Wednesday, April 25, 2012

David Archuleta - Covers

Cover songs reveal much about artists, from their ability to simply sing or play their instrument to their own tastes in music.

By playing covers it’s a means for creative expression.  An opportunity to play with different songs formats, song structure and chord patterns.  It also exposes artists to different melodies, rhythmic motifs and lyrical ideas.  An example of this is David rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” He made it elegant, taunt and heart grabbing.

For artists that write and perform original music, cover songs are a chance to add some familiarity to their performances.  Recording cover songs can help people find your music.

David gets to know his favorite artists, i.e. Eva Cassidy who inspired “Imagine” by learning their songs.  Every song he learns there may be many other ideas that come up for his own material later on. 

I enjoy hearing David doing a cover in his own way, in his own style, I get hooked every time. Being touched, moved and inspired by what he is saying.  His choice of covers flow from him as if he’s been performing them forever.

A successful cover established the heart of what made the original a hit, and also takes a different direction along the way. It’s a sign of respect and love for the artist or the song.

I once asked David what was his determining factor in choosing to do a cover on a song, was it the melody, the lyrics or just a feeling.  He said it’s usually a feeling about the song and if he felt he could contribute something to the song.

When I heard his reply I smiled inside as David could always contribute something to a song and make it better.

It has been leaked that David’s upcoming album this fall has him singing “Bridge over Troubled Water”.  It was the fifth and final studio album by Simon & Garfunkel released on January 26, 1970. It reached No. 1 on Billboard Music Charts pop albums list and won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.  It has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

Paul Simon wrote this about providing comfort to a person in need.  It started as a modest Gospel hymn but became more dramatic as he put it together.  At first Simon thought the opening lyrics were too simple: “When you’re weary, feeling small.  When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all.”  He later realized that it was this simplicity that helped give the song a universal appeal. 

Is this a small clue that David’s upcoming album may be a diversity of Gospel hymns?  I certainly hope so.  I can’t think of anything that would be more appropriate and inspiring as an album of David covering this genre.

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