Category Archives: David's influences
Still grateful to David for introducing me to the later work of Michael Jackson, including this gem:
On another note, I have been wondering when David will get back to expressing his love for music. It was in that love that he shared on his blog this appreciation for Michael Jackson.
I mean, that Voice is still there and is still capable of moving me unspeakably.
Still, with his religious lens, which has immersed him on his two-year mission and which still seems to shape his worldview, it does feel a bit like music has taken a backseat to his first love of religion.
A different outlook, it seems to me, because prior to this, his love of music and his love of God had seemed more intertwined.
As of this moment, I realize that I’m just respectful. I love, love, loooove the Voice, and I am intrigued by David, who is such an enigma to me. And not because he’s of this mysterious religious faith called LDS. But because he’s so unique as a young guy expressing so publicly his need and his desire to be godly, to be righteous. It’s so different.
And no, I don’t tie it to the LDS faith. Having seen some of the snarkier comments, not only of fellow LDS members David’s own age but of even his fellow LDS Missionaries, I think David is unique even in their midst.
I also get why some folks – and it won’t be just non-LDS folks either – will begin distancing themselves from him. The last poll I took showed a slight majority of fans who think extreme religious devotion will drive more audiences away than “bad boy” behavior.
I have a theory about this. With “bad boy” behavior, there is always a path to redemption, always the option to get back on the straight and narrow. With righteous folk, there is always a “holier than thou” aura about them that makes them seem less relatable.
Now, I don’t think David is necessarily coming off as “holier than thou.” I absolutely believe in his sincerity. But that kind of attitude does make others resentful. There is setting a high bar and then there is setting a high bar that not enough people can reach, including the righteous person setting that bar.
I want David to allow for his imperfections and to allow that he’s still in a “good place,” even when he “sins.” Perfectionism can cause some serious self-punishing thoughts and behavior, and I hope he doesn’t entertain that worldview.
Not only that, but religious institutions can really stifle and limit one’s spiritual liberation. Since I’m honoring Michael Jackson on the fifth anniversary of his passing, I think it’s worth noting that MJ was always a devout person, even when he was making disco and funk music at a time when 70s disco and the whole free-dealing, swinging, and casual sex lifestyle associated with it circled around him. Somehow MJ kept above the fray, just as I’m sure David would have kept above the fray.
I had gotten that impression very early, sometime when he appeared on Idol Extra, and one of the Idols Michael Rogers (was that his name?) had said: “I cannot wait to get Archie on the road!” The Idol Extra host interpreted that as Michael wanting to “corrupt” David, and David immediately said, “No, that isn’t going to happen.”
David is not corruptible – no matter how innocent he comes off, he is not naïve, and he is working hard at being righteous – even if others around him (*cough* MIC *cough*) fall from grace.
At the same time, one’s religion can get in the way of one’s creative process. MJ eventually left the Jehovah’s Witness faith sometime after his church made a big issue of his use of the “Occult” in his widely popular “Thriller” music video. MJ had to put out disclaimers and I believe he even had to apologize to his religious community.
Perhaps MJ’s big ego – which would come no matter what, considering his world star status – made him flee his religious community, but how much of that is also due to their attempts at stifling his musical creativity?
If there is anything that concerns me with David’s religious devotion is not that he will eventually cause offense to his faith community with his musical creativity but that he will instead stifle his own creative growth because of it. A list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” might prevent him from pushing himself beyond certain borders, restrictions, and boundaries. The great artists have often done this, and David has it in himself to do this.
I know nothing about the Book of Mormons, but in the traditional Protestant Bible used in most Protestant churches, the most celebrated biblical heroes and heroines were those people who pushed against the boundaries, even sinned on a regular basis, and had a longer-term vision. And they were blessed by God. Jacob, Tamar, Ruth, David, Solomon. Those are what our artists and folk heroes have often taught us, and they never let institutions – religious or secular – get in their way.
I love that David digs deep and really tries to “listen” to that higher calling. And I will also hope that internal Voice speaks louder than institutional voices surrounding him. This always seems to make the Voice sound much more divine in song.
If he were still alive, Michael Jackson would have turned 55 today. Here’s a montage tribute! 🙂
One of the social media things I miss from David has got to be his blogs. Granted, he didn’t do these as much once he switched to Twitter and his occasional vlogs.
Remember the blogs, when he would always give us a “Song for the Day”? I remember when he suggested Michael Jackson’s “Stranger in Moscow,” and I went, “What?! I don’t know that MJ song.”
One of those songs that came when his popularity started to wane. Anyway, both the song and video are really thoughtful and sophisticated. David’s selection of it as a “song for the day” impressed upon me that the guy really knew his pop music. So, on this fourth anniversary of MJ’s passing, I thought I would highlight the video here. 🙂
Hoping his kids are coping (poor Paris!).
On a side note, I remember Spike Lee had shared an anecdote, in which MJ called him wanting him to direct one of his music videos. And, in typical MJ style, he quietly asked Spike to look through the songs from his latest album and pick one that he’d like to direct the video for. Spike said he picked “Stranger in Moscow,” and MJ quietly told him, “What about ‘They Don’t Care About Us?'”
So much for choosing, right? 😉 Spike of course directed They Don’t Care About Us instead, and maybe folks would take this anecdote as proof that MJ was a controlling artist (but the great ones usually are – in fact, I could totally see David quietly getting his own way too while making it seem like he’s giving one of his collaborators “choice”). MJ had a vision, and obviously the racially provocative Spike Lee was appropriate (in MJ’s mind) to tackle his racially provocative “They Don’t Care About Us.”
Still, when I see this video (which is superb, I think, in capturing his melancholia), I sometimes think: “Hmmmm, what would Spike Lee have done with this?”
Anyways, I also remember, with David’s “song choice” selection, how the Archies immediately went into angst mode: Was David alright? Is he really depressed? Why oh why would he suggest a song like this? (And some probably were bothered that David even admired the troubled pop star.)
My hope for David: to reach out to collaborators, despite his shyness, and have a vision for his songs (down to the music videos he wants for them).
No debate about that.
I just want him to OWN it one fine day! 🙂
In the time I’ve been following David, he’s introduced me to this song, which I’ve been playing as part of my Sunday sacred playlist:
Are there any gospel songs you’d love to hear The Voice on? My vote is for Smokie Norful’s “I Need You Now”:
Got me nostalgic for his music! Major, major Prince fan here! I think I once told y’all how, if Michael Jackson was my mother-approved boyfriend, Prince was the one I had to hide underneath the bed! 😛
Anyways, even though he’s gone down the religiously devout route as a Jehovah’s Witness, I think there were signs in his earlier music (even at his sexiest) that indicated he was really caught up in theology.
That’s the beauty of complicated artists, which is all we here want for David: to be complex.
Anywho, I do remember David tweeting about having the best time at a Prince concert. So, naturally, I’m wondering which of Prince’s songs he should cover (and which he’d feel comfortable singing).
Here are some of my choices:
Of course, Fantasia does a kick-butt rendition by “taking it to church” (she’s such a Patti Labelle/Mary J. Blige mixtape isn’t she?) so I think David could come close (or even surpass!).
Diamonds and Pearls:
Nothing Compares 2 U:
Sinead O’Connor did a famous rendition, and made the song her own, so imagine The Voice on this one (and subsequently making it his own). 🙂
OK, so this is a serious BABY-MAKING song right here (Ahem!), but we all know Ballad Boy can handle it, right? 😉
So, what say you, SD readers? Please take my latest poll! 😀