“Were you a fan?” – Asked the lady at the bookstore, as I purchased a magazine with David Bowie on the cover. “I AM a fan…” – I proudly replied in a bittersweet sigh, making sure to put the sentence in the present tense. That lady had no idea. Anyone who knows me at all knows that when it comes to music, there is absolutely nothing I love more. One of the few certainties I have in life is that David Bowie will always be my all-time favorite, no matter what happens.
On that Monday morning, the shocking news of his passing hit me like a train off the rails, and I suddenly found myself going through the day I didn’t think would come this soon. I could hardly breathe. I’ve been following his career and everything he does for many years now.
David Bowie had a huge impact on me as a child, and through most of my teenage years, I couldn’t be bothered to listen to anything else. More than just part of my daily life, his music and work became part of my identity. Amongst singles, demos, outtakes and rare tracks, from “Liza Jane” to “I can’t give everything away”, I can proudly say I know every song he’s ever released, officially or not.
Until he surprised the whole world by dropping the single “Where are we now?” out of the blue on his birthday in 2013, I didn’t really think he would release anything new ever again. Although I many times dreamed of a new album, I was perfectly happy with the music he had already given us. But waking up to the news that a brand new David Bowie song was out made me feel like a child on Christmas morning. I fondly remember jumping out of bed, listening to the track and, despite the horrible weather outside, heading out to live the rest of what was one of the happiest days of my life. Being from Brazil, I consider myself extremely lucky to be living in New York on the glorious day that could have happened anywhere between 2004 and 2013.
The Next Day album came as whisper of hope for the fans, as we were suddenly reminded that you can expect anything from David Bowie. I was thrilled, to say the least. After ten long years of absence, he was back.
Blackstar didn’t come as unexpectedly as its predecessor. But I could never have imagined it would now stand as his last gift for us… and brilliant one. Though it’s heartbreaking to think of what he must have been through to be able to present us with this album, David Bowie showed us one last time what it means to be brave. I don’t think anyone else could have managed to pull this off with such courage.
It’s hard to measure the impact Blackstar has been having and will continue to have not only on fans, but on the world. Being the work of art that it is, there’s really nothing we can compare it to. It’s truly unique and irreplaceable. Just like David Bowie.
And please remember, nothing can ever separate us from him, not even death. He will live forever in our hearts, through his music and through us. He is part of who we became. “We can be heroes”.