David Archuleta the singer is like an elite athlete — consistently performing at a master’s level of excellence. Not too many challenges are left for him as an interpreter of songs alone.
As a songwriter though, David is a work in progress — and we know how much he loves progress — “moving forward.” In the vlogs where he talks about songwriting — and even treats us to a sampling — the spark in his eyes is undeniable. He can’t wait to explore his own sound, his own voice.
I’ve been rereading parts of Chords of Strength lately (not beginning to end, just bits here and there), and it’s fascinating to go back and read after all that’s happened since it was published last spring. One section I found particularly enlightening was near the end. I think you’ll see why….
“One of my goals is to continue learning as much as I possibly can about songwriting. Though it’s one of the scariest things for me, it’s necessary for my shaping as an artist. Not to mention that without songwriters there would be no songs to sing! As a performer of songs, I feel I should understand the process from the beginning — to participate in the process. Songwriting is the new dimension for me, the next level. I’ve been able to feel good about songs I’ve been a part of writing in the past, whether on my own or ones I’ve been able to write with other great songwriters, but I just feel I have so much farther to go. I can really appreciate the idea that being able to create something is incredibly satisfying. You can look at it and say, ‘Wow, this is something I helped create. It came to life. It’s from my soul.’
“Even though I am not wholly comfortable with this (yet), to get it, I’m going to do what I have always done in my relationship with music: I’m going to listen and learn. I have been listening practically since birth; and the learning has always come naturally as I was exposed to the musical library that basically has been such a big part of my life. The songs have become a part of me, so now I hope that I will be able to evolve into understanding it so well that I can also participate in its creation.
“I’ve done it before so I feel I have the potential, so now I just need to improve my skill set — and that comes with experience, exposure and education. The old me would have probably been completely freaked out by the idea of having to master songwriting, which is totally different from just writing a song. Now I see it as a new horizon for me — I see it as potential growth. I’m being given the chance to take my love for music further, and to begin thinking about how I can define myself as an artist. What mark do I want to leave? What is my message? What do I stand for? What is my sound? These are huge questions, and the answers will color and shape my future as a singer, writer and interpreter.
“… Another personal goal is to learn how to play guitar better so I can use it both for writing as well as to actually accompany myself when I perform. As a singer, your voice is your instrument, and even though I play some piano, I’m approaching guitar playing with the mind-set that even though I already know how to play something, I want to also have an other palette to draw from musically. I can kind of compare it to the idea of learning a new language, just like I speak a little piano and I hope to be able to speak guitar soon.”
A list of some of David’s favourite songs follows those paragraphs, and I thought it was interesting that second on the list (behind Joy Williams) was Natasha Bedingfield’s “These Words.” According to David, “This song inspired me to start writing. Natasha is willing to try new things and her lyrics are so relatable.”
What do you guys think? Since David has such a vocal gift, should he even bother with songwriting? With learning guitar? Or will it bring forth even more David amazingness than we’ve seen already? Can you sort of hear his unique sound already emerging in some of his TOSOD songs? What do you hear? (And how much would you pay to see him play those drums? 🙂 )