March 30, 2012

Vitas the Great Seducer


STRONG SILENT TYPE

Vitas barely seems to have a life, he is on tour all over the world I estimate three out of four weeks a month; spends it is said 5-6 hours a day practicing various styles of song and dance, and breathing; as well as meditation and sports. Plus time for writing and composing. The rumor goes that he composes at night.

A personality comes through of an athlete, his mind as tuned an instrument as his body; focused, and living to perform. It's clear in the videos how smooth and practiced he is, how powerful and consistent his voice is.

Incarnation: Sad. 
Record for his mother, 'MAMA' 2003
For all this strength, he must guard what little privacy he can find. After facing the crowds, one imagines he goes home and pulls down the shades. In fact the rumor is that he stays in the basement and only comes upstairs in the evening. There is a rumor that when his mother passed away, Vitas went to Tibet for a year to recover. Vitas is private and grants few interviews, and then only with his producer-- who often steps in to take the questions for him.

Vitas seems a mystery. He never talks about his personal life, and it's a matter of speculation as to the simplest things, such as whether he was married [until recently he wheeled a baby carriage onstage].

He is a blank slate open to the imagination. Even his lyrics don't pin him down, as they are basically poems. He is the great seducer. Each person sees their own Vitas. Just as here I am giving you mine.

Vitas confers with his producer;
Vitas is always with his producer 
for interviews, who often steps in to speak for him
VITAS IN CONCERT

His producer says Vitas is not mysterious on purpose, he's just not comfortable talking- he's more comfortable communicating with his music; and "looking them in the eyes."

The only real way to understand Vitas is to go to a concert. Vitas answers again and again- almost no matter what the question- that he cares only for his audience, their "hearts and respect." He particularly means his live audience.

One thing especially clear in any video, Vitas is always charmed and delighted and eager to please, with a radiant, appreciative smile for everything and everyone. Fans write that the more the audience yells and screams, the more playful and silly he becomes. Whatever people are feeling, Vitas clearly thrives on it and gives back. He seems genuinely devoted to his fans-- why would he take on such a grueling workload, the relentless touring, otherwise. A fortune is to be had at a fraction of the work.

photo: igor guzei



Stories from fans approach reverence. Onstage, fans load him down with flower bouquets and gifts. People show off their Vitas tattoos. People write testimonials of how his voice has healed them of depression, pain, high blood pressure and other conditions. Fans bring jars of water to concerts, to catch the vibrations of his voice for a healing homeopathy. Fans want to touch him- or as one fan tells us, even to touch the hand of someone who's touched Vitas. It gets close to mystical. His producer named this state of mind "Planet Vitas." I begin to grasp, from watching many videos, that there's more to it, invisible to me, a magnetism in the concert hall.







The young producer who recognized the talent 
and made Vitas an international star. 
This is how Pudovkin looked over a decade ago 
when he discovered Vitas acting in a small improv theater.

Vitas is very loyal. As a man who was hurtled to international stardom and 500,000-seat concert halls, you would think by now he would have changed his original choices of backup band, producer, and girlfriend, who all began with him when he was still unknown. But he took them all with him straight to the top. In fact he kept the same producer who discovered him at 19- even after he changed producers!

As any great seducer, Vitas has ambiguity. I can't guarantee my facts; it was said by one commentator that Vitas and his producer like to spread little rumors for fun. Maybe he doesn't stay in the basement; or maybe the neighbors didn't really come running out (I think they did). Really, though, when we talk about Vitas we superimpose whatever we like onto him- all we can speak of is who is our own Vitas.

His lyrics don't help pin him down, being largely poems themselves. Lyrics waver ambiguously between love for one person and love for all. his mannerisms give an ambiguous sexuality; he unites east and west in himself (more on that in the subsequent post). One fansite even romanticized him as a vampire, the staple of teen romance at the moment.

I understand and hope if- when- I see him, something magical may happen to me. I will happily join the cult of Vitas. Trying to analyze the "spell" of Vitas- as admittedly I am doing- is like trying to "pin down a butterfly." You understand its anatomy but have lost the whole point of a butterfly.



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