SALT LAKE CITY — Mormon singer and “American Idol” season seven runner-up David Archuleta will take the stage at Abravanel Hall Nov. 20 for the first time since he announced his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there in 2011.
“I think it’s really cool to go back to the place where I had first let everyone know that I was making that move,” Archuleta told the Deseret News. “I’m excited about it.”
“Like the album says, the struggle was to feel like you could speak up and be heard, and Utah has always given me that opportunity to speak up and be heard, so it means a lot,” Archuleta said.
The Deseret News recently spoke with Archuleta about how his LDS mission to Chile has influenced his musical career since he returned in 2014. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Deseret News: This is the first album you’ve released since you returned from your mission, right?
David Archuleta: Yeah. It’ll be exciting to see what the home crowd thinks of the new music. It’s very much a message album, kind of like, “This is what I have to say, finally.” This is what matters to me, this is what scares me, this is what I’ve been through, this is the new perspective I’ve gained because I went on my mission, this is how I look at life now.
What I understood as the meaning of life before from what everyone around me was telling me, I was able to get rid of all the noise, find it for myself and come back into life better equipped and daring to be myself. I’ve worked hard to know how to live a good life, what I find brings light into my life, and I’m going to trust in what I’ve learned and I’m going to move with that. I’m going to keep doing my best to do good, keep close to God and lift people up.
It’s very much an album of saying, “Let out your postcards; throw them into the world,” whatever you have inside of you, the postcards within yourself, the messages, the thoughts, the feelings in your heart, your concerns. Maybe it’s you’ve gone through abuse, maybe you deal with depression or you’re suicidal, or maybe you miss someone that you love, or maybe you’re looking for God and you don’t know how to find that relationship with him. It’s about letting out those feelings, letting your voice be heard. And as you let it out, it’s amazing how healing it is to just let it out, to speak up and know that it’s OK to speak up and use your voice because it matters. It’s not a Christian album, but basically, the goal was to let people find that light within themselves that connects them to God and calls them home.
DN: How would you say your mission has influenced your musical career in general since you returned?
DA: When “American Idol” happened and with the entertainment industry, sometimes you’re around a lot of people who don’t think the same way as you, who don’t believe the same things as you and maybe they don’t even care about whether there’s a God or not. For them, in general, making money, making profit, having recognition for your accomplishments and having power are what success is, and I got kind of caught up in that.
I went on my mission, and suddenly there was no attention. I wasn’t focused at all about making money, wasn’t focused at all on how many more viewers and likes I was getting. It was just entirely about giving, and it was about serving. I started finding what really made me happy by helping other people find happiness, by bringing them to God, teaching them about Jesus Christ and his gospel and inviting them to come live it, to change so that they could find happiness themselves, so that they can release themselves from grief, from sorrow, pain, guilt, shame and start fresh — start new, start again.
Music can be fun. Music can just get you moving and dancing and (can be) stress relieving in that sense, but I wanted to go deeper than that. I really wanted to say, “If I can get even anywhere close to the way I was able to help people on my mission, then I’m going to go for it, and I’m going to write songs that help people find their inner purpose, help them find their light, let them shine their light, get them to look up.”
DN: What can we expect to see at this upcoming concert here in Salt Lake City?
DA: Fans who bought some of the older albums will hear some of the music from those older projects, but there’ll also be a bunch of the new songs on “Postcards in the Sky,” and I tell a lot of the stories behind the songs. And really my goal is just for people to have fun. I want to get them up and moving, having a good time. I want them to also have sensitive moments where they look into themselves.
DN: You’ll also be performing with Madilyn Paige, a Provo singer who competed on season six of "The Voice." How do you feel about that?
DA: I really love what Madilyn stands for. She’s a very talented girl, and she’s using that talent for that same thing: to inspire people, to lift them up, to encourage them, and I like that. I like that she hasn’t felt like she needs to sell out just so she can make it and get more viewers. She’s able to have an audience by being who she is, and who she is is a girl of faith, a girl who just wants to be a good role model and be a positive person.
It was fun, I sang a song with her on the album. It’s the only duet I have on the album — (the song is) called “Seasons,” so it’ll be nice to have her and sing (that together at the concert). I’ve never performed that song (live) before, so having Madilyn there, it’ll be the first time that I do sing that song (in a concert).
If you go
What: David Archuleta in concert
When: Monday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
How much: $35.50-$59.50