David Archuleta stays positive amid criticisms, challenges
MANILA, Philippines - In a time when songs about sex dominate the charts, and even regular folks criticize public figures, well, regularly if not unwarrantedly, singer-songwriter David Archuleta stays positive with goals intact.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It’s a matter of me making a mark. What I’m trying to do is make a mark and leave an impression to the people who want to listen and willing to take time to understand what I’m trying to accomplish,” the baby-faced “American Idol” runner-up told Bulletin Entertainment and other members of the media in a roundtable interview last Nov. 17.
His third album, “The Other Side Of Down (TOSOD),” received mixed reviews from various critics upon release last October. Some praised its commercial appeal and deeper content, while others claimed the young idol seemed to have nestled in the safe zone and put in the shade his solid yet sweet, soulful voice to make way for the use of vocal effects.
David acknowledges that “there’s always been mixed reviews.”
“I’ve had plenty of mixed reviews in the first CD, and with the Christmas album, and with each song that gets released,” he added.
Although “TOSOD” did not debut as high as his first album, and that his new single “Something ‘Bout Love” hasn’t charted in the Billboard Hot 100 (as compared to “Crush” which zoomed all the way to number two in its first week), David maintained that his main aim for the new record is to express his real voice.
“I think people get so caught up in the form and the formula of how to write a hit song, and that the lyrics should be more relationship-y. You can get very technical with the music…
“But especially with this album, my focus wasn’t to be technical. It was very personality-focused. And so many people could say, ‘oh you did this wrong,’ or ‘you did this right.’ But one of the goals was to be experimental and try things, because how am I gonna know if I didn’t try?” he said.
Collaborating with Nashville, Tennessee songwriters like Joy Williams not only contributed to the maturity in David’s music, but also to his overall perspective.
“Instead of them telling me this is who you are and this is who you’re gonna be, they waited enough and were patient enough for me to figure out myself so that I could tell them who I was. And I think that is so amazing. It completely changed my life, and totally changed my perspective about things and what I wanted to share with people,” he enthused.
Before he had those writing sessions in Nashville, David recalled to have simply gone with the flow, because he thought “it was just the way it is.”
“All the writing sessions I’ve had before Nashville were about ‘oh, what’s the biggest hit we can write?’ ‘It’s not catchy enough, we can’t do that,’ or ‘that lyric is not hooky enough.’
“And oh, when I would come up with ideas and song lyrics before, they’d be like, ‘Oh you can’t do that. You have to turn it into a relationship song.’ And I believed them [then],” he related.
The 19-year old idol co-wrote 10 of the 12 tracks in “TOSOD,” which, underneath its bouncy melodies, mostly represents one’s journey towards self-discovery and acceptance.
David also related having learned to be more forward and expressive in his views, as proven by the inclusion of “Good Place” in “TOSOD,” a song which he said almost didn’t make it on the album.
Starting out young in the industry, David finds it challenging to grow as an artist “when everyone’s watching you.”
Even so, he deems it “an interesting challenge.”
“It helps you grow as an artist in a way that you might not have known before. It’s still kind of weird how people are watching you trying to figure it out yourself, but I think it’s good at the same time,” he said.
David was in Manila recently to promote his “TOSOD.” After his press interviews at The Peninsula Manila, the crooner serenaded his fans at the SM Skydome in a three-song set. An autograph session came afterward wherein he reportedly signed all of the CDs that the fans bought (and not just the first 400 who did as per promo mechanics).