Conquering Pop Hero David Archuleta

•April 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

Rumor has it there’s a fellow out of Murray by the name of David Archuleta performing in Salt Lake City this weekend. Apparently, he’s gained quite a following.

Oh, so you’ve heard of him?

The 18-year-old “American Idol” alumnus with the Mouseketeer charm and the set of crooner pipes that can have teen girls fainting in five notes or less will be singing for the home crowd at the E Center in West Valley City on Friday, with Amie Miriello and Benton Paul as openers. The show will be his final appearance on his first solo tour, which began late February in Virginia Beach, Va.

“There’s nothing like singing to a home crowd!” Archuleta wrote in an e-mail interview. “The energy is so different, and the feeling is so welcoming from them. The only thing is that I feel like the expectations are set a little higher at home for me, but I still can’t wait to perform for my friends, family and neighbors.”

Unless you’ve been hibernating in a cave for the last two years, you have no doubt heard about Archuleta’s run on the past season of “American Idol.”

After auditioning for the show at the age of 16 in the summer of 2007, singing John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change,” Archuleta marched straight to the top, where Season 7 winner David Cook narrowly bested him in the season finale.

Despite the disappointment from the much-anticipated battle of the Davids, the popster is still chugging along full bore. He hopped aboard Jive Records in summer 2008, and in November of the same year released his first album, called “David Archuleta,” which featured three songs that debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, including his hit single, “Crush.” Archuleta will be drawing from the breakout CD at the E Center show.

“I hope the crowd will just be able to tell that I’m having such a great time, and how grateful I am for the support Utah has been giving,” Archuleta said.

One of the challenges of late has been identifying exactly who he is as an artist, said Archuleta, who still doesn’t feel “settled” as a musician. Presenting himself on stage while still experimenting with his music and persona can be difficult.

“I don’t know if I’ve really settled into the publicity of it all,” he said. “I’m getting more used to it, though. The music business can be pretty interesting, but you learn a lot from all the people you’re around.”

If the jovial “haha’s” speckled throughout his e-interview are any sort of measure, it would appear that Archuleta isn’t taking himself too seriously in the limelight, maintaining instead the youthful humility that endeared him to Simon, Randy, Paula and 30 million “Idol” viewers in the first place.

“I didn’t think it would ever head in the direction it has so quickly,” he said. “But I’m really happy with how things have worked out.”

David Archuleta: “It feels so good to be home, you guys!”

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

That wasn’t a horror movie on Friday night at the E Center– those bloodcurdling screams you might have heard from miles away were fans at the David Archuleta concert.

And it wasn’t just the teenage girls screaming their lungs out. In many cases, it was their mothers, too. “She wasn’t enormously embarrassing, just sort of,” said one teenage girl who was there with her mother.

And they had good reason for their enthusiasm. Archuleta, the hometown boy made good, delivered a fantastic performance, complete with the high-powered vocals that made him a winner on “Star Search” and the runner-up last season on “American Idol.”

“It feels so good to be home, you guys!” he yelled to the sell-out crowd. “This is amazing! This is awesome! I can’t believe how unbelievably crazy this is, my first hometown show.”

(Well, first as a headliner. David Archuleta was part of the “Idol” tour that came through town last summer.)

Clearly a more confident performer now than he was then, Archuleta has nonetheless retained his boyish charm. He didn’t exactly give the hugely enthusiastic crowd the same aw-shucks response he gave “Idol” judges when they praised him, but he gave them an approximation.

Dressed in a white T-shirt, gray vest, jeans and sneakers, Archuleta performed with a four-person band — guitar, bass, keyboards and drums.

Archuleta was clearly having a great time throughout his 1:21 set that included 17 numbers. And so was the crowd. He had a huge smile on his face and laughed with genuine joy.

The crowd had a good time, too, judging simply by the screams.

They screamed when David bounced. They screamed when he flexed his bicep. They screamed when he played the keyboard. They screamed when he tried to express his feelings, partially drowning him out.

The girls and the women in the audience — who ranged from toddlers to senior citizens — were delighted. Some of the men, on the other hand, sort of looked stunned at what was happening around them.

Archuleta’s set included “Touch My Hand,” “Barriers,” “I’m Just a Little Too Not Over You,” “Somebody Out There,” “My Hands,” “Works for Me,” “Waiting for Yesterday,” “Your Eyes Don’t Lie,” “To Be With You,” “Don’t Let Go,” “Zero Gravity,” “You Can” and “Crush.”

And his voice was nothing short of amazing. There aren’t many performers a lot more seasoned than Archuleta who could pull off an a cappella song — “Como la Flor,” entirely in Spanish — and a two-song encore that was just David and the keyboard on “Thousand Miles” and “Angels.”

“Utah’s given me so much support,” Archuleta said, “and without that, I wouldn’t be here tonight.”

And there would have been a whole lot less screaming in West Valley.

Crowd goes wild for David Archuleta

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Vestiges of “American Idol” were all around the E Center during David Archuleta’s concert Friday night: this season’s contestant David Osmond was mobbed in the aisles before the show; one of Archuleta’s songs was penned by “Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi; and one fan’s shirt bore the words, “I voted for David Archuleta.”

But the Murray 18-year-old, who finished second in the 2008 season of “Idol,” showed in his first headlining show in his hometown that he has moved beyond who he was on TV — a shy, awkward teenager – and is on his way to becoming a man.

David Archuleta, in his last tour stop in his first headlining tour, illustrated that tour dates all over the country have turned him into a seasoned performer, whether it’s amiably interacting with the primarily mom-and-teens crowd or swaying on stage comfortably, rather than looking like a nervous junior high student at his first dance. Sheepish giggles that were his trademark on the shows have been minimized, and he is much more articulate – even though he did tend to call everything either “crazy,” “awesome” or :amazing.”

“It feels so good to be back home, guys,” Archuleta gushed to the nearly sold-out arena early in his 80-minute, 15-song set. “All these people – wow.”

Clad in a white shirt, grey hoodie vest and black jeans, with his hair trendily faux-hawked, Archuleta boasted a voice that was loud, clear and strong throughout, despite ear-piercing squeals and shrieks from the Generation Texters in the crowd that out-decibeled the singer and his lean four-piece backing band. He didn’t over-sing anything, showing a restraint rare for someone so young.

The staging was relatively simple, considering that many of his tour dates have been in much smaller clubs. Fluorescent fabric of purple, orange and pink surrounded a gigantic steel “A” that brought to mind Weezer’s ironic “W” that they use in their sets.

What set Archuleta’s set apart from his brief appearance in last summer’s “American Idols” tour is that whereas last year he was primarily perched behind a piano, this year Archuleta only backed himself on piano for a few numbers. He was left free to roam the stage, hopping and thrusting his hands out into the crowd along with his band of adults, who suspiciously looked like they were having far too much fun to be backing someone half their age. (Half of the band hailed from Utah, which explains some of enthusiasm.)

The set list produced surprises that one wouldn’t expect from someone with only one album under his belt. An up-tempo, club-ready outtake called “Zero Gravity,” co-penned by Archuleta, was one of the highlights and was matched in enthusiasm by the crowd, who showed a remarkable devotion to their teen idol by knowing the words to the song.

Another highlight of the set was a four-song medley that Archuleta called some of his favorite songs. He began the medley with U2’s “One,” segued into Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be,” moved onto Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song,” and ended with what Archuleta proclaimed his favorite song of 2008: Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” The singer was most impressive with his phrasing on the U2 number, with his vocals hewing more towards Mary J. Blige’s version than Bono’s. It was in this song that his tenor revealed the soul influences that made him undoubtedly one of the better song interpreters in “Idol” history.

Archuleta even showed off his chops on an often over-looked part of his heritage: his Honduran roots, from his mother’s side. He sang the opening to Selena’s “Como La Flor” a cappella, to the crowd’s delight.

The singer closed with a two-song encore, with just him and a piano: Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” and then Robbie Williams’ “Angels.” Although “Angels” was one of Archuleta’s signature songs on “Idol,” he showed that he is moving on to other, and better things.

Escorting David Archuleta

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I was sitting on the stand before Edinburgh Ward’s sacrament meeting on Sunday the 22nd of March, when I heard the two counselors in the bishopric discussing an announcement that was to be made at the end of the meeting. I glanced over and saw that they were going to announce that David Archuleta was presenting a fireside for the youth of our stake that very evening. I knew he had performed a concert in town the night before, but I knew nothing about the fireside. Later I found out that no one knew about the fireside until about 9:00 Saturday night when David’s father made contact with Pres. Cambron, the first counselor in our stake presidency, to see if we would be interested in hosting the fireside.

The announcement was very specific about who was invited to the fireside: the youth and youth leaders of our stake, and each youth was allowed to invite one youth not of our faith to attend with them. This was to keep the stake center from getting overwhelmed with people. So, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to attend until I got a call later that morning that they wanted the high council to serve as ushers for the fireside.

In the afternoon, after our ward’s meeting block, I was about to leave after helping set up chairs for the fireside when I saw Pres. Cambron in the foyer. He was looking for the assistant executive secretary, who had already left for home. I asked if I could help with anything, and he then asked me to give David’s dad a call to finalize the arrangements for the evening. That’s how I ended up sort of being his escort for the evening. I ended up not getting to go home for dinner until after everything was done later that night.

We had announced that the doors would open for the 7:00 fireside at 6:30 so that we wouldn’t have people camping out in the chapel as soon as our ward finished at 4:00. We cleared the building and locked the doors at about 5:30. Right about then was when people started showing up and lining up at the doors. We ended up letting people in a few minutes early around 6:25. David, his pianist, and his dad showed up with some friends from the area at around 6:40. We had him come in and meet with the stake president to finalize what was going to happen at the actual fireside. Then he and his pianist went to the Relief Society room to work out what he was going to sing. Nothing like preparing ahead!

Shortly after 7:00 David entered the chapel for the fireside. After an opening hymn and prayer the time was turned over to him. He started out by singing “I am a Child of God,” and then he started answering some of the questions we had had the youth write down on little slips of paper. He only ended up answering a couple of them. He said up front that he didn’t feel that he was very good at public speaking, and that was definitely true. In spite of that, there was a great spirit as he shared his experiences on American Idol and shared how his testimony had helped him get through it all. He ended up by singing “Be Still My Soul,” which he said was one of his favorite hymn, and then an a cappella rendition of “How Great Thou Art.”

Afterward, we brought David down to the Relief Society room where David had graciously agreed to shake hands and greet those who wanted to meet him (which I think was pretty much everyone there). In order to help the traffic flow, we had them line up down the hall, and after they shook hands with David we had them go out the back door to the outside. I ended up getting the duty to man the back door and keep people moving outside (where it was quite nippy that night). It was pretty funny to stand there and watch the faces of many of the young women after they had just had the chance to shake hands (or, for those brave enough, hug) DAVID ARCHULETA! Some of them looked like they might faint, and some were practically in tears.

All in all the youth behaved very well, and David even commented afterward that he felt a special spirit being with the youth of our stake. We ended up only having the cultural hall filled about half way back, so the concerns of getting flooded with people didn’t come about, which was a testament to the obedience (for the most part) of our youth who had been asked to NOT text all their friends or put anything on Facebook about it.

David appears to be just what he seems on TV, a humble, nice, clean young man with a very talented singing voice. I think it was a great opportunity for our youth to attend this fireside. Oh, and Pres. Cambron gave me permission to invite Liz and Erin to come sit with me (they’re the real American Idol fans of the family), and they enjoyed it too.

David Archuleta How Great Thou Art

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

David Archuleta’s poignant and sensitive version of the classic hymn, “How Great Thou Art”, could not have been delivered to me at a better time. And I would like to thank one of my readers, Janey, for making this blog topic possible.

Today, I learned that a treasured childhood friend, Joan Colameco O’Hare, died after a very courageous battle with cancer. What a tragic, premature journey this must be for her family. She was the sweetest, the dearest person to walk the planet and a wonderful and loving wife, mother, sister and friend.

And so, as I listened to David’s soothing voice, I recollected the beautiful memories and legacy that Joan created over the years, realizing that we are all placed on this Earth for a divine purpose. I once read this quote and I apologize for not remembering the author’s name: “Every day is a treasure, a gift, that is why it’s called the present.”

And, indeed, Joan was a present to all of us -a very precious one.

I was particularly moved during David’s transition at the 2:25 mark – the key change was perfectly centered and you could hear the heightened passion in David’s voice. His voice is such a transparent instrument, incredibly pure!

Also, at the 3:21 mark, words cannot do justice to the absolute beauty and power of his voice at this point in the song. It is true vocal inspiration that is governed by a deep and introspective approach to the emotional core of the song.

David Archuleta is a master of vocal nuance and inflection. He does not need another instrument to deliver the spiritual message – the majesty and sincerity of his voice is all that is necessary.

Thank you David for soothing my soul on a very difficult day for me. God Bless.

David Archuleta to Appear on American Idol in May

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

From Boy to Man

DAVID ARCHULETA IS STILL THE SWEET BASHFUL GUY HE WAS ON AMERICAN IDOL LAST YEAR BUT IS NOW HIS OWN PERSON WHERE HIS SINGING CAREER GOES.

by S. Indra Sathiabalan

AFTER a stunning run in American Idol Season 7 in 2008, young David Archuleta who was only 17 then, was a strong favourite to win. However, majority of voters preferred the edgier David Cook who won the American Idol title that year.

But being first runner up wasn’t that bad as almost every record company wanted to sign him up. He eventually signed with Jive. Archuleta proved that his run on Idol was no fluke when his first single Crush, released in August 2008, became a hit. His debut album was released in November the same year, hitting the number two spot on the Billboard charts.

Being a part of a singing competition isn’t something new for David Archuleta who had entered competitions since he was 10. In fact, during American Idol, there was a clip of him singing in front of Idol’s first champ Kelly Clarkson who in turn was impressed by the little boy with a big voice.

Archuleta’s father, Jeff, is a jazz musician while his mum, Lupe, is a salsa singer. At age six, Archuleta saw a videotape of the stage musical Les Miserables and became captivated with the music.

His foray into pop music began when he watched the first season of American Idol and was completely taken in by contestant Tamyra Gray’s soulful rendition of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going. That was the turning point in Archuleta’s life, which ultimately led him on to the road towards American Idol Season7 finale.

After spending a year touring with the top 10 finalists of last year’s American Idol, David Archuleta has embarked on his first series of solo concerts which began last month. He will also tour Asia, and Kuala Lumpur is one of the scheduled stops.

Speaking from Idaho in a recent telephone interview, Archuleta talked about his music, future plans and of course, American Idol. He said he has never been to Asia before and is really looking forward to coming here and performing for his fans.

Asked how much of this album represents him as an artiste, he said that most of the songs hopefully with my next album, it will be a little more clearly directed. I hope to do in fact capture his taste in music. “Most of the songs represent me, at this moment. I did not stick to a particular direction. Since I am a teenager, I haven’t decided who I am yet. So, work with different people and see who I am really compatible with.”

Archuleta said that at the time he was working on his album, he was on the Idol tour and hence did not get a chance to write for the album. Six days before it was finished, he managed to help write A Little Too Not Over You and Don’t Let Go. He admitted that both songs were based on personal experiences. “It is about trying to get over someone. You think you’ve gotten over them but when you see them again, a lot of these memories come back,” he explained. However, he denied having anyone special in his life at the moment.

When Archuleta sang Imagine during American Idol, it was one of the highlights of the show. However, it did not end up on the album. “It was not included because it was not a right fit for the album. The label felt that Angels (which was another highlight on Idol) was a better choice.”

Archuleta was thought to be the sure winner of American Idol and Cook’s victory turned out to be a big surprise. “I didn’t think I was going to win,” confessed Archuleta bashfully. “I think David did such a great job as an artiste and he is a great person. I really look up to him and admire him for that. He has enough experience to know which direction he wants to take as a person. He was more of a rock person whilst I was more into pop.”

Archuleta said that he is following the new season of American Idol and at the moment, as far as he can tell, Adam Lambert and Matt Girard stand out. In fact, he is scheduled to appear on one of the shows sometime in May.

Currently on his North American tour, Archuleta is a star in his own right and he admitted that being one of the Idol finalists still hasn’t sunk in fully.

To his fans in Malaysia, Archuleta has this to say: “I just want to say ‘thank you so much for all the support’. I am so excited to be able to come over to perform for you soon.”

David Archuleta will be giving a performance at Sunway Lagoon Amphitheater in Petaling Jaya on April 11. This concert is by invitation only and the first 750 DiGi customers to download any of the three promotional bundles by DiGi will stand to win two complimentary tickets to the show. For more go to digi.com.my/music.

David Archuleta: Life After Idol

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

David Archuleta: Life After Idol

SINGAPORE : Known as the shy boy with a squeaky clean image on “American Idol”, David Archuleta had a stunning run in Season 7, finishing second in the finals last year.
In less than a year, the 18-year-old has emerged a big star with his first solo tour in the US and a self-titled debut album that’s been gaining popularity among audiences from all ages.

You’d think with all the experience on “Idol”, performing on stage in front of large crowds would come naturally for the teen star, but Archuleta admitted that he was at a lost at the start of his tour.

“From the first show, I was like ‘Oh my gosh. How am I going to be able to move around the stage. And I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do.’”

In addition, Archuleta , who was used to performing shorter renditions of songs on “Idol”, had to do up to 17 numbers in one night during his concert, and wasn’t sure if his voice “could hold up till the end”.

“But it seemed like the more I did it, the stronger my voice got,” said the “Crush” hitmaker, who is Singapore as part of a promotional tour in Asia.

“To see how my endurance has grown, how my voice has strengthened, it’s been really neat to see that… And I’m just so glad to be able to overcome that and to have these opportunities to go on tour and to sing.”

He added, “It was crazy to think that everyone there came to see me, like they actually did come to see me perform. It was so out-of this world, so surreal to me.”

Archuleta , whose fan base consists mostly of legions of screaming teen and pre-teen girls along with their mothers, shared that some of his older fans are somewhat embarrassed about raving over his music.

To his older fans, Archuleta said, “You’re never too old to listen to the music.”

“Maybe you’re too old for me, but… as long as you don’t put it that way,” he joked.

So Archuleta fans – young and old – be sure to catch the star’s performance at the newly-opened Iluma Media and Entertainment Centre at Bugis on Tuesday at 7pm. Archuleta might just perform his unreleased song, “Zero Gravity”, a fan favorite during his US tour.

On the amazing response to the song, Archuleta said, “It’s just crazy because they’ve never heard it before! But I think that’s part of what really drew them to it – the excitement of the song and the energy.

“For me, I had so much fun (doing it on the tour). I’m always jumping around and stuff and it’s so cool to see everyone else jumping too. The thrill, it’s just amazing!”

And if you are crossing your fingers that “Zero Gravity” will be released soon, you might be disappointed as even Archuleta doesn’t have an answer to that.

“It’s all up to the (record) label if they want to release it after the response,” he said. “It was a song that people thought wouldn’t work out but we decided to put it in the show for the tour anyway so we can have something fun.”