Just Going for It: Being Creative and 18

What I remember most about being 18 was how creative I was.  Of course that was before I went to college, where the creativity kind of waned and eventually got zapped right out of me by the time I went to grad school. My talent was writing, not music, so I wrote endless pages of poetry and short stories, scripted one play, and had the beginning draft of a fantasy novel.  I recognize much of myself in David when I was his age: introspective, shy, dreamy, and just getting along with everybody since I was too busy in my own little creative world to be bothered with the triteness of high school cliques and relationships while maintaining an intimate circle of friends.

So, when David rambles on, as he does here in his latest vlog, about how he has learned to “just go for it” in his songwriting, I get goosebumps imagining what new melodies and lyrics he has put together.  A wave of melancholy also washes over me because, when I was David’s age, I didn’t “just go for it,” which is why the creativity started to fade, and the social world started taking on more prominence in my life.  Like everything else, creativity needs nurturing and guidance.

David is a musical soul with tons of youthful energy, and knowing that he has been collaborating with more seasoned songwriters,  I cannot help but get excited by his musical vision and the guidance he is already accessing at his age.

Because I know that 18 was perhaps my most creative year in my life, and right now, I’m trying to figure out how to tap back into that creative force since I no longer have the youthful energy to sustain it, I have a different perspective on young artistry.  I’m not dismissive of it nor feel that young’uns somehow need to get “more experience” because, well, you live in the here and now, and you create from where you are.  You could be 50, and if you’ve never had a creative bone in your body, it just ain’t gonna happen regardless of your worldly experience. Which isn’t to say someone won’t discover that they have the talent to be a poet or musician at that age, but it would mean that – even at 50 – you’re an adolescent artist just learning the craft.

I’m fond of telling my college students – especially my female students – that the nineteenth-century writer Mary Shelley penned her great novel, Frankenstein, when she was 18.   I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that some of our more celebrated writers, artists, and musicians started crafting their art around the same age.  I don’t expect anyone to peak at that age, but they should definitely be showing signs of the greatness that is to come.  I do believe Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday were both 18 when people started paying attention.  I definitely get that vibe with David at 18.

It’s what happens with that creativity – feeding its spirit, watering its soul – that determines how well the art flourishes.  But it is often said, “You can’t put in what God left out,” and even in the wrong environments, art finds a way. Art persists with the right kind of support.

Youth, energy, and creativity can yield some great results. How that youthful creativity gets packaged  is another story.  A respecter of vocal music and stylings, David already impresses. Adding songwriting to his skill set just gives him even more room and maneuver to shape his inflections and falsettos.

So David ends his latest vlog with “Wait! …yeah. Bye.” Meaning, his thoughts are all over the place, he wants to share, but knows he must self-edit. He’ll get the hang of it, and his heart is as open as that big old sloppy smile he unleashes on us!

American Idol couldn’t package that kind of open-hearted, soft-souled genius and neither will Jive-cum-Disney. He is what he is, and our world is better off for it. Now, if David can get the soul music hookup, I will be one happy fan!

– Hello Gorgeous

Posted on April 29, 2009, in artistry. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Great post HG.

    I think that David will always get crap for his apparent youth. It’s as though they don’t listen to what he says or watch what he does. This is a savvy young man. His talent is enormous and not to be discounted because of his age. The only silver lining in this is what I have always worried about. I have always worried that David would peak too early in his career, and possibly not rebound. Now that isn’t to say he isn’t famous, or good right now. It’s just that he has room to grow. He has all of the essential tools, and he has the forum, now it’s just time to make it work as Tim Gunn would say.

    David I think is just learning how creative he really is. I think all of his successes have finally made him think that there could actually be something to this dream. His early compositions have shown that his talent is neither shallow or childlike. I just think there is no way he can be stifled.

    I often wonder why people are so dismissive of young folk. I remember being in love at that age and people were telling me that there was no depth to my feelings that I would grow out of it. That experience would teach me something that my puny years had not. Guess what? I still love that guy now decades later.

  2. That’s a good point about “peaking too early,” but since it seems no one is taking him seriously right now (except for us die-hard Archies – and even then, that’s still a handful while others are caught up in wanting to marry him), he definitely has room to grow and amaze us even more than he already has.

    Ageism is mostly where I think the dismissal comes from. That and being so cute. Of course, I wouldn’t have him any other way! 🙂

    • I think that’s an excellent point, and I’ve wondered about that myself. At the hectic schedule..all his touring..and short cutting to try to write music.. jam it into an album… something has to be compromised.

      I don’t know how long it’s going to take for him to be taken seriously. I’m not sure that will happen until he sheds the Disney image.. and that’s almost 2 years out still. They may still try to capitalize on that even after David is out of his teens..based solely on his looks alone. Who knows how long it will be before he looks like he’s past the age of 16… LOL.

      We all know looks can be deceiving.. but in this industry.. image is everything.

  3. hell0g0rge0us

    There’s also the gender thing too. Isn’t it interesting that being homely counts heavily against women but being good-looking counts against men (at least counts against them being taken seriously)?

  4. Just the website I’ve been waiting for! I agree, both AI and Jive are clueless as to how to connect the genius and artistry of David A. to the consumer.

    Is he taken seriously? Not by everyone. However, lets keep in mind that Dolly Parton, Andrew L. Webber, Neil Diamond, Paul Anka, Vic Damone, Jason Mraz, Jennifer Hudson, Mike Krompass and Michael Riley (sr vp of disney) are folk in the industry who have publicly made statements indicating that they take him seriously. I believe he will be taken more seriously when he really begins to believe in himself and is more aware of what he’s capable of doing.

    For now, I like his band and his father (as mgr) has surrounded David with very creative and supportive people, many who are from Utah. In a couple of yrs, David will have a better understanding of who he is as an artist and what sound he wants with his music. At that time, he will be calling more of the shots re. the musicians, songwriters and producers that will work with him. I also believe in a couple of yrs, his management will come to realize that they work for him, and not the other way around. When all this occurs (and it will occur!) David will be taken more seriously.

%d bloggers like this: