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

Registering for our community only takes a very short time but you can be sure that you shall be able to call Planet Idol your new home for all things David Archuleta!

Stop by the Welcome Wagon and introduce yourself! Looking forward to seeing you all at Planet Idol!

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.


Thursday, 19 June 2008

Why on Earth did he not win?

So after all the the hype, all the talk, all the weeks of listening and watching how on earth did this talent, this contestant come in second? What went wrong? With the beauty of hindsight we can carefully evaluate how and why but in the end it doesn't really matter for him. He has gained more out of this than he could ever have dreamed of. It was a long and brilliant experience for David and for all of us and we witnessed some fantastic and amazing performances along the way. In my eyes, David is the most consistent contestant the show has seen. He never gave performances that were out of his range, out of tune or just simply didn't work at all. Yes he forgot the lyrics for his top 12 song but when you listen to the rest of that performance back, he actually did good in the second two thirds, shame it was overshadowed by something that happens to every performer, good or bad. David never did badly and he delivered some amazing performances, some the best Idol has ever seen. So how come he lost?

I'm over it. And I have been for weeks now. David is better off placing second. Hes 17, hes still got some developing and growing up to do and he has his whole life and career ahead of him. The record deal was done faster than cheetah on speed and the motivation from himself, the corporate money men and the fans is as high or even higher than any other winner or runner-up of previous seasons. As runner-up he gets the invaluable opportunity to make a mark without the unnecessary and over burdening pressure and I think at this stage for David that is the best thing possible. The pressures of winning American Idol are essentially unnatural for any artist and is very hard to cope with and not everyone does. A fair few of the artists that do win eventually end up attempting to distance themselves from the show anyway so how much of a benefit is it really in the long run. Its of no surprise to me that often the losers go on to do better than the winners. However, despite all of this it still pains me to hear Ryan say the wrong surname when I watch back the finale. The morning after the show, Simon Cowell said on Ryan Seacrest's radio show that he felt justice had been done. The more I think about it, the further away from the truth I believe Simon is with that statement. As a Simon fan, I think he got it wrong this year. Totally wrong. I don't dislike David Cook either, I like him a lot and he will go on to do very well (don't quote me on that though!) but hes no David Archuleta in terms of potential and talent. As is far too often on these shows, the best singer didn't win. Randy said to David after the final performance of Imagine that American Idol is about finding the best singer they can find. Again, he could not be further from the truth. Its great to be the best, but its more important to be what they are looking for.

American Idol has been criticised in the past for being a 'formulaic, karaoke show that releases inexperienced artists into the music industry on a conveyor belt'. I believe these shows do benefit the music industry for many reasons however I do think that quote holds a fair bit of truth. American Idols great contestants and great performances all have things in common, a formula if you will. I spent some time on youtube watching back some of the all time great Idol performances from all the winners and runners-up of note, especially Clay Aiken and I began to notice a pattern. The typical Idol 'standing-O' performance is made up of three elements. First, the great song, very emotive and dramatic and something that everybody knows. Second, the epic runs and vocal ornaments leading to a climatic build-up to the thing that gets the people on their feet. The final and the most important part, the glory note! Oh yes, every great performance in the history of Music has had the highest note at the very top of your range held for the longest (im being sarcastic if you didn't pick up on that) time you can humanly possibly hold your breath for without passing out and dying. This is the formula that wins you this show my friends. Yes ok, its satisfying from a TV perspective and to a certain brand of singer, it works wonders. But how viable is it 'in the real world' (to use a Simon quote) when all the winners are an endless string of Diva singers. Its of no surprise to me that the great divas, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, are potrayed as the great musical gods on American Idol. Believe it or not, being a great artist and musician goes way beyond having a 6 octave range and being able to sing a song with more twists and turns than a roller-coaster.

Which brings me to David. Did David ever conform to this fool-proof method of winning American Idol? No, he didn't, ever. Its fairly ironic because of all the contestants this year, he was the most capable of competing with big guns and really delivering in terms of having the vocal prowess to be able to pull 'the formula' off. David never even attempted to go for the formula. Cook did. Cook did it with some arrangement frills to make up for the lack of vocal skill and he succeeded. Cook without the frills was merely average at best(Top 24 and 20 week anyone?). David was never average, from start to finish. The element that David brought to his performances that was so drastically different from everyone in the competition was every performance was his own interpretation. That interpretation differed from week to depending on the song, sometimes it would be the arrangement, other times it would be more emphasised the vocal line. Every performance was his vision on what he thought the song should be like. It was never 'lets try and cram as many runs, trills and glory notes in here' which is often considered to be the way of 'personalising' on Idol. It was about adding the soulful and touching elements that added to the communication and expression that David was trying to achieve. Because of that, every week we were getting distinct and memorable performances in different ways each time and each and every time he sang it was different, it always different from the original and it was always his vision of the song. David was the true artist of the show. But therein lies the flaw. David never conformed to the formula so if his performances didn't contain any decibel crazed runs and over exaggerated vocal plays all the time, it was considered by some to be average and then eventually boring. It never quite fit in with the typical Idol 'standing-O' performance. When the song called for it, David delivered the epic runs and glory notes but he is more than that and he knew that. Those of us that saw beyond the formula and appreciated things that were alien to the Idol showcase, saw what David is really about.

Its a shame really. David was the real artist in disguise it seems. He was the one that personalised every single performance he did with his subtle nuances and melodic plays. It was never about putting in an electric guitar and picking up the pace a bit or altering the rhythmic patterns and calling that 'personalised'. His interpretations and visions were way more intricate and intuitive, but it seems that didn't quite fit in with the show. Its no wonder Randy, the musician of the panel really understood David and what he was about but he could never quite bring himself to compliment him on the things that David should have been complimented on. That would be treading on Cooks toes. What David was doing went over Simons' head and many of the critics as it was so different to any other Idol contestant, especially front runners before him. David was the better than formula, David is better than the show. Its just a shame that what David brought to each and every performance and the way he would instinctively add subtlety's and musical ideas that would pave their way into our hearts and souls only warrants second place. David also never sang the same way twice, everytime his performance came straight from his heart. David is a true artist for that reason, he stuck to who he is. There is nothing false, fake or karaoke about what he does. It all comes from him, from within, from his heart straight to ours and I wouldn't have him any other way. Ill take David without the glory notes and frills if that is how he sees a song, being able to maintain your artistic integrity is the key to success and longevity. If that means second place in American Idol, fine.

Im going to be looking at what I expect and want from Davids first album in my next post. I'm a bit bogged down with exams at the moment but until then come discuss everyone's favorite David at Planet Idol

Post your Comments HERE

Sunday, 15 June 2008

David Archuleta - What is all the fuss about?

So what is all the fuss? What has brought us all together as a zealous and passionate fanbase and have come out in force from all regions of the globe to show our love and support for this young talent? Jeff Archuleta released a message yesterday thanking everyone for his Fathers Day e-card that had been sent by a legion of Arch-Angels. What is it about this person that we celebrate even his parents wherever and whenever we get the chance? David was throughout the course of the show, the most discussed contestant by anyones measurement. He was the talk of all the forums, blogs, commentator sites, newspapers and everything Idol related all season long. He set his mark very early on. So what is it about him that has left us with this glorious aftertaste and an ever larger appetite for more, even as runner-up, now that American Idol is finished for another year. This is my insight as to why...

Davids appeal embodies the spirit of Art. Music especially has that ability to dive down deep into your soul, break you down and reveal that inner core. It possesses that ability to make you feel things you never thought were possible, or at least possible within the context of reality. Its an expression thats more than words, a way of communicating beyond the boundaries of speech and literature. Music can send you to another world and back within space of a few minutes making you feel calm, excited, love struck, emotional and even inspired, to name just a few. David embodies that spirit. I myself am a lover of all music, but my inclinations are more towards the Rock genre, i even dive into the realms of Metal and other far-removed genres as far away from David as possible. So why does his simple method of just 'standing and singing' reach into the very depths of me every time? David possesses an ability that cannot be taught. An ability that varies in amount but is something you either have or you don't. Its called Musicality. Its that natural ability to express yourself with music and communicate from your heart to everyone else's in that room and beyond. That ability to make a grown (well, almost grown) man cry. The sheer scale and intensity in which David possesses this ability is quite remarkable and something very special, even mind boggling when I really think about it. Every time I play a song of his on my iPod or a video on my PC I'm cast into another world, nirvana in fact, and that is something very few people can do to me. His musical instinct is of a prodigal and epic amplitude

It almost seems that for himself singing is that place, that place where he can sit there and speak from his heart and soul. I was always so intrigued at how his whole persona transformed when his performance began. He went from being a shy, humble, slightly awkward and quirky boy to becoming a poised and confident performer. Performing on stage to a lot of people diminishes their personality when they are up there but to David, it revealed and amplified it. He always looked truly 'at home' on stage. David is also unique to the typical Idol contestants. The people that establish themselves on this show are the people with the biggest, loudest and most elaborate singing style. A great performance to the Idol crowd was the best song with the longest, loudest, highest note at the end to cap it all off (cue Jennifer Hudson, Tamyra Grey to name just a few). David was never about that. His performances were about the subtlety's, the nuances throughout the song delivered with great passion and intent that would send that tingle down your spine and the expression was therefore astounding. Its fairly ironic because he was the best technical singer of season 7 without a shadow of a doubt but he never indulged in what usually makes great performances on the Idol stage, despite the fact he so easily could have. His performances were always his vision, his interpretation, never what he thought people would expect as a great performance or an attempt at re-creating the original. That made him so different to many other Idol contestants. He always delivered for that reason.

And on top of all of this he is a truly humble, gracious and very fine human being. That is what all the fuss is about. He is everything an American Idol should be, beyond the singing. A true role model who has inspired myself and millions of others. I think that is what really makes us all devote ourselves to him, because he devotes himself to us. And that is something that wont be forgotten.

Come discuss the post and everything Archie over at the 'Always Archuleta' discussion board over at Planet Idol!


Saturday, 14 June 2008

Always Archuleta

Since the removal of Rascals fantastic blog, notingdavid, the David Archuleta fan community has been lacking a real commentator and a place to go to hear a slightly different, more artistically centered analysis of David and his career. Rascal did a fantastic job in providing us with exactly that but for reasons unknown to almost all of us, his site has been terminated unexpectedly. This role needs to be continued, the torch carried on, the gap filled. Rascals blog was a necessary staple of the Archuleta fanbase diet, a very popular part too, and is in substantial need of continuing after American Idol. This is where i step in.

I myself am a student of music, an aspiring musician and a great lover of all things music. Ive been a fan and follower since very early on. David has become a massive part of my musical interest over the past three months causing me to become an IDF visitor, Fanblast regular and moderator over at Planet Idol ( I have dedicated many an hour contemplating his talent, his music and his artistry completely in awe of everything he does. This is now my opportunity to carry on where Rascal left off and channel all of these thoughts to this one place. David Archuleta has left a lasting impression on thousands, millions of us worldwide. Anywhere where American Idol is possible to be seen, David has touched someones heart. We have been blessed with a singing talent and gracious human being that does not come around all too often. He is young. His journey is its earliest stages. There is a real star that shall blossom as time goes by, as his person and his talent develops and matures into a fully fledged man and whole hearted artist of music. That journey is worth talking about.

So here we go, American Idol is over but its only just begun. Hopefully I can fill that gap that Rascal left with the absence of notingdavid.