David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is a Honduran-American singer-songwriter. At ten years old he won the children’s division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances. At twelve, he became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2. In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest finalists on the seventh season of American Idol. In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.
In August 2008 Archuleta released “Crush”, the first single from his self-titled debut album.The album, released in November 2008, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart; as of January 2009 it had sold over 600,000 copies in the United States
David Archuleta was born in Miami, Florida, to Jeff Archuleta and Lupe Marie Mayorga, a salsa singer and dancer from Honduras. Archuleta has four siblings, Claudia, Daniel, Jazzy and Amber. Archuleta’s family moved to the Salt Lake Valley, to the city of Sandy, Utah, when Archuleta was six. He currently lives in Murray, Utah where he attended Murray High School. Archuleta is a member of the Boy Scouts of America.
Archuleta started singing at age six, inspired by a Les Misérables video. “That musical is what started all of this,” he said. He started performing publicly at age ten when he participated in the Utah Talent Competition singing “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton; he received a standing ovation and won the Child Division.
Archuleta was inspired by watching both Tamyra Gray and Kelly Clarkson to “see what performing and really getting into a song was like” during the beginning weeks of the premiere season of American Idol. He later made his television debut, at eleven years old, singing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” on The Jenny Jones Show show for talented kids across America alongside season one finalist A.J. Gil. Through A.J. Gil he was able to meet and sing for Gray who had sung the song on American Idol as well as Clarkson (that year’s winner) and Justin Guarini (the runner up).
Archuleta’s mother is from Honduras, and much of the music he listened to as a child was Latin-influenced including watching his mom sing at events with her sisters. She also “was big on dancing” according to Archuleta, and would “make” him dance to traditional music with his older sister. He also listened to jazz music, he said, from his father’s collection as well as gospel, pop, rock and “soulful music.” In a later interview, he revealed that his father was a jazz musician. Archuleta also said he enjoys Broadway musicals.
On his American Idol “Fast Facts” page, Archuleta cited his musical influences as Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin and Bryan Adams. When he listed his top pop music artists, he cited Natasha Bedingfield, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, Kirk Franklin, and Robbie Williams. Like Elliott Yamin and another singer he admires, John Mayer, Archuleta tries to infuse his pop selections with a soulful vibe. In a Seventeen interview he cites Sara Bareilles as a clever singer-songwriter he looks up to.
In 2003, at age twelve, David Archuleta sang on several episodes of the television show Star Search. He ended up as the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2. On one episode, he sang against then-11-year-old Alexandréa Lushington, who became a “top 20″ semi-finalist on American Idol alongside Archuleta. Around the second year of being on Star Search he started focusing on the lyrics, “I didn’t even pay attention to the lyrics when I was 12, 13″.
Archuleta’s competing on Star Search led to appearances on CBS’ The Early Show, and meeting the finalists from American Idol’s first season, for whom he performed a spontaneous a cappella rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls, and received enthusiastic praise from Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson. The year after Star Search he found out he had partial vocal paralysis but declined risky surgery and has said he feels he is almost fully recovered. He limited his singing for specific occasions like Stadium of Fire, the Independence Day celebration at Brigham Young University Stadium.
Archuleta made initial attempts at songwriting and arranging music after his Star Search experience and had written at least three songs. His first singles in 2002 included “Dream Sky High” and “Don’t Tell Me”.
David Archuleta won his ticket to the Hollywood final auditions at the San Diego tryouts – held at Qualcomm Stadium at the end of July 2007 – with a performance of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” with judge Randy Jackson spontaneously joining in to sing the background “waiting” in the song.) He was 16 during the Hollywood auditions (where his renditions of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” were well-received by the judges) and attended school while a part of American Idol’s seventh season. His parents were there because he was a minor. Archuleta also took advantage of the decision to allow contestants to play musical instruments when he accompanied himself on piano for his performances of “Crazy”, “Another Day in Paradise”, and “Angels.”
A Los Angeles Times article speculated that Archuleta avoided singing the first verse of “Imagine“: because “of his religion (Mormonism), he’s unlikely to espouse the song’s agnostic ideal . . . with the line about ‘no religion too.’” Archuleta did, however, sing the entire song on Good Things Utah when he was 13. During his first performance of “Imagine” on American Idol, when asked by judge Randy Jackson why he didn’t sing the first verse, Archuleta said the third verse was his favorite because it has “a great message.”
After his performance of “We Can Work It Out“, which judge Simon Cowell called “a mess”, Entertainment Tonight reported that Archuleta was feeling pressure from his father, Jeff Archuleta, who “reportedly yelled at” his son after a recording session the previous night. Jeff Archuleta, in an interview with Us Magazine, denied the claim. A May 2008 Associated Press article erroneously reported that Jeff Archuleta had his son add a lyric from the Sean Kingston song “Beautiful Girls” into a rendition of “Stand by Me” (from which “Beautiful Girls” samples its bass line), increasing the costs for licensing, and that this had resulted in Jeff Archuleta being banned from American Idol backstage rehearsals. David defended his father calling him “a great guy” who keeps him grounded.
During the Top 7 results show, the contestants were split into two groups. In one group was Syesha Mercado, Brooke White, and Kristy Lee Cook. In the other group was David Cook, Carly Smithson, and Jason Castro. Archuleta was the only one not sorted into a group. He was declared safe after the groups were formed, then was asked to choose the group he thought was safe. He refused, and sat down on the floor of the stage, much like Melinda Doolittle had done the previous season.
In the finale he sang “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me“, “In This Moment” and “Imagine“. Judge Simon Cowell declared that Archuleta won the evening and even David Cook, who ultimately won, thought Archuleta would win: “I have to concede it, the kid came out all three songs and nailed it”, said Cook. In the final tally, Archuleta received 44 percent of the votes. During the finale show, identical commercials featuring Archuleta and fellow finalist Cook mimicked the Tom Cruise scene from Risky Business where he dances in his underwear playing an air guitar; they were promoting the game franchise Guitar Hero.
Fans dub themselves “Arch Angels” or “Archies.” With his “cult-like appeal” nurtured by his work on American Idol, Archuleta has attracted a wide demographic of fans including teenage girls. Archuleta was labeled the front-runner after the first few weeks of performances by both the judges and the media because of his “pure, pop voice”, which helped him build a large fan base during the competition. Billboard magazine’s Fred Bronson notes “David fills a spot where there’s a void. He has innocence and humility.” Los Angeles Times’ Richard Rushfield noted that the “tween/teen girl hysteria” has only increased. Rushfield commented on some of the girls who were standing in the front of the audience: “An hour after the show, they were still shaking, sobbing and screeching about their encounter with the Chosen One [Archuleta].”
In June 2008, Archuleta signed with Jive Records. His self-titled album, David Archuleta, was released on November 11th 2008. Archuleta’s first single “Crush” was released on August 1, 2008 on Z100, a New York radio station. On August 12 “Crush” became available on iTunes. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, beaten only by Rihanna’s “Disturbia.” It was the best chart debut in more than 18 months. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the track sold 166,000 downloads in the first week in the United States. It has sold more than 1.5 million digital copies in the US.
The three songs he performed in the American Idol finale; “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, “In This Moment”, and “Imagine”, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of June 7, 2008. “Imagine” entered at #36 (giving Archuleta his first top forty hit), “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at #58, and “In This Moment” entered at #60. That same week he landed three songs on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, where his versions of “Longer”, “Think of Me”, and “Angels” debuted at #15, #19, and #24 respectively. In July 2008 So You Think You Can Dance, a dance competition reality show, Archuleta’s cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon was the featured music for contestants Katee Shean and William Wingfield with their pas de deux performance.
Along with American Idol winner David Cook, Archuleta placed second on Forbes’ list of “Breakout Stars of 2008″. The two co-presented an award at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards in August 2008. Archuleta also received the Teen Choice Award surfboard for “Most Fanatic Fans”.
On February 18, 2009, it was announced that Archuleta would be touring the United Kingdom supporting English band McFly on their upcoming “Up Close…And This Time It’s Personal” tour. The tour began on April 21, 2009 and continued throughout April and May.
Archuleta released a memoir titled Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song, and the Power of Perseverance, a “reference to the partial vocal paralysis he suffered in 2004 but has now fully recovered from”, on June 1. He went on a book signing tour beginning in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Archuleta came back to the Idol stage on April 7, 2010 on the show’s ninth season and performed Imagine by John Lennon, which he had performed previously when he was a contestant on American Idol. After his performance, he mentioned that he was working on his third studio album.
David Archuleta made a cameo appearance as himself for his acting debut on Nickelodeon’s show iCarly titled “iRocked the Vote“. The television sitcom is centered around Miranda Cosgrove who is also a teenage singer and also has music singles charting at the time. “iRocked the Vote” has Archuleta as a contestant on an Idol-style show called America Sings; the episode aired on February 7, 2009. He also appeared as himself on an episode of Hannah Montana – May 3rd 2009 (Season 3, Episode 14) – titled “Promma Mia.”
2010-Present: Something ‘Bout Love, The Other Side of Down
In an interview with AOL’s Something Pitchy, Archuleta revealed that the release of his next album is planned for Fall 2010 (he did mention a late September release, but then went back to the Fall). On June 24, 2010 Jive Records announced that his new single would be released on DavidArchuleta.com on July 13, and iTunes on July 20. However, on June 30, 2010 the full version of “Something ‘Bout Love” became available to play on his website. His new album The Other Side of Down is scheduled to be released on October 5, 2010.