By Cade Miller
Originally published on the old KLC Tumblr Blog: February 24, 2016
As I sit here writing this article, the most nerve-wracking thought occurs to me: I happily volunteered to write this article, naïvely thinking it was “going to be easy,” without realizing that nothing I could ever write or say or do could even come remotely close to doing the life and legacy of David Robert Jones a modicum of justice. Sounds hyperbolic, perhaps a little melodramatic, I know. But think about it. David Bowie’s music has impacted each and every one of us whether we know it or not; he was – and continues to be – one of the most influential musicians of all time, and every modern pop star owes their music and career to him on some level. What can you say about a figure as monolithic as Bowie? The man turned his own death into an awe-inspiring work of art, and by doing so claimed 2016’s album of the year in the beginning of fucking January (Kanye eat your heart out).
So, the only thing I can really discuss with any authority when it comes to David Bowie is how deeply his music impacted me. I remember the first time I heard a Bowie song: my father was driving me to school (I was in the 5th grade at the time) and “Let’s Dance” came on the radio. It was love at first listen; the song was so catchy and fun, and my 10-year-old self couldn’t get it out of his head. But it wasn’t until I was 14 and a freshman in high school that I decided to dive into his extensive and varied discography. Of course, I started with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and found it to be one of the most unique records I’d ever heard. However, it wasn’t until I listened to “Heroes” that everything changed for me. The way I saw myself, the way I saw others, the way I saw the world we were all living in—Bowie had taken my young and underdeveloped perspective and turned it on its head. He taught me that I did have the freedom to express myself, social norms be damned, and the only thing stopping me was the fear of judgment. He taught me to take risks with my art, and to always be aware of boundaries that needed pushing. Most importantly, he taught me that there is no such thing as normal: only people who are afraid of expressing their true idiosyncratic selves. Without David Bowie’s music, I would not be the person I am today.
You were king, David, and you are my hero.
This post is part of The KLC blog Archive. The previous & now defunct KLC blog, formally known as The Umbrella, can be found here.