More Than Technique ~ David Archuleta
Posted by MT on Saturday, February 16, 2013
We all know that David Archuleta is “The Voice.” That’s why we all became so enamored of this wonderful artist from the beginning. David is one of those rare individuals whose voice can reach out and touch your soul through song. I’m not sure why it happens or how he’s able to accomplish such a task. I just know it happens, at least for me.
From his early days on Star Search to the present, there has never been any doubt about his abilities. We’ve all read one article after another about his technique and his natural ability to make a song his own. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an original of his own creation, one that was written for him and sung by him, or a cover of another artist’s song. Once David sings it no other will ever compare, at least not for us. It’s a never-ending riddle for me as to why that is.
Why does no other artist give a song the power that David seems to imbue within its lyrics and melody? I’ve often tried to describe where I feel it comes from and to this day have not found the right words. I’ve said that he has “an echo chamber in his chest.” How else could he give such fullness to his voice? I’ve said that “he has music in his DNA” and it just oozes from every pore. I’ve thought perhaps it’s because of the shape or size of his mouth that he’s able to pronounce and sing words so beautifully. Or perhaps it’s a result of the vocal paralysis and resultant recovery that his tone has such richness. But none of these explain why his voice reaches me, touches me, in the way that it does.
There’s something far more than technique, no matter how perfect, that makes David’s voice so special. In the video below, Climb Every Mountain from Salt Lake City on the MKOC Tour, David gives a performance that, when I am able to make my self pay attention to that aspect of the song, appears to be technically perfect. But what makes this performance so special is something more than that.
While I’m quite sure he has practiced this song to make it as powerful as he can while performing it, there is no evidence that it is “rehearsed” during the performance. There is no spot that I feel is contrived to add power, no place that feels forced. It feels like it’s just being written as he’s singing it. It feels like his own words and his own feelings being released from his mind and heart at the very moment the lyrics are sung.
I have, years ago, dabbled in song writing. As you’ve all seen, I love writing poetry. Rhyme comes naturally to my mind somehow. I once wrote a poem that created its own melody in my head as I wrote and then read it. The result? A song. It took only minutes but was something so personal and powerful to me that when I sang it out loud only moments after writing it, it made me cry.
I tell you this because that’s how I feel when David sings a song like “Climb Every Mountain.” It feels like the song wasn’t written until that very moment and is something very personal and powerful to him. It feels like it’s being created from the very depths of his being and sung for the very first time, in the “here and now,” from the very first note until the last. Perhaps that’s the key.
David was gifted with the amazing ability to perform a song day after day, show after show, as if it’s the very first time, as if it’s an original written straight from his heart in that moment, as if he is speaking his thoughts through song. Once he begins, the technique, which is probably as close to perfect as one can get, is no longer noticed. It’s all about feelings. And what I feel as he begins to sing is his heart pouring out onto his audience on a beautiful wave of sound and genuine emotion.
He has the rare ability to connect very personally and powerfully to the music and lyrics of a song. The second part of that very rare gift is the ability to pass that on to his audience. The result is that, rather than just hearing it, the listener “experiences” the song in the exact same way David feels it. And he knows it. No wonder he’s so very careful what he sings.
It may very well be why his wonderful heart is mentioned so often. It’s the tenderness, the sweetness, the innocence, and the love in his heart that comes through to us in his voice. Each time we listen, we are given one sweet moment of all that is beautiful in this world.
“Climb Every Mountain” is my example. Do you have a song you feel this way about?”