Will the song remain the same?

When I heard Emily Haines (Metric) sing “Help, I’m Alive” on the Canada for Haiti telethon last Friday, two things occurred to me.

First, how perfect this song was for the occasion – a fundraiser to help keep hope alive for the earthquake-rocked people of Haiti.

Second, how Metric’s indie sound is a direction I’d love to see David Archuleta’s next CD take. The lyrics also brought to mind the pressure David must be under right now to write a hit song; produce a hit record. “If I stumble/They’re gonna eat me alive.”

Okay, that’s three things….

We’ve heard David tell several interviewers that the songs he’s writing this time out will reflect more of his own personality, and themes that are closer to his heart:

David & Lady V: "V" for songwriting victory?

“It’s cool getting to talk about things I want to talk about. I feel like it’s me talking in these songs, and that’s what I really like about them. Even though I talk weird and stuff, I guess that’s what makes me the way I am. There’s more of my personality in these songs,” he told USA Today’s Idol Chatter.

“Instead of saying, ‘We need to write a hit! Smash! That’s not good enough! It’s not catchy enough!’ [in Nashville,] they’re like, ‘Let’s just write and see what comes out.’ They really care about what I like and what makes me feel good.”

David & Priscilla Renea at Pre-Grammy Par-tay

But when you see the superstar songwriters Jive’s hooked him up with for the L.A. writing sessions, you know they’re now pulling out all the stops to find that “smash hit” — another Crush. In fact, when I first read that Idol Chatter quote, it occurred to me that David must have heard those exact words from the label at some point: “We need to write a hit! Smash! That’s not good enough! It’s not catchy enough!”

The good news is, David’s in the writing “boiler room” working alongside these A-list songwriters, this time out. This bodes well for David getting to “make his own kinda music, sing his own special song” (to paraphrase Mama Cass, lol) on this record.

I tremble
They’re gonna eat me alive
If I stumble
They’re gonna eat me alive

Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?
Beating like a hammer?
Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft
Tough to be tender

Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train
Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

If you’re still alive / My regrets are few
If my life is mine / What shouldn’t I do?
I get wherever I’m going /I get whatever I need
While my blood’s still flowing /And my heart still beats…
Beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer Hard to be soft /Tough to be tender
Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer

*******

David experimented with a bunch of styles on his debut CD and on tour  —  which one do you think will crop up most on this record? “Reggae-ish” (his word!) like Barriers? Angsty-rock like Desperate? Soulful gah-roovitude (as Beebee would say) like My Hands? Acoustic magic like The Riddle? Or do you think he’ll come up with a brand new sound altogether?

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41 Responses to Will the song remain the same?

  1. awestruck says:

    Hey TOfan – David may come up with a unique sound, but I think that he will retain an eclectic mix on his upcoming album … he enjoys the different kinds of music too much and at this point, IMO, is still experimenting. Future albums, in say 5 years, may have a more unified sound.

  2. munkmusic says:

    Love your article and great questions! I have been researching all of the writers that have been working with him. There are about a dozen so far and more to come. They come from all different styles of music. Many are R&B/pop writers. They are all seasoned and gifted musicians. I think David will make all of this music his own sound. Doesn’t he do that at every concert he gives? (My Hands for instance) He is a genius at upping the anti…..Whatever he does, his soul will come spilling out. Whether it is dancey fun songs or heart wrenching R&B. He will bring David Archuleta’s heart to the fore front. This opportunity is so awesome. And I am sure that there will be many in the music industry that will finally GET David and appreciate his gift, not only in his voice, but in his heart! Thanks again for the great article!

  3. bebereader says:

    TOfan: Love this topic! *wink*

    Someone’s phone at Jive must be ringing off the hook with calls from songwriters asking to be put on the list to write for The Voice. This is just what we’ve been waiting for! Hit or no hit, as David said at the press conference in Honduras, he will gain experience from this.

    I agree with Awestruck; there will probably be an ‘eclectic mix’ on this this new record. That’s what I’m hoping for because I enjoy him singing anything at all.

    “The songs are in your eyes…I see them when you smile..”
    – “Miracle Drug” by U2

  4. conditioner says:

    TOfan: Thanks for this article, truth be known I have not had a chance to ‘obsess’ lately, but after reading your article, David’s new album is much anticipated by moi!! My thought (and hope) is that it IS ecclectic, but I think a hit would be in the spirit of an acoustic, and like ‘The Riddle”. I think David loves, and has fun doing these types of songs, and I am hoping they put something together that ‘works for him’! Oh, and Massey Hall would be nice, thanks!!

  5. TOfan says:

    {{{conditioner}}} Massey Hall acoustic FTW!!!!

    bebereader, awestruck & munkmusic,
    You’re right, the roster of A-list songwriters David’s been working with is impressive … with others trying to Tweet their way onto it! lol

    He may not be in a school classroom right now, but the experience surely must be a master class in composition and production!

    This whole process of setting up formal writing sessions seemed like an assembly-line way of writing songs to me at first… I guess I have this romantic idea of songwriters sitting on a mountain top or by the ocean getting their ideas.

    But then I remembered reading this quote from Carole King about her experience at the famed Brill Building in the early 1960s:

    “Every day we squeezed into our respective cubby holes with just enough room for a piano, a bench, and maybe a chair for the lyricist if you were lucky. You’d sit there and write and you could hear someone in the next cubby hole composing a song exactly like yours.

    “The pressure in the Brill Building was really terrific — because Donny (Kirshner) would play one songwriter against another. He’d say: ‘We need a new smash hit’ — and we’d all go back and write a song and the next day we’d each audition for Bobby Vee’s producer.”

    hmmmm 😆

  6. awestruck says:

    A romantic at heart TOfan, methinks songwriting is hard work lol

    I’m with BebeR – and I’ve said this before too – ANYTHING he sings is ambrosia to me ears. Part of David’s appeal to me on his debut CD is the variation in the styles. I have come to really love even thoses songs that I, at first, didn’t connect with YEDL (David singing live will do that to me). And look at CFTH – well, I am not so much a fan of blues/jazz, but HYAMLC puts me on the floor every time.

  7. awestruck says:

    munkmusic – do you think that such a lineup of songwriters/ producers is usually put forth so soon (3rd cd soon, well 2nd cd cause Christmas music is what it is) to an emerging artist?

  8. refnaf says:

    David has caused me to actually pay attention to who is writing what!! I have never been in such anticipation mode, that I have had need to speculate… fave artists of mine would come out with stuff and I pick and choose what I like or don’t on each project. The JOY of being here at every stage of David’s career is that the possibilities seem so endless. I seriously can not decide what I’d like the most, (or what would be best for his career)
    What I liked about the first cd was that it had a good mix….I love all his different styles. What I am wondering about is what it will be like lyrically? When he says “It’s cool getting to talk about things I want to talk about. I feel like it’s me talking in these songs, and that’s what I really like about them. Even though I talk weird and stuff, I guess that’s what makes me the way I am. There’s more of my personality in these songs,” I am excited for some quirky but meaningful message songs…Do ya think that’s possible.
    He seemed to me, judging by his vlogs and tweets, much more excited about the stuff he was doing in Nashville… I hope that he is satisfied with what gets on the final cut… If D is happy, I’m happy.

  9. TOfan says:

    awestruck, “ambrosia to my ears” LOVE that! And I think such a lineup of songwriters/producers are brought in if the label thinks they have a hot property on their hands. Quite a few of the writers David’s working with have also written for Jordin Sparks and, gasp, Justin Bieber.

    Refnaf, I was just listening to Works for Me today and thinking the same thing … loved the feisty (and quirky) message of those lyrics and the soulful vibe. What I hope for most with this record, is that he gets plenty of time to really live & breathe the songs before he records them, so he can work his magic in the studio with no clock ticking.

    David just tweeted about writing with Priscilla Renea … this song of hers has a Bubbly vibe … like it!!!

  10. awestruck says:

    TOfan, that’s sort of how I was thinking – and it feels good to know that the label does too.

    refnaf – I agree that David seemed to be liking more what was being done in Nashville based on his tweets. And ditto to hoping that David has a big say in what songs get chosen for the CD.

  11. emmegirl says:

    TOfan – David is teaching us a lesson in patience with this album, because I am ready for it NOW! With all this tweeting, the anticipation is already uncontrollable! Seems like they are upping the ante and letting him do more of his own thang on this one, exactly what we were hoping for!

    I don’t really have a certain niche I would prefer to seem him doing – just not the, as he has called it “pop-py” pop. I love when he does the more r&b, soulful – maybe even a bit of jazz, vibe stuff; and the artistic, indie laid-back stuff too! Hope he is always allowed to spread his wings and experiment and let his talents unfold. I understand the concept of cohesiveness with an album, but I wish they would let him break the mold and just do whatevah, his talent is so broad.

    awestruck – I hear ya on that HYAMLC! Can’t listen to the tour versions enough!

    Somehow, being a David fan makes you eager to wake everyday and see what he has in store for us. And even on the slow days, we get to listen to that voice and watch those videos over and over and over!

    I’m sure every one has seen this tweet, but it is worth repeating:

    “@emanuelkiriakou

    @davidarchie week continues with
    @lileddieohyeah and @jesscatesmusic..
    .I don’t want to speak too early but this one is SPECIAL!!!!”

  12. awestruck says:

    Yeah emmiegirl let him “break that mold”!

    The other thing that I love about going to the myspaces of these songwriter… is to be exposed to music I otherwise wouldn’t be. I am really enjoying Inara George’s music and have purchased her Accidental Experimental album on iTunes. Now I’m off to check out Emily Haines.

    TOfan – tried to play Priscilla Renea video and it comes up and says that EMI has decided to block it in this country… what are we chopped liver?

    • TOfan says:

      Thx. for the heads up, awestruck. Chopped liver FTW!!! (I’ve replaced it with a Canada-friendly vid of the audio/lyrics only, lol.)

  13. awestruck says:

    Here’s the link to Priscilla Renea’s myspace
    http://www.myspace.com/priscillarenea

  14. awestruck says:

    Ya gotta check out her song called “Bacon and Eggs” quirky… maybe that’s why David last tweet is :

    “Priscilla Renea is here writing with us now. Way talented! Love hearing her sing the ideas she comes up with lol. ”

    “Mr. Workabee” is pretty funky too.

    OK I’ll stop spamming now…

  15. TOfan says:

    lol spammer Awestruck (don’t tell Abrra!)

    Awestruck & emmegirl, I was thinking about HYAMLC yesterday … about how it was the gift that kept on giving on the Christmas tour. With that one song, David gave us:
    1) Sweet, touching duet version with Lupe
    2) Jazz-mattaz solo version in Santa rosa (& elsewhere)
    3) Fun duet with his Aunt
    4) Knock-it-out of the park version in Stroudsburg
    5) Epic duet version with Ray
    Like, wow.

    From the studio:

    As promised... Pic in the studio with @davidarchie & @priscil... on Twitpic

  16. Sunshine says:

    Great post TOfan (love the LZ reference in the title). I agree with Conditioner – your post has really kick-started my impatience for album #2.

    If David is truly able to wear his heart on his sleeve during his writing sessions, I think we will hear an album that is eclectic in style but lyrically centered. I think he wants to sing with purpose and meaning – he just has to find the words to express his thoughts. That’s not to say that there won’t be a Zero Gravity or two (David loves to entertain and have fun), but the words won’t be from the ‘Party in the USA’ genre. And we can be certain he won’t be saying his own name in his songs – what’s with that trend {{cough Jason Derulo}}? I just hope that his writing partners create an environment where he feels confident enough to give his feelings to the world. He has already given us the Voice – I can’t imagine what it will be like to listen to an album that is Voice + Heart. Bliss.

  17. betsy says:

    Great post Tofan! It’s got me thinking. He really only covers songs that have an accoustic-y, piano-y sound. Songs that he loves so much that he feels the need to cover. Jason, Sara, Sting, Colbie, etc. Songs that really mean something to him. I think if he gets his wish, his album will be more like these.
    I wonder how many songs he has written in the past year. It seems like he’s been writing so much, for so long.
    Ramble, ramble, ramble.

  18. TOfan says:

    Sunshine,
    “And we can be certain he won’t be saying his own name in his songs – what’s with that trend {{cough Jason Derulo}}?” LOL, I noticed Lady Gaga does that in one of her songs … David does sometimes refer to himself in 3rd person, but I think we’re safe! 😆

    Betsy,
    I’d have to agree … why do I get the feeling his Nashville stuff is more “him” … and perhaps more acoustic-y? Ramble away! lol

    Wondered if this tweet from David Hodges (Crush cowriter) was what our David was also thinking at the par-tay:
    “I’m at a very Hollywoodesque pregrammy party wondering why I’m at at a very Hollywoodesque pregrammy party.”

  19. emmegirl says:

    TOfan, great tweet from Hodges. I was wondering the same thing about David too when I saw the pics. He probably would prefer to not be there, but unfortunately a bit of that is probably essential for getting your name and face out there, connnections, etc. If you have to go, the Grammy party’s are probably the ones to be at.

  20. emmegirl says:

    and TOfan, loved your gift that kept on giving…and I still listen to it several times a week!

  21. bebereader says:

    Sunshine: “I think he wants to sing with purpose and meaning – he just has to find the words to express his thoughts.”

    It just dawned on me that perhaps one of the reasons David keeps a journal is to collect his thoughts and ideas for later use as lyrics for his songs. What do you think?

  22. emmegirl says:

    Totally off topic, but can you GET more joyful than this 🙂

    He is infectious.

  23. TOfan says:

    bebereader, interesting thought about the journal. It sounds as though David’s main purpose for the journal is to keep track of the whirlwind happenings in his life these days, but maybe he also keeps a highlighter or Post-Its to flag any song possibilities. lol

    emme,
    infectious is right! Watched that about 5 times, lol … love the fist pump dance moves & the cellist tapping her toes at the beginning. 😆

  24. Kizzi says:

    Hi everyone – just a quick hello and Happy Last Saturday Afternoon in January 2010 to all ya’ all at SAz!

    TOfan: Now I don’t know why David keeps a journal. But I wanted to share that one of the owners of my company is LDS and he told me a couple of months ago that journaling is encouraged by the church and your comment just jogged my memory. So I just Googled and found this site. Fascinating!

    Go here for more info: http://www.ldsjournal.com/Why/

    “There are countless reasons why you should keep a journal; to record your perspective on special events, every-day life, or to leave something behind as a legacy………..Journal keeping is one of the most important traditions we have…”

  25. bebereader says:

    Kizzi: Makes perfect sense! Thanks for the link. I imagine that the journal also came in handy for David’s book “Chords of Strength”. If I was in the process of writing a bunch of songs to reflect my personality, I’d certainly look back at my journal for help with lyrics.

    emmegirl: Infectious indeed!

  26. emmegirl says:

    Brought these tweets over from FOD, hope that is alright! David is bowling them over!

    @LisaMarray

    Day 2 of the David Archuleta (@DavidArchie) session with @DapoTorimiro
    & @priscillarenea at DMP Studio!

    @pabuckie I’m a huge fan of his as well! It’s been amazing 2 meet him & hear him sing!
    I hear beautiful things coming from the studio

    @RealityTC I am feeling very blessed today! He is amazingly talented.

    @priscillarenea

    And @DavidArchie is in here singing for his life! So much emotion!

    @DapoTorimiro: @DavidArchie is killing it in the studio!!! The guy can sing!! OMG!!

  27. awestruck says:

    It is so cool to read the tweets from these guys re David… this is validation for our ODD?!?

  28. TOfan says:

    kizzi, that’s interesting about the journaling — if his looks anything like mine, there are some pages for dated entries and other for purely random thoughts.

    emme, thanks for the tweets … so wish we could all hear what they’re working on … even a snippet or two … or three. 😆

    SOT & ZG are such killer songs, I was hoping David & Mike Krompass would do more writing together … maybe they did while on tour last winter/spring/summer. It’s exciting to hear this amazing feedback from the Nashville & L.A. writers David’s been working with, but it would be great if someday he clicked with someone the way Lennon had McCartney and Elton had Bernie Taupin.

    They are lining up to work with David … here’s a tweet from his tour opener last winter:
    @lesleyroy have some sick melodies for @davidarchie where are u bro?!!!

  29. Kizzi says:

    Love those tweets – fun and funny!

    TOfan – The gentleman in our company who talked about journaling to me said he doesnt’ b/c he wants to keep his focus on the present and the future and that when he journaled he got stuck in “what ifs” and “should ofs.” His nature is fast action and rapid progression.

    Made me think hard on journaling b/c I journal in spates – its either feast or famine. Still to record one’s thoughts and then go back and read them years later is sweet.

  30. Sunshine says:

    bebereader – I’ve thought the same thing! I hope he doesn’t lose that journal like he lost his phone. I’m told that all songwriters keep some type of journal – not necessarily as a diary but for observations, thoughts and melodies. I’ll bet David’s is a bestseller! 🙂

  31. TOfan says:

    Sunshine,
    Wonder what David wrote in his journal about the Grammy’s last night. I was excited when I heard Taylor Swift would sing with Stevie Nicks, then almost cried when I saw Stevie reduced to a back-up singer.

    And David singing that duet with MKB on Bridge Over Troubled Water would have been spec-tac-u-lar. Just sayin’ 🙂

    Off-topic: Pic of Ray with David’s birthday cake/cookie 😆
    Raycake

    And the tweet-meister in action:
    Tweeting

  32. refnaf says:

    (((awstruck))) consider your ODD validated… the songwriters are dropping to their knees like flies, haha… (wait, do flies have kness??, whatev)

    I saw bits and pieces of the grammy’s…seems that it is all about the “entertainment spectacle” rather than the music? Someday it will be David’s turn, and my hope it that he will bring the music back, just sayin.

    Hang on to that journal David!

  33. TOfan says:

    I’m LOLing over that cookie/cake pic … just realized it’s supposed to be his CD cover but looks more a young Dan Rather, doesn’t it?:

    DanRather

  34. jackryan4DA says:

    ANYONE INTERESTED IN 1.35 HOURS OF DA’s BILLBOARD LIVE CONCERT?

    Good news guys! JOJODA over at IDF pieced together FLIPANGEL’s BillBoardLive videos and synchronized HD audio into the pieced vids!

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=L6ZF1QLC

    Duration : 1 hour and 35 minutes
    Height : 853.32 MB
    Format of the file : WMV
    Quality of picture : 7.5/10
    Quality of sound : 10/10

    Let’s give JOJODA a big thanks for her great work! (See post #18 Billboard Live Thread @ IDF) http://idolforums.com/index.php?s=7b55050e176fc59e59b01af81869f58f&showtopic=636795

    YAY!

  35. happy says:

    just sayin’ hi all…. “hi all! Glad all seems well here…. 🙂 “

  36. TOfan says:

    jackryan4da,
    that’s amazing, thank you for the link!!!! What a labour of love by JOJODA, will def. leave a comment.

    Happy??? *rubs eyes* Great to see you & your brownies!

    Now, don’t be a blog tease, stay a while! 😆
    Did you watch the Grammy’s?

  37. refnaf says:

    Wow thanks for that link JR!!

    Happy!!!! heygirl… been missing you! and all IS well here, except for lack of brownies….

  38. emmegirl says:

    Superficial, heck yeah, but would love to see him drag this jacket out of the mothballs, he wears it well.

  39. Angelica says:

    That cookie of David looks exactly like the cookie from his VIP in Lafayette I attended last summer. He ate the corner and had his picture taken with it. He came back after we thought he was gone to bring the KLM girls back in to see his cookie. AND, I see the double chocolate chip cookies I told him to try. What is Ray doing, giving him a moustache? lol.

    Love the post TOfan. I’m hoping for a little of everything you speculated on in the upcoming album. A mix and let him continue to find his own sound. I think eventually, he will make a new kind of music, all his own. He is getting a real education in music genres and song writing from some of the best teachers/private tutors in the world. Yay, Jive!

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