David Archuleta came in second place on American Idol back when that still guaranteed a singer a career after the show, which is no longer necessarily a given. In the decade since he finished just behind David Cook, Archuleta has maintained a solid and devoted fanbase that has allowed him to continue to make music (he's now released eight full-lengths) and tour the world.
Archuleta talks about the recording projects he's recently released, what he's working on next, and if he ever gets tired of talking about Idol.
You are preparing to head out on tour to promote your album Postcards in the Sky soon--what has excited you most to tour this record?
I toured a bit on this album last year and I’m excited to give another run to sharing these songs. I feel the messages still need to be shared with more people. It was my first official release as a fully independent artist and there was a lot that I was learning about marketing on my own. I’ve learned a lot from releasing a Christmas album, Winter in the Air, and hiring a new PR person who has been so great.
I want to get back to reminding people I did a pop album with messages to help them look at themselves and believe in them a little more. I was just talking about the Postcards album in my Instagram story yesterday and I got so many messages saying, “I didn’t know about this album,” and they were glad I mentioned it.
It has been a good lesson for me to realize I can’t just announce something once and then shy away from promoting myself because I miss the opportunity to share with so many fans who just happen to miss it in the sea of all the other posts and updates they get. I hope this will introduce the Postcards music to more people and impact them to be introspective in their lives and move forward with more hope and belief in themselves and in a greater force guiding each of us.
You just finished a tour based around your Christmas album though! How do you find the energy to tour this much?
Touring is like the perfect thing I need to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and I’m receiving so much from it. I am an introverted person that doesn’t like attention, and it’s easy to stay inside and not get much done and think that I’m nobody special that will make a difference. Particularly during winter, I feel better under the covers doing nothing and can feel unmotivated, which doesn’t help me feel better about myself. A tour helps put pressure on me to work toward something, and when I get on the stage I realize that people really do want to listen to me and actually enjoy the music I create. It inspires me to think of more thoughts and stories to share in music. I see the faces of people as they smile or reflect during a song, but much more often than that, I feel the reciprocation of emotions they’re experiencing as they hear a message or melody.
I love music and performances because you give people an experience they just might remember and take with them as some motivation to get through a rough week, maybe busy with studies, work, or a family issue. It’s nice to let people have something that refreshes their mind like music and a show. It refreshes me too!
This latest album, Winter in the Air, is your second Christmas collection. What makes that time of year so special to you?
Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the memories it brings back. The magic in the air, the lights, the tree along with other decorations... And probably above all, the carols. My mom had us Christmas caroling when I was four years old with Santa hats on, and as we got older she taught my siblings and I the carols in three-part harmony. We do it today and it’s just as good as getting up and performing on a stage. They smile and you feel their joy. They might even sing along. The songs bring joy and so many speak of the greatest story ever told of baby Jesus’s birth, singing of peace on Earth and good will to men. I think a lot of people feel that peace as those songs are sung—I know I sure do.
You're also already working on a new album as well--any idea when fans might hear a taste of that?
I’ve been writing already and I’m getting back into the studio next week for 2019. My goal is to try more fresh-sounding ideas, as I wasn’t too worried about being current on Postcards in the Sky. My goal is to have an album by fall and content to hear before that. I’m hoping to try some things out, even if it’s just one song on the tour to see fans’ responses. I need to step up my game though to be ready by then. I don’t mean just technically, but emotionally, because I hesitate a lot to share things before the grand reveal of an official album or single release. “What if they don’t like it?” “What if they get bored of it before it even comes out?” I just tend to be a worry wart.
You got your start on American Idol, but that was over a decade ago. Be honest--do you ever get tired of fans talking about it or people asking questions about it (like this)?
When I was more recently off the show it was more challenging to talk about it as it was pretty stressful and just reminded me of the stress every time I talked about it. I’ve worked through a lot of that now though. Now that I can step away from it, see from the outside looking in how much people really enjoyed watching it, it makes me happy to know even 11 years later that it brings back happy memories for them and that after all this time they’re still engaged in what I do. It makes me realize that as much work as I put into it—especially having to face my shy, introverted fright of being in front of 30 million people every week for six months to have them judge and analyze me– that I came out as an overachiever and did things that were difficult when I didn’t have faith in myself initially to get through it. It reminds me that I can do hard things and that stepping out of your comfort zone can make you a stronger person and expand your horizons. And, of course, having an audience to share what I create with and to connect with as a result of that has been a huge blessing.
What else can fans expect in 2019 from David Archuleta?
Well aside from the new album and the spring tour, I feel like I’ve put aside my original Spanish compositions for too long. I feel it’s time to shed some light on that project, so fans can be on the lookout for that.
Photo Credit: Robby Klein