Catching up with David Archuleta: Dating, Musical Theatre, and New Music!

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

David Archuleta became a star when he was just 16 years old. In 2008, more than 30 million television viewers fell in love with his angelic voice and their 44 million votes made him runner-up and fan favorite in Season 7 of American Idol. Since then, he has become a powerhouse unto his own with millions of streams monthly and sold-out shows every year.

We featured David on the cover of Metrosource a little while back (still available at Metrosource.com) and his talk about spirituality and how it fits in with his sexuality incited a lot of reflective thought and your comments. On this episode, we are catching up with David on the heels of vocal surgery, his first major foray into professional musical theater this summer starring as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and the official music video for his latest single, “Faith in Me,” …all this before he starts the tour of his new holiday show, The More The Merrier. We also chat about his continued journey on spirituality and faith, and the conversations he’s had with members of his Church. On a lighter note, we talk about the dating scene and his ongoing “gay education”…with host Alexander Rodriguez.

This is metro Source minis, the official podcast to Metro Source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the l g B, t Q world and beyond. Quick, fun and informative. It's Metro Source on the go, out in proud since ninety Well. Hello, hello, Hello, this is metro Source Minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, lead writer for Metro Source and Queen of the podcast. David Archielletta became a star when he was just sixteen years old. In two thousand and eight, more than thirty million viewers fell in love with his angelic voice, and their forty four million votes made him a runner up and a fan favorite on Season seven American Idol. Since then, he's become a powerhouse onto his own, with millions of streams every month and sold out shows every year. We featured featured David on our cover of metro Source magazine a little while back, still a very about metro Source dot com, and his talk about spirituality and how it fits with his sexuality incited a lot of reflective thought and a bunch of your comments. Um Today we're catching up with David on the heels of vocal surgery, his first foray to professional musical theater and Joseph and the amazing technicol Or dreamcom and the official music video for his latest single and perhaps his most personable song to date, faith in Me. All of this before he starts as holiday tour. The more the merrier, Please welcome David. Hey Alexander, how are you? Introduction? I'm very impressed. Well, I'm such a huge fan. I'm sure you hear this everywhere you go, but such a huge fan. Um, and so to chat with you is is always such a treat. Really enjoyed writing the article with you for the cover, um. And so we're just gonna dive right in. Um. You've been on the scene in a big way for almost fifteen years, if you can believe it. But it seems like recently the pub like is getting to know the real David. Each project you put out, each interview you do, UM, especially the interview that we did, has been, in my opinion, more candid and more intimate. What has changed, uh to inspire you to open up and really share your your personal side? Um? Well, I feel like I don't. I guess it's the way I was raised. I was always raised to share my beliefs and share what was important to me. And so even though I've had like a shift in and what I believe it's, I still hold to that core, like the principle of like you know, sharing and being real, being authentic. It's kind of hard for me to exist without being authentic. Trying to be something I'm not feels very incomplete. So I'm like, well, the more I figure myself out, the more I just need to get it out there and share it so that I can continue being myself and connecting with people. Like I feel like the ultimate goal is connecting with other people, whether that's through music, through talking, through get togethers, you know, arts, it's I feel like it's all about connecting with other people. But I feel like the best, the best way to do that, the most fulfilling way to do it, is to be authentic. And so now what we talk about American Idol, I mean, like I said, it's it's so hard to believe it was fifteen years ago. But I've talked to other American Idol fan favorites that have come out, and I felt like right after the show they had to still keep to that American Idol brand. You've definitely established your own brand, But were you afraid of of speaking out and kind of disassociating yourself, not disassociating yourself, but like really becoming unto your own Were you ever afraid of like losing fans for things that you might say about your sexuality, about religion or your own uh opinions. Yeah, I feel like there was some prep for that,...

...because you know, I was pretty outspoken about I mean not like super super outspoken, but I was open about my beliefs in the past, being a Latter day Saint, being a Mormon, and you know that they taught us, They taught us to be outspoken. They taught us to to shine your light for the world to see, and and so it was, it was encouraged. And so when I had the shift to you know, my new beliefs of like, you know what, I think it's okay for me to be how I am, to be queer and to and to get to know guys and to date guys. Um, I felt like I couldn't just hide that a lot of people would say like, well, why don't you just keep it to yourself? And it's like I wasn't I wasn't raised to do that. I wasn't raised to keep keep things to myself that when they matter so much. And why is this? You know, this is an important thing because I you know, people made such a big deal about it being bad and being wrong and even that it's calling it something that's evil, and I felt like, well, it's I don't want people to think I'm evil just because I'm allowing this part of myself to come forward and and not try so hard to push it down and suppress it and pray that it would be taken away from me. You know, I want people to understand where I'm coming from. So it's just part of being authentic, you know. I I was afraid that people were gonna reject me. I was afraid that people were gonna think, oh, like, we don't want to see this anymore, because that's how I was, That's how I dealt with LGBT anything. I was like, I can't see this. I don't want to look at it. It might tempt me, it might help me away, lead me astray. And so I thought maybe when I was realizing, you know what, that's not the case, but maybe people are going to think that of me that I'm going to pull them away, lead them down this dark, dirty path. I was, but I just thought, you know, I just have to be myself. I have to be real because I want to be accepted for who I am. I don't want to be accepted because people I think I look good for them right well. And and to have such an amazing platform, I mean I can imagine all of the l g b t Q youth that you are reaching out to, um you know, maybe youth that are in some small town somewhere, but obviously with your platform, you know, you, uh know, undoubtedly have inspired a number of people dealing with their own sexuality, especially when it comes in terms to religion and spirituality. You know, that's such a tough struggle. I went through that, um and so I think you offer such a positive glimmer of hope of how religion, spirituality and sexuality can coexist together in a very healthy way and the changes that you're making from the inside. Um So, I have to thank you as a fellow lgbt Q or you know, the work that you've done in in your short time of of being out. Um. Um So, I want to go back to a scary moment So I remember last year, I was already to see the kick off of your Last Door at the Trooper Door in l a UM and then the devastating news that your vocal cords were an issue? Uh what exactly happened? Yes, that was really devastating. Um, I had to cancel the show just like a couple of hours before because I was able to get to the doctor, and doctor necessary and he's someone who I've he helped me when I was on American Idol as well. He's a great doctor. But I had a hemorrhage to vocal cord and I had vocal nodules, and I think it probably was just a lot of the amount of just a lot of distress, and it was manifesting itself in my voice because I don't think I knew how to identify myself anymore, because I was I was going through a bit of a faith crisis, and I didn't know what to what to think of myself anymore, what to think of...

...my beliefs, you know, because my my beliefs with with Latter day Saints and UM with Mormons is kind of like you know, it's either true or it's not. You accept all of it. As real, the real deal, or it's not. It's not just like a nice concept to live by, it's it's not just good principles. This is it's true or or it's not. So I was like I didn't know how to to live in both worlds because I was trying to be like, hey, well, why can't I just be how I am? There's so many people like me who are queer, part of the LGBT um do I plus community who are hurting. They are trying to stay here, but they everyone keeps feeling like they're getting pushed away because people don't want to acknowledge them. They don't want to deal with their problems, they don't want to do what they're hurt. They're just kind of like, well, better if they just kind of disappear and go off, and then we can make us whatever assumptions we wanted them, like oh, they just gave up, or they just lost or belief, or they just preferred to be all sexual and lustful over being a good person. And it's like, you know, I was like, well wait a second, Like that's why I was like I have to share what I'm going through because I know I'm not the only one going through it, and when I did, there's some of my church leaders that were like fully supportive, but then there are other church leaders that were like higher up that we're just kind of like, well, maybe it's okay for you to date guys, but you you can't marry because that's unnatural and that's against the way God designed things, and uh, you know I and I just kind of asked them questions. I kind of presented where I was coming from. I said, you know, hey, I tried to get married. You know, I tried to do that, you know, because they were saying, well, maybe it's okay for you to still be attracted to men, but you still should marry a woman. And I was like, I've tried that three times. I bought three wedding rings um or engagement rings, and you know, I tried to move forward with that, but it's it's it's hard to be honest, you know, it's hard. You know. My exes would say like, why are you're so cold? There's something strange that just doesn't feel right, and I'm like, well, I'm doing everything I can. I don't know what else I supposed to be doing. And so I try to present those issues to them, and they would be like it was almost like, well, we don't know what to tell you in a sense like well I don't know. I'm like, well, shouldn't something be done because there are a lot of people hurting, a lot of people are thinking it's better for them to end their lives then then to accept that they're queer or LGBT um in any form. And so I'm like, if this is about bringing people in and saving them and rescuing them, why are you letting this whole entire group of people just go away feeling horrible about themselves, even thinking it's better to take their own lives. And they didn't really have any answers for me, and it just seemed like it was something that didn't want to talk about. And I'm like, you know what that's I don't feel like that's you know, if if this is about like godliness and love, I don't feel like that's a godly decision. And I don't think it's a loving decision. You know. If we're believing in a savior, Christ who said he he left the to go after the one, I'm like, this is the LGBT sheet, that's the lost one, And you're just letting it go away and why And you know, I asked a lot of things and they're just like, well, you know, I don't have any answers for you. And I'm like, I just don't. I don't think it's that you don't have any answers. I think you're too afraid to go to a place, you know, admit that maybe there's some faults in the way our beliefs are right percent. And I think the most important thing is that we are having these conversations. You know, we're not afraid to ask questions. Um. And it is an ongoing Who has the answers nobody knows, but at least like you're beginning to have this conversation. People are starting to have these conversations their...

...own homes, with their religious figures, with with their family members. And I think that that's so important. It's just if we can just talk about it, we can advance, no matter what side of the fence you want, no matter what you were raised at. The more we communicate openly and without anger, the more advancements we can all make and then learn to understand each other. Yeah, that's a great point. Um, Okay, we have to talk about musical theater jazz ants. Um, you think your first kind of big, professional musical theater role playing Joseph, the title character on stage most of the time and in dream coat. What made you say yes to taking the role? I to be honest, I was really hesitant. I was really scared. I've never done theater before. It's it seemed like a lot. So Um my manager actually, I've been working with her for ten years now and her mom ever since i've been working with her. Her mom was just saying, I just want to see David uh in the role of Joseph before I die. And so when this opportunity came and they're like, hey, would you be Joseph, I was like, well, well, I guess I can for Carrie's mom. So I was like, okay, I'll do it. I'm like, as long as Carrie's mom can come, my manager. So, and she was able to come. She's had health problems, she's been dealing with cancer and a lot of things, and um, she almost wasn't able to make it, but she's like, I can't miss out on this. You know, he agreed to do this for and so Um, but I got so much more out of it. I it went from like, well, I'm gonna do this for for the sake of like fulfilling this, this wish that my manager's mom had to like. I had so much fun. I loved it. I felt like I was I felt like I was belonged, like home at home on this on that theater stage. I'm not the greatest actor, but the music telling a story with this whole cast is amazing. UM. So I want to know what your biggest challenge was about doing Joseph and what you learned the most from working through that challenge. Um. The biggest challenge, I think it was just being comfortable being theatrical. Being um, getting into character, into emotions of the acting side always intimidates me. It's it's not something that comes completely naturally to me. But I think it was easier because Andrew Lloyd Webber a lot of his musicals are basically are sung entirely. There's no like speaking parts, if if if there are any, it's very little. And that made it a really good segue into the theater world for me because my acting was accompanied by music right and sing my acting and that that made it. But but having to like do the choreography and stuff was a little it was different for me, you know, do the little spins in the code and learn staging that stuff. I'm like, oh my gosh. I mean, we had to do something for American Idol staging, but nothing like the theater world. But that's it's so much fun. Okay, So is there more musical theater down down the line? You think I would love to I you know, I would love to do Joseph again, but I would love to do if there's something else. I would love to be Marius and Lama's Rob because Lima's Rob is what got me into singing that. I became a singer because I watched a PBS special of Lama's Rob. Wow. Wow, Wow, Hey producers out there, if if you're listening, Okay, so let's talk about faith in me. I watched the video. Um, I have to say, you know, I've been a fan for so many years. You have this this different energy, and I can tell you how it was different for me to watch as a fan. Also from the myriad of comments on the...

...song and the video, but I want to know how this song is different for you personally? Oh Um, the song it was I wanted it to feel liberating, to be free and fun. I wanted it. I wanted it to feel like you're dancing around in your in your room by yourself, like no one's watching, kind of a feeling where you just don't care what anyone thinks. And that was I wanted to capture that emotion of not caring what anyone thinks, because I care so much what everyone thought of me, especially when it came to my sexuality. I was so self conscious. It was a shameful I was ashamed of it. I felt guilty. I felt like I needed to change it, and if I couldn't change it, I needed to work as hard as I kid to hide it and push it down and suppress it, so to let it come out and just experience it fully. See you it's like to like a guy and not ashamed a bit about it, but to feel the beauty of it, the excitement, the wonderful feelings and the butterflies you can feel. I It's live. It was liberating, and so I just wanted to. You know, the lyrics says, who cares what anyone? Who cares what anyone else will say? I wanted it to feel like that, so even if people are coming out, like, I just wanted it to feel like I'm gonna dance in my room to this song, like no one's watching, and the video was the same feeling. So it's it's it's so joyful, um, the music everything is. It's it's such a perfect recipe. Um. And you actually started working on the song before you came out, so you had to modify it. Yeah, I did. I was actually dating a girl. I was dating my last fiance. When I my last ex fiance, I mean, UM, when I had written it and it still had a fun feeling to it. It had like an eighties vibe. But then I then like it went downhill and then I let her. Now I said, hey, I think I need a date guys, and I need to end this relationship because I need to see what that's like. And then I came out a few weeks after that, and then the song was just put on the shelf for like a year. And then I was like, but I love the fun, care free element to this song. So I went rewrote the verses and the pre chorus. We changed the production, um to give it a little more kind of a rock pop rock I'll turn it a field to it, and I rewrote it so it could fit where I was at in life, which is that I had come out and that it had been a year since I had come out, and what it felt like, what it feels like to have feelings for someone you are excited to to like and the sensation and um, just going forward, not caring what any you know, It's like, oh my gosh, I'm this is a guy. I'm I'm I like a dude, and you know, who cares? Who cares what anyone says, what they think, Just just go for it, no rules, no stops. Um okay, Well, and I have to ask because I'm so nosy. You know, dating is difficult on its own, but then dating is a gay man and then coming out, you know, a little bit on my way in the journey. What did you learn about gay dating right away that you're like, oh, like, did you have any horrible dates? I didn't, actually, Um, nice, Probably it was pretty similar to when I dated girls. And I guess, um, I liked to be more cordial, um um, kind of take it in steps. And I guess maybe it's from like my conserveservative religious background as well. It's like, you know, take time to get to know someone and be respectful, and so I just kind of added that into dating guy and it's been nice. People...

...don't always like that. People aren't always looking for that, and so they or not, they just say see. And I think I wish gay dating was was more like that because I was raised the same way. You know, you go on dates for us, you get to know somebody, and I think we've lost that element of relationship where the romance stage, the finding out about each other, not rushing to necessarily the physical or not rushing into anything. Um. It makes the end result so much more powerful. Um. And so I wish we would keep more of that element. And of course you know I'm stereotyping gay dates, but UM, I wish we would really keep that kind of romantic element to it, that kind of old fashioned, mannerful way of dating. I think we would have more full relationships out there. Right. Um, you've talked very cutely about your knowledge of all things gay, especially in the early stages, like maybe the gay culture is new to you. You're like, I don't know what that phrase. I don't know, I don't remember what's drag race? Um. And I love that so much because it shows the world that there's no one way to be gay. There's not a right way to be gay, there's not a wrong way to be gay. Um, there's no restrictions on being you. That being said, are you settling more into the gay culture and what is one area that you've loved learning about the most? Um, you know, I the theater world actually was a great place for me to get acquainted more with um, gay friends, gay culture, gay gay lifestyles because I was working with them every day. Um. You know, there are a lot of queer people in the theater world, but they're very I just felt like I could really relate to them and connect with them because they are performers. They were emotional, they put their heart into a performance, and I really loved that. Um I got to talk to them about you know, gay things, queer things, and and uh, you know, it's like a good educational experience for me. And and then I think just going out and like you know, dating guys getting to know them has been really educational. I get to talk to them about their coming out stories or maybe they didn't have as much of a coming out experience as I did, Like of of a wrestle, I mean to come out. So it's interesting to see how it's different for different people. Um going out um too, like uh, gay bars or gay clubs. Um, it's not always my cup of tea, but if if there's a place as good music. And I think what was me is just being around a lot of other people who are like me, who are attracted to the same sex and who aren't ashamed of it. They're just there and they're they are who they are, and they'll you know, they'll come talk to you. And it was just it was nice learning this element of you know, just not hiding it because I was, you know, for me, LGBT was hiding how your feelings suppressed them like no one can know. So too being a world where it's open and people just embrace it. I think especially in theater when I was at the Twoicon with my fellow cast members who were gay, it was so it was so enlivening, Like it was it was liberating to see them just openly be themselves and yeah, well and I love that. And you know, that's why the arts are so important because theater has has definitely provided a safe space for a number of LGBT q um and and continues, and it continues to you know, challenge our thoughts. Theater has always been at the forefront of that. Um. Okay, I am a freak for Christmas, Like Christmas is my favorite holiday. November one, I'm putting up the tree, I'm putting out the music. I need to know what should we expect from the more, the...

...merrier to our the more of the merrier tour I wanted to. I usually went with like this grandiose, kind of epic feeling of Christmas songs in my previous shows, and I wanted to do a different take this because I'm in a different part of my life now. I've had a bit of like a faith journey, of a faith crisis and a faith journey um and so I wanted to take excuse me, take a step back, you know, still capture like the odd wonder of Christmas, but looking at it as an adult now, like looking at it more of reminiscing on that on wonder of Chris, the Christmas story and Christmas time and the presence of Santa Claus, like everything was so magical, and I think something when you get older, a lot of those elements are taken away. It's not as magical as it was before. You find out Santa Claus isn't real and we shouldn't have said that. But Sexy Santa is real. I will tell you that. What sexy Santa that you're staying at the club. Oh my gosh, I haven't. I'm not familiar about UM. But I'm gonna do a more intimate It might be just I'm still debated, it might be just me on the stage. I love that. UM, just to make it feel like a living room experience, kind of like looking back and you're talking with your family in the family room and just taking a more chill take on Christmas shows. Before I would do all these like epic songs and like very vocally. UM. I'll still do vocal stuff, but I just want to keep it more intimate this time, with the sat list and everything. I absolutely absolutely love that. UM. Okay, finally, what is your message to your fans? My message of my fans. I just I'm just blown away how supportive they've been. Thank you so much. First, going through this journey with me, some parts of it were scary for me. It was hard to come to terms with myself, to accept my sexuality, to talk about it openly and share it with other people. So I'm just thankful that people are willing to listen and let me grow in front of everybody. You know, I've had to do that, you know. I've been in when I was a teenager, people watch me grow, and now I'm just growing in another way in front of everybody, and I'm just so thankful for people giving me the space to do that. So thank you for listening to my music, supporting me in that way, but also supporting me in my personal life changes as well. It means the world, David. I could chat with you all day to jot with you. Um uh. This has been my chat with David Archeletta. Thank you, thank you so much. You can check out everything David, his latest music and tour dates at David Archeltta dot com. You can read my in depth article with him at metro source dot com. David, again, thank you, thank you, thank you so much. Um, I appreciate you very very much. Thank you. Thanks. I appreciate you too. Thanks. Thanks for having me back of course, of course, um and that's our episode. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez UM for Metro Source. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander Is on Air and until next time, stay true and do you boo that has been another Metro Source mini like, Share and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issue of Metro Source Magazine on newsstands or online at metro Source dot com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram at Metro Source and on Twitter at Metro Source mag Until next time, Pat.

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