Remember this performance of David at last year’s New Year’s Eve Fox countdown show? Now, I knew it wasn’t that big of a deal since he appearedon Fox, not on ABC’s very-big-deal Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve Countdown. Still, I remember how it gave me so much reason to hope, back when David had signed to WEG management.
Back then, if you remember, our biggest gripes were all about Jive’s lack of promotion for David’s sophomore album, The Other Side of Down, and David’s relegation to performances on skating shows. As die-hard fans, we relished in any TV appearance from David we could get, but we had to focus on the positives, rather than on the way that such performances indeed signaled his C-list status in the business (because A-listers only appear on programs that everybody watches).
And yet, my optimism for David’s career knew no bounds. Indeed, when others were bellyaching over the news this past February that Jive had “dropped” David, I did a happy dance because it was better to sever the chains from a company that did nothing for you, IMO. Remember my “David is Free of Jive A$$ Records” post? It had received the most views this year… that is, until I posted “Follow Your Heart, David,” in which that post broke all previous records for the most views. Everyone comes out of the woodwork whenever David does something NOT related to music. What gives?
So, looking back at my posts this past year, I have to say: No wonder I’m getting tired of the bellyaching, the frustrations, the angst. That’s ALL that we have been doing for a whole year!
In January, we became frustrated once again when things got quiet in Archuworld after his New Year’s Eve performance. In February, we wrung our hands over David’s future since he didn’t leave Jive for a new label.
In the ensuing months, we waited and waited and waited for news that David had new management and a new label. But nothing prevailed. Then he went on tours in Asia.
Sometime in late August, someone broke into his twitter account to “leak” the news that he was going on a mission, and pretty much all hell broke loose after that point.
And then we had a reprieve once he announced his plans for a “My Kind of Christmas” tour. There was absolutely no question for me: if David was going to perform in a city near me and during a time that I could make it, I will be there.
It truly is an amazing thing to be surrounded by the peace and calm embodied in David’s Voice and his overall persona when seeing and hearing him live because I do know my attitude changed about everything pertaining to his career and to his life goals afterwards.
I was strangely calm when David finally announced his plans to go on a mission for his church and even cheered him on. Considering my attitude earlier this year, I don’t think I would have felt this way had I not seen him this month.
Still, I think even all our frustrations and bellyaching that came from following David so closely were worthwhile. Just on a behind-the-scenes basis, we got exposed to the machinations of how the music business worked and what it means to have enormous talent and even good looks and personality, as David clearly does, and still not get a chance to really launch oneself if you don’t have the right backing.
Unfortunately, for David, he signed to a label that could only give him “one hit” and then relegate him to the background; he appeared on a show that was just as deeply invested in not promoting him (remember our frustrations when Idol wouldn’t even say his name when referring to past Idol winners and popular contestants?). He was managed by a “team” that really couldn’t see past their own backyard (what was with all the events mostly located in Salt Lake City or nearby) or to some other “backwoods” location overseas (most of you may not know this, but a number of celebrities go to Asia to make a few quick bucks under the radar since U.S. audiences wouldn’t notice).
In short, David was really in a quagmire, which is what our frustrations reflected, and it didn’t help that certain fan blogs refused to openly discuss the reasons for this frustration and why I openly let those discussions happen here.
Is it any wonder, with no managerial assistance and a crisis of musical identity, that David opted out of the whole messy business to find spiritual meaning? I have a feeling the Mormon mission, as much as he was raised to expect to do one, is an “escape plan” as much as it’s a spiritual opportunity.
My only hope is that it builds David’s stamina and his confidence. David is already getting there, but he needs more growth. And I have to absolutely say this: as much as we all love David’s humility, he must, MUST, develop a healthy ego if he wants to make it in music.
When the news of David parting ways with Jive was spread across the interwebs, some random guy commented: “What does it say about the music business that Justin Bieber is a star and David Archuleta is no longer signed to a label?”
Oh, that says plenty about the music industry. But it also says something else: you don’t have to really have talent. You only need enough “swag” to convince others that you do!
Maybe David will develop a different kind of “swag” once he’s completed his Mission, but as long as it gives him the independence, freedom, and the ambition to remove any doubts that he deserves his success, then I will have no regrets in supporting this latest decision of his.
Wishing David and everyone a wonderful, healthy, and prosperous 2012. Happy New Year!