It was impossible to understand David Bowie until he died.
Alive, he was always in flux. It’s no accident that one of his signature songs was called “Changes.” He was a restless artist who used music, fashion, cinema, television and art to reinvent himself. And when he used his medium to create David Bowie, he changed those mediums as well.
Because of his wide-reaching influence on varying kinds of art, when Bowie died he was everywhere. Mourners around the world over flooded social media with tributes. Cities dedicated memorial services to honor him. And with his death, he made more sense. It put a period on the end of a musical career winding through personas like Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and The Thin White Duke. Once we no longer had to ask what he was doing we could try to figure out what he did.
Bowie was only a few days into being 69 years old when he passed on this day three years ago. He had just released the album Blackstar. The album had many references to death but was still a celebration of self-discovery and expression.
The resurgence of interest in and redefinition of Bowie created a new wave of Bowie super fans. You can see it with new musicians like Miya Folick and best new artist Grammy winner Alessia Cara, with her unique fashion choices like the oversized suit she wears in her most recent music videos. They are the new wave of artists being passed the baton of Bowie fandom.
They may be the latest Bowie-influenced artists, but they won’t be the last.