When this photo, said to be the work of Matt Clayton, hit the internet on the 4th of July, it set off some major fireworks. There was controversy about his site being compromised and this photo was the banner displayed on what turned out, when the link was clicked on, not to be his official site at all. However it came about, the leak of this photo exploded like a Catherine wheel over the fan base. It was copied, pasted, set as desktop backgrounds, twitpiks and gravatars. It was made into collages, cropped, enlarged, posted profusely, and commented on.
The picture has him resting languidly on one arm against weather-beaten stone, mouth partially open, reflecting a relaxed, almost bored state. Yet there is an intensity in the stare that belies the laid-back pose. The viewer is left with the impression that he is not bored or tired at all, but engrossed and even fascinated a little by what he sees. It is a remarkable work, capturing in shades of black, white and gray the wise innocence and seductive charm of David Archuleta.
The encounter with this work opened me up to memories and connections I would not otherwise have made on my own. I remembered a stark black and white video of Sade. Her voice is as smooth and sensual as her movements and just as controlled.
She is a class act, a rarity in today’s tawdry music world of female striptease artists/acrobats. Some comments posted on YouTube:
“She is one classy lady…She doesn’t have to sell herself by trying to be half dressed and dress crazy for attention…She can just be her self…She has more talent in her pinkie than these so called female artists of today…”
“I can dance to beyonce, rihanna, kesha, and lady gaga’s stuff…but after listening to Sade’s music…their music just seems so…trite and immature…”
“have to love the fact she doesn’t dress like a whore and still looks hotter than all the trashy female artists of today!”
“I love Sade’s innocent beauty. It’s much more than skin deep. What an awesome gift God bestowed upon us with her birth. I love this band.”
David will have his own style, maybe a little bit of smooth jazzy funk like this and maybe something very different. What led me to make the connection between him and Sade is, in a word: Class. Uncompromising artistic and personal standards, and a sensuality that is not forced. It is as natural as breathing. Sade, born, Helen Folasade Adu in Nigeria and raised in England, started out in the 1980’s with a band called Sade that would become her namesake. In time she would be referred to as simply, Sade. Her career has lasted for decades, her personal life is kept closely private and without scandal. A singer-songwriter, composer and record producer, she is the most successful female solo artist in British history and was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to popular music. She is currently on a 74 city tour, “Sade Live”, starting and ending in Europe and presently here in America showcasing her latest album, The Ultimate Collection. Her band and music style is described as a mixture of R&B, soul, jazz, funk and soft rock. Sound familiar?
The black and white Matt Clayton photo led to the memory of a black and white video which then led to a recollection of another video by Sade. One of a young man with a striped pull-over shirt similar to the one David wears in the photo that started it all. So the connections come full circle, to another visual work of sensual beauty and innocence. Art begets art.