I’m sure many people have made better, more informed statements about David Bowie in the last 48 hours. Considering his entire body of work and how much (or little) I have listened to or seen of it, I can only consider myself a casual fan. But I am a creative individual living on this spinning rock we call Earth, and so Bowie did touch me and shape me. His influence was too enormous not to.
He was at the cutting edge of media for decades. He pushed music — both the actual music part, and the performance part, where the singer (and their band) takes on a character. Not satisfied with the characters of “falling in love” or “falling out of love” or anything as common as that, he created and performed through personas, some of them quite fantastic. And in pushing the performance of music, he pushed story. He pushed culture. He pushed our understanding of what it means to be human, and not-human.
And most relevant to me, well, I don’t think I can say it better than his New York Times obituary. “Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut…his message was that there was always empathy beyond difference.”
My work is very different, but I try to get at the same message. I’m lucky to be able to take inspiration from such a great spirit, and to still have the chance to first experience new parts of him as they live on, left behind for those of us left on Earth.
Rest in peace, David Bowie. Enjoy your final flight, and your ascension as a Blackstar.