UCR Interview- David Archuleta

Interviewed By: Kevin Rolfe

Photo Credit: Cyrus Panganiban

Note from Kevin:

David Archuleta has been busy lately! He just released a deluxe version of his Winter In The Air album, a new single “Paralyzed” and he’s back on the road with his US Christmas Tour 2019. David made his first stop in Utah this past weekend in Richfield. He’ll be returning to Utah tomorrow in Moab and make his way up to Salt Lake City at the newly renovated Capitol Theater on November 30th. He will then close the tour in Logan on December 23. I had the opportunity to chat with David the Monday following the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints broadcast announcing their new youth program. David was invited to perform at the broadcast as he debuted the youth theme song for 2020. I was able to talk to David about that experience along with a variety of other topics ranging from American Idol to Kanye West & Billie Eilish to losing his voice. This was my second time getting to interview David. I enjoy it more and more each time. Here’s our interview. Enjoy!

Utah Concert Review: Hi David!  Good to be chatting with you again.  Am I catching you back in Nashville today?  

David Archuleta: No, I’m actually in Utah.  

Utah Concert Review: We could have hung out! (Laughing)

David Archuleta: (Returns laugh) Yeah!  I’m here for the week. I had an event here yesterday. And then I have my first show in Utah. And then sandwiched in between I have tour rehearsals. And my sister’s wedding!

UCR: Oh wow, you’ve got a lot going on.  

DA: Yeah. It’s an exciting week.  

UCR: So I wanted to ask you about the “event” you had yesterday.  Your name has been buzzing around this state especially within the Mormon community since their church meetings yesterday.  Turns out you debuted a new song. How did this all come about?

DA: So the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints asked me to sing the youth theme song for 2020.  Then Elder Gerrit Gong (LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) did a Face to Face event where he’s announcing this new program for the youth of the church asked if I would come to present the new theme song and sing it.  And it actually worked out great because I was going to be there that week. It was really fun to get to do. It’s been really pleasant to see how well everyone has responded to the song. Especially the youth.  

UCR: That’s great!  I have to tell you, you made me seem very cool at the family dinner I attended last night when I told them I would be interviewing you today!  

DA: (Laughs!)  Yeah this is the first interview I’ve done after that whole thing. And to be doing it with you being in Utah and all. That’s pretty cool. 

UCR: So let’s move on to this tour.  I had to chance to see last year’s tour at the UCCU Center in Orem.  The show was great, and it was really well attended. Judging from that show I’d imagine the tour was a success.  With that Christmas tour being so successful I’d imagine that led you to want to do another tour this year. Is that pretty much how it materialized?  

DA: You know it just made sense to do it again. I was planning on releasing a deluxe version of the Christmas album already.  So it just made sense to do shows to go with that. And I love Christmas shows. I love Christmas. And so of all the shows I get to do, these are my favorite ones because it’s not so much about your own music in your own work it’s about a bigger story and something that everyone just connects to. You know the holidays. So it’s great music that people always enjoy and I always loved singing it and I always have a lot of fun.

UCR: Have you ever performed at the Capitol Theater before?

DA: I have.  But this will be my first headlining show.  I’ve been there for events, but I’ve never done my own show there.  Haven’t they recently renovated everything there?  

UCR: Yeah I was going to say, I’m excited to be seeing you in the newly renovated theater.  I haven’t been there yet and I’ve been hearing incredible things.  

So I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but I actually had to postpone our interview.  We were scheduled last week but I totally lost my voice. It got me thinking about you as a performer. Especially with these Christmas tours.  The shows are so condensed because they have to fit into the holiday season. Have you ever had any vocal scares over the years? Have you totally lost your voice on tour?  What have you done if you have had any vocal issues?

DA: I’m actually been a few times on tour where I’ve completely lost my voice. and I just tried my best to get through those shows. I’ve always managed to pull through but there was this one time my voice just wouldn’t come back. It was just so bad. I actually had to do two shows in Layton at the Kenley Amphitheater, and I just felt so embarrassed. I was just so grateful that I was with such a forgiving audience and Utah.  We gave everyone half off tickets to the upcoming Christmas tour and told them they were welcome to leave if they wanted to. But everyone stayed! I learned but it wasn’t always about how great you can sing to give a good show. And for the second show, I was trying to conserve my voice as much as I could so I had one of my little sisters read the intros to the songs for me on stage because I couldn’t talk.  

UCR: I’m sure as a performer you’re dreading that situation.  But sometimes that’s the exciting thing about live music.  I can see people going to that show and having an amazing memory of rallying behind you and having a great experience with that.  Of course, people want to see their favorite artists at their best, but if it makes for a memorable and unique show, it’s exciting to come away having felt part of something.  What do you think?

DA: As long as they have a good time and feel like it was worth their money and taking their evening out to be there then I’m happy. I’m happy they’re happy. I’ll never forget it because it was a very humbling experience and to not have a voice and give the kind of show that I prepared to give and that the people still stayed and we’re still supportive and cheering. It was kind of an emotional experience for everybody. It was really sweet.

UCR: So tell me about your new single “Paralyzed”.  It’s been a couple of years since you’ve released a single, right?

DA: Yeah it has actually.  I decided to go a slightly different route than I usually had done. It’s a little heavier song because I wrote it just out of being frustrated with myself.   Being frustrated with feeling like I keep getting in my own way. I keep getting these paralyzing thoughts and I don’t move. When I feel like “Ok move forward, go for it, do something about this problem, take a chance” and I just don’t.  It’s so frustrating. I just watch myself frozen as I watch the opportunity go by and go past me. So in that frustration, UGH!, all these negative thoughts saying things like “You’re not going to amount to anything. You’re never going to succeed” and all these things.  You just push them aside and they keep coming back. And it’s like I’m going for the fight but it’s still frustrating to have to go through that wrestle. And so that’s what that song “Paralyzed” talks about.

UCR: I think it’s so awesome that you’re willing to be so open about this struggle.  I’m sure there are plenty of fans that deal with these kinds of frustrations and things they hold back on going for.  So I’d imagine this is a song they’ll identify with.  

DA: I hope so!

UCR: This question gets asked to musicians and movie starts a lot.  So I usually avoid asking it. But with you, I’m genuinely interested in this.  You became huge at such a young age. You were famous and on the biggest TV show at the time.  So I wonder if you ever even began thinking about what you wanted to do as an adult. If you didn’t become famous so young and start a career in music, what do you think you might have done? Do you think music still would have been your path?  Or do you think you might have become a teacher or lawyer or something like that?

DA: You know I’ve wondered that myself. I wonder if American Idol didn’t happen what I would have chosen for myself at my own pace.   Because with American Idol I just thought “ let’s see what this is like” and it just kept blowing up. (Laughing) I didn’t expect that. I wasn’t prepared for that. You know I was planning on going and seeing what it was like and then going back to school finishing High School, do some college, go on a mission, go back to college and then figure out what I was going to do.

UCR: Sure.  Well, that’s the typical timeline for a young Mormon.  So it makes sense that you would expect that. But for you, it was totally changed.  

DA: Yeah I thought I was going to have that kind of experience. You know, date around a little bit, make some friends in college. I guess I just have learned that with life,  you can plan out life but there’s just going to be curveballs. They’re going to be some pop up surprises for you that you’re not going to be ready for as much as you try to prepare. I think it’s important to make goals and to kind of envision something. So that you have something towards.  But you need to be flexible in life. Because if not then things will never go the way you expect them to. You’ll always be disappointed. But if you embrace the unexpected it will be a lot more enjoyable and you’ll be thankful for new things that you didn’t plan on. Sometimes they’re not always easy. I mean American Idol was not easy.

UCR: Oh I’m sure.  

DA: But so much came out of it. It was hard. And I sometimes wondered, is this what I want? Because I never really got a chance to decide. It just came there it is now. I feel like regardless, music is part of my destiny. Somebody was sharing with me and interview that Emma Watson did. They asked her what she thought her life would have been like if she wasn’t on Harry Potter. She said that she’s always been an artistic person. So she thinks that she always would have found the path that she’s on eventually because that’s just a part of her. And I feel like that would have been the same for me. Music isn’t everything for me but I do have a passion for it. So I feel like my passion and my love for music would have eventually gotten me to a road where I would be sharing my music one way or another with people. I just don’t think I always looked at it as this is the career I want. So if I didn’t do this I kind of think I might have had a career as a psychologist or social worker or therapist of some kind. Because I love that kind of stuff too. I love listening to people and helping them and being a sounding board for somebody else.

Photo Credit: Robby Klein

UCR:  Are there any artists that you’ve been listening to a lot recently?  

DA: I do like Billie Eilish. I really like her song “Everything I Wanted”. She has a lot of really beautiful songs. She’s an interesting character and can be pretty quirky and out there sometimes. But her music is so expressive.  I also really like Kanye West’s Jesus is King album. He’s also very much out there. But he’s also known for not doing what people tell him to. So that’s allowed him to explore and be as creative as he is. It always brings new elements of music and production to people by going outside of the box. So it’s really fresh. And the fact that he has an amazing gospel choir with it on Jesus Is King because I love gospel music. I listen to a lot of it. And he’s got one of the best choirs that are out there. They sing so well! I think “Selah” and “Every Hour” are good songs. I would love to go see one of his Sunday services. Because there’s so much more than what’s on his album. He’ll do major pop songs but like a gospel version of it. And the words are re-written to be christ-centered. it’s really cool.

UCR: Thank you so much for your time, David.  I always enjoy our chats.  

DA: Thank you!  Always nice to talk to you as well.  I hope you enjoy the show!  

UCR: Take care of that voice!

DA: You as well!

David Archuleta’s tour is happening now with three more shows taking place here in Utah. He will be at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City on Saturday, November 30. Click here for tickets!

For more information about David Archuleta and his music, please go to www.davidarchuleta.com

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