David Archuleta Stays Busy, Releases Third Album

There are two kinds of runner-ups on “American Idol”: Those who fall off the radar (sorry, Blake Lewis) and those who stay on it.

He may not be as splashy as Adam Lambert or sold as many total albums as Clay Aiken, but David Archuleta belongs in the latter category when it comes to second-place finishers on the Fox talent show.

Photo: Steve Jennings
Wells Fargo Center For The Arts, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Since almost winning the crown in 2008 (he lost to David Cook), Archuleta has written a best-selling book, toured and released an album a year. His latest, The Other Side of Down, is now in stores.

Archuleta talks about being in the recording studio and the new “Idol” judges, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, in an interview with The Associated Press.

The Associated Press: This is your third album. Are you more comfortable going into the studio to record?

Archuleta: I’m always nervous (at first). … It’s like I hope I’m in a good place and in a good mindset because there’s no turning back once it’s on the album. Usually a couple hours into it I get more comfortable and start experimenting with notes. What’s funny is a lot of the engineers or producers say they usually use the first few takes anyway (laughs) because it’s more raw.

AP: Is it hard not to compare yourself with other musicians your age?

Archuleta: You know, you do kind of wonder, “OK, what are other people doing?” But it wasn’t really, “What are people doing that’s gonna sell?” It was, “What are people doing that I’m drawn to? That makes an impression on me?” That’s what I want to do with my music. It’s so important for me to have substance because … it will last a lot longer.

AP: You’re 19. Do you ever wish you were just a normal kid in college?

Archuleta: When I wasn’t doing this it always felt like there was something missing … the most valuable things come with more of a cost. It’s gonna be harder but that’s what makes its value so great. How hard you worked for it. It’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it. I worked so hard for this and no one can take away the experiences and what you’ve learned.

AP: Have you managed to buy yourself anything special? Say, like a car?

Archuleta: Well, no … because there’s a car that we won on “American Idol.” (Each season the winner and runner-up are given a car by Ford and he got a Ford Escape Hybrid.)

AP: Oh, right! Do you still have that car?

Archuleta: Yeah, it still works. It’s a really good car. I wouldn’t have bought a car like that by myself. It’s been a really good blessing having that car.

Photo: Steve Jennings
Wells Fargo Center For The Arts, Santa Rosa, Calif.

AP: There are new judges on “American Idol.” How do you think Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler would have judged you?

Archuleta: I haven’t thought about it like that before. … It probably would have been really different. It will be interesting to see their technique or what their opinions will be like because it really does matter. The way viewers were like, “What is Simon (Cowell) gonna say?” made you (as a contestant) wonder the same thing. I think J.Lo’s really talented. She’s worked hard. She’s made a great career for herself. She’s also Latina which I think is awesome. Steven Tyler is a legend. So we’ll see.