Interview: David Archuleta discusses his new Christmas album, ‘Winter In The Air’
It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since David Archuleta’s whirlwind run on American Idol. An experience that launched him into superstardom and ushered in the release of his debut, self-titled album, which sold nearly a million copies worldwide and made the singer/songwriter a household name.
In getting with the holiday spirit, Archuleta is unveiling his eighth studio album on Nov. 2 – the appropriately titled, Winter In The Air. The twelve-track compilation is Archuleta’s second Christmas-themed release and features his unique take on such Christmas classics as “White Christmas,” God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Mary, Did You Know?”
The album also features three original tracks co-written by Archuleta, including the bubbly first single, “Christmas Every Day” and the testimonial “He Is Born.” Archuleta also captures the magical feeling of the season with the sentimental title track. Pre-orders of Winter In The Airare available now and fans who do will receive an instant download of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
AXS recently spoke with David Archuleta about Winter In The Air, his time on American Idol and more in this exclusive new interview.
AXS: What made you decide to do another Christmas album?
David Archuleta: I've always loved Christmas music. Even when I was recording the first one nine years ago, Christmas From The Heart, I was already talking about doing another one. For this album, I wanted it to have a happier, classic, forties and fifties vibe of Christmas music on it. I tend to lean more serious and sacred but wanted to make sure there would also be good-feeling songs on there as well. So, I pushed myself a little and feel there’s a happy medium between the two.
AXS: You have a few originals on the album as well. What’s the secret to writing a Christmas song?
DA: This is my first time really getting into writing Christmas songs, and there are three different directions you can go. The first one is like the song, “Christmas Every Day” that I wrote with Cason Cooley and Dave Barnes. I wanted to write a song that was happy and bouncy. One with a “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and “All I Want For Christmas” kind of vibe. I wanted a song that sounds like you’re walking down the street and you see Christmas lights on the houses and buildings. It asks the question, what are the things you see?
The second version is a more sacred spiritual approach, and that’s the song, “He is Born,” which expresses my testimony. I wondered what it would’ve been like to have been a shepherd that was there that night. What would I have observed and what would it have been like to have heard the angels singing praises?
The third is more romantic and that’s what I named the album after. “Winter In The Air” is about taking in the moment, breathing in the cold air and looking up at the branches of the trees with no leaves on them. Everything is quiet and you’re feeling the snowfall. I wanted to capture that moment.
AXS: Let’s talk about a few other tracks on the album, beginning with “White Christmas.”
DA: It’s the highest selling Christmas song of all-time and a classic. I do Christmas shows every year and this is a fun one to sing and to see how much people love it. I decided to record it for this album and do my own take on it.
AXS: How about the track, “Mary, Did You Know?”
DA: That’s another one of my favorite Christmas songs to sing. That sacred feeling of realizing what Christmas is about; where it began and why it's celebrated. My producer, John Hancock, suggested we try a trio approach when we recorded it. Just a drum with brushes, a little keyboard and a voice. It feels like you’re in an intimate setting having a story being told to you.
AXS: Do you have plans to tour in support of the new album?
DA: Yes. I’ll start Nov 26 in California and I’ll be doing shows in States like Utah, New York, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. What makes touring so worth it is getting to watch people experience what you’ve created face to face. It’s not a message or an email you receive. You actually get to watch them experience the music. I hope people enjoy it, have fun and feel the sacredness of Christmas while experiencing the classic songs we all grew up listening to.
AXS: It’s now been ten years since your experience on American Idol. When you look back now with so much perspective what thoughts come to mind?
DA: It feels like another lifetime because it was so different from anything I had ever done. It was a music business boot camp and being given a taste for what it’s like to have a fan base, record and do music videos, receive criticism, and getting a chance to bear your heart in your music every week. It was an amazing feeling and an incredible experience.
AXS: Of all the highlights of your career what else stands out as most memorable?
DA: There was a huge Christmas thing that happened eight years ago. I’d grown up listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and thought that someday I’d love to be in it. Growing up in the church and then being invited back as a guest was an awakening. There I was, singing with this amazing choir I had grown up with along with a full orchestra. It was unbelievable!
AXS: What are you most looking forward to about this next phase of your career?
DA: I’m looking forward to making music with conviction that can stand the test of time. Even when I'm not here in this life anymore, the music will still be able to influence people, be a part of their lives and bring them joy. That’s what I’m hoping for.
David Archuleta Tour Dates:
Nov. 26: Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour