This is an account of how my journey as David’s fan begin and the birth of AAM.
It’s gonna be a mini novel, so…..if you can, bear with me lah. I like to tell the whole story not just bits here and there 😛
Edit: Heck, i doubt most of u wanna even read the whole thing, so u can just skip the 1st two paragraphs if u want to -.-
Hmm okay..where do I start..Okay. Beginning would be a good place, no? lol.
I guess it all started way back in January 2008.
I was a faithful watcher of American Idol since season 5..So i’ve faithfully watched and followed every season since then. For each season, just like everyone else, I had my favourite(s). You know, the usual process of watching the auditions, trying to pick out who’s good and laughing at who’s bad (cough) and by the time it reached the Top 12, you would have picked out your favourite(s) already. Well, Season 7 was no different. Or so i thought at first.
During the San Diego auditions, they highlighted this young, boyish, shy 16 year old guy. They got him to tell his story of having vocal paralysis when he was young and how he thought he’ll never be able to sing again but has recovered since then. He entered into the audition room, smiling big and politely greeted the judges. They asked him what he was gonna sing, and he said John Mayer’s “Waiting on the world to Change”. And then he started singing. Interesting. He captured my attention, the judges were impressed, gave him the yellow pass to Hollywood and out he went with a cheerful “YESS!”. This guy did stood out to me among the many auditions i’ve seen and i remembered him but i wasn’t deeply invested yet. Then came Hollywood week..and he showed us more of who he is as a person by telling us before performing Heaven, “I want to make them understand the song”. Then he went up on stage, sang Heaven and blew them away. I was impressed definitely, yet still wasn’t 100% invested. Then came the Top 24 Week. He sang Shop Around and once again, impressed me. But it was the following week, during the Top 20 that sealed it all. He was the last guy to perform and in the clip, he said he was gonna sing Imagine. HMmm. interesting i thought. This isn’t a song not everyone manages to sing successfully on AI. Then the music started and he started singing. my eyes glued to the tv screen. I honestly think my breathing slowed down ALOT during that 2 minutes. My ears listened intently to every note and soaked in every second of it. The moment he finished that last note, i took a breather and just simply said, “wow.”
The show wrapped up. I sunk into my chair, gushing to Jac about what we’ve just heard. I felt like i have literally melted into a puddle of goo then. That my dear friends, was the moment Anne the Fangirl/Spazzer was born. I went into overdrive and spazzed online with some friends lol. That night, after watching that performance, there was no turning back. Out of curiosity, i ventured into unfamiliar territory on the wonderful thing they call the Internet. I explored the AI website, found the forums..and just started reading what people discussed about the performances there. As the weeks passed by, thanks to the wonders of youtube, i found many videos of him. Not just performances videos but videos that showed a glimpse of who he was as a person. As i came across videos upon videos, stories upon stories from people who know or have met him, i found myself having to go online to find news about this guy i’ve fallen in love with. Then, i realised, it wasn’t just his music i have come to know and love. It was the beautiful human being that he is, inside and out.
Eventually, one thing or shud i say, one website lol lead to another and I found myself at various fansites. Yes, me, anne, at a fansite. Little did i know this was just the first of the MANY things i never thought i’ll do in my lifetime. Eventually, i felt a place of belonging at a fansite called, David Archuleta Fanblast. They were quick and accurate with news and titbits and during my time there, i came across a number of other Malaysians. I felt so at home there, simply because I was in the midst of people who understood and loved this guy, not just for his music, but for the person he is. The media stereotyped his fans as young, teenage girls and nothing more. Well, all they needed to do is just a little more research to realise that his fans range from young and old, male and female. I just needed to spend some time online for a few days to realise that. Music has no age limit, music has no gender preference, music has no geographical limitations. I found myself among dudes, dudettes, mothers, fathers, grandparents from many countries who were in love with this guy as much as i was.
Anyway, few months down the road, AI was over..It was in July i think, that Fanblast was searching for global correspondents, meaning people who are willing to set up a fansite representing their respective countries. And then, without thinking twice, i just told myself, I want to start one. I was interested, very interested. But I didn’t know how. Didn’t know where to start. I’ve never started a website before, never mind a FANSITE okay. not to mention i’m not the most experienced person in the IT department -.- But somehow, I was determined. It was a naggy feeling that cling unto me and wouldn’t let go and i knew i had to start one somehow. By then, I was already a pretty active member at Idol Forums, an AI forum where there is a DA forum within. I started a Malaysian & Singaporeans Thread there and there was where I met 2 members of my e-family today, Kylie and John. I barely knew them beyond their screen names at first. I was asking for help/advice from my fellow malaysian fans at that thread when i told them that I wanted to start a malaysian site.
Kylie, being the helpful person she is, pm(personal message)-ed me and then we started communicating with each other thru there. At that point in time, I was well kinda desperate lah u can say, because i really needed manpower to help maintain the site. That time, there was only Lily and me, and no way can the 2 of us handle a whole site by ourselves. I openly asked in the forum, if there were anyone who can help with maintaining the site, so at that point, anyone could have just said yes and i would have agreed. But you know what? God is good. and faithful. because of all people i could have met or have worked with, it was Kylie and John.
I started to get to work. Decided to go with a wordpress blog, because i figured it would look more professional hahaha as a site rather than using blogger. The final name I chose for the site was Archuleta Avenue Malaysia, as suggested by another fan in the forum. Instead of going with David Archuleta followed by the country name, which is what most other country sites did, I wanted something different so i went with AAM. Same for the URL, i chose archuletavenue, with one ‘a’ in the middle, and that was a good decision because another US site called Archuleta Avenue was set up on the same day coincidentally LOL.
So, Lily and I started work on the site, built it from scratch..It wasn’t that much different from a personal blog setup-wise. It was the content we needed to keep up with. With David Archuleta news, believe me, you need fast fingers and internet speed.
The site was then complete and went online on 8th September 2008. It was very simple then, we were still adding things and editing this and that. Kylie and John came on board almost immediately. A month later, this girl named Justine emailed us and expressed her interest in joining the site as a contributor/author. I have never met this girl before at any fan sites or forums, but there was something different in her email. It was like, i can feel the sincerity in her words and without thinking twice, I just gave her the blog’s username and password and welcomed her on board. Maybe i’m just a trusting person, maybe i was just happy there was an extra person to help maintain the site, but whatever the reason was, again, I thank God for His perfect plan and time. Until this day, i have never regretted giving Justine that username and password. In fact, i think i would have regretted have i not given it.
As the weeks passed by, the site grew as more people found out the site, whether by accident or through the forum or Fanblast, who had linked us. There were a small group of us who consistently chatted with each other through the site and we formed friendships. In October, we received an unexpected email from Dawn, a promotions executive from Sony BMG Malaysia. Now, that email was shocking. Anything personal to do with Sony never ever crossed our mind. We were just a small free, fanblog with nothing official. But an email we did receive. And what happened was, Sony wanted to have a meeting with 2 or 3 representatives from AAM to discuss something about the album promo that was to be released in November. So on the 22nd October 2008 (yes i still remember the date lol), Kylie, Cynthia(a regular member at AAM) and I met up and went to the Sony office at Great Eastern Mall.
We went upstairs to the Sony office, and met Dawn who then led us into the meeting room. They had clips of D’s songs from his album which we have not yet heard and they offered to play it. Lolll me being the anti-spoiler didnt want to but i couldnt say anything mah, not polite right. So they played it and after a while, the rest of the staff came in. We were introduced to Yuen See, the International Dept Manager, Seong and Adrian, the Managing Director. So…there I was..in a meeting room at Sony Music, having a meeting with managers and the MD. Hm. ok..another thing in my life i never would have thought I would do. But it felt really comfortable talking with them, especially Adrian because eventho he was the MD, he looks very young and there was no “BIG BOSS” aura around him haha. So, it felt really at ease talking to them. We discussed about some plans they had for the album promo release in November.
Long story short, in the end, the plan is the album was to be released on Nov 11, same as in the US. But members of AAM can pre-order the album and get it before the 11th. We also came up with a contest where AAM-ers can send in their messages to David and the top 10 winning messages, chosen by David himself will be included in a small card in the album in Malaysia. That was our first major project. We got busy, and then…one day, out of the blue..we received an email from Sony..with a video. A video of David himself, saying Hi to the fans at AAM. That was a pivotal moment in AAM. In fact, one of the most memorable moments in the history of AAM. David knew about us. And that is something, because there are countless fansites out there lol. So we started going nuts lol and were overjoyed. Sony was brilliant to have gotten D to do that shoutout. I was very, very happy. And thankful.
As we had the album project, more people came to know about AAM and the site continued to grow. In December, we had another major project for David’s birthday(His fans showers him with gifts seriously). We collected gifts from fans and sent them to David’s representative in the States. It sounded easy, but it definitely was tedious lol. Good thing Lily was in Malaysia that time to help out.We had our very first meet up among all the authors and with Eunice and Joyce at Mid Valley before CNY and then another gathering with the regular, senior AAM-ers at 1U..
As the months passed, AAM continue to grow. The next big project was of course, David’s trip to Malaysia. That itself is a whole novel by itself lol but needless to say, it was a succesful project. AAM’s growth doubled during the preparation for David’s trip to Malaysia as more people came to know about the trip and eventually, the site.
So, today..I am thankful for where AAM is now. It has come a loooong way. Eventhough it is only 7.5 months old, it has been a long and eventful journey. Through out this past 7 months, I have never mentioned nor talk about AAM to most of my friends. In fact, only a handful knows of AAM. It was like a secret double life I led hahaha. But why did i choose to keep it a..i don’t know? Secret? I guess i don’t really see it that way. It was more like something I do not bother telling people unless they asked me directly..Was I ashamed? No.
Perhaps the main reason is just that i don’t feel like explaining everything because when i think about it, is IS a long story ok lol. So, thats why i got the idea of explaining how it all started in this post so if anyone asks, just direct them here. History 101. 😀 And besides, this is a part of my life i know not everyone will understand. Some will say I’m nuts. or obssessed. or crazy. I have been called that many times and hey, i don’t disagree hahaha. I can perfectly understand why anyway. After all this is a whole new side of me I never knew existed. Those who have known me for years will know this is not the li anne they use to know, like what Lily had told me many times before. And yes, this li anne is not the type of person who starts fansites, who is absolutely crazy over an artist, who meets up with people online and goes to airports to greet a singer.
But what is different, is that this is not just any singer, not just any artist. He is much, much, much more than that to me. and this is not a phase.It was never a phase to begin with. Words can only explain so much. But I know I am not alone. In my past 1 year plus as a fan, I have read many, believe me, MANY confessions from other fans who share my sentiments. Who have never loved a person they never or hardly met as much as this. Who have never been this dedicated nor passionate about a singer. But we know why. It’s simply because this is a beautiful person who has touched our lives by using the gift God has given him, who makes us laugh and cheers up our day simply by being himself. Who is a living proof that despite the ugliness and hypocrisy of the entertainment industry, there are real people who just wants to sing simply because he loves to and wants to touch the lives of others by doing so. Who sings not for the fame and money, but for his love for music. David’s fans are well known for their dedication, passion and some say, fanaticism? As a fan, i can understand why. It is the connection he has with his fans. He is the same, whether he performs infront of 10 or hundreds or thousands. Whether in interviews or video blogs. How he remains the same humble person who supports and constantly encourages his fans to give to charities and how despite being only 18, he can be an example of character to people twice or triple his age. How he is not afraid to profess his love for his mother infront of thousands, how he does not pretend to be someone he’s not despite what people say. How he taught me to love and appreciate music more.
So, please understand why i get very, very annoyed when people think or say I’m a fan only because of how he looks like or whatever ridiculous reasons like that. Yes, he is good looking, yes he is a good singer, but beyond all that, I’m a fan of the person that he is. There is nothing shallow about that.
I guess the greatest thing that i’ve gained through being a fan of David and setting up AAM is the friendships i have formed over the past year. Besides the succesfull projects, or newspaper or magazine articles of AAM that makes me beam with pride like a proud mom because AAM is like my baby, it is ultimately the people i have come to know and the strength, courage and selflessness i have seen by those amazing individuals that makes this journey so worthwhile and memorable.
Especially my co-authors at AAM, they are indeed, like my e-family. I knew Lily since young, but throughout this past year, our friendship has gotten deeper and stronger. As for Kylie, she is like my e-mom. my very cool, amazing e-mom. She has two beautiful children and the sweetest, most understanding husband. She is an amazing person, seriously. So gentle, yet so strong. And Justine, boy..God really do works in mysterious ways. Imagine if Justine didnt send that email. Imagine if i have doubted and not welcomed her on board..but today, she is a good friend of mine. Who is a blessing and encouragement, who forwards me bible verses from her sunday school teacher everyday. And then there’s Joyce..whom I also met through AAM. Our friendships goes beyond David, we share and encourage one another in the many areas of our lives..and honestly, i shudder to think what would it have been like if i have never met these people. Not to mention, the many other lovely, amazing AAM-ers i have come to know. and the friendships they have formed among them too. God is good indeed.
So yeah, there is my “summary” of my history as D’s fan, of AAM and well what i have encountered the past year. It’s been a wonderful experience. There is more to come for sure. And indeed, God’s favor has been upon us..Everything worked out in His perfect plan and time. David is no longer just a figure or person i have seen through youtube and TV. He is not a fantasy, not an imagination. He is real. I have talked with him, hugged him, looked him in the eye. and he is as i expected, the same nice, humble, amazing person he is whether from afar or 2 feet infront of you. I guess that’s why he has fans who is willing to shower gifts on him, fans who is willing to travel to the other side of the world just to hear him sing, fans who defends him like a protective motherhen, fans who love him unconditionally. We call ourselves fans, but it goes much deeper than that, and we know and understand that not everyone might ‘get’ that. but anyhow, for now..I look forward to what’s in store. (:
oh wait.i forgot to include the link -.-
p/s. I know that some or many of you might have been upset or offended with me for only telling about this after so long. Especially those that are closer to me. Please, please know that..it was nothing personal. It was not because I didn’t trust you or anything like that. I just wasn’t ready to let the world know yet. Perhaps many of you might wonder what the big deal was..and truth be told, now I kinda regret for not having told some people earlier. I wish i could have done so..but it was a bad decision on my part. I do not wish to affect any friendships because of this..and once again, i’m very, very sorry for any hurt or bad feelings i might have caused anyone for keeping this to myself all this while. I hope that if i have offended or hurt anyone of you by doing so, please forgive me. I do wish i have told you sooner. i’m sorry..