Monthly Archives: June 2012
Here’s another series I’m thinking of reflecting on: contemporary music artists I’d love to see collaborate with David Archuleta when he returns.
My latest discovery and interest is Esperanza Spalding. And, I’m sooooooooo late to the party in finding her music this year. Someone shared with me her jazz cover of “I Can’t Help It,” the song Stevie Wonder wrote for Michael Jakcson:
I’m now playing this version of the song on a loop! :)
Funny thing is: I should have been paying more attention to her once 1)she won the Best New Artist Grammy over Justin Bieber (remember when his fans went ballistic and re-edited her wikipedia page?) and 2)Prince was promoting her (that really should have been enough reason for me actually).
But you know how it is. I’m not really into the contemporary music jazz scene, even though I don’t mind going to jazz clubs and taking in the music as part of the overall ambience.
Her latest album, Radio Music Society, has that nice blend of jazz and funk, so I guess her peeps figured out a way to bring a different audience to her music, and I’m quite grateful to have some new sound to listen to.
Esperanza Spalding is a bass player – both the classical bass and the bass guitar. Check out her ethereal-sounding, Ella Fitzgerald-like “Little Fly”:
Now, I realize David is strictly “pop” and has been hesitant to embrace his soul side, but I personally think a bass player and vocalist could collaborate with anyone on any genre. Hmmm, I’d welcome Esperanza jazzing up a cover of “Crush.” :)
Anyways, collab or no, I highly recommend you check out her work; she’s quite good and very deserving of her Grammy. Heck, any artist who tells folks, with an album titled Radio Music Society to turn on the radio and switch up the dials, is someone worth listening to: both talented and political about her art.
Speaking of politics, check out her video for “Black Gold”:
“Created to musically portray his connection to God, this album is filled with some of modern music’s most moving contemporary songs…”
So, I feel the need to clarify an earlier post in which I was quite critical of this early description of David’s BEGIN. album (not least of which is the misrepresentation of the album title itself).
Remember back in December, when I attended David’s “My Kind of Christmas” tour in Verona, and I felt in my heart how David didn’t need to go on a mission because he was already there with his music? And remember how confident I was that David would not be announcing that he was going on one (until he did)?
And instead of having an emotional meltdown, as I was sure I would once he announced such a thing, I was actually quite calm, even applauded David for having the courage of his convictions to do what he felt he must?
I’ll always remember that amazing, spiritual moment when David just stopped singing with his powerful Voice the love he had for God and just took to the drumsticks and let his drumming testify to that love in “The Little Drummer Boy.” Such expressions are without a doubt the most exquisite displays of faith in their simplicity, subtlety, and sincerity.
All those things, IMO, were what I found missing in that early description of BEGIN. I also found it distasteful, even a bit offensive when I learned that album actually leaned more toward the inspirational, even the contemplative, rather than the bare naked and quite unpoetic literalism of any sentence that contains the phrase “musically portray his connection to God.”
I found it distasteful, not because I’m offended by God-talk (as a believer in God and a churchgoer, I completely respect David’s particular choice of faith even though I don’t share it), but because it suggested “proselytization” more than testimony. It presumed to speak for David’s connection to God, and did so clumsily I might add, rather than let David’s Voice do the talking for us.
If one wanted to convey that there was a touch of the sacred in BEGIN. (as suggested by the inclusion of “Be Still My Soul”), what’s wrong with a simple statement like, “Love. Faith. Acceptance. Joy. David Archuleta returns with his fifth album filled with beloved covers, both secular and sacred, placing his unique stamp on songs only his magnificent vocals could deliver.”
That’s what I meant by David’s “universal” appeal: his magnificent vocals transcend the local and parochial, the divisions between religions and faiths, even the divisions between different worldviews (sacred and secular). When different people listen to David, some feel that “connection to God,” others feel Spirit, or oneness with everything in creation, and still others feel David’s sincerity and open heart. The “connection to God” is merely interpretation, and if it was a direct quote from David, then by golly, QUOTE him!
Because if David had actually said those words, my reaction would have been very different and my approach to his forthcoming album would put me in a certain mind frame when listening to it.
All this is to say: I value David precisely because he is so devoted and committed to his values. He believes in love, acceptance, compassion, and “trying to be like Jesus.” You trust that he means what he says and says what he means (and you certainly trust that he means what he sings and sings what he means).
When he testifies to the great influence of Michael Jackson on his own musicality, you actually believe it and further believe him when he sings a song like “Man in the Mirror” to deliver certain messages (versus, say, grabbing his crotch to “pose” like him the way some pop stars do in efforts to “steal” that shine – *cough* the Anti-David who shall not be named here *cough*).
David is a man of values, and no true fan of his would ever reject that about him. But part of his wonderful values is knowing how to keep certain connections close to his heart, except to provide subtle and exquisite glimpses of it. This is no Bible-thumping proselytizer here.
For he has enough wisdom to know more people will hear him when he opens his lovely mouth to sing and to let his incredible Voice do the testifying for him.
No proselytizing needed!