David Archuleta is a singer who has been active for almost two decades. He is known for his honest smile, beautiful voice, and wholehearted kindness he shows wherever he goes.
Therapy Sessions is his latest album, the one he chose to open up and show all the emotions that came out during the last year. Now, he brings us Movin’, his latest single, a song that reminds us that, no matter how your years have been, there is always time to take a break and get moving, dance a little.
We had a conversation to talk about his life, believes, social commitment, his music, and some statements he recently said about aspects of his life that used to be private until he decided it was time to share them with the world, thinking about those who might be experiencing similar situations.
I invite you to keep reading this exclusive interview for Vanity Teen and be all welcomed to David Archuleta’s Therapy Sessions, in which everyone is invited.
All the emotions that came out
VT: When and how did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music? How did your family help you in this process?
DA: I knew I liked music, and I always imagined myself singing on a stage in front of a crowd. Even though; the reality of that scared me.
I liked the fantasy of it more because when I started actually doing it, I would get very bad anxiety attacks.
My parents and family helped me by pushing me out of my comfort zone and assuring me people wouldn’t boo me off the stage. That was my greatest fear. I was inconveniencing others with how unpleasant I thought my singing might be.
VT: I like your music very much; I love songs like Glorious and Invincible, but I must say that Therapy Sessions is like your most personal project; it feels like if you were opening your heart for everyone to see. How was it like making this album?
DA: First off, thanks so much! I appreciate that.
I feel like it’s nearly impossible for me to find any meaning in singing if I can’t connect to the messages personally. At least with most of the songs.
I feel like my soul is complete when I can be real because music is an outlet for me. If I don’t sing things that give me that outlet to express, share, and vent, then I feel stuck and dammed up.
Therapy Sessions was where I was able to dump all the emotions that came out when I was going through actual therapy. It was really helpful to have that extra outlet of music after having a lot of self-realization and introspection.
VT: You had Justin Thorne and Kevin McHale directing the music video for Ok, All Right. What can you share with us about that collaboration between the three of you?
DA: I met Justin and Kevin through mutual friends and people that we work with. I had heard a lot about them, and my manager wanted me to get together with them since she was friends with them.
When we finally got to, it was refreshing because who I worked with was like family with Justin and Kevin’s team of people and made it feel less like work and more like friends and family hanging. It was refreshing!
I feel like, in the industry, people can get a little uptight and caught up in trying to impress and look cool; but since my team had known them since they were young, I feel like there was no space for that, not that I’m sure they would really be those kinds of people anyway since they’re personable and real guys.
Connecting through music and helping others
VT: Now, you bring us a new single. What can you tell us about it?
DA: Well, 2020 was a deeper Year with therapy sessions. In 2021, I wanted to lighten things up a bit by making more fun music. I started 2021 with a happy love song: Be That For You; and a lazy one called Losin Sleep.
The latest one is Movin’, and I wanted to get people precisely doing that: Movin’. Haha! But I also couldn’t make up my mind on which version to release because there were 2 ways to take the song, so I released both. One more Latin feeling and another one more 80’s, or groovy feeling.
VT: It seems that faith has been an important part of your life. After all the love and support that came with American Idol, your worldwide success with Crush, and the release of a new album, you decided to serve as an LDS Missionary in South America. Why? Was it something you wanted to do for a long time? How was the experience?
DA: It was something I always saw myself doing when I got to that age. I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to be a singer for a living, and I didn’t think it’d happen either. I just knew something in me knew I had to connect through music. Same with my faith and with God.
I didn’t know where it would take me exactly, but something in me longed to keep searching for a connection to a higher source. For me, that even goes hand in hand. I have gotten to know God through music. I don’t think I would have music without Him.
Every time I feel this deep euphoric sensation in a moment of a special song, I feel like the heavens open up, and I see a glimpse of God for who He is, and not just trying to figure out who He is according to what people to try to explain to me. It’s like I get to know Him for myself at that moment.
The first time that happened was when I was like 10 years old, in the backyard. I just had this urge to look up to the sky and connect to something greater than me, so I started singing. And there God was. And I felt like it made so much sense even though I couldn’t explain what had just happened. Since then, I just have always wanted to keep Him close.
And when I felt a drift happening when my career got crazy, I felt like taking a break for my mission helped me recenter myself back to Him. It was my pit stop, which I feel I needed in my course of life. But I served in the Rancagua, Chile area, and I just loved it! I still keep in touch with many of the Chileans there, and I miss them. I was supposed to go back last year for a wedding, but when the pandemic hit, it changed plans. I will look for another chance, though!
VT: Not only during the pandemic but all over your career, you have been involved with fundraisings and charity organizations. How did you start developing this passion for helping others? Do you consider we all should do it as well?
DA: I think service is a big part of something I learned from a faith-based home. Looking out for others who are in need. I also have a mom who grew up very poor in Central America (she’s from Honduras), and she would always bring a perspective to be grateful for what we have.
I think it’s just nice to be mindful of others who are struggling. We’re not meant to be in this life on our own. We all have struggles and problems and challenges, and I think those exist so that we can learn to look out for and reach out to each other. Something about that concept of finding yourself by losing yourself in the service of others really resonates with me.
I think it’s beautiful even though I always need to be reminded because I like to keep to myself, and it can be easy to shut myself off from other people. But I guess that’s not a bad thing either. It is just a balance of it all.
I felt they were looking at me as a superhuman
VT: Since you started your career as a child, do you feel that you received the mental health support you needed? Or was it a topic that you found you needed to take care of while growing up?
DA: I’m not sure if I received what I needed or not. I think parents do what they can with what they know. I was one of the oldest in my family, just 14 months after my oldest sister, so we were close in age.
I feel my parents tried but didn’t know how to handle every situation that came their way as new parents. Maybe things that scared them they could’ve talked through with me anyway so that I wouldn’t be afraid of it. Like puberty, for example. Lol!
I was homeschooled, but my mom was too scared to talk to me about it. So I was confused about what the heck was going on when I started going through bodily changes, and it scared me pretty bad. But, oh well! My mom has apologized several times over for what she didn’t know back then.
Some family problems growing up kind of hindered the closeness of my family and communication around that time as well. Regardless of things like that, I’d say my parents still did a decent job, the best they knew how to with their experience and the situations and their own problems they were dealing with.
Nobody’s perfect, and I’m not either good grief to my future kids, bless them. Lol!
VT: Recently, you made declarations about aspects of your life that used to be private and only shared with your family and close ones. What motivated you to make that announcement public?
DA: I had talked to people I was close to about it and thought that that would be enough. But I think it’s too important for me to be honest and upfront about things that are important to me.
I felt like I couldn’t fully grow or understand myself while trying to keep something like that when I’m on a public platform, and everyone is always asking me about my future. Especially in a religious setting, people always asking me about marriage and kids, and all that.
I feel a lot of people have looked up to me for keeping that important to me also, and it put a lot of pressure on me because I felt they were looking at me as a superhuman just because I went on a mission and talked openly about God.
I felt, in order for them to understand more of a picture of my relationship with God, I had to be open about the things that were hard and confusing for me too. I mess up; I keep trying. There are still things I have questions about and am waiting to find answers to. But despite all that, I can still have trust and belief in God.
I think too many times we look at people and think they have all the answers and life figured out just because they believe in God. I want people to know I still trust in God even though I still have a lot of unanswered questions. He is still my strength, and I still seek Him. It’s like the questions and wonders and fears are what have made my relationship with Him what it is today and why I feel so close to Him.
I hope other people can see that they don’t have to have all the answers and make sense of everything to still feel God’s love and seek Him.
VT: Which message would you like to share with those young people who might be going through hard times trying to find out who they are and be struggling with feeling comfortable with themselves?
DA: I’d say be patient and give yourself permission to be compassionate with yourself!
You may not understand yourself right now, and other people may not either. But please, be compassionate to yourself and know that, once again, you don’t need to have all the answers right now.
If you’re afraid of making mistakes and disappointing someone, whether it’s God, your family, your friends, just know it’s OK to make mistakes. You’re human. You can have disappointments and mess up, and still keep moving forward, and be happy, and little by little find more answers, meet someone who will help you gain a bigger picture for your life. And find meaning and purpose.
You are meant to be you, however imperfect you feel, and find beauty in that! You’ll probably end up seeing that what you thought were mistakes and problems are actually the beautiful things that create the melody only you can play in the symphony of life. And you’ll see the bigger picture and how beautiful the part you play is.
VT: Anything else you would like to share with Vanity Teen?
DA: Well, I’ll be out on tour next year finally! So I look forward to that and seeing anybody who feels like coming out to see and hear! Old and new songs.
Before we go
Like all of us, David Archuleta has been through a lot of things that had made him consider his mental health and take a moment to stop, breath, ponder things in life, speak out, and let all his thoughts and emotions go out and release his burdens.
His music not only has helped him through this process but to everyone who listens to his songs and thinks: thank you, David, I feel you, I have been there. His soothing voice is like a balm for our ears, and his words help us look inside and let the best of us come out to move us to do things better.
He has reminded us that we all are imperfect but that it is OK because there is beauty in it. So, as we remember his kind message and we listen to his music, let us find those beautiful things that make us unique, be kind to ourselves, and help those who need us while we share our love and light with everyone.