David Archuleta said his earliest memory is of his parents supporting and believing in his singing talent. Now, years later, Archuleta is a platinum-selling singer-songwriter, actor and author, according to the LDS Publishing and Media Association website.
The American Idol runner-up spoke at the LDSPMA’s Fourth Annual Conference on the BYU campus on Nov. 2, and Archuleta discussed how he has remained true to his standards and faith while working in entertainment.
Kristen Reber, Operations Manager for the LDSPMA, began by asking Archuleta how he has managed to stay relevant and popular to producers and his fanbase over time.
Archuleta said working in a fast-paced industry often caused him to feel left behind. He has worked to adapt to changes in the music industry and maintain relevance since serving a two-year mission in Santiago, Chile, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2012-14.
“Trying to keep up, always being open to the new resources given to you and also understanding that this is the way to do it,” Archuleta said. “It is constantly changing and progressing and using the new technologies and the new ways of communication can be to your advantage.”
Learning the ins and outs of various means of communication is a continuing process for Archuleta. He said he learns new ways to market and engage with his audience daily to become more relatable and personable.
Archuleta said he began singing thanks to a connection he felt to a greater power. This mindset translated into his career as Archuleta began writing his own songs and sharing experiences and thoughts through music.
“Now I get to talk about what matters to me, like overcoming my fear, overcoming all the voices in my head telling me I am not good enough,” Archuleta said. “But in the end too it was like after I get to write, I get to make a new friend.”
Archuleta also said he didn’t compete on American Idol for attention, but rather he felt there was something he needed to learn there. Before appearing on the reality show, he said a prayer asking why he felt like he needed to appear on the show.
“I knew God was guiding me,” he said. “I think you can use your talents, you can move forward without Him as well, but I think there is a real difference when you have Him involved because you gain a deeper perspective that a lot of people do not have.”
The decision to serve a mission was also a faith-building experience for Archuleta. After leaving American Idol, he felt conflicted on whether or not to serve. The decision to serve a mission was a personal one, independent from the opinions of people telling him what was best for him, Archuleta said.
“There are so many voices in this world and everyone has an opinion. I got so worn out so I was just like, ‘what does God think?'” he said. “It took me several months to finally understand what He was trying to tell me. In the end, He said, ‘well, what’s best for you?'”
Archuleta also said aspiring Latter-day Saint artists should stand for their values and honestly represent themselves.
“It’s harder to be who you are in a world that is not like you but that is what God asked us to do,” he said. “Be one to be vulnerable and take a few hits, some punches and keep going forward because they will continue to see your good works and see your light.”