MANILA, JULY 11, 2011 (STAR)
 CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo (So you think you know the American Idol well enough just because he has been here twice (and will soon be back on July 18 for a solo concert at the Big Dome)? In an exclusive phone Conversation, David reveals more of his ‘other side’ but not so much the ‘down’ referred to in latest album.)

Perhaps this much his fans know about David Archuleta who finished runner-up to his namesake, David Cook, in the seventh season of American Idol:

David will turn 21 on Dec. 28. He was born in Miami, Florida (to Jeff Archuleta and Lupe Marie Mayorga who is a salsa singer and dancer from Honduras) and his family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, when David was six years old, at about the same time when he started singing, inspired by a Les Miserables video. He’s a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.

“That Les Miz video got me started on the road to where I am now,” said David.

At age 10, he started performing publicly as contestant in the Utah Talent Competition in which he sang Dolly Parton’s version of I Will Always Love You.

“I won in the Child Division,” David recalled, confirming an entry in the Internet. “Maybe because my performance got me a standing ovation.”

At age 12, David performed on several episodes of Star Search, finishing the Junior Vocal Champion which he eventually lost to a girl contestant.

Then came American Idol where he stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest when he sang the John Lennon song Imagine during the show’s 1970s-themed edition when he skipped one verse and sang another one since he, according to a critic, wanted to avoid singing the line “no religion, too” because of his faith.

“I sang the third verse instead of the first because it was my favorite and it has a great message,” David explained during our phone Conversation. “My religion had nothing to do with it.”

That explanation and many other things are some of the revelations David made in this piece.

Will David sing Imagine during his concert at the Big Dome on July 18? That remains to be seen. But for sure, he will do songs from his latest album, The Other Side Of Down.

Meanwhile, uncover more on the flipside of David Archuleta.

How do you feel about this your third visit to the Philippines?

“Oh, I’m really excited to go back to the Philippines. I’m looking forward to performing for my fans there. The last time I was there (for a showcase at a mall), I did only a few songs but now I’m doing a whole show, just myself.”

What do you remember most from your previous visits to the Philippines?

“I remember the fans. I think that’s what I always remember a lot, the interaction with them and things like that. I remember the mangoes. I always tell my friends about the mangoes when they ask me about the Philippines. They soooooo good!”

This time around, would you have enough time to see more of the Philippines after your concert?

“You know, I’m not sure. But I think I might have a little bit of time. The first time I was there, we were not even allowed to go out or leave the hotel during our free time. I wanted to go out and try to ride the jeepney but I didn’t have the chance to. This time, I will ride a jeepney so that I can say, ‘I went to the Philippines and I rode a jeepney’.”

You started in the business at age six. Don’t you feel that maybe you’ve missed part of your childhood?

“No. I mean, show business is part of my childhood. I didn’t have any other way of spending my childhood. To be honest, I still feel like I’m too much of a kid. I don’t know. But I feel like I never have to grow up. You can get older and you can still feel young. You can be young at heart no matter how old you are. I still love to go to theme parks, I still like to play videogames, I still love watching cartoons and stuff like that.”

Can you still do what ordinary folks do now that you are rich and famous — you know, like strolling in the mall and things like that?

“You know what I’d like to go to? Swap meet! You know, I like the people who are working there…It’s their own shop, it’s their own stuff. It’s just kind of exciting to me.”

How different are you now from two years ago when you were in the Philippines? What can we expect from your concert on July 18?

“You can see how I’ve changed in my latest album. It’s a lot more light-hearted, it’s more fun, the words in the songs are reflective of the kind of person that I was. I worked hard to make sure that I conveyed to everyone what the songs were saying.”

In your concert on July 18, aren’t you going to include Imagine in your repertoire? It was one of your favorite songs on American Idol.

“Sometimes I put it in there and sometimes I don’t. I don’t like to sing it too much because it was such an overwhelming experience singing that song. I didn’t expect the reaction that I was gonna get from it. I’m not sure what it was I did. I just sing songs that I love. I don’t know if I can ever get that moment again that I did on American Idol when I sang (Imagine) there. That song changed my life. I get nervous singing that song because I want it to be good.”

Changed your life in what way?

“Changed my life in the sense that it made people pay attention to what I was doing. It was amazing how people connected to that song and to my performance. That song is very close to me and I was happy to discover that other people could feel the same way.”

The song was controversial because some people thought that you avoided singing the line “No religion, too.” They thought that your being a Mormon had something to do with it. Could you clarify that?

“The whole song has an amazing message. The first verse is the one that everyone knows so I chose to sing that verse. The line ‘no religion, too’ is in the second verse. My other favorite verse is the last one. But then, I could only sing one verse on American Idol so I chose the first verse. In the third verse, it says, ‘Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,’ and I love that line. It asks everyone a question, ‘I wonder if you can.’ And then it says, ‘Imagine all the people living life in peace.’ It’s such a great message --- the brotherhood of men. That line gives me goose bumps. I would say, ‘You know what, I don‘t know if I would be here next week, so what do I want to say?’ So I picked that song and I picked that line.”

Would you consider the Beatles among your musical influences?

“Even if some people don’t want to admit it, the Beatles have influenced everyone in one way or another because they changed the direction where the music was going; they really extended what music could do, they introduced a new sound into the world and it forever changed what music could do to people. My other musical influences? To name a few…Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, John Meyer, Michael Jackson, Jason Mraz and Mariah Carey.”

Have you worked with any Filipino artist?

“I did a duet with Charice on a Christmas album. We sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Charice is always very nice; she’s a down-to-earth person. She’s very grateful for everything that has happened to her. She’s very close to her mom and that’s what I like about her because I’m very close to my mom, too. I’m always happy to hear her talk about her mom.”

Hmmmm, how’s your love life?

“My love life? You know, I haven’t really done anything with my love life. I feel like there’s never been any reason to rush it. And so I’m still just waiting for the right person. If the right girl comes, then I would start getting into my love life. Right now, I’m not focusing on that.”

What kind of girl would be appealing to you?

“That’s always the first question that people ask me…all the time. You know, a blonde or brunette? Hahahahaha! I would tell them, ‘You know, I don’t even notice. A lot of times I don’t even remember how someone looks like.’ I can remember hanging out with someone but for some reason I have a hard time remembering the face. I can remember what I talk to them about, sometimes I remember their names. Sometimes my own friends, I just don’t think about how they look.”

What about girls?

“It’s the same with girls. I mean, it’s important to be attracted to someone in the way they look but I think the more important thing is to be attracted to their personality, someone who is very respectful to themselves and also to other people, and someone who can have a good time, someone who is funny, who can make you laugh, who can make you smile, and who is adventurous, who likes to go out …you know, eat in a good restaurant, go hiking or rock-climbing.”

(Note: David Archuleta’s concert at the Big Dome on July 18 is produced by Ovation Productions and etc, in cooperation with The Philippine STAR, 2nd Avenue, Talk TV, Diva Universal, Basketball TV, Solar, Jack TV, Business World, EDSA Shangri-La, Home Radio 97.9, Mellow 94.7, RX 93.1, RJ 100.3 and Optima Sign Solutions. Tickets are priced at P4,500, P4,000, P3,500, P2,500, P1,500 and P500. Call [02]911-5555.)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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