What is David’s “Style”?

This question is really in response to a conversation on the previous thread, in which Suzy Orman tweeted that David was not really Black Eyed Peas’s “style” and, therefore, would not be a good fit for a concert tour.  Well, I would agree he doesn’t match BEP (who I thought were terribly mediocre in their Super Bowl half-time performance – but then, I knew they would be since they only offer “feel good” music by their own admission.  Rock Star Gods they are not).

Still, this conversation is definitely worth having because, thanks to Jive and David’s mismanagement in the past two years, I too couldn’t really vouch for what is David’s “style.” Remember that sad, muted, bleached out (literally!) video his label did for “Touch My Hand”?

Would you be able to figure out David’s “style” after that? This video alone should have given us all kinds of red flags about what David’s label thought of him (which is: clueless!).

So, what is David’s “style”?  We know he’s not “raunchy” or “neurotic” or “crazy” like Gaga or even “eccentric.”  He’s not even “soothing” like a Josh Groban.  His eclectic music style and self-proclaimed “dorky” image both go against his more known images as a “ballad boy” and a “cutie.”  David, no matter how much you say it, no body will look at your sparkling hazel eyes and your to-die-for good looks and automatically think “dork.”  And no matter how often you sing pop, no one who’s seen you on Idol will separate you from your “Imagine” and “Angel” performances.

Seriously?  I think David needs to go back to his “ballad boy” persona and amplify that in a way that’s cool.  Every Idol who has been successful is one who has been able to stick to the personas they developed on Idol.

If I were his manager, I would seriously be marketing him as the young Adonis with the voice of an Angel (which is what every Archie thinks anyway – management needs to broadcast that better and reframe that in a popular and cool way).  Yeah, I know: it’s a complete deification of David.  But so what?  That’s what celebrity is designed to do anyway!

In this electronic age, he’d also be the Voice that needs no Autotune.  Or, if he needs Autotune (Pfffft!) it should be added in by someone who can magnify the echoes and melismas in the Voice (in other words, David is in need of a creative music producer who knows what he – or she – is working with).

I respect David’s own desires to break free from some of the stereotypes Idol cast on him, as well as to prove he could do “pop” (which, to me, “Crush” already proved that).  But, he needs to think about the “style” now and distinguish himself accordingly.

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Posted on February 7, 2011, in public image. Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. hg
    you are always honest and straightforward with your writings, that’s why i look forward to reading what you have to say everytime. i agree that david should go back to his ballad boy persona and i think that david’s management should capitalize on his gorgeous looks and his awesome voice… those are david’s best assets! what more could they ask for????

  2. “those are david’s best assets!”

    Not to mention his sweet personality.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Iani! 🙂

  3. I actually would not want David to go back to the image that he had on idol. I actually think it did a disservice to David. He was represented as someone who is not relevant to the music scene today. He also came across as limited as to what type of music he could perform. I think the songs that he did on idol did not truly represent who David is and the kind of music he likes. Or the kind of music that he wants to make. I would have never thought that David was a fan of artists like Jason, Sara, and Natasha just from watching his performances on idol.

    I think David should make the music he would like but I personally would not be interested in having an album full of ballads. I’m not a big ballad fan as well. I also think that would be limiting to David because I think he is so much more than just a ballad boy. David has proved that he can perform a variety of songs with different tempos.

    I do agree that David needs a particular sound and style that defines who he is an artist. I think that David is young and still experimenting to see what that sound and style is. I think David is a dork. I think he is awkward. There is nothing wrong with that. I actually think that appeals to a lot of people. I think that an artist’s music should reflect their personality. I think you can tell when a artist has a clearly defined style when their music reflects their personality. I would love for David to hook up with a really talented producer who David clicks with who could help David to create a sound and style that defines him, reflects his personality and showcases his voice. So when people hear David’s music they know that is a David Archuleta song.

    • raelovingangels

      Well said. My thoughts also- better than I could say- and no typos.

      I do wish however that David would stop referring to himself as a dork. He is who he is- and frankly while he is one in a million- there are many people who share some character traits- especially people around his age- and I know he would not want anyone to feel bad about themselves. It is a subtle put down to himself and others who are like him- and I am not sure what David considers normal, or cool or un-dorky? Who does fit in- and why is that good? Unless it comes to followiing the law that is… Teens are awkward- but guess what- so is 20 somethng, and 30 somethng and so on, and so on. Different strokes for different folks… And not one song on his album is the least bet dorky- Elevator is a tad quirky- but not even really. I like the sounds on his new album- and I agree with you about the strong producer/mentor to help him refine his style.

  4. “With his natural predisposition towards music and song, from an early, even very early, age, there was no other way… Clear, precise intonation, the almost fanatical search for perfection…

    This is combined with highly personal and persuasive vocal colour, tinged with a subtle, barely-concealed melancholy that goes straight to the hearts of the listeners. It is the famous “something” that makes an artist unique.”

    I have sometimes brought together the similar artistic talents of David and Andrea Bocelli. This description of an artist is from one of Andrea’s web sites, but many of their musical attributes are closely the same.

    It is difficult to place a name to David’s style when his style is in the delivery of each song and not in the genre that it is coming from. Like Bocelli, David successfully performs many styles of music. But, it may take a few more years for David to be singing to have an actual name to the style that he is best known for.

    “Young Adonis with the voice of an Angel”… yes, you have it.

    SB

  5. David doesn’t just have to sing ballads, but it should certainly be a staple in his repertoire. JMHO.

    Another blog nicely posted this fantabulous Super Bowl half-time performance of Prince back in 2007. See, this is the standard by which I evaluate folks like BEP.

    • This is hands down my favorite halftime show performance! (MJ’s performance is up there too.)

      When you have talent like Prince all you need is a guitar and a really big sheet…. such a hot performance!!!!

  6. Interesting article, HG. I loved the songs David sang on Idol. I go back and listen to them and enjoy the purity of David’s voice. David expresses himself best in Ballads. We all know that he can sing just about anything but I would love an album of mostly ballads. My favorite album is the Christmas album. Maybe it’s because I am an older fan, IDK. When David sings and performs, he is anything but a Dork. When he gives interviews he stumbles but if you just listen to the words, he is so mature. As long as David tries to be 100% honest in his interviews, he will probably always be awkward in his delivery. If David were to go with one style, I would vote for sounds like we find in “Sensless”. Awesome!!!

  7. I get what you’re saying here. David’s albums are a little sparse on ballads. Great ballads can be massive hits, even in this current techno-era, and David can sing ballads like few can. He proved that on AI. But he also showed on AI that pop was part of him as well. Many just kind of ignored that (except, ahem, Jive). His very first song choice on the show? Shop Around. Other non-ballads: WCWIO, America, Sweet Caroline, With You, and Think of Me (which is a ballad, and David pointedly performed it with a pop arrangement).

    I think part of the reason we loved him so much on AI was that the songs (ballads and pop) were not overproduced. We could hear his voice soar in every performance, unlike on the pop albums. So, couldn’t his identifiable sound be his voice, instead of a certain musical style? I get a little tired of artists that make every song sound the same, just so they have “a sound”. Why buy more than one song then? When TOSOD first came out, I was playing STR in the car. My daughter (not a fan) immediately said “Does DA have a new CD out?” “How do you know that’s him?” “He has a very distinctive voice.” So even a casual listener can immediately identify his voice on a “different” song.

    I think we will get more ballads down the road, based on David’s comments in this interview:

    Interestingly, the Christmas album is his favorite, not TOSOD.

    • I don’t think having a specific sound and style to your music means that every song sounds the same. I think of it as the sound being unique to the artist. The songs are not generic and don’t remind you of other artists out there. Or remind you of another song that has already been released.

      • You right , and i guess that TOSOD was his first try to define his own sound and uniqueness , sadly he don’t have enough support to achieve a major succes with the album , but wa a good one.

      • You’re right–I’m over generalizing. Every one of Ke$ha’s and Britney’s songs that are on the radio sound the same to me, but there are lots of other artists who aren’t so repetitive. It’s just that a lot of it, I don’t particularly care for.

  8. A new “old” photo that turned up today…..pretty dang nice!

    http://bit.ly/dLs2bF

  9. I think that it is important for David to hook up with a great producer to help him with whatever music direction he decides to go in. I still think that WEG is going to help greatly with that. I loved that interview with Jennifer Lopez today on Rachel Ray because she mentions how much she likes David. David was the only idol she mentioned. JLO has always been a big fan of David’s. It is shocking that someone on AI would actually say what a great talent he is.

  10. I actually see him more like a pop/rock alternative singer then he can have powerful tunes the same that ligh/cool fun ones, to sing about love and deep feelings or about ordinaries situations, accompaning him-self, with a full instrumentation, a band or acoustic sound..more like the old school rock/pop ,latin pop ( that is very poweful in terms of vocals) or even like an european feeling , minus the crazy behaviour that in this case will be replaced with the dorky charm.
    Anyway Save the day, Desperate, Sttomping the Roses, TOSOD ,MKOP or Who i am are my pick to describe his style, modern sounds, powerful/deep lyrics and great interpretation from David ……..now he can put anytime an albums with special projets, classics, inspirationals, all latin, or just be creative and introduce his own sound to his pop/rock music.

    IDK with David is not easy to pick an style lol.

  11. And about the Lady tweet , i guess David is not BEP style , but more because the style of live performances , than for genre of music. ….but then you saw Jordin S opening for Britney S. so you never know what kind of music association can work. I will love to see David and Mcfly again in a coheadliner tour in US/Canada…not too teen , not to older crowd , more close to David’s age…just an opinion. 🙂

  12. Embe congratulaions i didn’t know you’re expecting 🙂

  13. raelovingangels

    lol…. I should have known this was coming. Good question and I must admit after I took a step back from the keyboard so not to get into a flurry of sending her llnks and justifyng why think David would be perfedt to open for BEP on a world tour- I actually thought- hmmm… what would I send? What is his style? He is amazing diverse- be it the upbeat songs such as ZG… the cool jazzy pop like TOSOD the quirky Elevator, the soulful Somebody Out There the smexy Barriers- or the R & B vibe of Crush…? Even though David shines in ballads- I felt she probalby has not checked him out since AI- so I knew I would not send her a ballad- although gosh darn it- rocker type Pink can sing a Ballad like no-ones business! So, good question- His blessing, his curse- to talented for a style.

    • raelovingangels

      I also wanted to say but, but, but- he would compliment them and in a concert you don’t want SAME/SAME RIGHT? But, alas- I thought better of it- as she has over a million followers and from what I can tell ( and I do love her) she ALWAYS gets the last word in. lol

  14. Hmm..It is hard to push David to a certain style of music because he has so many different styles in his voice. He has a bit of pop, rock, and definitely tenor. I think that they could use this to their benefit or should have and have many different styles in one album and created great albums but it seems that Jive is not great at producing albums with David’s style. I just hope that David will at least make one pop tenor album in the near future. I really did like the styles he sand at AI like ” don’t let the sun go down, In this moment, long and winding road and so forth…” But I love listening to music and know really nothing about what it takes for a song to have an appeal to an audience which I think most people don’t so I can’t really tell what will make David a smash hit in the future…

    • I agree, his tenor voice deserve a special projet ,I want him to sing with Placido Domingo, i guess Mr Placido is the Director of the Orchestra Filamonic in LA and would be not the first time for him to make an album with young singers…..#FEBRUARYDREAM

  15. great post and it’s fun reading all the different perspectives here. i have no idea how to define david’s style but i sure enjoy it.

    during the demi tour of 2009, a man attending the concert with his daughter (a demi fan) tweeted something along the lines of: “who is this little guy? he’s a real ballad machine. he must be the richard marx of his generation.” it tickled me because i was a huge fan of richard marx and his genre of music.

  16. Really enjoyed following your discussion. So many divergent, loving ideas. Ray- Well said. My thoughts also- Better than I could say- and no typos. 🙂 🙂

  17. Personally, I would go to a concert of David’s even if was titled “David Sings The Phone Book” haha

    • LOL, you right! 🙂 i think that on his concerts he can sing whatever style he want from his previous albums or covers , but the album need to have a cohesive sound or theme to show his strongs gifs and unique style.

  18. Take a moment and think back to which songs you have found to be the most impressive – The ones that really grabbed at your soul and I bet they are ballads. Now think back to what you think are David’s most impressive and unforgettable “make-you-melt” moments. The ones that set deep into your chest and took your breathe away. You know the ones. David needs to do, and we need him to do…a power ballad. Watching various videos of David performing, the ones that garner the most oohs and aahs are the ones where he lets loose with the vibrato and hits those incredible notes. It is where he shines. I heard a song the other day by Foreigner called “I Want to Know What Love Is” and I thought it would be a “type” of song I would like to hear David do or perhaps even cover. I would like to see David get a little edgier or bolder in the songs he sings.

    • I love powerful ballads, but not an album full of them , he can sing a powerful ballad with an orchestra, guitar more acoustic sound or with a band and go from a classic look to a rock pop sound passing for an alternative vibe and be equally emotional with his interpretation. I like too see him in a more edgier style.

      • I agree. I don’t want an album full of power ballads. I only want one. One that will get him recognized and will be a song remembered as one of my most impressive songs I have or anyone has ever heard. I want David to do that.

    • I agree with all of this…David needs an original song with the impact of his “Bubbly” cover.

      But the problem I see with all this is….isn’t this totally at odds with where David sees himself? I mean, isn’t “Elevator” the song he pushed for a single?? Just sayin’

      🙂

      • Ha, ha, i was annoyed first with his ‘Elevator’ obssesion, but i found it cute later…..i still don’t liking the song though , i guess it was more a young obstination , probably feeded by some producers, he still young and can be influenced after all.

  19. I’d love to see David do a “soulful pop” type of an album.
    He reminds me of vocalists like Adele, Sara Bareilles and Corinne Bailey Rae. They can sing great pop/radio friendly songs yet have these torching ballads like Bareilles’ Gravity and Rae’s I’d Do It All Again. I’d love for David to be able to release a song like that.

    I also hope he’s able to collaborate with a great producer who will help him create a cohesive record that expresses his taste and talent. Rick Rubin recently collaborated with Josh Groben which I find to be a very interesting pairing. He’s a brilliant producer. I also love what Mark Ronson did with Amy Winehouse. They created a sound that was uniquely her.

    It’s so easy to become impatient being a David fan. He’s so talented, I can’t wait to see what he does next.

    • I really , really hope for a creative/great producer next time, that is a key for the next album, someone that can help him to use better his potential.

  20. I look forward to some concert news, but I know these things take time. Hope that David is getting some downtime this week.

  21. I can’t imagine David going to a ‘ballad boy’ style. I don’t believe that’s who he sees himself as being. At least for now. I think David wants to do it ALL, like Harry Belafonte (whom he mentioned in a recent interview); David wants to be around singing for us for a very long time. That’s why he wanted to do a ‘young, dorky’ sort of album while he’s still a teenager. In time, I think he’ll make all kinds of music. What he’ll come to most famous for only time will tell.

    David likes EVERYTHING it seems (other than music where the vocals can’t be heard, I assume, as in rap and metal). When he came out with his 30 recommended favorite artists/songs a couple years back for AOL, all I could do was shake my head and say, “Man! David takes ECLECTIC to new heights!” Natasha Bedingfield, Eva Cassidy, John Mayer, Jason Mras and Imogene Heap I understood. The icons he’s often mentioned like MJ, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Maria Carey, Paul McCartney, Seal, etc. I get. But Manhattan Transfer’s “Birdland”? Huh? Wha? Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth, La India, Karen Clark-Sheard? Plus, he throws in Led Zepplin, Boston, TLC, Yes and more. You get where I’m going?

    What David does is up to him. I’m just hanging on for dear life sailing in the tailwind he’s stirs.

  22. Babble, babble… I didn’t state myself well in the first paragraph.

    I meant that David wants to be around for a long time like Harry Belafonte. While he’s at it, I think he’ll sing all kinds of music coz he loves it all. David, not Harry, will sing lots of styles of music. lol

    Sorry for the confusion.

  23. He stirs, not he’s.

    I should edit more.

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