David Archuleta: the Eagle, the temple and the music

Published: Monday, Nov. 28 2011 6:06 p.m. MST

“We had purchased the trees and had an area that needed to be planted, but didn’t have the time or employees to do the job,” said Kim Sorensen, Murray’s Parks and Recreation director. “David did a good job of organizing it, and it was done quickly. We were also able to keep it low key. It was neat to see.”

Although he earned his Eagle, he didn’t receive the award for another two years because of his tours and travels. Madsen didn’t want to just hand Archuleta the award. He only needed 15 minutes and a gathering of family and friends. One day last December, Madsen saw Archuleta throwing snowballs with his family outside their house. The veteran Scout leader asked if Archuleta had 15 minutes to receive his Eagle. Archuleta said he was about to attend rehearsal for the Christmas concert, but could do it later that day, and so he did, with about 20 family members present.

“It was totally the influence of a good leader,” Archuleta said. “Cal has probably helped many scouts get their Eagle, guys who wouldn’t have gotten it otherwise. They just needed someone to believe in them, just a little push. He is a great neighbor.”

The dark-haired singer talked about a myriad of other topics during his 25-minute interview with the Deseret News.

Archuleta, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently went through the Jordan River Utah Temple. He has a goal to attend the temple often.

“It was very special,” he said. “It gave me a new perspective on life.”

When asked if he would ever audition for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Archuleta said he questioned his sight-reading skills.

“Oh, man. My problem is I’m not good at reading music. That is really important when you are in the choir,” he said. “But it was amazing to sing with them.”

Archuleta said he fell in love with music at age 6 when he first heard “At the End of the Day,” a song in the “Les Miserables” score.

“Hearing the melody, the way they sang and performed it, it was amazing and I couldn’t get enough of it, couldn’t stop watching it,” Archuleta said. “It was very influential to me and introduced me to a love of music.”

When he is driving alone in the Ford Hybrid he won on "American Idol," he likes to sing along with golden oldies, Christmas music and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The last time he sang in an LDS Church building was last month when he spoke at a fireside for some military families and members of the church in Okinawa, Japan.

Archuleta loves Thai food, especially the fresh curry and coconut ice cream at Simply Thai in Sandy.

If asked to participate on “Dancing with the Stars,” he would “probably perform really bad. Maybe if I had a good trainer,” he said, “It would be interesting.”

Though audiences may never know it, but Archuleta still gets terrified on stage, he explained. He recalled saying a little prayer for courage at age 10 to force himself out on a stage.

“You have to realize that feeling is going to exist and you have to work through it anyway," he said. "It’s not a matter of that feeling going away, it’s a matter of getting past that feeling. You have to learn and discipline yourself.”

When people learn he’s from Utah, the next question is usually about the LDS Church. “It’s the first thing they ask,” Archuleta said. “It’s cool when people notice that you make an effort to live certain values.”

When given the opportunity, Archuleta encourages people to develop their musical talents. He also likes to challenge LDS youth to discover the power of good music.

“What I’ve learned is that music affects the way you feel,” he said. “A song can change someone’s life.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com

Twitter: tbtoone

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