Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Little to Not Over You - The Video

Davids second single is a winner. The song is great and now the video is a slam dunk too. The biggest triumph of this video is it reveals the sides of David that people love. On the one hand we have the goofy, fun and very personable David messing around and chilling out with his partner and a group of friends just like his real life persona but then as a stark juxtaposition, we move into the intense, emotional and deeply romantic side of David which is exploited with his singing. I think this video is a much representation of David as a person and an artist than the Crush video. The general feel and look of the video is more visually intriguing and artistic and the chemistry between the David and the female lead, although possibly diluted, is genuine and and very likeable. I also like how the snapping of the photos is rhytmically suited and synchronised to the song. A nice touch.

David really does have those long camera gazes down to a tee now. That divine Archu-gaze is one that will strike a chord with many a heart and he pulls it off really, really well. He captures the emotion and feeling of the song through his eyes better than most and his performance, physically, is improving day by day (check out the jingle ball videos, such a huge improvement).

Overall, a fantastic music video for David. The Crush MV, I only watched a handful of times but this one has already been repeated over and over again and probably will for some time to come. Its one of those MV's that I feel actually adds to the songs experiance, which can only be a good thing. Better production values combined with an artistic style, genuine chemistry and of course the diving Archu-gaze make this video a real winner.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

An Early Christmas Present

First of all id like to apologize for the lack of activity around here! I been kinda busy but that will all change soon, I promise! In the meantime id like to present to you an absolutely incredible performance of 'O Holy Night' performed at a Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in LA yesterday. It truly is divine. Sensitive yet powerful, commanding and emotional, quite astounding singing and it really highlights the improvement he has made in the 12 months since the last performance of 'O Holy Night' he did on his own (one of the first videos I ever saw of David!). This is David at his sensitive and resonant best. I had chills throughout my whole body at that last note.

I was completely blown away by this and so will you. It really is something quite special.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Album - Chenson's review

The 11th of November 2008, the album is born. There should be some sort of national holiday put in place like Christmas to commemorate this glorious day. I'm just kidding but for us David Archuleta fans, especially those who have been there since Day #1, its the realization of the dream. The dream to finally hear an album of original music from the protege himself and the dream for David to hit the mainstream music market with his first album. Overall, all things considered, I'm very pleased with the album. Its actually turned out better than I truly expected it would. One of the flaws with the American Idol system is its desire to 'strike while the irons hot' but what you essentially end up with is a generic pick and mix bag of whatever songs were available at that particular point in time thus leading to stylistic disconnects, haphazard production and often very poor songs. There is no real meticulous artistry in any post-Idol album. We didn't really find out who Kelly Clarkson was until her second album. The whole thing is a stark reminder of the corporate production line that it all falls under eventually and David is no escaper of the problems with trying to make it post American Idol. However, I do think much to my pleasant surprise, they are a very good set of songs.

I genuinely like every song on the album. There are not a whole lot of albums that I can honestly say that about, but why do I like them? The more I take it all in the more I realise that its because of David that im enjoying it so much. David has always had this amazing ability to make me like any song he sings, often completely reversing my opinion of a particular song completely. What a testament to his talent that is and it begs the question - Will I ever dislike anything he sings? The song would have to be terrible. My point is, David has the ability to make something out of song that wasn't even there on creation, to add something new and different - 'Barriers' probably being the best example of this. Everyone has heard 'Imagine' before a billion times but why does his version have so much impact? Its that new dimension he brings. The emotion in the singing in the bridge of Barriers is one of the highlights of the whole album, it really is terrific. Having said all this, the highlights of the album are in the less conventional and generic tracks, the tracks the feel like they are different place to the rest of the album. 'Desperate' is one of the finest recorded vocal performances ive heard in a a very, very long time and is the strongest song on the standard album (Desmond Child wrote this one - no surprises as to why its good then). This song was originally recorded by German rockers 'Stanfour' and I listened to that track a fair amount of times since the discovery of this track but now, I simply cannot ever go back to that version, ever. I do think that Stanfour's arrangement and production is more organic and in keeping with the tone of the song and it is ultimately the same song but its David that makes it so special. That sense of Desperation combined with one of the finest vocal climaxes I can recall at the songs conclusion, David makes this song more than Desmond Child, Stanfour and anyone else ever dreamed it could be, even if it does have a slightly incongruous accompaniment. Truly epic and the gem to be treasured from this album. For such a kind and calm person, intensity is something David excels at. Other highlights include the super cool and original 'Your Eyes Don't Lie' and the stripped back melodic 'You Can' and 'To Be With You' and finally the fantastically constructed pop tune 'A Little to Not over You' which gets my vote for the next single even though I know its not going to be. Tracks such as 'My Hands' and the similarly named 'Touch My Hand' definitely sound like winners for the live stage and with a tour coming up next year, we shall finally be able to hear all this where its supposed to be - the live stage. The album is a cut above anything else of a similar generic placement in todays music and by quite some distance too. Jive seem to think teens and parents are the primary demographic here but heck, Davids primary demographic seems to be girl teens, boy teens, parents, young adults, old adults, musicians, grandma's, grandpa's, aunty's, uncles, dogs and maybe even cats as well. Music is music and great music transcends age. David transcends age.

The flaws of the album are flaws I was expecting. No surprises here. My main issue with the album is the production. Why surround a rare organic voice with synthesized sounds and awful synthesized drum beats? Davids voice has always been at its best when supported by simple and subtle arrangements with organic instruments, often acoustic. I think its no coincidence I much prefer Crush with a normal band he is touring the TV shows with than a synth drum backing. No matter what song David is singing, Davids voice needs to be prominent but I sense it is just being surrounded at times by a wall of sound, much like you would hear in a lot of current top 40 radio artists. The tracks that expose Davids tone the best are the tracks with the simple arrangements (You Can and To Be With You) and allow his voice to soar and his tone to fill our ears. This was an issue I expected to be greater than it actually is however the nice variety and the fact there are some tracks where we get to hear David properly is comforting and refreshing. In an attempt by the label to make it appealing to the younger generation, they have sacrificed some of Davids quality at times but again, I can't say I wasnt expecting this.

The stock album with its good set of songs combined with 'Angels' and the hit 'Crush' combined with Davids exceptional vocal ability is an album I will be enjoying for some time but make no mistake, it is David that makes this album what it is. As much as I shall be listening to it, it is still a victim of corporate intervention and we only get to see glimpses of Davids artistry despite the songs all being amiable enough (The real artistry is in the bonus tracks which I shall post a separate review for). With a successful first album under his belt, im hoping David will be given the space to make the next album his own. Ive said it before, if David gets the space to write his own songs, craft it in the way he wants it without major label intervention, its the second album that is the one to watch.

Friday, 7 November 2008

David on Jay Leno

David appeared on the coveted Tonight Show last night to perform his hit single Crush which has now sold well over 800,000 copies and will hit platinum well before the end of the year. The first thing ill say about this performance is it a whole lot better than his first performance at Ford Day. More vocal control, poise and confidence. He also seemed alot more comfortable fronting a band rather than singing to a backing track, which is of course understandable. The other comment I would make is how much better 'Crush' sounds with a real band as opposed to synth drums and bass but ill talk about this more when I publish my album review.

Overall, it was a very fine performance. A little shaky at first but he held his pitch and exploded into the chorus with great confidence. His performances look far more polished, professional and poised these days. He really has come on so much since American Idols conclusion, gone is the slight awkwardness. He seems effortlessly comfortable in front of the camera now.C rush is deceptively hard song to sing and David did a fine job but the fact is, hes always a class act. Easily one of the best performances ive seen on the Tonight Show.


Monday, 20 October 2008

A Little too Not November 11th yet

With the album fast approaching, 3 weeks today, the anticipation is rising and rising fast. Jive has been fantastic with a slow and steady drip feed of information, pictures and song clips over the past few weeks ensuring the buzz is maintained around boy wonders first ever studio album. All in all, negatives aside (and there are some) I am thrilled with everything I have heard, read and seen. The album is really shaping up. iluvlife from the IDF forums managed to get hold of the 12 confirmed songs for David's album plus 1 bonus song exclusive to Wal-Mart customers. Here is the list.

1 Crush
2 My Hands
3 Touch My Hand
4 Barriers - (No Doubt meets Bob Marley)
5 A Little Too Not Over You
6 Your Eyes Don't Lie - not sure how to describe (Bonnie Raitt meets country/folk)
7 You Can = Ballad (acoustic guitar) very beautiful melody and lyric, very "david"
8 Running - Midi Mafia - R&B/Pop/Kinda jazzy, Very Cool!!
9 Don't Let Go - U2 meets the Fray style - pop/alternative (David co-wrote with JC from NSync)
10 Desperate - Big mature sounding power ballad - Desmond Child (Bon Jovi hit songwriter)
11 To Be With You - Ballad #2 (piano) Pretty love ballad
12 Angels - new version - Ballad #3 (David on piano)

13 Works for Me - Bonus Track (Walmart only) - organic bluesy pop - David co-write with Daniel Bedingfield

There is so much 'YES YES AND YES' in that list, its untrue. Ill start with the tracks we have heard clips of. My Hands is a lovely little melodic pop song with a cool rhythm, even if I am not a fan of synthesised drum beats (which is my critcism of ALTNOY too), that is equally as good if not better than Crush. Wacky lyrics combined with playful vocal lines make this song a haven of charm and fun. Touch My Hands has a very cool Coldplay/U2 vibe and melodic pattern with a unique fusion of styles which results in something quite cool and unique. Although I do not find this one quite as appealing as My Hands or A Little to Not Over You, I still think it is a fantastic and unique concept. I really think this song could actually be alot better than it is in its current state but I guess I cant pass true judgement until ive heard the full song with a proper mix. A Little to Not Over You is the first element of Composition we have heard from David, as a co-writer of this song, and I love it. In fact, its my favourite of all the clips and by a little distance too. The Waltz rhythm combined with the open vocal melody and then finally a tour de force of vocal prowess, especially in the Bridge, make this a pop song that I really find myself drawing too. I think it is no coincidence this song has the strongest melody of all the clips we have heard. My main concern however is the overuse of synth drumbeats. They seem to be everywhere. What is wrong with an organic drum beat? I think it could end up ruining some of the songs for me.

And then onto the songwriters and collaborators. The first one that jumps out of my screen at me is Desmond Child. Mr Child is one of the most prolific song writers in history. He has written more chart hits and great songs that alot of people combined ranging from Rickey Martin to Bon Jovi. He is a truly amazing songwriter and the song he has written - Desperate, is a really terrific song (check out Stanfour's version of it here). This is an interesting choice for David. Its quite emo and sad but I can imagine David packing a great deal of emotional punch in this song. Think Apologize kind of emotion. Not only is a great melody and memorable hook, I think its a fantastic diversion from 'Crush' and a song that proves his versatility as an artist. Its almost crossing over into Cook territory. Im expecting David's version to be a bit more Pop but to carry an emotional weight far greater than Stanfour's version. I really believe this could be David at his emotional best. This is the most exciting track on the album for me.

Other songwriters confirmed for the above listed songs are Kara DioGuardi, JC Chasez, The Midi Mafia and Daniel Bedingfield. What a fantastic A list of songwriters. Another track I'm dead excited about is the Daniel Bedingfield song. I've always been more of a fan of Daniel over his sister, Natasha. He's a very intelligent and witty songwriter and has produced arguably the best ballad of the 21st century with If Your Not the One. I think he is the perfect collaborator and I am stoked to hear what that track sounds like, even if it is only a Bonus track. JC Chasez's track will be very hip and very contemporary and Kara's will be melodic and charming, but of course these are based on assumptions. And finally, we will have a new version of Angels to finally break into the mainstream US market. David takes this song to a whole new level. As a huge fan of Robbie Williams original (ive performed it myself a fair few times) I never expected to like a cover version more, but guess what, Davids version blows it out of the water.

A very cool and refreshing combination of styles combined with an A list of songwriting talent and then to top it all off, sung by Wonderboy himself, I'm more excited about this album than I actually thought I would be. Im keeping my expectations low as hes still only 17 and has not had a particularly great deal of time to construct this album so it wont be matching his potential but im still expecting it to be a pleasure to listen to. Its great to see we also have some glimpses of Davids songwriting talent on there. I know Jeff and David would have liked some more David tracks to make it but I guess we will have to wait till the second album for that. Record labels have the final say and David has to deal with that as that is the nature of a very warped and timid music industry. Artistic freedom is a rare thing these days, I hope David is able to secure more in the future. Having said that, the song writing talent present here is superb

Roll on November 11th!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Music Can Change the World

I have always believed that art of any kind can cause great reactionary effects and change a persons state of mind almost instantly, be it mood or thinking and sometimes even opinion and outlook. Music, the most powerful of these art forms in my humble opinion, is a sub-concious channel of communication between one persons core, soul if you will, and anothers, although often spoken in words it penetrates to a far deeper level that language ever can. Music, in its greatest form performed by the best of the best, the elite, the geniuses, can alter a persons course and mood in that day for the good and often change the course of their lives forever. Music can pull you from the depths of despair and make your life worth living again and inspire a restoration of personal harmony or simply make your life better, from no matter standpoint you were at before. The way and the magnitude Davids music has breached and altered peoples lives for the good, mine included, is on a truly epic scale.

I have been thinking for a very long time, often through inspiration from some of rascals posts on notingdavid, through various discussions on Fans of David and the vast amount of stories and letters I have read, as to why and how David's singing can alter such deeply important and significant things to a person, to truly change the world. I have talked a lot in previous posts about David's natural musicality and music instinct. That ability to carve pathways of communication into peoples souls through the songs hes singing, exposing himself emotionally or 'laying it out all out' for all to hear and see through performance. I have always been so intrigued as to why I feel like I know him so well, even though ive met him once for 2 minutes and heard him talk a negligible amount of times in interviews etc. It must be down to how he performs. That communication pathway enables him to carve his way into our beings, provoking that intense emotion within us whilst enabling us to really see his character and his persona in return- 'Laying it all out'. I cant think of a better phrase to some it up. When David performs, his entire being is poured into the delivery of the song. There is nothing hidden or contrived because if it were, we wouldn't feel what we all do. Each performance is him, he and music become one and it is only in that state that emotional connection can truly be made. Michael Jackson once said in an interview that the only way he could dance properly was if he lost himself in the music, that his body and the music became one. Now obviously David is not a dancer but the same principle applies and applies to all great musicians. Great guitarists always pull funny faces and grimaces when they are lost in their music, its a sign of emotional involvement with the song. It ceases to be a person singing a song or a person playing an instrument, the music and the performer become one. If you refresh your memory of one of David's finest moments, 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me', David is painting a picture of the dynamic and melodic profile of the song with his hand on approach to the chorus. David and the song become one. You can see it in the way he performs, the transformation he made on stage from a shy, spacey 17 year old boy to prodigious singer. He and the song become one. It is only in that state, that zone, is the connection between the performer and the listener is made. I have yet to see a performance of Imagine, or any emotional song that David has sung for that matter, which hasn't impacted people and caused tears to be shed. My mother is a semi-professional opera singer and she was always told by her singing teacher that if your singing an emotional song, if there is a dry eye in the audience then you have failed no matter how well you sang the song technically. David certainly doesn't fail with that, ever. I still cant get over how a 17 year old boy can make me cry with his voice and a song I have heard a fair few times. Rascal brilliantly put in one of his posts (sorry its not word for word) 'The difference between David and other singers is his performances arnt really performances, they are a relationship between him and the audience'. So true.

So why does this connection impact people? Well this is the hard bit to explain and I think part of it is unexplainable but this is how I see it. When David performs and that emotional connection is made, it inspires you. The feeling that is provoked by his performances, be it excitement or sadness or beauty or love, that overwhelming feeling of joy, you feel inspired to search that for yourself. It may even make you do things you wouldn't even think you would have done. Ive said this before, but if you had told me a year ago that I would be blogging and following a 17 year old American Idol singers progression daily as well as travelling 4,000 miles to see him sing 4 songs live, I would have laughed and never believed you, but here I am. That feeling of euphoria that touches you through his music encourages you to look at yourself and look at the world and seek that feeling in your own life by doing what is right. That feeling of Euphoria and the inspiration that comes with it is what can lift you out of the depths of despair and has done for many, many people or inspires you to follow your dream or just simply make your life better. It drives you to follow the right path in life, the path to joy and happiness, the path to what is good. David's love and compassion expressed through music carries a message and an impact that inspires the same thing that he makes you feel to come from within you, to be someone you know you can be. For those few minutes that he is singing, everything is OK. The troubles of life are suspended and all you feel is what is coming from within David, through his voice and his music - the essence of the music he is creating. Love, compassion, excitement and happiness - Euphoria. For those few minutes, all is well, you feel harmony, and it is exactly that, that inspires you seek it yourself, that feeling of Harmony. It is deeply spiritual. That magic touch of inspiration has changed and inspired me to follow my dream and I have known it to open new doors for people and even save them from suicide. His performances are an inadvertent and irrelevant but also advertant and relevant symbol of good and that magic touch of euphoria can save your life, it is that helping hand to raise you out of those bitter lows that some of us face in life and lead you onto a path to happiness. David has said himself he does it for us but that it does not come from him, it comes from the music. He does it because he knows it can turn a persons week around or even their life. That is greatest feeling of all. Brett Hales, a family friend of the Archuletas, a sufferer of MS said that Davids voice would give him the strength to get up from bed when he was bed ridden. Hearing David's voice ringing from downstairs just when he was playing around on kareoke made everything seem OK. That is special, that is impact that changes lives. It makes you feel closer to God. It comes from God. The power of David is also a uniting force. I have met people through David who I now call friends and I know many, many others have done the same, often to a greater extent than I have. These people come from all walks of life, ages, sex and even edges of the globe and I have even met up with them in person, united by 1 common interest. David Archuleta. That is something very powerful and very special, something I'm not even sure he is quite aware of. I wish he was and maybe he will someday he will.

David is the living epitome of 'Music can change the world'. In the short period he has been a part of our lives he has changed my world and a vast amount of other peoples. He has changed the world and in time that will grow and grow and grow. People have talked about David embarking on a mission for the LDS church, but in my opinion, David is on his mission now. The scale and magnitude of the lives he is changing and improving and the joy he is spreading is worthy of a mission. Music can change the world. David does.

Friday, 26 September 2008

A Very Nice Picture and Gold!

Jive I praise you. You drop us an innocent (but also not innocent) picture with 2 words, David's name, onto the Amazon pre-order page for David's album and all hell breaks loose. Its like throwing a small piece of meat to a very large pack on hungry hounds, devouring every little morsel there is possible (not that we devour David in anyway). Its marketing genius. This picture subtly placed on Amazon, is David's album cover suitably chosen by David himself and his mother, Lupe. Now, album covers and pictures are not what I usually would talk about on this blog but I feel there is an important artistic element here that needs discussing, a factor that is very important to how David is being perceived by his label musically and how he is going to be perceived to the outside world upon release. I feel that this cover is the clearest indicator since 'Crush' of how things are going behind closed doors and what we will be receiving on November 11th and the indicator is a very positive one.

The first thing that struck me about this photo was maturity. Its quite clear David is not going to be marketed as some smiley teeny-bopper Zac Efron wannabe, an image I sense he was being pushed towards by the AI crew back on the show and maybe even by Jive right at the beginning. Im sensing a change in policy on David from Jive with this cover as the evidence of that. I think after a few months of working with him and observing his work with songwriters and what is being produced, a disconnect was being created between how they were going to market him based on what they thought he would create, and the music that was actually being created. A gross underestimation of the musical depth David possesses in both his performing, his song writing and the songs he has chosen to perform on the album. I think its a little more mature than the teeny based sort of direction Jive maybe had originally planned. Instead what we are left with is something more mature, serious and most importantly, credible. Of course this is all just theory but they say a picture speaks a thousand words and I truly believe this one does. It is very encouraging news indeed. David is growing up, faster than I predicted, faster than anyone predicted as shown in this behind the scenes footage of his official album photo shoot found here (another morsel of David Jive has thrown to the pack of rabid fans for us to devour). The comfort he now demonstrates in these situations where he was once grossly uncomfortable not all that long ago is a definite indication of this maturing. I think we mite be in for a pleasant surprise with the first album. A fun pop album but with the depth we all know David possesses but have worried it maybe lacking.

And yet more great news this week. Based on last weeks sales figures releases from Billboard, Crush has gone Gold this week. No official announcement as of yet but we can be 99.99% certain based on iTunes placings. An important milestone that David has achieved in just 7 weeks. With 500,000 copies sold with still 6 weeks to go before album release, the coveted platinum certification does not seem too far away at all. In fact, if my math serves me correctly, I predict platinum at some time in December. Single sales tend to peak around album release when promotion is under way and radio play is in full flow so the best has yet to come for David in terms of sales for Crush. Its a very exciting and pleasing prospect for Crush to know it has 1 important accolade to its name just 7 weeks after release with little or no promotion behind it as of yet. Confidence in David from Jive should be high and confidence in David from David should be equally soaring.

I just hope someone tapes his reaction when he finds out.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Tour Conclusion, A New Beginning

The American Idols Live Tour of 2008 wrapped up in Tulsa, Oklahoma last Saturday (check out Angels here, it really is something else) thus signalling the end of the 10 contestants journey on American Idol. David's journey began over a year ago in San Diego and has finally reached its end September 13th 2008. It was around 7 months ago David first graced our television screens, almost 4 months ago the finale was upon us and the tours opening concert in Glendale was 2 and a half months ago. Its been one mighty journey and experience for David and for all of us as fans on the Idol roller-coaster and it has finally come to an end. But for every door that shuts, a new one opens and David is set to leap into the next chapter of his life with enviable and great support and the opportunity to continue his life-long dream - Establish a long term career making and performing music. A big part of me is glad that he has finally escaped. The Idol bubble is narrow minded, scheming and often anti-artistic at times and I think its no coincidence that artists who go onto to be successful off the back of these shows eventually separate themselves from it altogether. However, seeing David sing on our TV's once a week and being able to watch youtube videos of tour performances almost every other day will be sorely missed for the time being and it was ultimately Idol that brought David to us all.

So what now for David? The majority of the other contestants will now depart the Idol scene with the possibility of a small album to be made, the pursuit of a record deal but knowing they will probably never be on a tour of that magnitude again or be able to reach the heights they achieved on Idol. David however, has his first music video première on iTunes this week, a major album release set for November 11th and a whole array of press and media appearances including (rumoured appearances) The Tonight Show, Ellen and the big daddy of all chat shows, Oprah. David is also making an appearance alongside David Cook at this years Ford Day where he will more than likely perform 'Crush' live for the first time. The future is bright for David. Crush is continuing its upward trajectory on the charts as its gradually approaches album release along with ever increasing Radio play. There is even the possibility of a (rumoured) solo tour at the beginning of next year. Things could not be better as of now. Is it over on the Idol front? Certainly. Is it over for David? Absolutely not.

As I look to the future, the only way from here now for David is up. He has improved considerably on almost all fronts. His singing is maturing, his interview and public confidence is growing and his performances are looking more and more polished with each and every showing. David is growing fast, blossoming into a seasoned performer and moving away from that rough diamond he was on the Idol. David returns to Utah now for a few days rest but will continue working very hard on the album which is due for release November 11th. I would like to add that a version of 'When You Say You Love Me' is pretty much a must have for this album. David has turned that song into something special and completely made it his own. That is the song that encapsulates this whole chapter and I think it would be a travesty to not document it in style. It would also be a fitting demonstration to the rest of the world of just how great a singer he is. Critics and non-familiar music lovers can look at the album and say, yes he can do the pop tunes like 'Crush' but he is also a darn good singer too and its important for him to really make that mark. Things could not be better for David now. He is on the platform to his dream and our dream for him. One door shuts and another one opens and what a great experience that chapter has been for all of us but a newer and even bigger and greater journey approaches. As David matures into manhood, we will witness the birth of something even more special and we can all proudly say, I was there right from the start.

Monday, 8 September 2008

American Idols Tour : Bridgeport CT - My Experience

Well its all over now, I arrived back in Heathrow this morning but I have returned with some amazing memories and experiences (and a Cold too). The whole Idol tour experience was very surreal for me, I couldn't quite comprehend what was going on at times and was wondering if I was actually there doing it but it was amazing nonetheless and not something im going to forget quickly that's for sure. My first few days I spent sight-seeing round New York, I even managed to catch part of the NFL concert near Central Park where Natasha Bedingfield was performing. She was very good but the crowd were a little 'cold' to say the least, despite the soaring temperatures. She did a fairly long set actually and I enjoyed it.

Pre-ShowI woke myself up nice and early on the saturday morning and walked over to Grand Central where I was due to meet Annie and Mia from fansofdavid.com and catch the train over to Bridgeport. We talked almost the entire journey about David and Idol, it was so nice to actually get to talk to someone in person about David and with the people that just 'get it' rather than people who just tell you to shut up when you mention his name haha. We also met up Jules also from fansofdavid.com once we arrived in Bridgeport. It was really cool to meet all these people in person finally and they were all awesome to talk to and share the experience with, a definite bonus on that side. We promptly checked in to the Hotel next to the venue and then raced down to the car park to see if we could catch the buses. Unfortunately, the people at Harbor Yard had set up the barriers so you could have very few people actually being able to get autographs due to the very small area. I tried to push my way through the sea of the Cook cougars but consequently was shouted at by quite a few of them haha. My attempt to reach the front was an epic fail but I also had nothing for any of them to sign so It would have been pointless anyway.

Kristy Lee Cook was the first to come greet the crowds. She is really hot in person by the way. Cook followed a few minutes later and then afterwards, to rapturous screams from the fangirls, David made his way over to the crowd from the bus. I was quite taken aback when I first saw and I swear my heart palpitated haha. He looks more Hispanic and tanned in the flesh and I didn't realise before just how jet black his hair actually is. He is also not as short as people have said, I would put him around 5 foot 7 inches tall. It took me a fair while to actually take in the fact he was there, a few meters in front of me. People had spoken of an aura he gives off and I completely got it when I saw him. He just looks happy, always. He's always smiling and laughing and you cant help but smile and laugh with him. The bus greeting was poorly organised and so after Archie departed, so did we. We went back to the hotel room and just relaxed and ate some food, all dead excited about the imminent concert. Jules had been to many, many concerts and was showing us her amazing photo collections from each one and Annie was writing her letter to David and showed us all her fantastic gifts. The only downside was, as time went on the weather got gradually worse and worse and by the time we decided to leave, it was pouring down with rain. We made a dash for the venue but was picked up by someone working at the Holiday Inn who was shuttling people to the concert. We picked up our after party passes and then waited for go inside in the pouring rain. Fun.

The Concert

Me and Annie were seated pretty much front and Center (Thank you so much for those tickets Mia) so we couldn't have asked for a better view. The others were just a little further back. I wont talk too much about the other Idols as this is an Archie but blog but ill do a quick run-down. Chikezie was fun, Ramiele spent most of her set flat, Michael Johns was great, Kristy Lee Cook was boring, Carly was a lot better live than on the show - loved her, Brooke was pleasant, Jason has improved dramatically and Syeshas last song was fantastic. Cook and Archie were in a league of their own though. Cook is a little more like the concerts I usually go to. He sang great, pitch perfect and was lots of fun. I sang along with every song, although I was still in a daze during 'Hello' after Archie but I thought he was fantastic.

So now onto Archie. This is what I flew 4000 miles for, to finally hear him live and in person and it was an experience to remember. So of course Angels was first. I had a sudden burst of joy when he I heard those E chords ringing out from the PA. I actually think I jumped up and down haha. The first thing that hit me was how his tone is even greater live. His voice has this wonderful, big, wholesome, warm and fuzzy sound yet it resonates and cuts through with great energy. Its sort of like being attacked by a giant cushion. Its just so pleasant on the ear. His voice effortlessly fills the entire venue but never sounds too sharp (in the tone sense) or screechy, it just engulfs the area with a blanket of warm melody. I wish I could describe it better but im trying to describe the indescribable but my ultimate point is that anything you hear through the TV or your PC is a mere dilution of what David really sounds like. Angels was stunning. His lower register is actually far more satisfying live, stronger than any of the other performers as you really get a sense of his velvet tone and then he glides into those upper notes in the second verse, solo and the end which just simply soar. I had chills literally all over my body all through the song.

Next up was Apoligize. This was one that I probably watched the least from the tour videos but this was probably the sweetest of the surprises. David owns this song. Ryan Tedder hasn't got anything on it compared to David. Im sorry to say it so blunt but I feel its an utter fact. The performance is a complete masterclass in how to do an emotionally intense ballad. He had the audience in the palm of his hand as he twisting and turning the hearts with his vocals. The yearning, longing and tension is just captivating and I was glued to it the whole way through. I would go as far to say that it was probably the most musically intense experience ive ever had, certainly at a live venue. The tingles and the shivers were rampant round my body once again. The emotion was just so powerful, from the lyrics to the 'Yeahhssss', I was struggling fight back the tears but I did so, somehow. David has turned this song from a pop ballad into an all out display of intense emotion and longing. I don't know what experience, if any, David could call on to really give that song its edge, but gosh, Apoligize was as good as emotional singing gets. The biggest surprise of the night but certainly the sweetest.

Stand By Me is David's fun song and he did a really great job of it. This is his chance to go around and have some fun with the crowd and his little dance routine made me giggle. He had changed the lyric from 'You got met suicidal' to 'You got me in denial' which I previously knew about but only thought it had been changed for one show. David ends this song with great vigour and passion and he held that high note for a very long time which was certainly a crowd pleaser also demonstrating his fantastic vocal technique. One thing I would like to point out here is David's diction. For some of the other singers performing, it is fairly difficult at times to make out the words but with David, you can hear and understand every word he says and that's very important especially in a live setting. The screams for the 'And all you beautiful girls' was beyond deafening but that was to be expected.

When You Say You Love Me is probably my favourite song David has ever sung so I was looking forward to this song the most and it lived up to all expectations. Like Angels, he caresses those low notes and then reaches up and soars into the glory notes once again filling the venue and piercing into everyone's heart. The feeling of love and emotion is so charged in this performance that I was once again struggling to fight back the tears. This song proves me how natural singing and music come to David. Music is instinct to him. Communication through music is intertwined into his being and oozes out with immense passion during this song. It is a tour de force of touching soft moments and highly tense emotional sustained notes. I was always baffled when people said David seemed to not make a connection to his lyrics and seeing him live heightened that lack of understanding if critics who said that. David was the only performer who could really say something with his music, express its meaning to its maximum potential and I was feeling every single word in this performance. I don't know what experience David could call upon but the thing I realised David doesn't need these experiences to give the performances that extra edge. That is how truly gifted he is. He pours his heart into every song he sings and it comes across stronger when he is a few feet away from you. An astounding performance. My only complaint would be these 3 Cook fans in front me talking non-stop but it was not enough to divert my attention. I was still dazed by it all going into Cooks set.

The After Party

After the concert had finished, we were lead to the backstage area where we could meet the stars of the show. After a short wait we all piled into the room. David was fairly close to the entrance and he was inundated with people when I entered so I decided Im going to need some practise in approaching these people so I headed over towards David Cook who was a lot less busy. Cook was probably the one I talked to the most and I have to say he came across as a really friendly, down to earth guy. I was so impressed by him. I had a question I wanted to ask him which he answered courteously and we continued to chat for a few more minutes and then he asked my name, shook my hand and said it was a pleasure to meet me. I got a picture with him too. I was actually shaking when I had the picture taken but I cant remember if it was because I was cold or just nervous haha. Really great guy.

I then walked back over towards David and Annie and Mia pointed out Jeff to me. I had actually planned to ask Jeff if he knew who I was from IDF, expecting him to possibly remember me after a few reminders as I knew he lurked over there. I was certainly not expecting what happened. I walked over to him and said 'Hey Jeff! I don't know if you know.....' he cut me off saying 'Oh hey Chris! You came all the way over from the UK that's awesome! I saw your name on the list and was going to come and find you. You have been an amazing supporter of David and your posts are awesome'. I was completely stunned by that. He knew who I was before I even introduced myself. He told me he saw my picture in the 'What Do the Arch-Angels look like?' thread and had read my posts. To this moment, I still cant get over that but I am so glad that I have managed to have a positive impact. We continued to chat for a fair few minutes and I told him that I sold my first guitar amplifier to come but then he had take an important call but I must say, he is the nicest man. He was kind, courteous, warm and very easy to talk to. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him. Thank you Jeff, if you do ever read this.

I looked over to David and saw the crowd and decreased considerably. I was waiting behind a crowd of fan girls and I noticed that David kept glancing up at me (I was kind of the odd one out haha). I think it must have been nice for him to see someone of roughly his age approaching him for an autograph. I was watching him for quite a while and his kid just radiates happiness. You cant help but smile when your around him, simply because he is always smiling. He treats his fans with dignity and respect and spends as much time with each of them as possible. That attitude is commendable. The wait was finally over and I approached him with my program and asked him to sign it. My memory of this meeting is actually quite hazy (in fact it almost doesn't seem real haha) but I remember telling him I'm from near London and I came over especially to see him and he said that was awesome and he really wanted to go to London. I then told him I was a musician and that he has inspired me a lot and he looked really flattered by that. I shook his hand and said probably the most sincere 'Thank You' ive ever said. David makes constant eye contact too (with his deep green eyes). Im usually good with eye contact but he is just too significant for me to gaze back all the time. For me that is just a clear representation of his self-confidence and looks at you with complete interest and attention. He was so welcoming and friendly, its a shame that I could not have spoken to him for longer. I got my picture with him and then retreated back. The kid is as charming and kind with his fans as he comes across on TV. It was a true pleasure and blessing to get to meet him. David also started randomly singing and it was very interesting to hear him sing really close to him.

I went around and got some pics with other the Idols. Michael Johns was really cool. We talked about his 'Its all wrong but its alright' song as I love it and I got a picture with him. Brooke was really friendly and welcoming and so was Carly, we talked about England for a bit haha. Syesha i found to be very cold and she kept cutting me off too. She comes across as quite self-righteous and self important. David approached me and Annie again on his way out and we asked him if he would ever come to Europe and he said he really wants to. I also told him that I would come back to see him even if he didn't tour in Europe.

This whole experience was very surreal. It still hasn't really sunk in yet and there are still things that are returning to my memory. The rest of the pictures will be posted on Planet Idol in the coming days. There was point not that long ago where I thought going to the concert was simply not going to happen but I was blessed with an opportunity to go to the concert and Im so glad I did. It was awesome to meet all the people there and thank you for letting me stay in your room afterwards. I owe you one. David lives up the hype both on stage an in person. He really is an amazingly gifted singer and musician and just a generally special person. Warm, friendly, Kind, Compassionate and just a pleasure to be around. The 4 song set was the most intense, emotional and probably the most enjoyable experience ive had at a concert and Ive been to a lot of concerts and seen a lot of great musicians. He has confirmed everything I thought and more and the scariest part about it all, is hes only 17 years old.


Theres still some stuff that has yet to come back to me but if it does, ill be adding it here.

Monday, 18 August 2008

A letter to David from Chad Hunt

Chad Hunt, founder of Planet Idol, wrote an amazing letter to David that was delievered personally at the Lexington show a few days ago. He was unable to make it to a AI tour gig because he lives in Canada and became Ill around the time of the northwestern dates and couldnt make it. So Keith from Planet Idol delivered this amazing letter to David at the Lexington gig a few days ago. David read it there and then and was blown away. I wanted you all to read it cos its beautiful.

Hi David,

My name is Chad, I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I used to post on a message board called "Idol Forums" and I believe your father read some of the messages I would post about you. I also became acquainted with "Brett", your family friend, and a most amazing guy he is, I might add.

The reason I wanted to write this note to you is because I know that Keith is getting the opportunity to meet you today, and I wanted to share in that, even if in some small way. Like I said, I live in Canada, and with my schedule and everything going on, it's unfortunate, but I have been unable to see you performing on tour.

It's important to me that you know why I am writing this to you. It is not because I am some crazed fan that thinks the sun rises and sets on you, or, that you can do no wrong. I know you're human. I know that you are just one young man, right now, trying to tackle everything coming your way, with the amazing grace and dignity that you exude. I wanted you to know, above all else, that I admire you. Your sense of spirit, your silent sensitivity, and your connection to your music - probably something about you that quite a few fans probably don't even realize. Who you are comes from deep inside, and I want you to know, I recognize that in you. I know, for you, this isn't about money, it's not about fame - it's about you. This is what you were born to do David. Nothing else. Deep inside you know that, and, even though you are just 17, your leaps and bounds beyond so many people, spiritually and emotionally. Don't ever let words deter you, don't ever let ego or vanity take away from the special magic that is all you are.

The first time I saw you perform "Heaven" by Bryan Adams (a fellow Canadian!), I felt it. I say "felt it" because, anyone that really gets you "feels you", doesn't "hear you". I think you probably know what I mean.

I also wanted to write this to you to share something that, for the most part, embarassed me, but, I want you to know how profoundly I tend to take things. This past season, watching you on 'American Idol', was definitely a roller-coaster ride for me, as well as many others. I found myself amazingly passionate in my defense of you, at times, shocking myself. You know there are critics, there always will be, and some of them can get downright nasty. I just want you to know, that, for every critic you will have in your life (and you're going to have them), there will be a "Chad" out there who has your back, that cares about you as a person, and "gets" what you're working to accomplish.

When you didn't win the title, I was so upset, so angry, that I vowed never to watch 'American Idol' again, and, even to this day, I won't. I refuse to. If anyone, ever, in the history of Idol ever deserved to win, it was you my young friend. No one has ever been more deserving, based on sheer talent alone, than that amazing young man so many of us have affectionately coined "Archie". It took me some time to try and deal with it. I actually left Idol Forums, with Keith, and started my own forum, because I couldn't take the constant reminders on Idol Forums of what went down. Part of me wanted to just forget everything that happened, that the year even existed, and start over. This is where I want to tell you why I am embarrassed. You see David, I was so angry about 'American Idol' and the results, but, I wasn't angry at you - I was angry "for you". I carried this anger with me for awhile.

On our Forum - Planet Idol - Keith and I have developed a board in your name. We call that board, 'Always Archuleta', and although we're a small forum, fairly new, and just getting started, that board means the world to all of us. It's our connection to you.

It took me awhile to start posting in your forum, and, many of your admirers were wondering where I had gone and why I wasn't posting. I didn't even really understand it myself. It wasn't that I disliked you in any way, it wasn't that your music had stopped touching me, because, that will never happen - I didn't know what it was. I finally realized, I wanted to detach myself, and you, from 'American Idol' and I wanted to start seeing you as the artist you are. I think that's finally happened for me. I love 'Crush', a lot. I told you I'm from Vancouver, which is a city with a regional district of 5 million people, and, your song, 'Crush' won 99% of the votes on Friday nite, and remained 4 nite champion! Of course, I supplied the radio link to everyone on my forum and told everyone they had to go and vote, regardless of the time zone they were in! The fact remains, that, my passion for you, and what you represent, is still alive and well. I just wanted you to know that. I wanted you to know, that, regardless of what song you sing, how you sing it, when you sing it, or even whether it's a colossal hit or not, Chad in Vancouver will always be listening for you, and, will always be looking forward to the next step, in what I know, with Gods love and patience, is going to be an amazing career.

You're in for a ride my friend, and you're going to meet some strange people, be immersed in strange circumstances, and at times, find yourself confused - but remember always - where there is heart, there is God, and, where there is God, there is David Archuleta. I don't say that lightly.

Your father is an amazing man. I envy you. I lost my father to cancer just over 4 years ago, and, to this day, I am not over it. I don't think you ever can be "over it". Be grateful (and I know you are) that God has placed such a passionate and loving person in your life to help lead you and watch out for you. Listen to your dad, try and understand his outlook, his opinions (and we know that isn't always easy - haha), and even at times when he's "too much dad" to take - remember this - he'll never steer you wrong.

Keep doing what you're doing, David. Take everything one step at a time. Don't allow yourself to be pursuaded or manipulated by the ideas of others, and most of all, if it doesn't feel right to you, if you don't "feel it", then, don't sing it. That special magic about you, the aura, the warmth, the honesty, comes from your words, the way you convey those words, and to the people you say them to. Again, sing with heart, because, we both know, your heart is what you're all about. I love you my friend, I pray for you, and I wish the most amazing success for you, in all things. Best of luck, God bless, and always remember...if you can "Imagine" it, so it shall be...

Chad Hunt. xo

Friday, 1 August 2008

New Single 'Crush' debuted on Z100

David Archuleta's first single was debuted this morning on Z100 on Elvis Duran's popular morning show. Millions of listeners tuned into listen to Davids first single and Elvis declared that for the first time in a very long time, not a single text message sent in had been negative about the song. The single has struck a chord with the press and has generated positive feedback from polls on USMagazine and People magazine websites. The single is not officially released for another month but should generate plenty of airtime and hype in the up-coming 4 weeks. Davids first single has quite a lot riding on it. An instant success is what Jive and 19E will be desperately hoping for and David himself will have invested his time and effort into making this the best it can be. So has the new single struck a chord with yours truly?

Ok ill get the negative stuff out the way first. The mix is poor. The chorus vocals are too far back so I dont feel im getting all the 'meat' of the chorus melody as well as some vocal effects which sound unfinished and various other sections sound a bit out of balance, certain instruments and elements of the vocals sound slightly pressed back or too far forwardhowever I understand the mix was being finalised the night before so it may not be up to scratch. The song is essentially a teen pop song, generic and catchy, an instant hit following a tried and tested recipe for success aiming for a teen market to achieve chart success. Its not particularly deep musically or lyrically, it may come across as slightly insipid at times and doesn't push any boundaries from any perspective. But is that really the point? No. Not at all.

The first thing came into my head when the song finished was perfect. The song is perfect. Perfect for David at 17 years of age aiming to break into the charts off the back of a very successful series of American Idol. The song is catchy, amiable, up-lifting and most importantly fun. The lyrics address an issue we have all felt at least once in our life sung in a very endearing way. The whole feel of the song is approachable, appealing and is definitely a song you could see yourself singing in the shower, in the car or at a party with all your friends. That is the kind of song that generates chart success and combined with Davids luscious vocal tones its a real winner. The chorus is fabulously melodic without becoming cheesy or too serious. It sits delicately in between both at the absolute perfect happy medium enabling it to cross demographics better than most songs ive heard in recent times. However, despite all of this, I think the biggest achievement of this song is David has managed to create a viable worldwide top-10 hit without copying any artists or treading on their toes. Although the song is fairly generic, I don't think that it sounds copied or that it is imitating any other artists. It shares elements of Chris Brown and OneRepublic with a Avril Lavigne type chorus arrangement but still sounds unique and recognisible in the bigger picture, a trait that few artists can claim these days. And did I mention the vocal performance? It goes way beyond anything in the current charts proving that even in the confines of a commercial song, David can still deliver the goods vocally.

I talked in my previous post about what I would like to see in Davids up-coming album and 'Crush' has scored an absolute home-run in terms of fitting in with commercial chart singles category I talked about. Catchy, amiable, rhythmical and fun. It wont be my favorite song on the album but it is without a doubt the perfect song for David to launch his career with. David talked about making an album that is fun and young and I think 'Crush' is the perfect song for that to begin with. I can picture it being played at many future parties that I shall be attending and that catchy chorus will be floating round the population for weeks to come. Its stuck in my head now and I bet its stuck in yours too. If there is any justice in the music industry, this song will reach #1.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

What has David done for me?

ArchAngel Keds over on fanblast has been putting together a book titled 'What has David done for you' which she is handing to David at tonight's show. I had been planning on making a similair post when the tour was over but I saw this as a prime opportunity to reveal all. This post is very personal and quite revealing but its something I needed to say. I wrote this at 3am last night after reading many other stories from posters over at IDF. So here goes.

Before the discovery of David, I was far away from where I wanted to be as a person. I was lost, unhappy, unhealthy and just plain lazy. My teenage years have not been the easiest, mentally. When I was 13 years old, we moved as a family out of the communal village where I lived with all my friends to a different, smaller place about 20 miles away where I knew no one but I continued to attend the same school. Leaving that village gradually over time produced feelings of isolation due to seeing everyone alot less than they saw each other leading to insecurities which led me to do some very stupid things when i was 14 and I lost alot of friends over it (luckily all of which I have back now) and gradually destroyed everything productive I was doing in my life.

Before this time, without trying to sound big headed or cocky, I was a pretty special kid. I was constantly being put forward by my school for outside courses designed for unusually intelligent kids and was performing exceptionally in school . I was playing 1st Clarinet in the Mid-Sussex Youth Orchestra at 11 years old, the next youngest person in that whole orchestra let alone 1st Clarinet was 15, most of the 1st Clarinet players were 16 or 17. I had just picked up the guitar at that point and I had really found a home in that instrument. I was also vice-captain of our towns Rugby team and we were one of the best teams in the south of England. I had quite alot going for me but most importantly I was happy, just 100% happy. When I look back on those days the only thing I feel is joy. But these feelings of Isolation destroyed all of that. Its so hard growing up and being part of a social circle when you constantly feel like the outsider, always being left out of things and Its been with me from 13 till now, almost 19 years of age.

By the time I was 15, I had given up and stopped everything I was doing. I had given up the Clarinet, stopped having Saxophone lessons, quit Rugby and was reduced to playing the guitar alone in my bedroom. My school grades had slipped massively and everything was just stopping. I was underachieving so badly. My whole person had become diminished. I just felt lost, lazy, unhappy and it was impacting everything in my life, relationships with my family included. I seeked pleasures in things that were pointless or unhealthy and I had completely lost sense of who I am. I worried day in and day out about things and friends and relationships and I didnt care about alot of things that really mattered and it ended up destroying everything I had achieved. It even destroyed the one and only romantic relationship ive ever truly had when I was 16. All I wanted was to feel part of something that was going on around me, I longed for it really badly but I never EVER went about the right way of dealing with it. It was like a downward spiral I couldnt escape from. I needed to get over everything and start living but I simply couldn't because I always felt so isolated and alone. I always had 'friends' but it was like half-arsed friends. You know when you feel like something is wrong, if you think someone is doesn't really care about you that much but you want them too? It felt like that but with everyone. I never felt like I truly belong'd anywhere Until David came along.

I discovered David on youtube towards the end of February and it changed everything. I picked up on everything straight away, his talent, his passion and his personality. I knew this kid was special. I guess the thing that draws me too him most, is I sort of see part of myself in him, but myself when I was young. Im not as talented as David and were not exactly the same personality wise and I cant sing but his whole attitude and everything he is doing and he has done reminds me of myself when i was young and what I should be doing with my life. What I saw in David was true and utter fulfillment and desire to be everything he can possibly be. He inspired me to get off my arse and start doing the same. I would look in the mirror after seeing David and think 'Wow where did I go wrong?! I could have done so much more!'. For the first time since I was 13 years of age I actually have the motivation to get out there and do something worthwhile and just try and go for my dreams. Thats what its about for me. I see this boy, with enormous talent, but he has worked so hard for it. You cannot fault him for that, he deserves every little last bit he is getting now for the effort he has put in. And thanks to him, I now have that same attitude. His attitude is flawless.

He has inspired me to stop looking at myself negatively and blaming others or myself for things that have gone wrong or where I have failed, but instead to discover myself, faults included and learn to play to your strengths whilst recognizing your weaknesses at the same time. You will be happy that way, as yourself is all you can ever be. David taught me that. No one is perfect. David often talks about things hes not good at but my gosh, look at how he focusses on his strengths like singing or schoolwork and works so hard at them, he works to achieve his very very best. That very switch of perspective has changed my whole outlook on life. I feel so much happier because of it and everyone has noticed around me, friends, family, everyone. Many things have changed for the good since I took Davids outlook on life, and for the first time I am dealing with my issues how I should have always done.

David has taught me more and inspired me more than any other single person ever has, just by being himself. I look to other people to show me the way, its part of my nature and David really has and continues to do. Whenever I feel down or upset or I feel im doing something wrong, I listen to a song of his and BAM my day is turned around. His ability to make me feel happy and inspired is amazing.

If you discover yourself, believe in yourself, go for your dreams and stay positive you can achieve whatever you want. David taught me that. Its changed everything for me. I havnt felt this good for a very long time and its all thanks to David. When I get to see him on September 6th in Bridgeport, it will be a seminal moment of my life so far. Maybe you can all see why I have spent 750 pounds/1400 dollars to see him now

So yea, thank you David. I owe you everything.

Post your comments HERE

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Breaking Out of the Shell

First of all, I'd like to apologize for the lack activity on this site in the past 2 weeks. It is because I have been on vacation on the little island of Ibiza, just off the coast of Spain for the last 10 days. Thanks to the wonders of the iPod touch and a free WiFi connection in the hotel, I have been able to keep reasonably up to date with all the youtube videos of Davids tour performances, all from the comfort of a sunbed by the swimming pool. And what a pleasure it has been to witness these performances. The objective for this blog was to commentate on David's progress from a 17 year old runner-up on American Idol to singing star and I am startled at how quickly this progress is being made. David seems to have improved, for various reasons, a very large amount since American Idol's conclusion to the tours beginning. His four songs - Angels, Stand By Me, Apoligize and When You Say You Love Me appear to be a perfect balance and a great repertoire for showing what David is really capable of as an artist and a technical singer. To put it bluntly, David is sounding better than ever.

The first thing I noticed upon watching the first shaky camera phone, scream infested version of Angels was confidence. Beaming and uncontrolled self-belief that seemed infectious to the thousands of screaming fans as he belted out notes beyond anything Ive heard from him before, especially at the end of Angels (Los Angeles performance WOW). Angels this time around was without the tentative start and thanks to some technical elements such as in-ear monitors and a horde of screaming, loving fans welcoming him to the stage, David delivered something surpassing anything he did on American Idol. I think David has finally put a bit of that self deprecating part of his humbles nature aside and went out and silently believed 'I am that dang good'. The realization that so many people love him dearly is finally beginning to sink in. And what a difference it is making to him as a person and a performer. All of his tour performances possess this added conviction and presence on stage, something that all great stage performers possess in abundance. It always amazed at how Michael Jackson could merely stand on stage without moving a muscle and the fans would keep on screaming and screaming. Davids little dance moves an dramatic arm raising have caused earthquakes around the crowds. There are reports that David received a 4 minute standing ovation at one of the concerts. That's pretty remarkable.

Davids other performances such as a re-worked 'Stand By Me' adding a touch of Shaun Kingston's version in at the end were once again delivered with more confidence and conviction even throwing in a little dance. The way David attacks the high notes seems more self assured and even more effortless for him. The same can be said for his version of Apologize. Apologize reveals to us the kind of song that will sell David his albums and silences the critics that claim he is not relevant in todays music. David puts a different feel on this song vocally, a unique interpretation that seems to have impressed many people, often non-Archie fans. I simply cannot listen to the OneRepublic version anymore, it pales in comparison. However, the best performance goes to Josh Grobans 'When You Say You Love Me'. A song I was not familiar with before the tour, I wouldn't say I was skeptical about David performing it, but I felt he could have picked something better. Despite that, I think David delivered this song way beyond Josh Groban's version and really revealed what a beautiful song it is. David's vocal performances from all the nights is quite astounding (and consistently good too), producing an epic glory note at the climax song proving what a great technical singer he is as well as an emotional singer. If David had performed this on American Idol, a standing ovation would have been in order. This is David doing a Clay Aiken style performance and I think he does it better.

I am quite astounded at the rapid improvement David has already made since Idol's conclusion. He is beginning to really believe deep down that he has what it takes to become something special. He is breaking out of his modest shell, whilst still remaining humble, and blossoming into a fully fledged performer of the world stage. I have my views and opinions of why and how David did not win this years American Idol, despite being almost indisputably the most talented, but it really does not matter anymore. American Idol was a mere stepping stone of the path to Davids ultimate goal and he is well on the way to achieving it. The tour performances have set a new benchmark for Davids performance standard as he breaks out his shell and develops into an adult and world class performer. Davids future seems ever more exciting upon watching these videos and I am more than excited to finally get to witness this in person. Once that shell is fully broken, David will be quite something. He is special. He proves it everytime he opens his mouth

Sunday, 29 June 2008

GOSH! Where do they all post?!

Planet Idol is the latest and greatest forum dedicated to American Idol, Canadian Idol and general Pop culture discussing the latest movies, music, politics, TV shows. Planet Idol features the best dedicated David Archuleta forum on the web known as 'Always Archuleta'! The Always Archuleta forum features the latest news, pictures, media and most importantly, discussion and fun related to David Archuleta and his prospering career. So come check out Planet Idol's 'Always Archuleta' forum as well as a universe of other exciting features and topics that will keep you hooked for hours.

The 'Always Archuleta' forum on Planet Idol is run and moderated by chenson, the author of this blog with Chad and Keith (Chad85 and Progressive originally from IdolForums) operating the general forum. Everyone is welcome to our community and you shall be welcomed warmly! Always Archuleta is the perfect place for community based discussion and sharing related to David Archuleta in a positive manner. I quickly found my home here after venturing into other less successful community forums and I'm sure everyone else will do too. Myself, Chad, Keith and the rest of the Mod Team at Planet Idol will do our best to ensure you find your home here too.

So come join in the fun! Here's a quick guide of where to get in on the Archuleta action!

The 'Lets Get Serious About The Archuleta' thread for all mature discussion about Davids career, talent and everything else can be found right HERE

Pictures, articles and media can be found in these threads listed HERE

Fun threads such as Photo captioning and the general fan chat thread known as 'On Davids Wings' can be found HERE

ALL comments/opinions for my blog posts can be posted right HERE

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Friday, 27 June 2008

Archie on Tour!

We heard word from David himself that the American Idol tour rehearsals wrapped up a few days ago and the Top 10 finalists are now on their way on their tour buses to Glendale, Arizona ready for their first concert on July 1st. The Idols play a whopping 52 dates in under 2 months, that is an intense touring schedule and a half. That intensity is bound to take its toll on some of less technically trained singers of the bunch but I suppose each artist is only singing a handful of songs so hopefully no repercussions shall be felt towards the end of the tour. David is singing 4 songs as opposed to the standard 3 and 1 less than David Cook who is singing 5, one being the winning single so lets call it 4. Only joking, I'm sure some people like magic rainbows. We've also heard a sample of a possible group number of 'Where is the Love?' on some press interviews which sounds promising.

Touring is the opportunity of a lifetime for most of these contestants and is arguably the biggest perk of entering the American Idol competition. The venues are decent, the tour dates are plentiful and the production appears to be of a top notch standard. Driving round America in a tour bus performing to thousands of people will be a valuable and memorable experience for David and all the other Idol contestants and hopefully will be something that we will be seeing David do a lot more in the up coming years. Listening to albums, watching artists on TV is great but nothing beats the live experience or even comes anywhere close to it. Ive had the pleasure of seeing quite a few great artists live and they have given me some of the most euphoric and memorable experiences of my life so far. David touches us all through our TV screens and speakers, that feeling we gain will be magnified when we get to see him sing in person. Great live music is an experience to be treasured and so I'm sure this years Idol tour will be a blast for everyone.

So what do we want to see David sing? David will be singing 4 different songs in a mini-concert format so here are my nominations for what I think he should and will sing.

Don't Let the Sun go down on Me - His performance of this at the finale was truly something to behold as its a very powerful song and David performs it with great tension and emotion. This will be the song to get people on their feet and the tears streaming down their cheeks. A full length version would do the song more justice as to what we heard on Idol and would be one of the most impacting and memorable performances on the concert. The lead into the chorus and then the chorus itself is a real opportunity for a 'moment' and it gives David an opportunity to 'let rip' vocally as he did in the finale and with more practice we could maybe even see something better on the tour compared to the finale. David really knows how to deliver this one and as arguably performance of the season, its a real must do.

Angels - On David's Larry King Live interview he expressed an interest in performing this song on the tour and I'm very confident he will hold true to that. Ive have also performed Angels live (not singing) and it is one of the best songs for a live experience. Its a real swaying arms in the air song with an anthemic vibe and memorable melody and it was the favorite of all his performances on Idol for many. David's unique soulful touches and runs in this song are absolutely golden and I actually think he sings it better than Robbie Williams himself. Angels is a truly brilliant song (who knows why it hasn't been a smash hit in the US) and is even more brilliant live. Its designed for the live setting. David also loves to sing it and I believe he could really have the crowd in the palm of his hand with this song. Angels is another 'must do'.

Think Of Me - This is definitely the song that i associate Davids artistry too, what makes him more than just a singer but an actual musician and artist. The arrangement and vibe of this song is slick, cool, laid back, acoustic and expressive. It accentuates everything great about Davids voice in a modern and contemporary way and I truly believe with the right production this song could be a great album song for him as it was one of his more memorable performances on Idol. This song has become very popular amongst Davids fans due to its originality and uniqueness and also it has been featured as a remix by Lucid which has spread like wildfire through the fanbase thus placing it in the spotlight more. Its another song that David seems to love to sing as its seems very personal to him due to the fact is so wildly different from the original and when you are performing covers, its great to have a song that you can truly call your own. Think Of Me would be great for the tour as its an opportunity to reveal his artistic identity as his career launches with this tour.

Shop Around - So this is a slightly bizarre choice and unexpected and I highly doubt he will do it but here is why I think he should. David is young, hes going on a tour to finally launch his career and hes going to really enjoy himself. Shop Around was by far the best energetic song that David sang and it would really give him to chance to let loose on stage and have some fun which is ultimately what this tour is going to be about for him and all of the contestants. In amongst a set of mid tempo songs and ballads, I think this would be a great song for David to get the crowd moving and have a great time up on stage. Its important that David varies his set in terms of tempo and vibes and I think this would be a great opportunity for David to really show his youth and rock the house. Shop Around was a very popular performance with the fans for those very reasons and I believe this would be a perfect choice to really have a great time with.

Other choices: Love me Tender, Stand By Me.

I would imagine that David may attempt something completely new and different for the tour, as some of the other contestants are doing that, so something he did not sing on Idol and we may even hear him perform his new single later on in the tour if it gets recorded and released prior to the tours conclusion as this has been done by previous contestants. That would be a great introduction to the song for all of us to hear and to promote his up coming album to the non fans. I personally am flying all the way over from the UK to attend the Bridgeport, Connecticut show on September 6th (its costing me a bomb!) and I'm really looking forward to finally embracing Davids singing in person, I'm sure it will be something special. Finally seeing David sing in person will be a seminal and inspirational moment for me and I haven't looked forward to something as much as this in a very long time.

What songs would you like to hear David sing on tour? What date(s) are you attending? Come tell me HERE

Monday, 23 June 2008

The debut album - What to expect?

Two weeks after the Idol finale and David Cook was announced winner of this seasons American Idol, David Archuleta was signed to Jive for a deal rumored to be of the same, or maybe even more, financial weight as the winner. Never in the history of Idol has a runner-up been snapped up so readily, except for maybe Clay Aiken. As an under 18, Davids contract will have taken longer to process through the courts so it could potentially have been done even earlier had David been a year older. This shows fantastic will and motivation from the men with the money to get David recording and selling records. In an era where the music industry is lacking confidence and is faltering due to piracy, saturation of genres and a transition of how music is sold and listened to, this is an incredibly bold and confident move, especially for an artist who isn't generically associated to any other artist around at the moment. It seems that 19E and Sony BMG didn't think twice about getting David onto a label and prepping him for an album release. David has clearly sparked the attention of quite a few record label executives, with a rumored 7 or 8 other offers from other companies. I would hazard a guess that all four major music media corporations tried their hand at getting David and few independent labels too. This kind of hype and desire to sign an artist is rare, especially in this day and age and even after a month of the finale of Idol, David is still floating around the media, arguably as much as David Cook, with appearances at the Wall-E premier and an appearance on 'The View' as well as various other tabloid articles about his school plans for next year. Jive now has got their hands on David so what can we expect from his album due later this year? This is what I would like to hear...

It has already been confirmed that prolific songwriters such as the legendary Diane Warren and the current in demand Ryan Tedder are already penning songs for David along with various others. Rarely does a new artist get this kind of attention and rarely does a new artist get the financial backing to be able to get hold of songs from this sort of caliber of songwriter. How many of these songs make it onto Davids album we will have to see, but I'm under the impression Jive will fork out the cash for them. David has constantly re-iterated his desire to make a commercially viable album whilst maintaining artistic integrity, referring to artists such as John Mayer and Sarah Bareilles as examples of this and I trust his his judgment and therefore his ability to deliver his vision as he never once dissapointed on Idol and really stepped up to the plate when it mattered.

What David needs in his album is variety. There are three different moulds of songs that he needs to achieve in order for his album to be a success. David needs some songs that are radio friendly, catchy and lyrically fun as well as relevant and memorable. This would be a great first single for David, to really get into the mainstream market with and assert himself amongst the Rihanna's, Chris Brown's and Jonas Brothers in terms of radio play and popularity. I'm not saying he should make songs that sound like any of them, but create songs that can appeal to the same market. It is crucially important that he makes all of his songs relevant to him and not copying others or trying to be something he is not but that would be incredibly out of character if impossible for him to do. He has talked a lot about making a young sounding album so this is the type of song that will really enable him to do that. Achieving this will ensure some radio play, commercial and single success. This is what Jordin Sparx has done very well and Jive seems to be very good at marketing it.

The second mould that I would like to see from David is a more mature, contemporary yet popular style. This is where John Mayer and Sarah Bareilles fit in, again not sounding like them but creating music that fits within the same musical context. I think David would fit this mould brilliantly. Clever, varied and artistic songwriting with some interesting messages in the lyrics and something he can get into more vocally and showing off what hes capable of with his interpretations and vocal licks whilst keeping it commercially friendly, perhaps not radio friendly but something people could really enjoy on an album and maybe use as a subsequent single. David, with the right songs, could take this 'area' to a whole new level as his natural ability to interpret and communicate is astounding. I'm not going to speculate on genre but I would guess that David will aim for some slightly more acoustic, rhythmical 'Think Of Me' style songs here. It would be certainly be a great vibe for him and it would really accentuate his vocal abilities and his ability to really communicate a song across to the audience. Once again variety is important for David.

The last route I would love to see David go down is something more mature, dramatic and maybe spiritual. Only one or two songs but something with a lot of substance both musically and lyrically, something where he can really get his genius vocal interpretation claws into and express something deep and meaningful, messages have always been important to David and this would be his chance to express his soul. Maybe a slow ballad resembling Sarah Bareilles' 'Gravity' or something along the lines of 'Imagine' or 'And so it goes..', a song where David really has something to say and that will really dig deep into our hearts and souls with his vocal prowess. It may not be radio or commercially friendly, but its something I would love to hear from David on his album, it would be even better if he wrote it himself. In his first album, he needs to be careful with this sort of song though, hes only 17 and he doesn't want to come across as being old fashioned or 'boring' but I really think its these sort of tracks that are the difference between a good album and a great album. I think artistically, these could be the most satisfying of all the tracks David records for him and for us and really spark the attention of critics, awards and music aficionados.

The key for David with this album is variety and keeping it streamlined. He needs to find a way of creating different feels and moods with each song as he did so brilliantly (yet uncredited for) on Idol every week whilst keeping it identifiable to him every time. Take a great band like The Beatles or The Police for example. Each album has a wide variety of genres on it but every track still sounds like them and is identifiable to them. David has a very distinctive voice has not been pigeon-holed and should not be pigeon holed into a genre so it is fairly easy for him to achieve this variety. This album is his chance to define who he is as an artist to the world and I believe that to be something of a wide spectrum, which is fantastic and crucial for longevity. Obviously the songs need to be strong and with the caliber of songwriters involved they should be, the key is getting the balance between commercial and artistic right. I would also love to hear 1 or 2 songs that he has written himself. I have faith in him, as a musician that he will reach his aims as he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve and it appears to be ideal and absolutely spot on. His work ethic is brilliant, hes a real 'tryer' to use Simon Cowells adjective and combined with his exceptional talent, its a recipe for success. Provided Jive do not adversely interfere, which I believe they wont as I have been impressed with how they have handled their other artists, Davids first album could and should be a great success.

However, this album for me is the stepping stone. I'm not expecting a multi-platinum record breaking album from David. I'm expecting an album that will carry him forward into adulthood and give him that experience that is crucial for when he has fully matured. Its the second album that I'm really looking forward to. I have strong faith that his first album will be great, but the second will be better. David is too good for his first album to completely sink however no artist can fulfill their potential at 17 years of age and David still has a way to go both in physical and vocal development. Its truly amazing and a testament to his talent that he can be this good at his age and level of development and people forget that and they did on Idol. I believe he could be a pretty great songwriter too but I don't think we will get to see this until his second album.

The futures bright for David, very bright. Hes got the label and finances, hes got the fanbase, hes got the support, hes got the songwriters but most importantly hes got the talent and work ethic to really make it happen. You cant go wrong with those two things combined and when you have it in abundance like David does, who knows what he could achieve? I'm expecting great things from this up-coming album, but oh my, can you imagine what he will be like when he reaches his peak? Its a scary thought and he isn't even anywhere near there yet. Wow.