David Archuleta: Thinking outside the box

Photos: DianaLevine.com

People have tried to put David Archuleta in a box from the start.

In Chords of Strength, I remember reading that when David was age 12 or 13, just after Star Search, Jeff Fenster told the Archuletas that his record label didn’t know where David would fit into the music world at that age, and maybe it would be better if he worked on music for a few more years, learned to play the piano and come back then. Naturally, in what box would you put a little white kid labeled the “Soul Man from Utah”?

Then came American Idol and the attempt to limit David to Josh Groban-like songs — he got criticized (by Simon, at least) every time he tried to venture out of this area.

And yet, let me remind you about We Can Work It Out (despite the memory lapse, his vocals were good), You’re The Voice (an amusement park, heh Simon), With You (vocals were good again, only the movement was awkward).

David was smart, imho, to stick with what The Powers That Be on Idol wanted to hear.  Could David “fit” into this box?  Why, yes, he could — if he wanted to.

Think of the Jerry Lewis telethon and TAGGB.  Think of the ALMA awards and CELD.  Think of his album, Christmas From the Heart. Second in sales only to Bob Dylan for Christmas albums in 2009.


Let’s now look at David’s two pop albums.  His debut album, done while on tour, was mostly written by others, though David still managed to do some writing and got songs into bonus land.  Now we have The Other Side of Down, a completely different album than his debut one. More indie in flavour, though still with a pop influence — especially in some songs. We definitely hear more David on this one with 10 of 12 being co-written by him and the bonus tracks as well.

Could David fit into the pop box?  Has his debut album reached platinum yet? It was so very close last time I checked.  Yes, I do believe so!  What about the indie box?  Well, according to sales let’s “give it some time.”  This is where he seems to want to be at this point in his career. David is still experimenting and will continue to show us different facets of his musicality.  I don’t believe this will ever stop with him.  He is just too curious.

Let’s take a look at what a box represents in terms of form.  It has four sides and four angles, period.  Not enough for someone like David who is so multifaceted.

How about a heptagon?  Seven sided right?  With David’s musical talents still expanding, he has shown us so many different sides already and this will only grow as time moves on.

Dazzling dodecagon

I vote for the dodecagon – in geometry, a dodecagon is any polygon with 12 sides and 12 angles.  Now this sound more like it. My photoshop skills are non-existent so I will try to describe it for you…

A bright glittery mirrored dodecagon to reflect the talent and artistry and many faces of David Archuleta.  Place David on the outside of the dodecagon looking at it.   Being placed inside something limits you, confines you, and has boundaries, so let’s not do this with David please.  I would like to list the many skills of David and encourage you to help me out in completing the list to be able to fill each mirrored face of the dodecagon.

"Please don't ask me to wear this crazy shirt ever again." Photo: A. Rapoport/Getty Images for Fox.

1. Balladeer

2. Pop artist

3. Indie artist

4. Duet specialist (have you heard the clip of Silent Night with Orla Falon yet?  And, don’t forget No Air with Jordan Sparks)

5. Soulful contemporary artist.

6. Singer-songwriter

7. Improv talent

8. Pianist / Guitarist

9. Jazz artist (check any Star Search performance out if you haven’t already done so.  And what about Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?)

Perhaps in the future we will find a need to look for a larger geometric form to accommodate the ever expanding list… what about a disco ball?

What do you guys think? How would you fill the other dodecagon sides of David?

awestruck

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60 Responses to David Archuleta: Thinking outside the box

  1. bluebird19 (Pattie) says:

    * Incredible harmonist 🙂

  2. peppertara says:

    awestruck, you are so right in putting David outside the box. He not only lives his musicality outside the box but also his entire persona really. Love the dodecagon….beautiful and complex, like David.
    David most definitely has many sides and I am sure that we will see many more pieces of that lovely dodecagon!
    David is all the things you mentioned and I would add….gospel, inspirational singer too.
    When someone is that talented, you really cannot limit them to any one genre. It would be a crime I think. I agree, David will explore and learn lots along the way and he probably will never end up as a categorized artist specifically. He will be the one that can do whatever he really wants to do.

    I hope that people will see more and more that David is not just a “teen heart throb” (although he is that too for sure) but an extremely gifted and versatile performer who throws away all barriers to encompass a wide variety of listeners.
    Nope…you definitely cannot put David in any kind of box….except perhaps in his dreams….he could be in an empty box filled with air, lol.
    Thanks for a great post awestruck!

  3. TOfan says:

    awestruck, great post (even though I still shudder thinking back to some of those Idol shenanigans, lol).

    Your list of dodecagon sides is great (um, abanana, weren’t you tweeting about dodecagons recently? spooky) … and along with the perfect additions of “incredible harmonist” from bluebird and “gospel, inspirational singer” from peppertara, I’d like to add “musical therapist” and “humanitarian” …

    …for whether it’s by singing or just being David, he has a knack for soothing souls and healing hearts …

  4. abanana77 says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Amazing! Love all math references! And yes, TOfan, I was super weirded out about how I tweeted TODAY about dodecagons (about how in 1982 canadian pennies went from circles to dodecagons and then back to circles in 1997) and then this got posted. Seriously, what are the chances? Love it though! 🙂

    And David is so talented he can seriously hang out in any box, hexagon, dodecagon, or any other shape he wants to hang out in. (Bringing back the math) I think he should hang out on a Mobius strip because his possibilities are endless! Probably I am being too nerdy here and nobody gets my reference but a Mobius strip is a 3 dimensional object that only has one side, so you can travel around on it forever and never have to cross an edge. It kinda represents infinity. OK stopping now.

    But love what peppertara said about gospel/inspirational singer. Definitely needs to be one side of the dodecagon 🙂

  5. peppertara says:

    abanana…love your math references. Honestly, you do impress me. Math was never my forte back in school (way back) but I have always admired those who seem to have a natural ability for it. Not nerdy at all to me and a Mobius strip sounds fascinating.
    David and his music….infinitum! Sounds great.

    TOfan…Musical Therapist and Humanitarian..most definitely…very significant sides of David. “Soothing souls and healing hearts”. Yes and yes…without a doubt. ❤

  6. refnaf says:

    Great post awestruck!!!!

    Peppertara> the gospel, insprational side of the dodecagon is a side a really am anticipating… some old classic hymns and some newer worship music. Has everyone heard thie studio version of the AI7 “Shout to the Lord”? David’s parts are beautiful:

    I can also hear the “coverist” side of David, lol. Any song he covers becomes better that the original IMO!

  7. awestruck says:

    bluebird – yes, not just a duetist but an incredible harmonist

    peppertara – “hope that people will see more and more that David is not just a “teen heart throb” (although he is that too for sure) but an extremely gifted and versatile performer who throws away all barriers to encompass a wide variety of listeners.” I have always believed this. AND, I think we ALL agree to one side being occupied by gospel, inspirational singer.

    abanana – the Mobius strip, I had to really shake my brain to recall this piece of math, but amazing how it just FITS. David can relate and be related to so many, many different things!

    TOfan – musical therapist aka embe AND humanitarian – not enough sides on the doecagon (and maybe even the disco ball, lol) to fit this aspect of Daivd on…

    refnaf – David’s voice stands out with a rich intensity for me whenever he sings with/in a group. Thanks for that link. Yeah, and as a
    coverist’ he really does then to make them his own, heh!

  8. MunkFOD says:

    And don’t forget David, the hot Latin singer/song writer that is just about to emerge! He just blows me away! yup….David out of the box for sure! Always full of wonderful surpirses and I love it!

  9. awestruck says:

    Speaking of avi’s love yours MunkFOD!

    ah, the Latin singer/songwriter, yes let’s add that to the dodecagon.

    A new latin guitarist with the ability to sing spanish background vocals… forward thinking? Spanish album next?

  10. TOfan says:

    Way cool! Check out these origami “stars” created by David’s Singapore fans (Twitpic from @zhixinnn) (for Falling Stars? 🙂 ):

  11. emmegirl says:

    awestruck, great stuff! His versatility is beyond measure…Randy’s “YOU can sing anything” was right on (I kinda cringe quoting anything from that show. I’m David fan, not so much an AI fan.)

    abanana & TOfan, that musical Mobius strip is the coolest thing. Love all the references.

    Can I add consumate live performer to the list?

    The origami stars are so beautiful. I love his Asian fans.

    (Thanks for the HYAMLC link, his version of that blooows me away)

  12. peppertara says:

    Loving all the many sides of David. I’m also loving how excited the Singapore fans are and the Filipino fans will be for David’s arrival!

    For those going to the MOTab concert this will be an extra treat. This info discovered by a fan in Utah:

    “Thought I would share. I just called the Deseret Book Store in downtown SLC which is literally across the street from the concert hall. This information was checked so it is accurate. David will be at the book store after the concert on 12/17, which is Friday, for a CD signing!!!!
    More details in a couple of weeks. Too much, too much, too much to believe. So happy for those who will get to see him.
    Marcia”

    My gosh…I so wish I was able to go to this special event…a CD signing too. Wonderful for those who are going on the 17th. Don’t know if there will be any more signings or not or just on this day. Pretty fabulous though!

  13. Lynnella says:

    I think we could probably add Broadway star to that list. His voice would soar singing some of those songs. I will buy any type of music he puts out, with the exception of maybe rap. Remember the Teen Choice Awards. Cute, but NO. David please don’t go there.

  14. awestruck says:

    emmiegirl – lynnella – consumate performer / broadway yes to both… and how bout voice over for a character in a Pixar movie? Endless opportunities for David when you think about it.

    peppertara – a CD signing AFTER the performance, he’ll be one tired guy! I wonder if this will be good for him?

  15. awestruck says:

    David has arrived safely in Singapore. I am lame, not able to imbed videos or pictures

    Fans of David has it all – http://fansofdavid.com/

    [Edit: Twitvid from Syafiqah Fieka]
    http://www.twitvid.com/player/LD533

  16. TOfan says:

    Wow, awesome PopEater interview HERE.

    So many fave parts, but here’s one:
    “There’s this energy people give off that people can be drawn to. I can tell you now, it’s not your eye color that’s giving off that energy that people can be drawn to. It’s more of the light in your eyes that you carry with you.” *sniff*

    (And they used one of the questions I sent in! … the fave holiday movie one!)

  17. abanana77 says:

    TOfan – that was my favourite part too! He is ridiculously wise sometimes.

    awestruck – love the new avi 😀

  18. beebee says:

    Aw, love this write up awestruck. The ever evolving and Fascinating Archu_Facets. 🙂 It’s always been bedazzling to moi. Why, he’s a veritable DISCO BALL…kikiki. (Or maybe I should say he’s all the sparkly light that dances off of the disco ball. ~Thinking outside the disco ball :p)

    abanana…ohmyHECK, Mobius strip. YES. PERFECT for David. Nerdy is GOOD. 🙂

    And lately I’ve been thinking of David HOLOGRAPHICALLY. 🙂 (don’t even ask me to explain that cuz I can’t.)

  19. awestruck says:

    beebee thanks! “thinking outside of the disco ball” LOL HMM a holographic David – spooky!

  20. TOfan says:

    peppertara, update to your comment about a CD signing in SLC, from @DeseretBookCo on Twitter:

    @mandyarchie @DavidArchie will be signing at the downtown SLC Dbook on Dec. 17 after the MoTab Xmas concert. Come hang out if you can!

    @Adrianne_ Definitely! Everyone is welcome at the signing after the concert. The more the merrier!

    @Nellie1983 You don’t even have to buy a CD to attend. Feel free to come hang out (of course we’re not going to stop you if you want a CD!)

    They should def. have peeps buy a CD first (TOSOD or CFTH), imo!

  21. TOfan says:

    Am loving all the spazzing recaps from Singapore fans, some fave bits:

    “Then there were two tourists standing outside smoking and they were like “He’s beautiful, isn’t he?”

    “I swear my intestines die when the flight lands and we see all these smart looking men walk out. None of them glow.” 🙂
    Read rest HERE.

    “HIS EYES HIS EYES MAKE THE STARS LOOK LIKE THEY’RE NOT SHINING LOL.” Read rest HERE.

    And totally random, here’s a new theme song for SAz! A school choir’s beautiful rendition of Tori Amos’s “Snow Angel” 🙂

    • awestruck says:

      What a beautiful song TOfan and a joy to watch the children’s faces while they are singing. Most are also not able to sit still and are moving to the beat. Curious as to why they were all sitting and not standing?

  22. Lynnella says:

    All that talk about the disco ball makes me think maybe we should add dancing to the list. Maybe he’ll do Dancing with the Stars some day. I know I’d vote for him. However, they’d have to tie Bruno to his chair.

    • awestruck says:

      We could definitely add dancing to the list… Notice I linked to wikepedia for the disco ball – some here might be too young to know what it is, lol.

      “tie Bruno to his chair” BWAHAHAHA! I would love to see David do Dancing With the Stars some day, man that list is getting long!

      • abanana77 says:

        LOL “Notice I linked to wikepedia for the disco ball – some here might be too young to know what it is, lol.” Was that aimed towards me? Hahahaha 😛

      • awestruck says:

        abanana – did you know what a disco ball was? without clicking on the link? HMMM?

      • awestruck says:

        that last comment may be taken the wrong way, lol – happy to provide a history lesson abanana!

      • abanana77 says:

        Hahahaha I do know what a disco ball is… but if you were to ask me pretty much anything else about disco at all, I would have no idea 😛

    • emmegirl says:

      Of course, of course… how on earth did dancer not come up earlier, are we losing it!

      Love the tweets from Asia, hope he as an amazing time.

    • TOfan says:

      Did someone say dancing? (ms. beebee’s masterpiece!)

  23. Lynnella says:

    One more and I’m through for the night. Country music star. Complain has definite country overtones, not to mention Smokey Mountain Memories. Even Dolly Partin said he has the voice to become a great, great singer. He has just the right amount of emotion in his voice to really make a song wail. I hear it everytime he cuts off a note. There’s that little break in his voice that almost has a cry to it. When he sang God Bless the Broken Road at his SLC booksigning, I almost cried, it was so beautiful. I definitely could see him at the CMA’s winning an award for Male Performer of the Year.

    • emmegirl says:

      “He has just the right amount of emotion in his voice to really make a song wail. I hear it everytime he cuts off a note. There’s that little break in his voice that almost has a cry to it.” … I really love that in his voice too.

      Random.. been listening to The Day After Tomorrow alot lately… love the tone of his voice, the backup vocals. Hoping he sings it live sometime.

    • awestruck says:

      lynnella – I echo emmiegirl’s comment “He has just the right amount of emotion in his voice to really make a song wail. I hear it everytime he cuts off a note. There’s that little break in his voice that almost has a cry to it.” So beautifully written and SOOOO true. I hear it as well.

      Must say Your Eyes Don’t Lie and Complain I really enjoy. Took a few live performances for YEDL to become a favorite, but I liked Complain right off.

      The Day After Tomorrow and Nothing Else Better To Do are one’s I’ve been listening a lot. Love the raege/calypso vib to NEBTD.

  24. peppertara says:

    True Lynnella, David can definitely take a country song and sing it like nobodys business! I’m a big fan of country music when the singer is David!!

    Ah…David’s Popeater interview, no other 19 yr old could have said it better or sweeter I’m sure. ❤
    Loving all the recaps from the Singapore fans too!
    Thrilled for David (and the fans).
    TOfan I agree that people should have to buy a CD at the SLC after concert signing for sure. David deserves that support!

    The many sides of David, yes, dancer should certainly be one of them too…we've seen his moves!

    I think I would also add inspirational/motivational speaker (some out there would probably disagree) but that talk that 18 yr old David gave at the Women's Conf was a delight to listen to.
    A pretty wise young man, full of sensitivity, wisdom and humor. You don't have to be the most articulate speaker to capture people's attention. What grabs me is sincerity and what comes from the heart of a person and David projects that so well. 🙂

    And that Snow Angel video, love that! Those kids did a lovely job of the song. Very sweet to watch (and listen to).

  25. TOfan says:

    “I’m a big fan of country music when the singer is David” bahahahahaha, too funny pepp! 😆 Although I’m with Lynnella on God Bless the Broken Road & Complain … maybe he could launch a whole new genre, soulful country!

    I don’t know about dancer, he def. has some super-secret moves that we’ll likely never see only because he probably thinks he looks awkward but inspirational/motivational speaker, yes, for sure… even just in interviews alone!

    I’d also like to add World Ambassador of Music … spreading love and joy around the world through the universal language of song… k, probs getting carried away now! lol

    Check out this very, very cool cover of Elevator … I’ve discovered this is where a lot of David’s guy fans are hiding … on youTube, doing covers of his songs!

  26. Lynnella says:

    TOfan – Very cool cover of Elevator. Which reminds me of one more facet of David’s talent. I saw a critic once say David Archuleta is better than all boy bands. I’d love to see a video of 3 or 4 David’s singing one of his songs, doing the backup vocals, as he does on almost all of his songs. A David Archuleta Boy Band would be a dream come true. That would be the only way we’re going to get more than one of him. Cloning is out.

  27. peppertara says:

    Whoa…that video is good, I love that cover of Elevator! I love to see covers of David’s songs, especially great ones like that one. A big compliment to David. Sometimes I wish David could see some of these videos, he would be pleased.
    Lynnella I love your idea of 3 or 4 Davids singing together, the best boy band without a doubt! Maybe three sides of David in song…the soulful, Indie, Pop and maybe even a fourth on piano, bangin’ at those keys!

    TOfan, I love World Ambassador of Music. In fact that was one of my first ‘terms’ for David back in the ‘old days’, along with ‘little sweet soulful stress reliever’ (he still is for me). Gee, I guess the ‘old days’ were only 2 1/2 yrs ago, haha.

  28. MunkFOD says:

    Good morning everyone! love the World Ambassador of Music and I would add….Good Will… 😀 David is so great! and he makes everyone smile. Just had to add that. Can’t wait for videos of David’s performances! So excited for everyone! Have a great day!

  29. TOfan says:

    The World Ambassador of Music and Goodwill strikes again! Just saw this Twitpic (from @RaquelArchie) of David on a television channel in Spain! 🙂 (click 2 enlarge)

    David on a television channel in Spain!!<3333333 on Twitpic

  30. embe86 says:

    Love your post awestruck. Though you lost me a bit with the heptagon-thing, since geometry isn’t really my strongest subject :PDavid has the never ending ability to expand and evolve even when you think he has already reached a level of brilliance impossible to surpass.

    At the risk of sounding either cheesy or coocoo, sometimes I can’t help wonder if David is something a little bit more than human. He has such depth for a guy his age – for a PERSON of ANY age; he seems to charm everyone he meets; he doesn’t use special effects because he doesn’t need any since he naturally glows this enchanting light; his voice actually heals people’s souls, like it goes in between all the cracks and bruises in a broken heart and fills the void with pure, sincere love…. and he has no blemishes. Ever.

    • Lynnella says:

      I agree with all of this. The part about charming people reminds me of an audio I heard of a radio interview. It was on youtube, but I don’t remember the station. There were 2 men DJ’s and 1 woman. After he left, they started talking about the fact that they all “behaved” themselves while he was there. Then, these 2 usually raunchy men started gushing over how nice, gentle and kind David was, and how they just wanted to protect him. They couldn’t understand it, but I did. He even affects grown men that way.

    • TOfan says:

      So true, check out the beginning of this Cambio wrap up with Kate Cabebe, recorded just after David’s Cambio chat … even after he leaves they can’t help but keep talking about him 🙂 :

      http://www.cambio.com/shows/daily-wrap-up/daily-wrap-up-11-5-10

  31. refnaf says:

    Ah!! The World Ambassador of Music and Goodwill! Fits David perfectly!

    “that little break in his voice that almost has a cry to it” <<<< That is the thing that gets me.

    embe, I think David is such a reflector of good, that is what makes him shine.

  32. awestruck says:

    embe – “sometimes I can’t help wonder if David is something a little bit more than human. He has such depth for a guy his age – for a PERSON of ANY age;…his voice actually heals people’s souls, like it goes in between all the cracks and bruises in a broken heart and fills the void with pure, sincere love…. ” Oh not cheese at all, not coocoo at all. So beautifully put.

    lynnella – TOfan, that’s our guy heh!

  33. archiesfan4life says:

    I waited until I was sure that this was going to happen before I posted, but this morning my friend mamasaun and I made my reservations for Utah!!!

    I won tickets for Saturday night’s concert, but had planned on giving them to my fellow ODDer (mamasaun) when she told me her husband offered me sky miles to come to Utah – I couldn’t believe it!

    She and I met on ND two years ago and have become such good friends and we always talked about getting to meet face to face. What could be better than finally getting to meet her AND see David AND the MOTAB together!!!!

    I still can’t believe this is happening!

  34. TOfan says:

    {{{af4L}}} that’s such great news, how amazing that will be, so very happy for you!!!

    SaturdayNightOnline.com posted this live acoustic version of Crush tonight:

    (I commented on the YouTube vid that it would be great to hear songs from the new album … I have a feeling he must have done at least SBL & Elevator for them)

    • jackryan4DA says:

      Yeah REF. I also left a comment asking if this is the only thing they will post. Cos definitely he did SBL & Elevator.

  35. jackryan4DA says:

    I love me some math so I enjoyed your article awestruck 🙂 We really must be kindred soul-sistah!

    The only time that David’s talent can be put in any stricture is when people who have pegged him w/ certain labels and have, unfortunately for them, closed their minds for any possibility and/or have decided to leave him there.

    Meantime, David continues to flourish & transcend boundaries.

    Now, how about some updates from our side of the world for DALIM2.0? Here’s the sked

    16Nov(Tues)- DA arrives MNL; Pinoy Archies will welcome him
    – DA to hotel where another group of Pinoy Archies will also welcome him

    From thereon, he will stay in the hotel to conduct the media rounds – radio/TV/1-on-1 interviews, special features, presscon, phoners, etc… till the afternoon of the 17th (Wed) for the Mall Show / M&G.

    Just like in SG where he conducted 20 interviews in a day, his sked is a bit punishing here. I dunno how they can fit all the interviews scheduled for him and still have great voice for

    17Nov (Wed) – Mall Show/M&G at 5pm. Lots of promo for this event. The whole ShoeMart Mall has tons of huge, gorgeous & strategically located posters/standees 🙂

    Regular Standees (big ones are 4x)
    http://twitpic.com/36o9xi

    Regular Posters
    http://twitpic.com/35uif2

    Tickets
    http://twitpic.com/36o6tp

    Pix of a an ordinary stage set-up at SkyDome
    http://twitpic.com/35hmt0

    Pinoy Archies will have t-shirts
    http://archuletaphilippines.com/want-an-ap-shirt-for-dalim2.html

    key-chains

    And of course banners to greet, him! Goodness, I hope he sings CRAZY…

    There are 2 types of passes available to watch David

    1. Buy TOSOD CD (Php435/$10++) at the SkyDome Gate. 1st 400 will get their CDs signed and seat at the floor seated section.

    2. Buy 3 SM Eco bags (Php160/$3.75++). This is perfect for those who do not want to buy another CD but want to watch the show. However, no CD signing & they occupy the bleachers. We asked the booth ladies yesterday and they said ticket sales is brisk!

    18Nov (Wed) – DA leaves for the US

    Needless to say, we are all stoked, spazzing & giddy w/ excitement.

    JR here, sleepless in Manila

  36. jackryan4DA says:

    o-oh! My post is in moderation cos I provided more than the allowed links. SORI!

  37. Kizzi says:

    Enjoyed your post awestruck!

    Happy Sunday to all at SAz. Just getting back from a Caribbean cruise with the family and catching up.

    Hugs to all!

  38. TOfan says:

    new post/thread!

    🙂

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