“Angels” Live Version

Originally posted on 4/10/08

After Imagine I was using words like “legend” and phrases like “history in the making” (Justin Guarini also used this phrase for David on his blog). After Another Day In Paradise, I made the comparison to Elton John. What is particularly gratifying to me is not that my own early predictions are now being echoed in the press and by legions of fans, but that David himself is actually beginning to meet these ridiculously high expectations. And–-as if it needs to be said again–he’s still only seventeen. Make no mistake: he could still diminish. Oh, not in this competition, he’ll almost certainly win it, but there’s also every possibility that he could make poor career choices, fail to capture the public imagination on his musical pursuits, or simply peak too soon.

Personally, I think this is unlikely. And it’s because of the gesture.

The realization of David’s potential is as much about his musical prowess as it is about the expression of his soul. Indeed, it is the fact that these aspects of his humanity are so often one in the same that enable him to touch people’s hearts in such a pure and direct way. And if his artistic progress was limited to just that, it would still be rare and magnificent. But there’s more here. It might seem like a small thing, and certainly not unprecedented in the realm of the live performer, but David’s decision to communicate his heart in yet another way–to telegraph to his fans an acknowledgment of support and appreciation–-that’s the sign of a deeply thoughtful individual; one for whom it would be, I would suggest, extremely surprising to see expected or conventional choices of any kind. He certainly hasn’t made them so far.

Throughout all the controversy and speculation about who influences him, what he really decides on his own, and even whether or not he is even operating entirely under his own initiative, I’ve gradually come to believe that David has a lot more to do with what we see and experience from him than anyone is yet giving him credit for. I am beginning to believe that beneath that blushing, humble, kind, generous demeanor is a young man of gentle but steady determination; one who is as vulnerable and compassionate as he is resolute. Can we not can hear this in his song? Indeed, can we not know David most intimately, most fully, in his song? Listen. The entirety of his being is right there.