credit: Manny Quintero
He embodied everything that I felt I was missing or have lost: youth, beauty, vitality, charm, talent, genuineness, quiet confidence.
His beautiful singing enveloped the whole amphitheater surrounded by red rocks in the cold November evening. There he was on stage, confidently alternating playful, folksy banter with the audience and singing filled with youthful passion, yearning, energy, playfulness, tenderness, and compassion. His voice had transformed from the angelic, pure sound of his teenage years into a warmer, deeper, sensual sound of a young man at the peak of his life.
I became his fan by accident. When IOS 8 song recognition feature first came out, it kept recommending David Archuleta’s songs no matter what I sang to Siri. (I don’t sound anything like him and I am a terrible singer.) After being annoyed initially, I gave in and listened to his rendition of “Silent Night”.
credit: Aryani Romero
From the first note, I was struck by the beauty of his voice. His tone was like the most intimate, tender whisper, prolonged. Each phrase was infused with tenderness. So many nuances of gentle crescendo, heart-wrenching surge, perfectly-controlled decrescendo and phrase endings that sounded like caresses. Each verse sounded more intense and the part that hit me like a sledgehammer came after the stirring orchestral modulation up to E Major. His rendition of the third verse there sounded like his entire heart just tore open with unbearable feeling of love and adoration. I suddenly felt a surge of endorphins in my brain like the time I indulged in dessert wine and chocolate together. Only it was much more powerful and I felt my throat and chest feel tighter with overwhelming emotions. I felt tears welling in my eyes. It was as if a gate had opened and all the emotions I had suppressed, didn’t feel entitled to, flowed out at once. I also yearned for what I think he was feeling – heart filled with awe, love and devotion. I listened to that recording all day long, then listened to anything I could find on YouTube of his singing.
I was obsessed.
I found out about his concerts in Utah from his equally obsessed Twitter fans. I had created a Twitter account just to follow my new idol.
Concert in St. George! Beautiful outdoor venue. I plotted my getaway. Stop at Vegas, stay at spa resort near the amphitheater, visit Zion. I pleaded with my husband and being the kind-hearted person he is, he said, “You totally deserve it.”
There I was at the amphitheater, bundled up, soaking up everything that this young man put out on stage. He closed his eyes often when he was expressing strong emotions and he danced adorably around the stage during the more upbeat songs. I was surprised that the object of my obsession looked so young.
His quick eyes, when he had them opened, scanned the audience and seemed to take in everything. They expressed fleeting moments of amusement, minor irritation at times, alarm, brief, icy look perhaps at people looking a little too intensely at him. I don’t think he is quite the clumsy, innocent nerd he portrays himself to be. Very serious, thoughtful and disciplined maybe.
What was I doing there? What did I want from him? All I know is that I was not thinking about any of my problems during the concerts. I was enchanted and bewitched by the beautiful sounds coming from this beautiful young man, David Archuleta.
credit: Brian Passey