Yesterday evening, my father and I sat down to listen to your last album, Blackstar. We discussed the music, fostered the hope you might one day perform for us again. I never saw you live, which is a sad thing, but alas, I was only ten when you last toured. My father and I decided that we would listen together like that, just me and him and vinyl, to all your future albums. The irony is not lost on me.
Throughout my youth, you were a recurrent presence, hovering on the edge of my perception but not quite within my view. It was as if you influenced the music I listened to, but I never listened to you. However, in my last year of High School I had my first taste of composing music when I decided I wanted to create an album, composed of songs within in different music styles. This was the first moment I listened to you, I mean, consciously, with full, complete attention. To some, this might seem like a late instance to listen to you, but this was the moment I was discovering large amounts of music on my own, and you were on that list. Surprisingly, it was your soul-influenced album ‘Fame’ that made you a symbol for my adolescent musical awakening – while for most, it is the enigmatic ‘Heroes’, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ or ‘Space Oddity’ that makes them think of you. You experimented beyond the realm of pop, fusing genres, making something truly Yours. Any artist can only aspire to do the same.
Then, I involved myself even more in your music, listening to all time favourites and lesser knowns, getting to know you through and through. It was as if I was there all the time, without your knowledge, throughout your life. I looked back in history towards your earliest moments, the first steps to fame, the world-shattering concert in front of the Wall, the final tour and the next day. I enveloped myself in those moments, and they became my own, as they have for millions around the world. Your influence on my music and vast expanses in my life’s story – the final days of school, the Trip to Berlin, the journey to find myself, is unparalleled.
I was unable to sleep for the past two nights, and this morning, I finally fell into an uneasy slumber, when I was woken by my sister. She told me simply: ‘David is dead’. And the first thing I felt was not shock, nor sadness. It was an overwhelming sense of pride.
You too, David, can be proud. You can be very, very proud. You might have left, but you left with a bang – and you gave us, you gave me, a lifetime of music.