David’s “Cool Factor” is His Magic

I want to spend time writing, get those songs together, and then go out and say I’m ready. I’m ready to make an album and show it to the record labels and say this is the music I’m going to do. Are you supportive, do you believe in me? That’s what I want to do.

– from David’s Interview with Yes


If this ain’t the epitome of cool, I don’t know what is.  I said I was going to take my time to reflect on David and the “cool factor,” at least what I think of as a “cool factor.” And whether or not he “fits” into the current pop music scene, it doesn’t matter one iota because David is listening to his own inner music and has his own inner core.

Anyone with that kind of inner musical core isn’t someone to “fit in.” He’s someone who will “transcend.” And to me that’s what sets David apart.  He has the ability, more than anyone else on the music scene, to give us a bit of magic.  Because that’s what transcendence is about.

So, here’s an early example. Remember back when we were being introduced to David on Idol, and comedian Wanda Sykes on Ellen had this to say (at the 3:55 minute mark)?

Apart from her hilarious description of other contestants’ “envy” (you can see for yourself the moment preceding David Cook giving David the “glare”- curiously, earlier videos of that moment have been removed from YouTube), what Wanda zeroed in on is David’s “magic” and how he not only stood out from the crowd of contestants but had actually caused the eventual winner of that season to step up his game and make a “connection” (I personally don’t think that happened – the only “connection” made was in appropriating other bands’ covers of popular songs, turning them into rock songs, and creating superficial “buzz” over such musical spectacles).

My point is: David exhibited “magic” from the get go, and all a reality TV show did during the course of a season is to diminish that light and try to expose the “tricks” of a magic show.  However, true fans of David know real magic can’t be exposed; it can only be felt. 

I cannot blame David for getting off the crazy merry-go-round that is the current pop music scene, which has shown in so many ways that they have no respect for the “magic” of a real music artist that David represents.  If Idol wanted to dull the magic, Jive wanted to repackage it in a superficial box of “cuteness.”  Anyone in the music industry knows that a teen pop idol doesn’t need any “magic”; he just needs to take pretty pictures and be only “competent” as a musician.  “Magic” and “excellence”? What do those qualities have to do with marketing to a bunch of tweens? And yeah, his more mature fans don’t count.

This particular break that David is taking – and at age 20 no less – is an indicator of his musical genius and his willingness to steer his own path. How many other “pop” artists have that insight at that young age?  He could just as easily follow the pop trends and make the most of his 15 minutes of fame.  Methinks David is aiming a bit higher and a bit longer-termed.

But, I don’t want David to just find a record label and management who “believes in him.” I want him to find someone who recognizes the “magic” that was so clear to anyone who heard him open his lovely mouth on such songs like “Imagine” and “Heaven.” I want them to see that special shine and market that.  I want David to also believe in his own brand of “magic.”

As the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death comes upon us this weekend, let us remember that MJ, who also struggled to find his musical identity at David’s age (as I had highlighted earlier this year in the “Being 20” series), also believed in his own brand of magic and found ways to set himself apart from the crowd.

No label or management should even think of marketing David as just another pop star or heartthrob. Puh-lease!  Just like MJ stepped out in a tux with high-water leggings and saddle shoes, and made that geeky look COOL, so too can David’s quirkiness set trends and set him apart from everyone else.

He’s not just another voice.  He is The Voice!  I can only hope that David finally sees himself the way his devoted fans do and recognize that his Voice (which he still doesn’t like) is one of a kind and one that has the ability to set the world afire.

One day he will learn this, and so will the rest of the music scene.


Posted on June 20, 2011, in David's career, music, public image. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. HG I’m in tears after reading your article. Thank you. Love what Wanda had to say. (poor Ellen who was a David Cook fan didn’t know what to say) I;m very proud to be a David Archuleta fan and so proud of him for being true to himself. I pray that he gets the right mentoring and opportunities that he deserves whenever he is ready!! Praise the Lord!!

  2. HG,

    Can I just add an AMEN!!! to every word you wrote from the pulpit of Soul David!

  3. HG – I’ve got nothing much to add to your comments. You hit all the things that rumble around in my cabeza, and fans heart for David… I don’t know why, but I just believe he is going to be ALL RIGHT… On some of his terms – some I say cuz there always should be some wiggle room left open for flexibility and negotiation, lol… This isn’t a Burger King ‘Have It Your Way’ kinda world for the majority of us, David included, but that is a life lesson for him to learn and experience on his own…

    Takes guts to do what he’s doing – he’s taking a huge gamble/risk in staying true to his vision for his career. How much easier would it have been to have just signed the darn contract, kept WEG, pocket the advance, continue to play the game, keeping the smile in place and your mouth shut while toeing and going along with someone else’s vision for you, your image, your career… not very many folks at 20 would have the guts to say ‘Enough’, to potentially walk away from the safety net/security (though that is debatable in light of some recent developments) of a major label…

    For right or wrong, David has chosen to go in a different direction, and that takes guts. A lot of people will choose to stay with the devil they know when faced with the kind of decision David faced with Jive et al… because at least you are familiar with your devil… I’m not pumping him up to be some kind of hero, he’s as human as the rest of us, but what he did was ballsy and gutsy – in light of Jive making him an offer to stay… if it was security for himself and his family he was seeking, the easy way out would have been to just sign on the dotted line and be done w/it… He didn’t.. he didn’t…. David, you are something else, and I like it… I knew there was a trace of the bad’ boy lurking somewhere underneath that boyish visage, lolol

  4. HG
    Your best post ever! Every word cuts right to the heart of the situation (and my heart and David).
    I am so proud of the person David is. He is such an example of “figuring yourself out”, and knowing That is what is important, finding and believing in the “authentic You”.
    Thank you so much for this post and your amazing support of our personal magic, David.

  5. WOW!, JUST WOW – To this A+ article of HG, and to all the wonderful comments posted so far.

    GG – despite all the whooping going on, you are so right to point out caution about the eventual wiggle room David will have to learn to negotiate at different times in his life and career.

    Jen A – if you are lurking – Thank You. I love bear hugs just as much as music LOL! 🙂

  6. HG, thanks for your thoughtful post. I’m having similar thoughts, and my first thoughts after hearing that David had turned down offers (so he can make music his way) were that he is brave and wonderful and I”m very proud of him.

    My third and fourth thoughts were “bring on that single and Christmas tour, David. I’m ready.”

  7. Masterclasslady.com has and article on the Malaysian interview for those interested.

  8. So enjoyed your post, HG! Also your comments, GG!

    Kudos to David for having the guts to follow his gut. (Just hope his gut wasn’t saying, “Hey, I’m hungry, let’s get a Whopper,” and David mistook that for “Hey, I want it my way, let’s ignore the whopper deals.”

    I was so glad to finally hear some concrete plans from David (even though it’s pretty much what we thought). Knowing for sure that a new CD/EP/label/management is not gonna be around the corner, I can be patient. Time will tell how this gamble will play out and I’m intrigued to see how David’s musicality will evolve.

    • “Just hope his gut wasn’t saying, “Hey, I’m hungry, let’s get a Whopper,” and David mistook that for “Hey, I want it my way, let’s ignore the whopper deals.”

      LOLOLOL Utahmom – Honey, perish the thought 🙂 That would be all kinds of messed up! I hope David didn’t mistake hunger pangs for something else – our boy do loooove to eat, lolololol 🙂

      • Ha, he sure does! If all else fails, I guess he could write a book–“Pangs of Hunger: A Memoir of Eating, Food and the Power of Appetite”…

  9. HG, this article is so jam packed with great writing that I don’t dare take the time to read it because I want the time to take it all in, so later today I will do just that..

    David said many months ago that even though there are many who believe in him there are many he knows who do not. ‘ Believing in David’ could be the title for a book later on or maybe just a single story.


  10. Someone said that David is a rebel and I agree. David Archuleta is a rebel for HIS cause and that makes him all kinds of cool. Thanks HG for doing what you do so well.

  11. First at all GREAT post HG!! 🙂

    My thoughts about this :
    1. Each time we want to know something about his career we should send him to Asia lol , seriously, he’s extremely open and clear there.
    2. I totally agree , David is a rebel, a sweet one , but rebel at the end lol, looking at his story in this past ten years, he always find the way to liberate him-self and cut the ties (you can put whatever name in the line). who make him uncomfortable
    3. Like a i said yesterday and is confirmed today by this interview, it was clear more and more that he was burned by this fast process in this tough industry, so (like i said yesterday) he did the right thing to stop and regroup his feelings and thoughts about who he is and what kind of artist he want to become …. we already saw very clear evidence of what’s happen when this young artists ignore the signals of stress…so kudos to him if this first reason to take the break.
    4. Sadly for him the all transition Jive was living, with executives leaving , lack of economic resources , new bosses with new rules, his difficulty to find a management, his limitation to go more deep with his lyrics and on the top of all this, the instantaneous success most of labels want from his new artist didn’t helped either to the cause either.
    5. In the other hand ‘Who i’m ‘ is a very common question at his age, so i can count all this like some normal crisis for a 20 years old, happen that he is a celebrity and can be difficult to handle and find the space to resolve his fears in front of the world and literally with thousand of eyes following his moves. Not that is fault of his followers btw, but still a factor.
    6 I hope he’s finally putting a point final to all this everybody want to say me what to do, because Yes!, can be confusing at the end , specially for the young ones, then YES!!! HG , you can added to the ”Being 20” , the moment where he realized that he can decided for himself and take full responsibilities for the results.

    • I like that Tibitibi!Everytime we need to know something about David’s career-Send him to Asia!! He does do great interviews with them!! ha! ha!

  12. Great Post hg. I really can’t add anything because you said it all. GG: You are right. It does take guts to do what David is doing. It is risky but I do think David was thinking about what he wants to do long-term with his music career. I am proud of him. There is so much more depth to David than many realize.

  13. Hg: “He’s not just another voice. He is The Voice! I can only hope that David finally sees himself the way his devoted fans do and recognize that his Voice (which he still doesn’t like) is one of a kind and one that has the ability to set the world afire.”

    This is what I’m hoping the Asian tour will help him to finally grasp and own.
    Lol at what tibi said about sending David going to Asia whenever we want to know what’s really going on with his career. We definitely get real info when he goes there.

  14. Great article HG, as always !

    I think that David is doing now what he always wanted to do. I read COS a few weeks ago and he repeated several times that he didn’t think that everything would go so fast. I think that if he had the choice after AI he would have first taken the time to define himself as an artist and to create the sound and the music that correspond to him.

    It’s evident that David is the definition of an ARTIST in the sense that he wants to be involved in all the parts of the creation of his art and he was denied that right when he started his career. I understand that signing now with a major would put him in the same position as when he was with Jive and that it’s more clever to come with his material and see if the labels accept his vision so they (David and the label) would be on the same wavelength.

    I think it’s time now to reveal to the world who is the true David, the one we, the fans, learned to “know”.
    A little OT but I find this article interesting : http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/06/14/gagamania-2/ Focusing on making great music will prevail over just focusing on creating an over marketed image. With the resurgence and the acceptation of artists like Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars, Adele or Florence & the machine who are doing well while staying true to their art, I think it gives great hopes for David to find his place in this industry where he wouldn’t have “to play the Top 40 game and to live and die by airplay and sales numbers”.

    I’m proud to be his fan. With David, it’s all about the music and not all about the money. I’m sure he’ll be just fine because he knows his priorities.
    I really like the free David lol

  15. ”’But, I don’t want David to just find a record label and management who “believes in him.” I want him to find someone who recognizes the “magic” that was so clear to anyone who heard him open his lovely mouth on such songs like “Imagine” and “Heaven.” I want them to see that special shine and market that. I want David to also believe in his own brand of “magic.” ”

    That is the more important point, of course after to define him-self like artist, he needs to find the label who fits and fill his expectations like artist and human being and support him like a talent of this magnitude deserve…..but i hope David him-self understand that in this business the pressure is always present. I truly understand the love for the art, but people need to eat and in consequence he need to pay attention to the sales and in order to do that he still in the obligation of promote his work everywhere, even if is the part he don’t like to do …. so better to stop his rant about ‘I don’t like my voice’ lol.

    ”…. so too can David’s quirkiness set trends and set him apart from everyone else.”

    I guess most of his fans believe his uniqueness is his best friend and major gun to make story in the Music Industry, happen that he’s not convinced …hopefully his mind gonna change the way he perceive him-self and he’s gonna learn to take advantage of this in favor of his career.

  16. ”Kudos to David for having the guts to follow his gut. (Just hope his gut wasn’t saying, “Hey, I’m hungry, let’s get a Whopper,” and David mistook that for “Hey, I want it my way, let’s ignore the whopper deals.”

    I was thinking on this, hopefully at the end of his very personal process finding his artistic identity, there gonna be labels interested on him still , because this industry is moving soooo fast. Like MARIE said is a risk but i hope it was a calculate one.

    In the other hand , according to the interview he want to release music ”for the fans who’ve been so patient, and have been good” ….So how many here qualify for this LOL ? (taping fingers here)

    To finish i still wishing for him a Label, and a musical mentor to guide him , don’t think we gonna see this soon though , but if he has plans to release an EP or two ( since he said Chistmas songs too? ) he Always can make a deal with a label just for the distribution of his music, like i guess is the case Bryce Avary ‘The Rocket Summer” (David’s Friend and Stomping the Roses co-writer) who produce his own music , but the label make the distribution if i understand well ?

    • I agree with you tibitibi about wishing for a label and a musical mentor for David. I think it will happen but David is obviously going to take his time with it. It might be an indie label or it might not. I think David is not easy to figure out these days. lol

  17. I wouldn’t be surprised if David released some music independently. His mentors seem to be Joy and Nate. They released music on their own independent label. Lately he has been “doing music” with The Silver Seas and their last album was released independently too. But I agree with you Marie, it is not easy to figure David out these days.

  18. M-kay. I loved this interview. I loved HG’s article. I love David Archuleta. And this makes me feel a little better. A little.

  19. I just love this post! Even the title, David’s “Cool Factor” is His Magic perfectly matches the mystical imagery surrounding D’s microphone (in the black/white photo).

    I just saw a post on David Daily that the Admin is looking for assistance to help her maintain the site. She just graduated from high school and is planning for college. I’ve been visiting that site for 3 yrs looking thru the pic gallery; I had NO idea someone so young was running it and running it alone. The talent and commitment in this fanbase is unbelievable!

  20. After what he has endured in the past 3 plus years, I applaud him! These decisions did not come without much pondering on David’s part. I’m in awe of his courage and ability to know what he wants and is willing to take the time to do it right. Whenever he decides to bless us with that VOICE of his, I will be there.
    LOVE this post HG! 😉

  21. well it a bummer that david wont be recording his new cd this year but hopefully he will have a new CD by spring./summer of 2012.

  22. I love this article HG and 100% agree that David’s creates “magic” when he sings. He may reject the current urban/cool style now popular. He may need some time to explore. But, the magic is not going away. if David makes reasonable decisions, his voice, emotive capacity, and integrity will continue to win fans.

    In 2009 I took my two adult daughters to his VA Beach concert. I was a bit anxious about how the evening would go. Both daughters are music lovers and particular (one might call them music snobs). During the “David, David” chants I saw some eye rolling, during TMH they were on their feet grooving to the beat, and during the next few songs I watched the disbelief on their faces. When my oldest turned to me and said “I’ve never heard Vocals like this” I knew it would be a good night.

    I can’t believe that a guy with this kind of capacity to move others with his singing will not have an enduring future. Lots of artists have talent , not many create magic.

    Thanks for all you do here – you have been on an exceptional roll the last few days – pulled me out of the closet!!!!

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