Monthly Archives: October 2009

Some David Wisdom

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While I still find it suspect why the ladies of Utah’s conservative women’s conference chose to invite David (and why David could agree to this event but not the private concert that so would have rocked), what an opportunity to see and hear David beyond the conventional picture of “teen pop star” or American Idol runner-up or any other limited image we have of him.

In two weeks, I too will be attending a women’s conference, but unlike yesterday’s events, the conference I’m attending will actually talk about gender issues and roles, what has changed, what has not, and what needs changing still.  As someone who has been recruited to organize such an event, had I let my ODD take over and suggested, “Why, let’s invite David Archuleta as one of our speakers!” I would be drilled and forced to make a good argument about why David would be an appropriate choice for our event. At least for the future, I have this women’s conference to point to – heh.  

And I would have offered the following (some points already made by some of my readers, like Dorman):

– He challenges the way we look at young men and masculinity

– He has mad respect for women and girls

– He respects and values the “feminine” with no regard for how he himself gets interpreted

And, as such, David would be invited to give a talk on “Young Men Challenging Gender Roles: New Directions.”

And David, not ever thinking politically about any of these issues (I’m assuming), will ramble through about how much he loves his mama and his sisters and his female friends and every diva who influenced his style of singing (he’s still giving praise to Tamyra Gray – dang!) before concluding that, yeah, young men like himself have so much to learn from women and to be inspired to take on different gender roles! He then would be requested to sing a song, and he would sing “A Thousand Miles,” the audience would swoon, and David would reveal that he could sway any group of women – feminists and conservatives alike. 

Nonetheless, what David delivered at yesterday’s Utah conference could have been delivered at a youth conference, a Christian conference, a gay conference, an AARP conference, a college student conference, whatever.  

And so now, we have David in his speaking voice, and he is as natural and as hypnotizing just listening to him as it is just listening to his singing voice.  The McFlys were right: listening to David “is like doing yoga.” It really is a calming effect!

My favorite anecdote: David revealing that he cried over winning Star Search because his main competitor who lost was crying.  Haha! Perhaps it’s for the best that he didn’t win American Idol after all. Cook wouldn’t have been as gracious as David in losing, and David would have spent his entire talk show circuit apologizing for winning!  That would have driven me nuts, so yeah, perhaps it’s good he didn’t “upstage” Cook by taking the crown.

And if every speech he makes concludes with a crystal-clear serenade, we need to get his asking price and book him pronto! What a treat! 🙂

Download Full Speech (thanks for the mp3, Marlie! Ugh, those cackling women in the audience need to shut it!)

Watch the Video! (thanks, Pattycake04, and thanks, Burkey, for alerting me to this): Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI

Sweaters and Smiles

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Sweaters and Conferences“, posted with vodpod

Late to the Party…

Picture 2Being preoccupied with… Oh, I don’t know, LIFE!! (how inconvenient!)… kind of puts me in the position of “catching up” with my other life online here in ArchUniverse.  So, I’m just now getting to see the video and article from MTV news with Jim Cantiello.  And this has got to be the BEST OPENING EVER in a news article:

They don’t come sweeter than David Archuleta. I know Paula Abdul got a lot of flack for saying she wanted to decapitate the boy and dangle his head from her rearview mirror (as a compliment), but after spending time with him this week I know exactly where Paula is coming from. By the end of our hour together, I was looking all over MTV for a hacksaw.

Haha!! Join the club, my friend (but leave his pretty little head alone!).

At least there are still some in the media who know how to make David look cool (as opposed to those who don’t – looking at you, Entertainment Weekly!)

In other news (thanks, Snarkies!), David is attending a Women’s Conference in Utah (heh, don’t you just love local folk, who just want to include their local hero, regardless of whether or not he’s relevant to their event? Unless, the organizers already have a hacksaw handy: Yikes! Be careful, David!). 

Read the Source.

Taking Us to Church: The Spiritual Dimensions of Christmas from the Heart

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Reprinted from The David Chronicles.

 I must admit that David scares me sometimes.  He digs a whole lot deeper than I would ever expect from an 18 year old of the Wired Generation.  When I impatiently downloaded Christmas from the Heart on iTunes after Amazon.com failed to deliver my physical CD on time (hey – I don’t mind shilling out moolah for my beloved Voice), I was quite giddy listening to the Voice’s interpretation of Christmas carols I’ve heard all my life. They all sounded so different from what I’m used to hearing.  

It wasn’t until I finally received  my physical CD and popped it into my surround sound stereo that I actually heard Christmas from the Heart.   David’s vocals boomed loudly and earnestly, with orchestral and synthesized instrumentals embellishing that one-of-a-kind Voice.  It was during the opening carol, “Joy to the World,” that I was truly transported.  In the lingo of Black church goers, David “took me to church” on this one.  It was during the “break down,” which routinely occurs in much of gospel and R&B songs that allow for vocal improvisation and free-styling, that got me in a spiritual mode.

“And wonders / and wooooooonders …. ooooooof / hi-i-i-is looooooooooooooove”

Gah! The lovely crevices and valleys that David’s vocals journey on that “love” note surpasses.  

“Hi-i-is Looove / He rules the world with His truth and grace” (wow, I’m hearing that Kirk Franklin inspiration right here) … Fade out. *Swoon.*

nativityThis, my friends, is David “testifying,” and it’s such a grand testimony.  David is on fire towards the end of the song (indeed, a YouTube commenter describes David’s vocals at the end of JTTW as “sick,” and I’m inclined to agree).  Was David having a “Holy Ghost” moment? I would not be surprised because the boy was feeling it.

So, that’s the spiritual journey I’m on just from Track no. 1.  It’s during this time that I start reading the liner notes, and I think: “Aha! No wonder I’m feeling this way.” Have you all read David’s acknowledgements?  

I first would like to thank God, who comes first in all of this.  It’s because of Him that I’ve gotten the chance to do something I love so much.  I dedicate this Christmas album especially to Him, and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  May it be another way I can give back to them, and to all those who listen to the songs as well so that they can feel the spirit and message within them.

Feel the spirit?  Did David just write that? 

My mind is blown.  How old is he again, and how in heck did he wind up on American Idol and on Simon Fuller’s Jive record label?  

He is scary, I’m telling you.  No wonder so many in the public try to dismiss him as some “teen pop star” or some “Disney tween.” They couldn’t handle the Voice if they didn’t.  

Between David’s liner notes and his vocal skills, inspired by everything from gospel to classical to traditional hymns to Spanish ballads, which all get showcased on this album through one carol or another, it’s quite apparent how bold David has become in declaring his spiritual influences without being the least bit preachy.  He’s not trying to “convert.” He’s only trying to get us to “feel” it.  

nativity2And we do “feel” it.  If I could rename this album, I would call it Christmas Lullaby, because David’s Voice elicits the feeling of one who is singing the Baby Jesus to sleep, as Rascal already noted in his review.  ”Hush, little Baby, don’t you weep.  For you are here to save the world with grace and love.” 

That’s the mantra, the leitmotif as it were, on every song on this album – especially on the more soulful ballads, like “What Child is This” (a masterpiece in and of itself, from David’s trademark humming to the grand strings provided by Prague’s Philharmonic Orchestra), “Silent Night,” “Ave Maria,” and “O Holy Night.”  A bit more on “What Child is This”: as others have commented, specifically Raelovingangels, it’s as if David’s soft vocals capture the humility and simplicity of Baby Jesus tucked away in a manger while the orchestra signals in epic sweep how world-transforming this event has become. 

Secular and non-Christian listeners can stand back in wonder at the Voice, while Christian listeners pick up on the nuances and subtleties.  (And I imagine Mormon listeners can detect other subtleties that non-LDSers would miss.)  Most effective are Kurt Bestor’s syncretization of numerous Christmas hymns, providing that subtext for the “spirit” of Christmas.  Whether it’s the echo of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” slipping in on “Angels We Have Heard on High,” or “Carol of the Bells” intruding on the Spanish carol, “Riu Riu Chiu.” 

This is a gorgeous call to worship, delivered by the Voice.  After giving us an album so profound, I cannot imagine the Voice going back to pop fluff.  His gifts are too precious, and his calling too great.  After CFTH, I look forward to David “taking us to church” through different genres of music – whether in an actual house of worship or just through our very bodies.  This is a soul meditation and one that might inspire us to contemplate the “true meaning” of Christmas and cut down on holiday expenses during a recession this coming Christmas season.  Well, except to gift everyone we know a copy of Christmas from the Heart.

Hit Singles: Worthy Potentials from Christmas from the Heart

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I will be preoccupied this weekend attending a family wedding.  So, I’m just posting in advance a new article until I’m back next week.  

There are so many goodies on David’s Christmas album that I’ve been debating which carol would be the best “first single.”  Any suggestions?  My own preferences:

1.  Pat-a-Pan –> I’m of the belief that David should be able to stand out this coming Christmas season, and what better way to do this than with an obscure French carol with a catchy groovy beat?  This is already “radio friendly,” to use an over-used phrase.

2.  Riu Riu Chiu –> Then again, why not a lovely non-English ballad, and this one is smooth as silk.  Still, what are the chances of radio featuring a carol sung in Spanish? Perhaps only on Latin stations?

3. Melodies of Christmas –> While this original song is not on the top of my list of CFTH (this so should have had a choir – gospel to be exact – accompanying David, instead of those cheesy backup singers), it would be a wonderful opportunity for David to have a single with an original song he co-wrote.  What are the chances?  This is another song that can be quite catchy.  

4.  What Child is This –> While I have a hard time imagine hearing this on Top 40 radio, I would hope they would make room for this stellar rendition just for the holidays.  It’s a tremendous gift that all the world should hear.

5.  Joy to the World –> I just love the vocal improvisation at the end of this carol, and I also love the blending in of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”  Any song in which David can do all kinds of runs on the word “love” is singles-worth, IMHO.  

So, those get my vote.  Thoughts?