There is something quite magical about Gavin DeGraw. I have been pondering this subject over and over again and finally I have something to share. What is it that makes Gavin so amazing? Let me tell you what I think.
The bits of it
- 1) The voice
- 2) Sincerity, openness, genuinity
- 3) The way of encountering the crowd/fans
- 4) Doing what he loves, loving what he does, having fun
- 5) Being at the same level
- 6) Feelings, sharing, giving, not hiding, being himself
- 7) Sense of humour
- 8) Intelligence, deep thoughts, ingenious lyrics
- 9) Putting up a show
- 10) Looks
Okay, next I try to open up each of these sections. The interpretations presentated are mine only, I have no clue about what Gavin would say about these or how would he feel about them. But anyways, that’s all I got to give. So, here goes!
1) The voice
Sensitivity. Pureness. Roughness. Attitude. Easiness in singing. Flowing. Flying. Playing with the voice.
His voice is just something that really gets me. There’s another post in where I tried to explain what I was thinking of his voice. Just CLICK.
The first thing I fell for Gavin was his amazingly gorgeous (no, not smile, even though that is amazingly gorgeous, too, and according to an article able to melt a popsicle) voice.
I wrote to another blog of mine: “When you know how to use your voice, you can magnetically charm others, using your own feelings, the depths of your soul, your whole being – and others cannot be other than charmed.”
And this is how I feel about Gavin’s voice. He is not simply just singing, he is bringing it all, giving all he has, sharing everything about his feelings about that song. He said it himself:
“You sing how you feel and you sing how the song makes you feel.”
And singing is, more or less, sharing the feelings. Living the story. Not merely opening your mouth and singing, for being an amazing singer doesn’t make you the one who can touch the audience’s heart.
I watched last night a Finnish tango singing competition and I just thought the same with the competitors. They were able to sing right and beautifully and they were no doubt talented, but not them all could do that. Touch the audience. Bring it up, you know. Lit the fuse. Share.
Make the audience feel that the story is about them, that the singer is telling a very private story just for one listener only.
And I can say, Gavin does the trick pretty easily.
2) Sincerity, openness, genuinity
This goes along what I just wrote. At least I get the feeling Gavin is being so damn sincere in his being that, you know, as a listener I cannot do anything else than be as sincere in return.
Being open and letting others see that you care about what you are doing, that you can get actually touched by your own songs, is something so fragile… I just, sometimes I just stop breathing when his voice takes off.
And genuine, yes, I think that he is. He enjoys himself on stage, that’s a given. And I guess he wouldn’t enjoy that much if he had to try being something else than he is. I get the feeling that this guy doesn’t try to please anybody. I mean, he does please many of us, ha, but you know, being himself is fairly enough. It wouldn’t be sincere anymore if he was trying to be something he’s not only because someone else would like it.
And just listen to how Gavin talks in this one. I mean, wow. I’m honored to be able to hear things this openly, in this vulnerable way. He said it once, that being a performer means that you need to be brave enough to put yourself into a situation that others may criticize your doings. And in this one, being so heart breakingly open, Gavin has proved that he truly is a very brave man, indeed.
3) The way of encountering the crowd/fans
This is something special. I wrote above that it’s hard to be able to make the one listener feel that the singer is singing just for her/him, just about her/his feelings. But yes, Gavin seems to do that. The way he reaches out to the crowd – you know, not just staying on stage and being all star-like: ‘here I am, now, adore me!’ (well, oh, he is able doing that, too, and just simply because it’s not that all the time, or I guess more like a rarity, it’s the reason the listeners are willing to do just that, adore him.)
The point I’m trying to make is that it feels like he manages to change the hundreds of listeners into one. The one that matters. The one who is listening. Like it was just me. Or, that even if they are others, it doesn’t matter, because he is singing through my heart, through my emotions, through my mind. Personally connecting to every one, and still, in real, with nobody at all.
And dealing with his fans. I mean, oh, sweet lord. The way Gavin acts towards us is something so special, he seems to genuinely enjoy chatting with us, taking pictures with us. He has this skill of making it feel like there’s no rush at all, that he has all the time in the world to give. He kinda lets us know that he is having fun with us, because of us. He seems to be very down to earth kind of a guy. Very special and very similar to others at the same time. Like he was just a guy from the street, or better said, a long lost friend, happy to catch up again with us.
As Gavin once tweeted:
“The artist is lost without his audience.”
I guess the thing that this part is about is the mutual respect. He has this respect for his fans, and because of this, his fans have respect for him.
4) Doing what he loves, loving what he does
Yes, it shows. He is having tremendous fun when on stage. It shows and the thing he loves it so bad, and the thing he is willing to let us see it, makes us, makes me have fun, too. It’s infectious!
This man loves attention, I presume. And I guess every one who’s out there singing every single night to huge crowds, being on the road the whole freaking year – must love attention. Must love what they are doing. For otherwise, they won’t stand it. You can’t take it if you don’t love it.
And he says:
“The most important thing is that you really enjoy what you’re doing. And if you do it all the time, I promise you, you’re gonna get good.”
And he says:
“If I do what I love, I never have to practice, because I’m doing it all the time anyway.”
Being true to yourself, that’s pretty hard sometimes. I mean, there’s this thing called peer pressure. and people want to belong. In this situation, knowing in your heart that you should be doing something very different, it’s not that easy to break away.
But he says:
“Go where you are celebrated. And if you’re not celebrated where you are, you go where you are celebrated.”
Very simple. Very independent. Being very true to yourself. Do what you love. And have fun! That’s the key of success. Eventually you’ll get there.
And Gavin? Well, he’s living his dream, so I guess he knows what he is talking about.
And having fun in the next one! Are you ready to get it on?
5) Being at the same level
These somehow keep twining together, these parts of my list. I feel I’m constantly talking about the same thing. Well, anyways, being at the same level, that’s the thing that creates that respect I wrote about earlier. I wrote another blog post about this thing, so, just CLICK.
I have this respect for people who have respect for people.
Ha. But I mean, I’m totally delighted to see how Gavin treats kids in this next one. He is taking them seriously, even if the questions may be a bit silly sometimes. Respecting the human being, you know, the thing that we all are the same inside of us. No matter what we say, how do we act, we still are human beings and we all have the same… longing for belonging. We have this need to be treated as we are, as human beings, as respected persons. This need of being at the same level with others.
And Gavin, well, you know it already. He does it well.
I guess I kinda touched on this subject already in the sincerity part. Not hiding is something extremely brave. I guess we all need our own private place to hide from time to time, at least I do. The safe place where nothing or nobody can hurt us. And you know, if you don’t tell anything about yourself, you are in safe, kind of. When nobody knows what is the thing that could hurt you, nobody will do it. (I used to be like this before G.)
So, being in front of people and not hiding. Being the true self. Letting the feelings show. Sharing your hurt, your pain, your enjoyment, your hopes, your dreams, your everything – that makes you connect. That makes the songs, the performer to connect.
“There’s this message going out, it’s being transmitted and they’re choosing to recieve it.”
Choosing to recieve it – that’s one thing that keeps mesmerizing me. His choise of the words. But it is the truth, nonetheless. What can the performer do about it if the audience has just decided that they don’t like you? If they choose not to recieve the message? What to do? Should you push it, or should you leave it? I don’t know, I don’t have to know.
But in this, again, Gavin’s sincerity is…
Just look at this video. I love it how he keeps his eyes shut all the time. It is said that the soul shines from the eyes, but I tell you, in this one I can hear the soul through Gavin’s voice.
7) Sense of humour
Oh dear mother of all creatures. Ha. I don’t know when would I be able to hear the word ‘area’ without the giggles. That’s just, uh. Hilarious.
The sense of humour is a feature that comes with confidency, I think. If you’re insecure about yourself, you may not want to put out your head and just go with the flow, do you?
And Gavin’s jokes aren’t the style of ‘oh, let me throw a cake on your face’. I, myself, don’t find this that amusing, unless I’m so terribly tired I cannot think anymore. Because for me, sense of humour is about words, it’s about connections of unexpected things, it’s about the situations and seeing something funny in every situation. It’s more a matter of intelligency for me, I guess.
In the next one you’ll see what I meant with that ‘area’-thing. Oh, and the most cheesiest song of his is also pretty amusing for me. Caught it from the thin air, and made it rhyme and being all that… cheesy. Yes. Works for me.
8) Ingenious lyrics, deep thoughts
Have I mentioned that I love words already? Well, I do. I love the ones who can use theirs. I love playing with the words, the meanings, the associations, the things left unsaid.
There’s this musician who does this, a guy called Gavin DeGraw, ever heard of him? I have tried to stumble through some of his songs, making my own interpretations of them, just click if you want more (Where you are, You know where I’m at, Belief).
I find it highly satisfying that in Gavin’s songs there seems always be several layers of the text. Someone once told me that everyone has their own interpretations of them, and that’s cool, that’s how it is supposed to be! That is the reason they keep touching us, when we find something we can feel as our own.
They seem to grow and open up the more I listen to them. They seem to evolve every time I listen to them. One time there’s one sentence that grabs me, on another there’s another one, and there’s always something going on.
The lyrics of Chariot are, umm. A bit vague, but that’s the reason I like it so much. It’s like a classy poem of some sort. Not yet pounced on that one, but soon will (on my blog).
And Belief is one of my favorites at this time. I just have this feeling it’s stretching out my mind, somehow. You know. I feel like I should be able to widen my mind or my thoughts just a bit, a tiny bit further and the whole song would transform into something bigger still. I don’t know. I don’t get it, not of it all, but that’s the thing that keeps me intrigued. Being too easy is never exciting, right?
And deep thoughts? Well, I haven’t seen an interview yet that wouldn’t have made me think: ‘oh, wow. That’s interesting!’ or ‘Now that you said it, it’s pretty obvious’, or ‘Wait, what? Did you just say…’ and then after all these versions: ‘Yeah, I guess I agree.’
He makes me think. That’s one thing I’m grateful for him.
There was just this tiny clip of Gavin teaching some kids to play piano, and in that tiny clip he says: “Music can’t heal anybody, but music can be medicine.” And just that thought got me all over the place, going all philosophical (see? Just CLICK).
And I just love it when it happens. Keep going, G.
9) Putting up a show
After my first concert of Gavin DeGraw where I was with my brother, my bro told me: “That’s one of a performer. He really can put up a decent show.” And coming from a guy who doesn’t actually care about Gavin’s music (I forced him to come with me), that’s really something, right?
And I agree. I have heard from several sources that Gavin is one of the rare singers who do actually sound better live than on the album. And I agree with that, too. The albums are amazing, too, but his live thing is – phenomenal!
I guess it’s about the things I just covered. The intelligency, confidency, sense of humour, willingness to show what he is all about, being sincere, true and doing what he loves, sharing feelings, stories, making it all personal, giving all he has, playing with his tremendous voice – and, sure, his new sexy moves help, too. Or what would you say about this next one?
Okay, just admit it. He’s damn gorgeous. Those eyes, that freaking stunning smile. Oh, and does anyone else feel for his shoulders? In that ‘area’-video I just watch them with pleasure. Ha. Or, I’ll watch pretty much any part of his with pleasure, I guess. Uh.
Anyways. Take a look. Isn’t he sweet?
It’s not just one thing that makes him special. One thing I haven’t yet dealt with is the things he has done to me. Those are very special things, too.
He has made me more like me. He has made me become brave, make decisions, do stuff. He has made me realize that I don’t have to be anything other than me. He makes me want to spread my arms and fly. He has shown me that being yourself isn’t scary, it’s so much easier to deal with life when you do what you love. He has proven me that life is something interesting, something worth of living. He has brought me back to music. He has made me sing again. He has made me travel to London and through that change my whole damn life.
And the list continues. But the point is clear. I’m overly degrawed and totally enjoying it.
I hope I have managed to enlighten the reasons that has happened.
How about you? Did I miss something crucial from your list?