In Need of Uplifting Music: Six Years Later
Six years later, and Soul Davidian is still here. Or rather, I am still here. Not always 100%, sometimes checking in on occasion. I still haven’t had it in me to shut this place down. I still have hope, crazy, irrational hope, that David Archuleta will one day return to his former heights and even transcend it.
His Voice is too amazing, his talent too stratospheric to just give up. But more importantly, his vision, his artistry, and his belief that music can change the world… all of that is too necessary.
I’m here reflecting. The academic year is winding down. This last full week of classes is overshadowed by another city, Baltimore this time, burning in the heat of collective rage over yet another police killing of an unarmed black man – Freddie Gray – a 25-year old whose spine was crushed, severed. My back hurts just writing that sentence.
I can’t escape the irony that the academic year began in the shadow of another city, Ferguson, burning in the heat of collective rage over the police killing of an unarmed black man – Michael Brown – an 18-year-old whose shot body was left in the streets for four hours.
I’m filled with contradictions. My biological clock is ticking, and still I’m ambivalent about bringing a black baby into this punishing world.
But we still have to survive. We still must thrive. We have thrived through our art, through our music.
When folks wring their hands, worrying about whether David can fit into this current music industry, whether or not he can sell out a theater or stadium, I just care that he can make a record filled with songs that can transcend me from this world of darkness into one of light. I care that he can make me cry again, soothing my soul like a “Balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick world.”
Damn, when I think of the genius behind those words, uttered, moaned and crooned by some ancestral slave who bore the lash, the master’s penis, or the depraved hands of some slave trader or slave catcher, I remember our people can survive anything.
Our music told us so!
It is that same music that set David on fire, that reached him in his homogenous little world of Salt Lake City via media, and inspired him to become “Soul David,” not appropriating our culture but learning, crafting, and coming into his own Voice.
So, if David wants to take his time and figure out how best to use his Voice, I’m willing to give him that time. He doesn’t need to come out with crap music to beat a deadline. Not when we need real music and a real Voice to make the notes transcend through time and space in this time of darkness.
I love him for his realness and for his recognition that music can heal.
Indeed, Music can save us.
We’re all in need of salvation now, and the Voice could be that balm.