ASCAP Pop Music Awards last night (grrr still no red carpet pics…) that includes the following:

    “Other notables in attendance included apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, American Idol’s David Archuleta and Allison Iraheta, Randy Bachman, Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, Clem Burke of Blondie,Colby O’Donis, John Forté, Toby Gad, O.A.R., Tiësto, Leon Ware, and Butch Walker.”

    To read the entire article go to – http://ascap.org/press/2010/0421_Pop-Awards.aspx

  18. Abrra says:

    Tofan
    My sistah!
    Many times as I replayed Imagine 1.0 near the end, when David smiles ever so briefly, the last note ends in that smile! As the lights dim, he bows his head. I can only guess he has a brief talk with God, thanking him for the gift of song. He knew at that moment he had done the job of making us connect to his emotions.

    Abrra

  19. Kizzi says:

    While waiting for tonight: 😀

  20. Kizzi says:

    POTC – with two minute intro about charity…what a humanitarian

    P.S. I heard this live – Kansas City here I come!

  21. Kizzi says:

    Happy Earth Day! {{{{Hugs}}}} SAz

  22. TOfan says:

    {{{Abrra}}}
    “As the lights dim, he bows his head. I can only guess he has a brief talk with God, thanking him for the gift of song. He knew at that moment he had done the job of making us connect to his emotions.” Oh man, look what you made me do! 😥

    Kizzi, you gave me a start when I saw videos! Thought they were in already from tonight! lol

    I don’t usually do the “poll” thing, but this is one on MTV’s website for “Best Idol Performance of all Time” and David’s Imagine is only slightly ahead of Adam Lambert at the moment:

    http://newsroom.mtv.com/tag/poll/

    BritWeek gala TwitPic from @DahviShira:
    BritWeek

  23. abanana77 says:

    Apparently he sang Imagine (I so called that! haha).

    *prays for videos*

  24. TOfan says:

    abanana77, you did call it!

    Alert! Alert!
    I’ve embedded the Jaunted.com video at the end of the post above with snippets of both POTC & Imagine!!! … simply stunning, please let there be full vids.

    Full story HERE.

    Loved their footnote:
    *We had no idea David Archuleta has an Archie Army on Twitter. So these photos and the video are for you guys! We can’t believe he didn’t win “American Idol” either!

    Footnotes FTW!!!

    Jaunted.com pic:
    britweek piano

  25. Kizzi says:

    Thanks TOfan for posting the video. He is more mature than 2+ weeks ago when on AI. And Imagine was so gorgeous. POTC, a capella, a rare treat.

    Growth at an exponential rate! Simply amazing.

    Now, to be self-serving, I want both songs in their entirety in HD. 😀

  26. emmegirl says:

    Kizzi, yes, yes and yes!

  27. TOfan says:

    Belinda Thomas of the LA Music Examiner posted these tweets:

    @belindasLAmusic

    David Archuleta on stage now at Brit Week singing Imagine.

    David Archuleta did an amazing job tonight at the Brit Week gala. He did two songs signing one a’capella. The crowd loved it.

    For the David Archuleta fans who wanted to know. David sounded great at the event tonight. Probably the best live appearance I have seen him do since seeing him at The Alma Awards. I knew the song name, I was just trying to do a quick tweet and in the 140 char limit. Recap up soon

    Watch HERE for her recap.

    *spazzing*

    David & Johnny Jet (a travel journalist?)
    britweek2

    Alert, Imagine/POTC snippet vid posted at end of post above … And more pics HERE:

    Britweek3

  28. SandyBeaches says:

    Kizzi, I love this…”Growth at an exponential rate! Simply amazing.” It may be difficult to keep up with him but we will give it a try.

    Every time that he makes an appearance such as this one, he gains so many new fans and that is how he does it…

    SB

  29. TOfan says:

    I just need to say that I’m overwhelmed with emotion watching this small snippet of his songs … “awe” doesn’t even seem enough of a word … you could hear a pin drop and feel the stillness, the holding of breath during David’s a cappella POTC … we recognize it because we’ve all felt it.

    I also in awe of how, after hitting one of likely many speed bumps he’ll run into on the bumpy road of celebrity, he forges ahead to do what he’s meant to do, give voice and light to all those who need it most.

    He is strong and brave and real and teaches me something important every day.

  30. abanana77 says:

    TOfan: “He is strong and brave and real ad teaches me something important every day.” Perfectly perfect way to say it <3333333

    AH! The clips are killing me. Imagine. Oh goodness.

    *still praying for full videos*

  31. awestruck says:

    TOfan – ” just need to say that I’m overwhelmed with emotion watching this small snippet of his songs … “awe” doesn’t even seem enough of a word … you could hear a pin drop and feel the stillness, the holding of breath during David’s a cappella POTC … we recognize it because we’ve all felt it.”

    most times during these kinds of events you always hear some sort of level of chatter amongst the patrons, BUT you are so right – you could hear a pin drop. This awes me to think of the profound effect David has on people with his singing.

  32. emmegirl says:

    TOfan, awestruck, me too! His performance last night, his blog today, it just makes my heart well up!

  33. YJfanofdavid says:

    David makes the top five charmers in Idol Tracker. Here is what the writer said:

    David Archuleta: Here’s another portrait of an Idol charmer: It’s no more than a two-minute walk from the “Idol” stage doors to the parking lot, but for Archuleta, who came in second to Cook on Season 7, that can take more than half an hour. That’s because the well-mannered Archie insists on hugging and catching up with each and every member of the crew, from the producers to wardrobe staffers, security and even the dude at the craft services table — all people with whom he’s on a first-name basis. In truth, not even the burliest stagehand can resist Archie’s dimples, nervous laugh and aw-shucks shrug to anything even slightly out of his comfort zone, and neither can this seasoned “Idol” observer.

    Tofan: This just brings tears in my eyes and reminds me of the article you wrote a while ago (Can a Nice Guy Finish First?)

    For the full article:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/americanidoltracker/2010/04/american-idols-5-biggest-charmers.html#comments

  34. KH says:

    Catching up. Kizzi, you were in Kansas City this winter and I didn’t meet you? 😦

    David did very well at the Gala, and I have been comforted by the photos and videos. I may have been affected by recent events, but he has not let this break his stride. That idea thrills me to no end.

  35. awestruck says:

    YJ – this shows how much David has gotten over his aversion to hugging doesn’t it? He is such a kind soul to all.

    KH – being a female I tend to ‘hold onto things’ longer than is probably wise for my sanity. imo, I get the feeling that David has taken what has happened, chalked it up to experience, learned from it, and has moved on. At any rate, he always puts his ALL into any performance and by he sure did a wonderful job of it at Brit Week. That vid is balm to my soul.

  36. angelofdja says:

    David has come through another life lesson with class and amazing strength of conviction.
    I continue to be humbled by him regarding my own maturity. (even though I’m 50!) 🙂

  37. djafan says:

    Hello Tofan and all!

    Great article! David does seem to have been born to do good and in turn make us feel good.

    “That would explain why, after a David concert, I feel an overwhelming sense of connection, not just to other David fans, but to the universe, the galaxy … I feel like hugging the whole world.”

    🙂

  38. emmegirl says:

    awestruck, think you may be right with your “holding onto things” thoughts.

    “That vid is balm to my soul” … holding on until the book and CD are here. In the meantime, just loving and learning.

  39. awestruck says:

    Interesting article – 10 Best Idol Performances IdolWild Blog http://idolwild2010.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/ten-best-performances-ever/#comments)

    ii. David Archuleta – Imagine

    Arguably the most pure singer the show has ever seen, David’s version of Imagine not only gave us the single-greatest vocal in the history of Idol, it gave us the most hilarious critique ever. However, David’s performance won the night in more ways than one: David proved that he could overcome his failures in loquatiousness and put on a moving performance, and he positioned himself as the one to beat, a title he would not cede until the night of the Season 7 finale.

  40. awestruck says:

    As I am searching for David references on the internet – Angels from Newark UK a year ago – was it only a year ago today??? – came up and as I listened and I am amazed (once again) at the crowd’s supportive reaction to it. Fun to revisit the performance and read the comments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBmkVDgBsFc&feature=player_embedded

    Aside from the fansites, in this slow time of new David news his name keeps popping up. This can only be a good thing right? Imagine shows up as a best of Idol performance, David’s blog is reported on, an article on Idol charmers has the pic of both Davids giving Paula a kiss on the cheek http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/americanidoltracker/2010/04/american-idols-5-biggest-charmers.html#more etc…

    Though I am enjoying the trip down memory lane and all the other tidbits I have to wonder and ask a question of David:

    How soon is soon, David, that your new single is coming out?

    “waits with baited breath for a response”

  41. TOfan says:

    YJ, funny you should mention “Can a Nice Guy Finish First,” I was thinking about revisiting that topic soon, in fact it’ll probably be a recurring theme in David’s career. 🙂

    djafan & emme, “loving and learning” … love that, me too!

    Awestruck, interesting article, thanks! This one is too (go, AnnieDAFG!!!):


    We here at the Seattle Times Idol Confessions Headquarters received an interesting e-mail the other day. It was from Annie S. in Germany, the head of the local David Archuleta fan club there. It seems that she had read my tirade recently and wanted to show me something.

    She forwarded on a link of Archuleta performing John Lennon’s “Imagine” a few days ago at the BritAwards in which he sings the lyrics as written, “sharing all the world” instead of “sharing for the world.”

    Now, I doubt that he reads this blog or even really cares what a hack amateur writer cares about what he sings, but it is interesting that this is the first time on record that he sang the song correctly. In any case, I have a new respect for young Archuleta, and am willing to admit that I probably was a tad harsh on the guy. I was even touched when recently he participated in a Make-A-Wish Foundation event at a soccer match. I cannot excuse him, however, for being a fan of Real Salt Lake.

    Read rest HERE.

  42. Kizzi says:

    Happy Sunday. A year ago today, David sang in Glasgow, Scotland.

    My favorite performance – Waiting for Yesterday

    Love ya’ SAz. 😀

  43. Kizzi says:

    TOfan – thanks for sharing the comment from the Seattle Times Idol Confessions guy.

    Love Annie from Germany. She scored big!

    David’s fans around the globe FTW!

    • TOfan says:

      Kizzi, the U.K. tour was a year ago? Wow. What a year it’s been! Blimey, makes me want to go back and rewatch all those tour vids. 😆

      Carly Smithson tweeted that David gave her a personal Utah tour yesterday & he’ll be coming to her show there tonight. Here’s hoping she’ll call him up onstage for a song … or two! 🙂

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