David in Hindsight
So, from what David had to say yesterday while in Manila, it’s amazing how you find yourself backtracking and going over all your assumptions in the past few years. After all, just knowing that David had planned to go on his LDS mission like two years ago puts a fresh new spin on things.
For instance, he imagined that his success after American Idol would have been shortlived and that he would go back into obscurity with the start of a new season. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this. I mean, yes, any realistic Idol contestant must realize this is a real possibility after their season-run on the show, but it’s amazing how very few contestants – many who are so much older than David (and therefore supposedly wiser) – accept that as such.
No. Their tendency is to milk their exposure on Idol for all it’s worth and hope to parlay that exposure into a much sought-after career in entertainment. Regardless of whether they find long-run Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson success (or even short-run success on par with Clay Aiken and Fantasia), I don’t think any Idol ever expects to head back to obscurity. So David’s revelations say a whole lot more about his relatively youthful (and still ego-less) outlook on his own merits and potential. I sure hope he aims higher than this in future.
Then, there’s the plan to go on a formal mission all along. Which basically means that, while we fans were bellyaching over David’s label and management’s lack of vision for his career, he was basically not investing all that much into it. It’s like having that lightbulb go on: Gee, no wonder you were going nowhere fast and why your heart wasn’t into it!
Because, let’s face it, fellow Archies. It wasn’t hard to see that David did little to promote “Something ‘Bout Love” when it was released, and his label did very little to promote his sophomore album when it dropped. I guess if you’re a young guy planning your next move toward a religious mission, little things like a music career are just oh-so-secondary.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I still lay a huge chunk of the blame on his label and management. After all, had David found Bieber-level success with his music, continuing toward a LDS mission goal may not have been as likely, even if he still agonized over it privately. I just believe what I believe, which is basically:
1. After promoting “Crush” and getting a hit pop single and a decent gold-selling album debut, Jive was pretty much done with their “Idol” obligations, especially since David wasn’t the actual winner and, therefore, not worth spending more money on beyond their little tween/teen bubblegum pop crowd.
2. Beyond placating his die-hard Archie fanbase with a bunch of tours and a memoir, his management didn’t have any further obligations to build his public image nor his audience beyond the fans he found during Idol or afterwards.
3. (most importantly) if David’s main goals were toward his faith and fulfilling his church’s obligations through a mission, then his heart wasn’t directed toward his music career. Which, in all honesty, I can understand. At 21, why get caught up in building towards a career when you believe you have time (and I still think he does)?
The problem of course is that, had David spent more of his energy building on his Idol and fanbase momentum, he might have rigorously searched for a new label, new management, and new collaborators. Sometimes one must be proactive about these things. Take Taylor Swift for instance. Girlfriend knew what she wanted and had the courage to leave a label when it conflicted with her own vision for herself. I’m sure David has the same commitments to his own music, but if he has another “calling” (faith not career), it’s hard to build on something when there is another goal getting in the way.
What David has done right (IMO) is to nurture the relationship he already has with his fans and knowing that, if he wants to keep at a music career, he will eventually have to deliver the goods. I think he’s taking his time and slowly growing his way into his public persona. But knowing what his primary mission has been all along (pun intended) it does make things a bit clearer as to why he hadn’t been more grabbing of the bulls by the horn, so to speak.
These current “opportunities” of music videos and acting (even if they’re mostly overseas) suggest David is responding to where he is wanted, but if his heart isn’t into pop music, I hope he’ll figure that out sooner than later. If nothing else, I hope his mission will make him decide once and for all, not IF he’ll continue with a music career, but where exactly and in what genres specifically he will flourish and stamp his mark on the world.