I’m cool not BEING COOL
Singer David Archuleta says not being edgy is fine with him
By Juliana June Rasul
November 17, 2010
BY HIS own admission, he’s ‘not the smartest or the coolest person’.
But apparently, he is good enough to survive in a music industry that can take its toll on young upstarts.
American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, 19, says he has surprised himself with how he has managed to build a career as a pop star, despite not being ‘edgy’.
‘Before American Idol, I never thought I’d be able to be a successful artiste. I’ve managed to make two albums, a Christmas album, and go on tour,’ said Archuleta.
People want your attention
During the show’s seventh season, he was the boy with the inspiring back story – he had overcome partial vocal paralysis to become a singer – but was pipped to the crown by rocker David Cook.
Still, Archuleta has managed a decent career beyond the show, releasing his third album, The Other Side Of Down, last month and travelling the world to meet fans.
‘I never had to be anything but myself, and that was surprising to me… I’m willing to accept that I’m not cool. I’m embracing it,’ he said.
Indeed, when The New Paper met him at the Ritz-Carlton yesterday, he was nursing a hangover – from eating too many chocolates.
The singer was in town to launch the new Nokia N8 phone and to perform songs from his latest album at a showcase at Zouk.
‘I hope that I prove to people that they don’t have to be something that they’re not comfortable with, just to gain attention,’ he said.
Although he looks like a high-school kid, Archuleta has the kind of grown-up outlook on his career that has kept him away from the kind of public meltdowns that Disney actress-singer Demi Lovato has been through. The pair toured the US together for three months last summer.
Lovato recently checked into a rehab facility to seek treatment for ’emotional and physical issues’.
Archuleta would not give specifics when asked about Lovato’s troubles, but alluded to her possibly being unable to handle the pressures of fame.
He said: ‘It is tough to be in a situation where everyone is looking for your attention. That’s one of the most difficult things about being so high-profile. So many people want your attention, and you can’t give it to everyone. People even fight for it.’
He said he hasn’t spoken to Lovato for a while.
‘I think it’s something personal, and it’s important to give space to her,’ he said.
Although he always seems to have a big grin ready, Archuleta admitted that he, too, has bad days, but he has learnt to take them in his stride.
‘I don’t think anyone ever always has super, perfect, happy life situations, but you can still be happy with your life despite the challenges,’ he said.
‘The hardest moments are when you feel like you’re disappointing yourself, like when you feel you could have handled something better.’
But there won’t be any hotel room-trashing fromhim.
‘I listen to music or read,’ he said. ‘I try to think about why I feel that way. Instead of just walking around with that thorn in my side, I’ll stop, find it, and get it out.
‘There’s always something good in each day and it’s important to pay attention to those things.’
This rather calm approach to his life extends to his love life as well – which is a big fat zero.
Archuleta, who is a Mormon, told the crowd at his showcase on Sunday that he has ‘never been in a relationship’.
‘People say it should be a lot easier to meet girls, doing what I do, but I don’t want to meet a girl like that,’ he said. ‘That’s not how it should be.’
Despite all this worldly wisdom, Archuleta, who turns 20 next month, still gets mistaken for a 15-year-old.
He is constantly asked if he is old enough to sit near the emergency exit on planes because US airlines have a policy that only passengers above 15 years old can be seated there.
‘That’s just how it is,’ he said.
‘A son any mum would want’
THIS was no K-pop concert. But the fans were just as crazy.
One of the craziest was Dr Elizabeth De Guia, 57, a psychiatrist who flew in from Manila to see David Archuleta here.
And she is leaving Tuesday morning to go back to the Philippines for his performance there.
Dr De Guia, who has a 19-year-old son, said her fondness for the American Idol runner-up comes from her mummy instincts.
‘He’s the son any mother would want to have,’ she said.
Although she is clued in to all the ‘latest, hottest music’ like Usher, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber, Archuleta tugs at her heartstrings like no one else.
‘He’s always on the best behaviour. Such a great role model,’ she said. ‘He’s beautiful inside and outside.’
She paid US$600 (S$780) for two tickets to his showcase – one for herself and one for her secretary Esther, who accompanies her everywhere – and spent another US$700 on the rest of her trip.
She, like other fans, had got the tickets from Singaporeans here.
The tickets had originally been given free to anyone who bought the new Nokia N8 phone.
‘I think I’ve spent more money on David than my own son,’ she said, laughing.
Other fans who came from afar included a girl wearing a The Other Side Of Down bandana, who had flown in from Perth.
There were a pair of 50-something friends and other fans from Malaysia.
Many of Archuleta’s local fans – ranging in age from 12 to their mid-40s – are members of fansite http://www.davidarchuleta.sg.
They banded together to make a book of Asian recipes and a fan video.
Student Keerthana Sundar, 15, spent her morning staking out the Ritz-Carlton to get an autograph for fellow fan Nicolette Tay, who was celebrating her 16th birthday on Sunday.
Administrative assistant Maizurah Idris, 20, added: ‘He’s such a nice person, he inspires all of us to be the same.’