Pop Crave Exclusive: David Archuleta Interview
On his new single, “OK, All Right,” American Idol alumni David Archuleta embraces a fresher, more contemporary sound compared to past records that suggests he’s finally ready to play the pop game again – at least once COVID-19 is over.
Breaking onto the scene in 2008 as the runner-up of American Idol season seven, Archuleta has maintained a steady output of music over the last decade with seven studio albums that balanced original music, covers and Christmas tunes. His new single, “OK, All Right” joins a growing list of “crying in the club” bops with its mix of heavy lyrical content and tropical, sunny production. It’s a song that could bring people a lot of joy during these trying times, Archuleta tells Pop Crave, if only he was allowed to release it.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Archuleta made the tough decision to postpone his new album and the “OK, All Right” tour indefinitely. “I don’t know exactly when it’s going to come out now,” he said. “My album was supposed to be coming out like this month, but everything kind of got topsy turvy. I was going to sing a bunch fo my new songs on tour, and then the album was going to come out while I was on tour.” He’s holding out hope he’ll be able to resume business as usual in the near future, but for the time being, he admit he’s getting antsy with the current delay:
“My purpose when I write music is to help people. I’m like, why would I want to wait to give people help?”
With his music on a temporary pause, Pop Crave caught up with Archuleta to talk more about his time in quarantine, the inspiration behind his new single and how his sound has evolved since the days of American Idol.
How are you doing in quarantine at the moment?
There are millions of people around the world whose jobs are being affected, and luckily I’m in a business where a lot can be done online. Not one of my family’s jobs have been affected either. So I’m able to do work, like this interview, in my bedroom. I’ve been going on walks, the weather in Tennessee has been good.
I was supposed to be on tour right now for a month and half. so it’s like, OK, my plan for this year is different. I”m just trying to roll with it. I started ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.’ I’m starting to read again which I haven’t done in a bit.”
Had you already finished your album before quarantine began?
My album was supposed to be coming out like this month. But everything kind of got topsy turvy. I was going to sing a bunch fo my new songs on tour, and then the album was going to come out while I was on tour.
I was like, ‘ugh I want to get it out now!’ But my management, my team was like, ‘do you want to do your job well? Do you want to trust us? It may not be the best time, I know you want to get it out, but we want people to know it’s out.’ We’re going to wait I guess.
I feel like it’s stuff people could really use right now. It’s about getting through, particularly like your worries and overthinking and frustration and your self doubt. I think a lot of people are worried, wondering, or simply like ‘how am I supposed to get through this?’ These were exactly the kinds of songs I’d want to give to people. I don’t know exactly when it’s going to come out now.
— David Archuleta (@DavidArchie) March 13, 2020
What was the inspiration for your new single, “OK, All Right”?
A lot of these songs came from what I learned, being in my own head and going to therapy. I tend to be a worry wart, I stress about little things. I’m a guy who’s like what if this, what if I’m not good enough, what if I can’t do this. So it’s kind of like giving people a glimpse, saying this is what’s going on in my head. It’s almost like the process of what my mind is going through as I figure out how to get through it.
That’s why I’m so anxious to get it to people – what better time do people need this? My purpose when I write music is to help people. I’m like, why would I want to wait to give people help?
Kevin McHale of Glee co-directed the “OK, All Right” music video. How did you two link up?
Kevin McHale and Justin Thorne worked on a previous video I’d done for ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.’ Someone on my management team is just friends with them, had worked with Justin and Kevin – they used to be in a boy band together like 10 years ago.
Since they’re all so close, that’s how the connection was made. I’ve seen Justin direct one of Kevin‘s videos, it was fun. It was kind of what I was wanting for my videos, and it worked great. It was so fun, it didn’t feel like it was work. Everyone on their crew were their friends. They really get along, they have a family vibe to their friendship. It felt like everyone was hanging out.
We happened to do two videos in one day when we filmed. I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to shoot another video with everything going on, so I have one I can release.
You’re releasing new music under your independent label, Archie Music. How does it compare to your days on a major label?
I’ve gone through a few different management settings over the past several years. It can be a process for a lot of artists. I was signed to Jive and 19 Entertainment. It was a joint partnership. I got dropped by Jive after my second album.
I was in the time when I wanted to take a break from music. I wanted to be a missionary for my church. I knew I wanted to do music, I just didn’t know it was going to happen when i was 16 or 17. I thought, ‘I’ll take my time, go to college, be a missionary, then I’ll come back and start pursuing music.’ “American Idol” changed everything.
The record label was like, ‘that’s not something you can do. You have a contract you’re obligated to fill, you can’t just leave the music business.’
What was in the contract?
It was confusing, it was a contract we didn’t know what we were getting into. It was like, ‘you need to sign this contract in order to be on American Idol. If you want to be in our Top 24, you need to sign this contract. And then it said, ‘if by the time the show is over we can make the choice to take you on as an artist, and this is the contract that would be activated at the time.’ This was like six months before “American Idol” ended. I was like, whatever, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ll probably be back in school. I was oblivious.
Fast forward and I’m still in this contract a couple years later. It was a good thing, but in my head, I was like, I want to do this, but I want to be a missionary too. This is something I’ve always loved. It’s a big part of me.
How did you get out of the contract?
My second album didn’t do well. I wanted to do what I did, and they wanted to do what they did – it ended up being not any of that. Then I got dropped. They asked if I’d be interested in re-signing to do something more faith based. They said, ‘we can re-produce contract, you can record something Christian.’ But to be honest, I wanted to go and be a missionary. I felt like it’s something I need to do.
I went with my manager to one of the heads of the 19 Entertainment label. My manager said, ‘David isn’t going to produce music for the next couple of years. He’s just going to be serving God, priorities aren’t about making money. We are seeing if you’d be willing to release him from this contract.’ And he was like, ‘yeah, I totally respect that, I’m going to honor that. You do your thing, we won’t hold anything against you we cleared up the contract.
How are you enjoying being an independent artist now?
I was a missionary for two years. When I got back, that’s when I first became an independent artist. I’m doing it in a way where I’m not told to be a Chris Brown or a Justin Bieber. I can just be myself, which is super refreshing. Only challenge I have is how do I promote – I don’t have the same team of product managers, publicity, radio that came with record label. I’m learning you need to hire a PR person, radio person, etc. I’m still figuring it out. I have great people I work with.”
Stream David Archuleta‘s new single, “OK, All Right” on Spotify: