David Archuleta -- A Day in the Life
By Emily Tan Posted Oct 18th 2010 03:00PM
When David Archuleta went up against David Cook in the seventh season of 'American Idol,' millions of fans -- and even Cook himself -- thought the then 16-year-old was a shoo-in for the crown. But even though the Florida-born, Utah-raised singer took second place, his growing fan base and a record deal with Jive made sure Archuleta wouldn't leave the limelight anytime soon.
One debut record and a Christmas album later, Archuleta is now ready to show the world what else is up his sleeve. A day before his latest record, 'The Other Side of Down,' was released, Archuleta made a trip to New York to promote the new material and graciously invited PopEater to tag along.
As he strolled into Jive studios around noon, he instantly changed the vibe of the room. Dressed casually in dark denim, a gray T-shirt, a royal blue sweater and a pair of broken-in shoes, Archuleta's smile beamed. He greeted everyone with a handshake and a glimpse of his pearly whites, making it clear that he's the same sweet boy that fans fell in love with in 2008.
"I didn't know how far I was going to get [on 'American Idol']," Archuleta told PopEater. "I didn't even think I was going to get past the first round, so after the first couple of auditions, I was like 'Wow, things are actually happening. There might be something that could come from this.' There was a time when I sat down and thought for a long time and just made the decisions there: how I was going to respond to whatever happened, no matter what happened. This is how I wanted to handle things, and this is the attitude I wanted to keep. People are noticing what I'm doing, and this is how I want to come across."
While Archuleta is humble about his fame, he isn't afraid to talk about how excited he is about 'The Other Side of Down.' With co-writing credits throughout the album, he shows fans and even those who may be skeptical of his talent that he's more than just a voice. "It's bizarre because I kind of kept it to myself, working on it and growing and experimenting," he said. "It's this little thing I've been working on in my little cave this whole time. It's really scary, but it's really exciting at the same time."
Working on the album throughout the last year of his teenage life, Archuleta wanted to sing about more than just having a crush. "I feel really happy about how things came together and things that I talk about in the songs because the lyrics are really important this time," he said. "Every single song has a meaning to me, which I think is important."
David Archuleta -- A Day in the Life
PopEater follows David Archuleta around on a busy day in New York. See All Photos >>
Diana Levine for AOL
David Archuleta -- A Day in the Life
One thing listeners will notice on 'The Other Side of Down' is that it's an extremely positive album. Instead of writing about heartache or other dilemmas, Archuleta talks about how one can overcome problems and tells everyone that things will get better. "We were just talking about things I was going through in my life, just my perspective and how there's a lot going on," Archuleta said. "It's like 'Wow, this is so confusing and I don't know what's going to happen. That's what 'The Other Side of Down' is about -- just moving forward and making progress despite the challenges that come because challenges can be exciting at the same time."
"It's important to try to keep a positive attitude," Archuleta added. "It's not the easiest thing. I may not be able to keep up with everything but I try my best. You can look at the negative things and the things that are going wrong, but there are so many positive things, too. It's so important to just keep that hope because when you're hopeful about life, it'll affect the decisions you make and it'll affect how you'll choose to have your future turn out."
Soon after his first interview wrapped and he signed at least 30 CD booklets, Archuleta headed to a studio at the label to record some liners for his fan hotline. On his way to the other room, someone from the mobile department introduced him to the new "Archie App," an iPhone and Android application that allows fans to keep in touch with each other about shows, contests and other exclusive "Archie info." Despite everything being thrown at him in the first few hours of being at the label offices, Archuleta seemed unfazed, as he knows that being a pop star means making sacrifices. Before auditioning for 'American Idol,' he was like any other teenager with a summer job, working the lights and sounds at the local park amphitheater. Once the musical opportunity arose, he decided to jump at the chance, even if that meant he might have to skip out on things like prom.
"If you make one decision versus another, there's always going to be something you miss and sometimes I think I let that get to myself," he admitted. "But I just feel happy that I'm going this way because music is always something I was able to connect to more than people were able to understand in school. There were people who love music there, but it was so hard because I wasn't good at sports. I wasn't in those genius clubs where all my friends were. It was like, 'Where do I fit in?'"
Once he finished the liners, signing more autographs and schmoozing with more people, Archuleta was led to his next interview at Alloy TV. As that crew finished setting up, Archuleta kept his energy up by jokingly doing sit-ups and singing a song to himself, a melody that just popped into his head. "It's a bad habit of mine," he said. "Sometimes I don't even notice myself doing it."
Around 1:20PM, he began his series of filmed stints with the teen online site. He answered questions ranging from his favorite taste (savory or sweet) and if he's ever fallen in love (not yet). After that ended, Archuleta, his manager, the Jive team and PopEater crew squeezed into a truck and headed off to his next interview at the Associated Press. Driving along 9th Avenue, it was clear that Archuleta was getting hungry as he started pointing out all the random food spots and specials of the day we'd pass.
Although Archuleta's mouth was watering at that point, he had no choice but to hold in the cravings until the interview and photos at the Associated Press were finished. Ordering his own lunch at the Seattle Café next door to the AP offices, Archuleta talked about enjoying doing many "normal" things when he's home in Utah. "The only time when it's really overwhelming is at events where people are expecting to see you or if you go to a mall," he said. "If you're at a place where people are looking for things, looking at the scene or who's there, then you are going to get recognized. But people at Walmart or Target or the grocery store are looking for food or milk or a toothbrush, they're not looking for you. Some people do surprisingly recognize you and say, 'Oh I wasn't expecting to see you here,' but usually it's not too bad."
Archuleta even takes this calm and collected attitude when it comes to meeting musicians he admires, such as Natasha Bedingfield, who inspired him on 'The Other Side of Down.' "I've had a couple of shows with Natasha in the last couple of weeks," Archuleta said. "It's so cool to see how real of a person she is. It's like you get this image of the artist or of the music that you're listening to on the album, and then seeing them in person, you're not thinking the whole time, 'Oh my gosh, this is Natasha Bedingfield and she sings these songs I listen to all the time.' It's almost like they're two different people. It's nice because you realize there's a difference between this image of them and that they're an actual human being. It allows me to be a big fan of their music but also respect them as a person and look to them as a friend."
With lunch in hand, the group headed to MTV for a number of different activities, which included doing an interview while standing inside a moving elevator in honor of Archuleta's song, 'Elevator.' Making sure he looked fresh, he changed into a black pair of jeans, slipped into new gray shoes and replaced the sweater for a light denim jacket. A few minutes after 4PM, Archuleta was almost done with his day and only had an interview with Fox News left before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the big record release day. Even though he's had to grow up a little faster, skipped out on typical teenage experiences and missed his high school prom, it's safe to say Archuleta is pretty happy where he is. And even if it gets rough, he'll always look on the brighter side.
"I feel like the point of life is to look at all the good things we have," he said before bidding farewell to PopEater. "The more you focus on that, that'll be more of your outcome."
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