Hispanic Heritage Month

Archuleta Speaks!

American Idol runner-up David Archuleta tells TFK about his newfound fame

June 16, 2008

Every American Idol fan knows David Archuleta as the talented teen with the big smile who sang his way to the finale with David Cook. Last week, 19 Recordings/Jive Records announced a record deal with Archuleta. In between a frenzy of rehearsals for his upcoming Idols summer tour and preparations for his debut album, David found time to give TFK a sneak peek into his jam-packed world.

David Archuleta
GETTY IMAGES FOR FOX
David Archuleta

TFK:

First of all, congratulations on your recently announced record deal. What can you tell us about this upcoming album?

David Archuleta:

It's in the works right now. We're just starting to figure things out with songs and songwriting and it's all just really exciting. It will be a more pop, contemporary album.

TFK:

Will you be writing any of your own songs?

David Archuleta:

Well, that's what I've been doing right now, and it would be fun if a song that I helped to write made it, but I'm still looking for the best songs out there and that's been my main concern right now.

TFK:

Name three artists you would love to collaborate with in the future.

David Archuleta:

John Mayer I think is really good and Sara Bareilles. I think Jordin Sparks would be awesome too, sometime... and Natasha Bedingfield.

TFK:

Tens of thousands of people auditioned this year for American Idol and you were in the top 2. What goes through your mind when you think about this achievement?

David Archuleta:

That was incredible! I mean I didn't have any idea that I would make it even past the first round, so to have made it that far, it was a huge achievement and accomplishment for me. You know, not very many people get that opportunity and it was an honor and privilege, especially being next to Cook, who I admire and look up to. So the fact that I was the last person standing with him; I was like 'whoa!' It was just so mind boggling. It just blew my mind.

TFK:

The night before the finale, Simon called your performances a 'knockout.' How did that make you feel?

David Archuleta:

You know I didn't really agree with saying a 'knockout' or anything just because I think Cook did such an amazing job. But on a personal level, him recognizing the amount of work I put into that night, it was one of the best feelings of the whole show just because that was your last chance to show what you had for American Idol. And I think I gave it all I had and I did my best. So I was really proud looking back, there aren't things I regret. I was really glad and I thought it was neat coming from Simon, that he appreciated the work I put into it.

TFK:

What's life like behind the scenes of American Idol?

David Archuleta:

Life behind the scenes is pretty crazy, still. I mean, I had a break, which was amazing. I had a week off at home, even though I still was doing music there. But now we're just doing tour rehearsals and working on the album, but it's really exciting because the tour starts July 1. And it's all the finalists again together on the same stage performing, but this time we're not competing. It's just for fun.

TFK:

What types of pranks do the contestants pull on each other?

David Archuleta:

I don't know if anyone really pulled pranks or anything, but I think it's just more teasing. People just tease each other about things; it's more sarcasm. I don't think they pulled any pranks on me, ever, other than, like, joke around about my gullibility.

TFK:

Is Michael Johns really the goofball everyone says he is?

David Archuleta:

Yeah, he definitely is. He was the life of the party and it was kind of sad to see him go because he was the one that kept everything interesting.

TFK:

Tell us about your relationships with some of the other contestants.

David Archuleta:

I get along with all the contestants. I don't have anything against anyone. It's been really good because you know, you can go on TV and they're acting for the camera and just being nice to each other, but not genuinely. But it was really neat just because everyone got along really well and it wasn't like there were any issues. Well, at least not with me and anyone. So everyone was really nice and supportive and had good comments to tell you or advice. I got along with Cook and Brooke and Syesha and Jason--I didn't have a problem with any of them and that was really cool. It's kind of like going to school. You know, it felt like friends that you went to school with and hung out with all the time.

TFK:

How were you able to balance your schoolwork with all of the rehearsals and show preparations?

David Archuleta:

That was definitely a challenge, especially being the only one who had to do school along with everything else. But it was kind of nice because even though I did have to take a few hours a day for school, it allowed me to kind of think about other things and not get too stressed out about the things that were stressing me out during the day. It was pretty challenging trying to balance both things, but it worked out pretty well for the situation I had.

TFK:

What would you do to prepare yourself before each performance?

David Archuleta:

To prepare myself, I would do some voice warm-ups. And I always say a prayer before I go on stage. I think that's something that's really important. Well, to me. I just try to keep a good attitude and remember that this is such a great opportunity for me and remind myself, 'Wow, I have this opportunity I've been dreaming about and now I finally have that chance to do what I love to do and get on that stage and share with everyone.' And as long as you keep that in mind, everything on stage turns out really great and fun.

TFK:

During the show, you had the opportunity to work with many accomplished mentors. Which one gave you the best advice and what was it?

David Archuleta:

I loved Mariah Carey's advice, just because she had me doing things that I was afraid of doing. Like, I'd never really used my falsetto ever before. So she's like, 'Don't be afraid to do that and see what happens.' And so I did and it worked out really well. And then Andrew Lloyd Webber also had great, genuine advice because he was really into helping out all the contestants with their songs and just wanted to have them as good as they can be. He ignored the cameras pretty much. He was like, 'Let's get to work and see what I can do to help you guys make the songs as good as you can.'

TFK:

How do you feel when you see the American Idol tapes? Do you like watching yourself?

David Archuleta:

I don't watch myself. I hate that, actually. I mean, I can't stand it! It's just weird for me. Sometimes I've tried, because you can learn from watching your mistakes and what you can work on. But it is just so hard for me because it's like... (laughs) Oh man! I just can't stand my voice! I think I have a weird sounding voice, but I'm glad everyone else enjoys it. Because I love to sing and if they don't mind hearing it, I'm good with that. But, ugh! I just think I'm so weird looking and weird sounding... I don't know. When it's just yourself, it's like, 'Oh! That's what I look like?' You're not used to hearing and seeing yourself.

TFK:

What was your most memorable moment on the show and why?

David Archuleta:

There are a lot of memorable moments. Singing 'Imagine' was just amazing, especially because what it did for everyone. I really appreciated that. Because it's like, 'Wow!' I had no idea what it was going to do for people and hearing people say, 'Thank you' still, even though it happened like months ago, it's really neat to hear it. Also the finale was just an amazing, never-forget experience, because it was the finale! And the fact I was there was just really emotional.

TFK:

What can you tell us about the upcoming Idols tour?

David Archuleta:

Well, this will just be a great tour. Everyone has a bunch of songs they're singing each. I'm excited to go home, because we have two shows at my hometown. It will be a lot of fun because we're singing songs that we sang on the show and some of us are singing songs that we haven't sung on the show. It will be a lot fun because everyone won't be stressed out about, 'Will I get kicked off tomorrow?' We'll all just be really enjoying it and having a good time. We'll be all touring with each other and spending time together again. This time, its not like someone is going to go every week and it's not just going to keep getting smaller. It will be fun to spend some more time with each other...quality time. And no more judges judging us! So, that will be fun.

TFK:

Growing up, how did music influence your life?

David Archuleta:

Music has made me who I am. Music has the power to change how you feel. That's what it does for me and I'm sure it does for a lot of other people. So that's why I've always loved it. It gives you a feeling that not many other things can do. I have such a hard time talking (laughs), so being able to communicate through music is really helpful for me and also just a great feeling. The only way I can describe it is when I sing, that's the way I can share what's going on inside with my emotions and feelings. So when other people can feel that when you sing, it's also hard to describe. It's so great to know when people are like, 'That was such a moving performance' or 'Wow, that just made me feel really good.' It's a great feeling.

TFK:

Besides singing, do you have any other hobbies or pastimes?

David Archuleta:

Well, I love to listen to music, of course. That's all I do, pretty much. When I do homework, I just blast the music. My friends are always making fun of me because I'm always singing some random song, even when we're talking. (laughs)

TFK:

You've been described as humble, shy and modest. What word do you think best describes your personality?

David Archuleta:

A good word... I guess I'm pretty spacey...weird. That's what I would describe myself as because I am pretty much an airhead. You know, just someone who loves music. I like to help people out a lot, because when you help other people out, it's another good feeling of accomplishing something. I just like to help people...share the good things in life.

TFK:

In what ways has your newfound fame changed your life?

David Archuleta:

The platform American Idol gave, opened so many opportunities... I just thought it would never happen to me. All these great experiences and meeting with all these people and people knowing who you are and being able to share your singing with that many people... it's incredible! It's something I've always dreamed about doing and now that it's actually happening, it's just crazy. Because it was like, 'Oh, that will never happen to me.' But it did and it's so weird!

TFK:

You've become extremely popular with teenage girls. How do you react to all this attention?

David Archuleta:

(Laughs) I don't really pay attention, I guess. I just think it's great to have a lot of fans, but, you know, I don't really think of it as attention from girls or anything. It's weird to think that, you know. It's not normal! I always really appreciate all the support fans give because that's a big part of all this! They're the ones who you're sharing your music with; they're the ones who appreciate what you're doing and all the hard work you put into this. Just being able to talk to them sometimes, or getting fan letters from them, or comments... it's really neat.

TFK:

Now I'm going to give you a category and you're going to tell me your favorite of whatever it is. Let's start with what's your favorite food?

David Archuleta:

Thai food. Pad Thai.

TFK:

Favorite sport?

David Archuleta:

I really like street hockey. But I like running too! It's not a game sport, but I love running.

TFK:

Favorite movie?

David Archuleta:

Finding Nemo. It's funny! It's so creative. I love Pixar movies. You don't get bored watching them.

TFK:

Favorite book?

David Archuleta:

Let's see, what's a book I like? I really like the Harry Potter books.

TFK:

Favorite song?

David Archuleta:

That's a hard one. It kind of depends on my mood, I guess. At this moment? I really like No Air (By Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown) or Love Song by Sara Bareilles.

TFK:

Favorite school subject?

David Archuleta:

I like English, actually. I did choir as a class. Does that count? Because I really loved choir. Choir, and if not, I like English and Spanish.

TFK:

Be honest. What do you really think about having to do all these interviews?

David Archuleta:

They're fun, actually! It's a time where you get to talk to people and let people know how you feel, even though I'm not really good at that. It's always good practice for those big, serious interviews like Larry King. But I just have fun. It's always nice to talk to people about life and how things are going. That's pretty much how interviews are; you just get to know people.

TFK:

What do you think is the secret to your success? What has brought you to where you are today?

David Archuleta:

I don't think there are really any secrets. I just try to keep to myself, really. I think that kind of is a secret, I guess. Just being yourself and letting people know who you are and not try to be something you're not. What point is that? It's kind of like those kids at school who are like, 'I'm going to do this and look popular.' But what good does that do? You don't get any good feelings of self-accomplishment. It's just like, 'Oh great, I'm following the crowd and being popular.' But what good does that do? It's better to be popular because of who you are and just being yourself and being friendly with people... wanting to get to know people for who they are as themselves.

TFK:

What has this American Idol experience taught you about yourself?

David Archuleta:

It's just let me know even more what I love about music and what music can do for people. It's also let me know what things I can grow with in music. Because you just always think, 'What more can I do?' It's like, 'I've reached my limits,' but you haven't. You can always keep going further and further and trying new things. It's really neat because sometimes you're like, 'Oh my gosh, that's really hard,' but then you just try it and see how it works out. Sometimes it doesn't work out and you just keep trying and it gets better and better. And that's what I've learned. You can keep on growing, even if it does get pretty difficult.


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