|Beautiful artwork from the Rolling Stone review of Blackstar|
Even so, the news of David Bowie's death hit me very hard. I've always known that it would, but I still don't think I was very well prepared for the reality of it. He'd just had a birthday two days prior. We celebrated it by watching the Five Years documentary and his newest music video for "Lazarus". I even remember verbally hoping that he'd be around for another 20 years, because his drive and creativity didn't appear to have diminished at all. Then I heard all about it. That he'd secretly been battling cancer for 18 months and knew he'd be leaving all of us very soon.
|From the music video for the single "Blackstar"|
David Bowie meant an awful lot to me personally. Like a lot of people my age, I was first introduced to Bowie and his music when I saw Labyrinth at 9 or 10 years old. Even then, I was really blown away by his whole presence and his fantastic music. He was the first musician that ever made me what you'd call a fan and like most of his fans can say, I'm sure, his music has been a massive part of the soundtrack of my life. Every major experience, growing pain, or transition in life -- there's been a Bowie song that captured what I was going through perfectly.
|Last photo of David Bowie taken two days before his death|
If there's one word I would use to describe myself throughout an astonishing portion of my life, it would without a doubt be "lonely". I've never actually been alone in any real sense of the word, as there have always been people around me. However, having people in your life is one thing. Having meaningful connections to people is quite another. But really, anyone that's ever been in such a position themselves doesn't need to be told that sometimes that can be the loneliest state of affairs -- being surrounded by people and not feeling like a single one of them truly understands you or appreciates you for who you are.
|Commemorative cartoon from The New Yorker|
David Bowie taught me that it was OK to be different and that it really didn't matter if the mainstream "understood" what you were trying to do or not. He taught me that art can be this living, breathing, ever-expansive thing and that if you yourself are an artist, you're a special breed. Most importantly of all, David Bowie gave me the experience of having a hero -- someone whose work and presence influenced who I am so deeply, that I know I wouldn't be the same person had they not existed. David Bowie gave me fertile ground at a young age for what I absolutely consider to be the best parts of me. I will always be grateful for everything that he gave us and all that he was. Rest in peace, Thin White Duke.