credit David Archuleta Instagram
Posted by Abrra on Saturday, May 3, 2014
I watched the movie Jobs recently. Steve Jobs was an extremely bright and fiercely independent man who knew thoroughly the ins and outs of computing. What does this have to do with David Archuleta you ask? David was not even on my radar until I saw an overhead camera panning shot of the Apple Campus. As the courtyard came into view, I saw the stage where David sang Imagine to a crowd of employees and their families. Everyone was having a picnic lunch while David sang and played the piano. After that I got lost in the story again.
Until the very end.
Steve Jobs was seated in a studio as he spoke into the microphone to record a voice over for a commercial. Here are the words he said:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
This is where thoughts of David came rushing back to my mind.
The ones who see things differently…
Now you’re thinking, David Archuleta a rule breaker? I submit that he is, when it comes to his art. In his vlog informing fans he had decided to part ways with his label, Jive, he spoke of building a foundation. Not a prefabricated industrially manufactured edifice, but one of his own vision and making. He is laying it down brick by brick. There is a saying in art, “form follows function.” What is the function of what he wants to achieve through his art? When the structure rises into view, it will take a form that will truly reflect who he is as an artist.
When David posted a picture of a songwriting session, fans were happy to see some progress. We looked up who these unknown (to us) artists were and what their music sounded like. I was not disappointed.
You see, I trust his musical judgement. Writing his first song in Spanish was so logical. To me it was as if he was releasing that language that has been in his head for 2 years. Letting it go to make some room for English words to flow again.
So much has been speculated about what his new sound will be. Will he change locations to write with established songwriters? Will a recording label ask him to sign a contract? When is he moving out of Utah to be around more mainstream music? Does he know what fans want or expect from him?
We know what he wants and expects from fans. He told us.
David’s progress may not fit into anyone else’s timeline of success. But he knows himself well enough to set his own pace to get whatever he does, done to his liking. He won’t be rushed to satisfy others. I firmly believe that David will be recognized for his work in music, once he digs deep into his soul and lays it bare for all the world to see.
Posted by MT on Monday, June 13, 2011
Once upon a time, bands recorded their music in a studio with all members playing at the same time. I remember watching TV specials about it and admiring the patience it must have taken to keep doing it over and over until they got it right. I also remember buying recordings of live performances.
Live performances have an element that cannot be duplicated in a sound booth. The band and the live audience add another dimension to the performance and enhance it. Many fans have remarked on this very thing in regards to David. David’s live performance of his music is on a whole other level. David becomes more playful with the song, incorporating runs and licks whenever he feels like it, or adding a little attitude to it. He also pushes himself and has more power in his vocals. I find that the result is a song that is more emotional and more powerful, less controlled.
In David’s vlog entitled “Alaska,” he mentions that he is getting back into the studio and has to focus on singing a different way, with a different vibe, that he has to get back into that “mode” of singing in a recording studio. In what way does he sing differently? Why does he sing differently?
This got me thinking about the different methods of recording and wondering if David has ever considered trying something a little different. Of course, there is no way to get the feel of a live audience in a studio (we wouldn’t all fit!) but there could be another option, recording with a full band in the studio the way it was done before digital layering of recordings was the norm.
These days, most often, songs are recorded in layers, which are added one piece at a time. The artist may not know what the finished record will sound like when doing vocals for his own song. In the days before computerized layering, groups wrote a song, then they rehearsed it many times before attempting to record it. It gave them a chance to play with it, to do it over and over to see how they could make it better.
I think we’ve all seen how David does this during a tour. After performing it several times, he begins adding things to it that make it better and better. The more he performs a song, the better it gets. One fine example of how this might turn out is David’s performance of “My Hands” from Providence. This song is lovely on the original studio recording, but it is stunning in the live performance. Once you get past the first 10 seconds where David is smiling at the audience and are able to wipe the smile off your face, pay close attention to this performance and really listen. You’ll see what I mean. (Then again, you probably already know what’s coming.
Video by djbell
Let’s be honest. How many of us can name a few live performance vocals that we prefer to the original album version? I know I have one or two.
In this day and age, live recording does pose a problem. Would it be possible to record a song live in concert, put if up for sale, and make a profit from it once it has been performed live? No matter how many signs they post at a concert that say “No Recording Devices Allowed,” we know some ninja Archie will post a recording of that song. So I’m not sure that would work.
But, if a new song was written and it was only performed during band rehearsals, and practiced many times, I think he would be refining it as he goes along, just the way he does on tour. By the time he records it, we would have a really well developed version of the original. The result would be something similar to a live performance, particularly if it were recorded with the whole band.
We know David feeds off the energy of an audience, but doesn’t he get some of that energy from the band as well? We’ve all seen the difference between his performances with a full band and his acoustic performances. To me, there is a marked difference, the one with a full band being a much more high-energy performance. Could recording his music in a studio with all members playing allow him to feed off of their energy and achieve a similar result? Could this be a way to capture some of the magic that David has on stage during live performances?
Now that David has a full-time band that he’s rehearsing with on a regular basis, it is something that could be done. Would it be more costly? Maybe. Would the resulting music be stronger, richer, and more full-bodied? Probably. While recording with the band, he would be able to play with the various elements of a song just the way he does in rehearsal, tweaking it as he goes along until the resulting recording has a sound that feels right to him. It may be a slightly old fashion method of recording, but it’s one that worked for many, many years.
Not many artists could do live performance recordings these days. Most artists’ voices don’t lend themselves to live recording. Too many pitch problems and too much auto-tuning. David is one of the few exceptions. In his live performances his voice is front and center, powerful and on pitch throughout, even while improvising on the end of the song.
David’s gift of improvisation has brought us some amazing fan videos of his live performances. Now that he has assembled a group of musicians that are on a par with his ability to improvise, the resulting recordings, live or as a group in the studio, might well produce some truly incredible music.