“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.”
— G.K. Chesterton
“Oculesics” is the study of the role of the eyes in nonverbal communication. Eye contact and facial expressions provide important social and emotional information; people, perhaps without consciously doing so, probe each other’s eyes and faces for positive or negative mood signs. In some contexts, the meeting of eyes arouses strong emotions.
They certainly do where David Archuleta is concerned. Have you noticed how often fans comment about David’s eyes? Not just about how “green” or “bright” they are, but how he looks every person directly in the eye and how that makes them feel.
As Scott Speer, the director of the ALTNOY music video, explained to Snarky Archie Janey in an interview, “There is a lot going on behind [David’s] eyes.”
It seems that no matter what is going on around David, no matter how many others are waiting for him, David makes that most intimate connection, through his eyes.
Lately, I’ve come to realize how difficult that can be — to look directly into someone’s eyes. Instead, I might look at the bridge of the nose, or the mouth, or the spot right in the middle of the forehead. But not the eyes, which can be too direct, too piercing, too scary.
In fact, I challenged myself to an experiment at my place of work recently. I deal with the public every day and I decided to make more of an effort to look each person in the eye as I spoke with them. I noticed some, in their hurry, would not engage, would glance away and not make contact. What surprised me was that whenever I did make eye contact, a bit more was shared, a bit more of a crack opened into their personality and a little more connection was made.
I first experienced the power of David’s eye contact, not when I met him in person, but when I saw him perform at the Albany Jingle Jam in December. While being “moshed” (a new thing for me), I had the experience of David seemingly singing directly to me. His eyes locked with mine for a few seconds. My heart literally skipped, and I felt overwhelmed that this kind of connection could happen in such an environment. David makes it happen.
When David explains to interviewers the meaning behind the song Touch My Hand, he describes the experience of being up on stage and finding one person in the crowd to sing to — “only me, only you and the band.”
Truly seeing the members of his audience and singing directly to them is one of the ways in which David makes each performance personal and intimate. Many other performers don’t dare look into your eyes. They play it safe, look above you and sing to the crowd as a whole.
Not Mr. Archuleta, in the blink of an eye he goes right straight to the heart. That’s why you can feel the honesty and heart connection in every song he sings, in every meeting and every fan encounter. We have no need to think about it with our intellect, the connection is made as soon as his eyes meet ours and it is the heart that feels it.
His eyes don’t lie.