How do you adequately pay tribute to a singer that has such a hold of your senses when so much has been written about him already? How do you do justice to the exceptional vocal magic that he possesses? And how do you articulate the many high points and countless hours of pleasure that his singing brought?. Worse of all how do you bid a proper goodbye – albeit for a short while – to such a wonderful emissary both of music and in personal character – an ambassador who has positively touched so many lives not through trashy, over the top buffoonery but simply by being himself?
It is quite impossible to effectively wrap all that has happened into one neat package. There are just too many instances, images and moments that are precious and unforgettable to say definitively that any one of them defines the special connections that David has forged with us. The tapestry of David’s journey with his fans all these years does not easily lend itself to being woven.
I suppose the only meaningful way to pay homage to what David has meant to us is through his music. And in this, there is one piece of music that really stands out for me which – with its message – I think is a very fitting expression of what has transpired in recent days.
I don’t know whether it was by intent or by accident but for one brief 3 minute interval in the past the clueless folks at American Idol somehow got David. They understood him and saw where he was coming from and it resulted in a sublime recording in the studio version of ‘Think of Me‘. This song as all of you must recall was during Andrew Llyod Webber week on American Idol where David and his fellow contestants had to tackle stage musical numbers. It is an iconic number from The Phantom Of The Opera and performed by a female soprano.
But in David’s tender male tenor voice the song has been given a smooth contemporary pop feel. It’s evocative without being sappy, the emotional impact is sustained without the histrionics of lesser vocalists and although the arrangement is simple the vocals are no less powerful. It was such a mature performance – far more than his 17 years at that time. It’s a travesty that he has not been given more credit than he deserved for his beautiful interpretation of a classic.
It is also a shame that he has never sung this song in public since he graduated from American Idol. I hope that in the next 2 years as he embarks on his mission he will revisit some of his past performances and realize that in this song he really came into his own and displayed the potent vocal talent that has not surfaced much since then – largely due to the quality of material that he has had to deal with. In this rendition he truly lived up to his reputation of someone ‘born to sing‘. I hope that somehow David will find that same voice again, or at least some producer with a keen ear, in the near future as it is a shining example of his ability to weave pure gold out of hay.
Recall those days, Look back on all those times
Think of the things we’ll never do
There will never be a day when we won’t think of you..
Hasta leugo David…. for now.
=> 2 years
=> 24 months
=> 104 weeks
=> 730 days
=> 17,250 hours
=> 1,051,200 minutes
=> 63,072,000 seconds……!
The figures get more daunting the more you think about it. It’s like a fast receding express train, the longer you watch it the faster it seems to speed away.
When I was told about David’s decision, I wasn’t terribly surprised. It was a possibility that was always hanging in the air for as long as we knew David. That someday he would suspend his music career in servitude of a higher purpose wasn’t as remote as we would have liked to believe. But we probably never expected that such a step would actually come to pass. That the hammer did fall was in many ways shocking and numbing.
The decision has been made – although not without some trepidation and second guessing the way I see it – to heed a call from God no less. A call that most if not all LDS members like David has to answer. He has chosen to hang up his mic so to speak , ‘disappear’ for 2 years so that he can do God’s will.
But does it have to be this way?
Can’t we serve God by being kind, thoughtful, caring and loving to our fellow humans? Can’t we do God’s work by championing the cause of the downtrodden, speaking for those who don’t have a voice or teaching that might does not always make right? Is humility and empathy not godly enough? How about using our music to give pleasure to those of our listeners? Isn’t it noble enough to stir the emotions and hearts of countless people with the power of our voice alone? Aren’t these virtues good enough in the eyes of God?
Does serving God require us to disengage, disassociate and disconnect from the world in general? Are we assuming that God can be so demanding and unbending in his decrees? Do we really have to assume anonymity while in our service to God? Doesn’t it seem like we’re smearing his good name a wee bit here?
Are we to literally aimlessly wander around for the next 2 years, much like the Israelite did for 40 years, until we reach our promised land? Are we being punished here?
2 years of nothing but paucity, aridity and emptiness. See you in 2 years time.