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David Archuleta: ‘American Idol’ survivor

March 22, 2019 at 12:04 am

There are few things David Archuleta dislikes more than being in front of a camera. But as a finalist for the 2007-2008 season of Fox’s “American Idol,” that’s where he spent most of his time.

“I’ve had a fear of cameras ever since I was little, and TV cameras are even more intimidating,” the Utah singer said. “Even now, whenever I do a TV interview, it brings back all the nerves and anxiety I felt all the time on ‘American Idol.’ I remember seeing an interview with an Olympic skier, talking about how she could die any time from what she was doing. That’s what it was like for me. The fear doesn’t help you sing, but it can push you to do your best.”

Now making music his own way — still pop, but more personal — Archuleta hits the City Winery on Thursday, supporting his recent album “Postcards in the Sky.”

As an “Idol” finalist, Archuleta was known for singing such inspiring songs as John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” It’s only recently that he’s talked about the darker side of the “Idol” experience. For one thing, he says, the show created conflicts in his family by overplaying the backstage drama between him and his father.

“I’m not going to say that I always got along with my dad. But they made such a story of it that the rumors got really annoying. People started asking me, ‘Is it true that he beats you and doesn’t give you water?’ That’s what my family had to deal with, and I felt very protective of them. They were going to school and going about everyday lives while I was stuck in a room all week, living in the bubble. And my father was there with me, and he got set up as the bad guy. He was someone who pushed me pretty hard, but if you look at Beyonce or Justin Timberlake, there’s a lot of parents like that.”

After losing the “Idol” finals to David Cook and scoring his first original hit with “Crush,” Archuleta chose to leave music for a couple of years and, following his Mormon faith, volunteer in Chile.

“That centered me and gave me something to focus on. I was so used to deadlines and having people critique my work. But here I was walking the streets with my companion and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, nobody is watching me?’ That was an amazing experience, and it let me focus on teaching people about God.”

Thanks partly to his faith, Archuleta went down in “Idol” history as one of the most wholesome personalities ever to appear on the show.

“It’s not like I’m a drinker or partier. That’s not the way I was raised. I participate in my church, and when I did the new album, I asked all the songwriters if they minded that I said a prayer before I sang. But I’m not going to say that I’m innocent or naive. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for 11 years. I like to live honestly and be what I really am, and that’s a good boy with a twist.”