David Archuleta’s self-titled debut album was released in November and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts. As of May, it had sold more than 700,000 copies in the U.S. No matter what the cuddly, cute 18-year-old accomplishes from here on out, nothing is likely to compare to the goose bumps that viewers felt during the “American Idol” finale in 2008 when Archuleta lost to the considerably more experienced — and scruffier — David Cook.
Although he didn’t capture the “Idol” title, he succeeded in building a fan base known as the “Archies,” who seem poised to make David Archuleta one of the biggest names in American pop music for years to come.
Bankrate spoke to Archuleta about the release of his first CD, that first exciting recording experience and how he’s coping with stardom.
Bankrate: Tell me about the recording of the CD.
David Archuleta: If you include roughs and demos, we probably did over 25 songs, just to see which sounded best. Sometimes, there were songs I didn’t like until I went into the studio and started recording them. I mean, I liked them but didn’t know if they were for me, and then they worked out really well.
Bankrate: Can you give me an example of a song you weren’t that high on until you recorded it?
David Archuleta: “Your Eyes Don’t Lie.”
Bankrate: Why did you initially think it wasn’t for you?
David Archuleta: I just thought it was really different. It was a more groovy song. Then, there was another one that I actually wrote that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull off. But now it’s one of my favorite songs to perform.
Bankrate: Which song?
David Archuleta: “Don’t Let Go.” It was one I co-wrote with JC Chasez (from ‘N Sync) and Jimmy Harry. They’re just really cool guys to work with.
Bankrate: Did you have one or two producers who were your main mentors guiding this record?
David Archuleta: There wasn’t really just one person. Every song had a different producer. One of the writers of “Crush,” Eman, I did more with him. There were three songs he co-wrote on the album, so I think he wrote the most.
Bankrate: What were some of the things he brought to the record and helped to teach you about making records?
David Archuleta: I was really comfortable with the way he worked. The way he did things really suited my style of pop, and the way I sing. He was a really great fit. Another one of the writers, David Hodges, it was really cool to be able to talk to him because he’s worked with a ton of people. He worked with David Cook and Kelly Clarkson, and he used to be in Evanescence. I was actually a fan of his already because he was in a band called Trading Yesterday. So it was really cool to work with him — someone I looked up to already. Also, Eman wrote “To Be With You” with Kara DioGuardi. She did the backup vocals for me on that song, and she’s the fourth judge on “American Idol.” … She worked with both me and David Cook.
Bankrate: Working with all these great people, what were some of the things you learned about recording a CD?
David Archuleta: It was really interesting to see how it all worked, and doing writing sessions with other people. I’d never paid attention to the way a song was mixed until now. I think it’s really fascinating. With all the writing sessions I had, I was a little hesitant to give my input. But the more sessions I had, the more input I gave, and I was really willing to say, “How about this,” and, “That didn’t work that great.” … You just keep bouncing (ideas) off each other until you are really happy with the song.
Bankrate: Considering that this is your first album, did you find the process intimidating?
David Archuleta: It happened so fast that I was so excited. There were a few months given to work on the album, and since I was on tour for most of that, it was like, “I wonder how I’m going to pull this off.” But I’m really happy with what we accomplished in such a small amount of time.