David Archuleta’s Album

David Archuleta who was the runner-up for American Idol in the 7th season, which ended this spring, has now produced his first album, Crush, which debuted November 11th. To see the music video of the title song, click here or to listen to samples from the album click here.

Aaron Edson from Utah, who has helped David with his album, and wrote or helped write some of his music, posted an article on Meridian Magazine, a LDS site, here is what he had to say:

With the highest-ranking debut single release of any American Idol contestant ever, the expectations for David Archuleta’s newly-released self-titled album, are high, to say the least. But after spending time with David and Jeff Archuleta this summer working on tracks for David’s original songs, my perspective is that as his album battles it out for the top rankings on Billboard’s charts, the battle before the album was even released was arguably far more brutal.

I first met David in 2006, while searching local talent in Utah to hopefully connect the right talent with enough investor capital to launch this generation’s answer to Donnie and Marie Osmond. He was just about as unique and proficient at his craft then as he is now, so I immediately recognized the need to discuss plans with David’s father and manager, Jeff Archuleta. We worked on developing some of his original songs in 2007, and after a month of working together, we completed all we could do at the time, so I didn’t hear anything from them for a while. That is, of course, until American Idol 7.

Now, fresh off the heels of the kind of national exposure any artist would dream of, and at the tender age of 17, Archuleta has amassed a listening audience that any one who has ever forayed into the music business would feel proud of. But an overnight success he is not. After all, before Idol, there was Star Search. And even before winning the 2003 Star Search 2 title of Junior Vocal Champion, David had competed in and won the children’s division of the Utah Talent Competition. He then appeared on national television, via the Jenny Jones Show. After the victory on Star Search, he had several opportunities to land a record deal, but, according to Jeff, none of the record labels knew what to do with a ’12-year-old white kid from Utah.’

Fortunately, in 2007, the folks at American Idol felt they knew what to do with a 16-year-old white kid from Utah: Get him on national television. The competition looked like a virtual cakewalk for David; he made it through all the rounds of the competition with little if any real criticism from any of the judges. In fact, aside from song choice, even the sharp-tongued Simon Cowell had little ill to speak of Idol’s most successful product yet.

But after the second-place finish, David struck a deal with Jive Records (which has produced more top-10 artists in the last 8 years, more than any other label I know of). But in the process of creating David’s debut album, tensions ran high between Jive and the Archuletas.

“This isn’t a vanity album,” a record label exec allegedly told Jeff Archuleta, after he tried repeatedly to get “more of David on the album.” What Jeff wanted was to get songs that David had either written or co-written to be on the new release. As a songwriter myself and a student of the charts, I don’t see any reason why the label should deny the Archuletas their request. I have produced and arranged several original songs for David, and I don’t see why any of those songs would be less commercially successful than some of the “fillers” that have been included in the album’s release. Still, the label has the final say in the decision, and if it’s up to them, they can “shelf” the album entirely, leaving David with no commercial opportunities at all until his contract expires, which will likely not be until 2015 or later.

Fortunately, it appears the label did give in to allow the inclusion of the song “Falling,” which was written by a 14-year-old David about a relative’s emotional struggle, which led to her eventual suicide.

The critical response to David Archuleta’s debut album, however, has been luke-warm. Entertainment Weekly gives the album a C+, criticizing even the hit “Crush,” which exemplifies the disconnect between the critics and the masses. The song hit #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and the video was the top download on iTunes. Even The Salt Lake Tribune, David’s home-town newspaper, doled out a B- to the album – far from a warm welcome to the mainstream music scene.

And then there’s the negative press about David’s relationship with his dad. Extra! claimed that an inside source corroborated rumors that Jeff was “the quintessential stage-dad,” which is industry-lingo for an abusive parent who pushes their child into the spotlight and puts undue pressure on him to succeed in the biz. Now, make no mistake of my perspective on the matter: Jeff Archuleta is a former-musician-turned-businessman, and has the personality to match. He has strong opinions and unless you give him hard evidence of why his idea won’t work (which I’ve seen David do on several occasions), he’ll never back down. I don’t even think he’d mind feeling that he had a hand in a hit song – but then, who would mind that? Still, to call him abusive is completely uncalled for. I’ve known the Archuletas since 2006 and have never seen any evidence of any form of abuse.

What I do see is an adolescent with more artistic talent than he knows what to do with, and a father who believes he knows exactly what to do with all that talent. The combination of the two is what makes David’s performances what they are, and what America has fallen in love with. Chalk it up to another attempt of Hollywood and the mainstream media to undermine the divine unit of the traditional family, but having the guidance of a father in your life does not make you abused (though you sure won’t see that on the cover of a celebrity gossip magazine).

Yet somehow, in the midst of all these battles, the Archuletas have found time to stay true to their values. “In one city, at least 30 [nonmember] fans showed up at a sacrament meeting the day after a Saturday-night performance, just to see David,” says Jeff. He told me that they were more interested in getting to see the person who had reached their hearts with their music than they were with the stigma of Mormonism. Some of these have since joined the LDS church, while several others have allowed visits from the LDS missionaries and have started to read the Book of Mormon.

And the missionary-mentality doesn’t stop there. One young man who followed the tour around the country and grew close to the Archuletas apparently lived for a few months in Jeff’s Murray, Utahhome, where he learned about and accepted the Gospel. He now attends his new-found faith’s church regularly.

All in all, I believe that David has already weathered storms far more precarious than any critical response to his new album could bring. He’s a good-natured, caring young man who, in my opinion, would make a great full-time missionary. Whether he goes or not, he’ll be a positive influence on many people if he continues on his current trajectory, and given the opposition he’s already faced, there is no reason to doubt him.

Source: Meridian Magazine
Thanks to Jennifer B 

 

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~ by fhrradio1 on November 19, 2008.

3 Responses to “David Archuleta’s Album”

  1. David debuts at #2 on Billboard 200!

    http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003892753

    CONGRATULATIONS DAVID!!! FELICIDADES!!

  2. I was with a group of fans waiting for David on the Bonnie Hunt show – David has a fan base that pretty much encompasses people from all walks of life – his music reaches out to many people on all levels. Yes David has so much talent – but I do think he knows what to do with it. It was interesting to read about the ” battles” of what music to get on the album and that the record label thought that having David’s own music was being an ego trip. I think it was all quite the opposite. Ironically (or not actually) – the BEST music on the album – is not on the actual album but the bonus tracks – the music that was David. Work For Me and Falling our my favorites. Falling in particular shows a level of mature song writing that belies the young age that David wrote it. I hope to hear more of David’s music in future albums

  3. Any young artist today who writes their own music would want to put it on their first album. Ego trip? Not David, far from it, he knows what he wants and is really very savvy about his music. He shows more passion that most people twice his age and knows exactly what he wants to say. His direction may vary as time passes but he will stay true to himself and his beliefs. Congratulations David on your album and never forget you have all of our support for future albums. Thanks.

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