On 2 November 2018, American Idol alum, David Archuleta, spoke at the LDS Publishing and Media Association’s (LDSPMA) Fourth Annual Conference on the campus of Brigham Young University. He spoke about how he has remained true to his faith and standards while being active in the entertainment industry.
David, a platinum-selling singer-songwriter, actor, and author, says that his earliest memory is of his parents supporting and believing in his singing talent. Kristen Reber, Operations Manager for the LDSPMA, asked him how he has been able to remain relevant and popular to producers and fanbase over time. He admitted that working in a fast-paced industry often causes him to feel left behind. He commented, “Trying to keep up, always being open to the new resources given to you and understanding that this is the way to do it. It is constantly changing and progressing and using the new technologies and the new ways of communication can be to your advantage.” He has worked to adapt to changes in the music industry since taking a two-year break to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly referred to as the “Mormon Church) in Santiago, Chile from 2012-2014.
David says that every day he is learning new ways to market and engage with his audience to become more relatable and personable. He also says that he began singing because of a connection that he felt to a greater power – a mindset that has carried over into his career as he started writing his own songs and sharing his life experiences and innermost thoughts through his music. He remarked, “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. But in the end too it was like after I get to write, I get to make a new friend.”
Speaking about appearing on American Idol, David says that he was not looking for attention, but rather he felt that there was something there that he needed to learn. He said, “I knew God was guiding me. 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.”
Making the decision to serve a full-time mission after leaving American Idol also proved to be a faith-building experience for David. The ultimate decision was a personal one apart from the opinions of others who were trying to discourage him by telling him what they thought was best for him. He 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?’ 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?’”
David had this counsel for aspiring Latter-day Saint artists: “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. 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.”