Sound Off: David Archuleta
May 21, 2020
First there was ‘Crush’ and then came ‘A Little Too Not Over You’ and slowly David Archuleta began to uncover this new era of music. Gifting his fans with singles, sneak previews, and an acoustic live stream (accompanied by friends Brandon and Tiffany) all leading up to the release of his new album, Therapy Sessions.
Therapy Sessions is by far the most personal and vulnerable set of songs David has ever released as he sheds a light on his struggles with anxiety and the pressures of appearing ‘on’ all the time. In 2019, he released the album opener ‘Paralyzed’ commencing the start to this new era. On March 27th of this year he released the anthem ‘Ok, All Right’ almost poking fun at the repeated phrase of someone experiencing anxiety and learning to grit and bear what comes with it, and one month later announcing the album.
Therapy Sessions is David’s first full albums since the release of Postcards in the Sky in 2017 and is almost a letter to all of his personal battles, struggles, and triumphs in an effort of finding himself through (no surprise here), some therapy sessions.
Of course, the world hasn’t been in the best position in the last eight weeks. As a result, people have begun expressing their struggles with isolation, anxiety, and depression. Therapy Sessions comes just in time to shed a light on some of these issues and that’s not all David has done to help. David created a video for his new single ‘Just Breathe’ while in quarantine and is sending the proceeds in light of COVID-19 to the organization Direct Relief. The images of the video showing a grim world filled with empty streets and closed shops. Archuleta also recently raised nearly $7,000 for the charity with a Facebook Live Music event with Billboard.
The second song from the album ‘You Worry’ stands out as David talks about taking time to find himself starting the lyric “I’ve known me for as long as I can remember”. This song really captures the encompassing theme of therapy sessions as a song talking about getting to know yourself, listening to (or ignoring) the voices in his own head, and being able to follow your own path instead of following the advice in others in an attempt to please them. From the mid-tempo of ‘You Worry’ to the optimistic ‘Good in the Bad’ the message stays clear even calling ‘Ok, All Right’ and ‘Just Breathe’ as the “bookends” of the album’s mood scale.
Through quarantine, a festival, multiple live streams, and an album release, we were so happy we got to talk with David on the mood scale for the album, some of his influences, and yes, being a part of that iconic Hannah Montana episode (we couldn’t resist).
1. We are so excited for your new album Therapy Sessions. What can you tell us about the making of this album?
Thanks! I’m glad you’re excited for it! It’s an album that was pretty much what I vented and got out of me after going through real therapy sessions myself. All the battles that I have in my own mind and how I’m learning to face those battles moving forward with my life.
2. ‘Ok’, ‘All Right’ and ‘Just Breathe’ have such deep-rooted messages even with the difference in sound. What else can we expect from the album?
I feel like ‘OK’, ‘All Right’ and ‘Just Breathe’ are the bookends of what the mood scale is. It’s a more pop feel overall and I tried different sounds pulling from the Billie Eilish, Post Malone and Khalid stage of influenced pop we’ve been in lately.
3. From just the album title we can tell this is going to be insanely personal. What made you write an album surrounding mental health?
I mentioned before I went through quite a bit of real-life, actual therapy sessions. To get out what was left in my system, creating music seemed to be a good place to start. I had also done a smashing therapy session where I got a sledge hammer and smashed a microwave, vases, and other stuff. We need to give ourselves channels to release emotions once we ruffle them up when we dig down to where they’re hiding. I thought by burying them I was dealing with them properly and letting them go, but really I was letting them eat at me inside and infecting my mind in unhealthy ways. Writing this album was a way I could “talk about it” and get it upfront, which was a great way to cope with them and even combat them.
4. What is your favorite track from this album and why?
Favorites will always change depending on my mood, but lately I’ve really liked Good in the Bad as my “talk me up, you can do this!” Song and the song Brave that’s more describes my own struggle with believing in myself enough to keep going.
5. In 9th grade you were voted most talented. What do you remember from that time?
Haha, I remember it was right after I sang at school for the first time in the choir concert we had. I tried to keep it quiet up until then and was one of the invisible kids at school who sat by himself a lot. Because of people knowing me for being quiet and not saying anything (if they even did know me) I think it really shocked everyone at the concert. I sang Angel by Robbie Williams. I definitely got people’s attention. I wasn’t necessarily looking for that though. I did it more out of support from 2 of my friends at the time and their encouragement.
6. What do you want to be known for?
I want to be known for someone who doesn’t give up and keeps trying even though he’s imperfect and messes up a lot. I am nervous and anxious almost 100% of the time unless I’m alone. I have a hard time getting out of my comfort zone. But I want to be known for someone who yes has those fears that don’tt go away, but that didn’t stop me from living my best life and lifting whoever I cross paths with. I hope I can make music that heals too.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t singing?
I’d probably give a try at being a therapist or psychologist . Lol. I took a coupleclasses in college for one semester a few years ago, and my psychology teacher pulled me aside one time and said I should consider it if I ever for some reason decided to stop music and look elsewhere.
8. What inspires you to create?
My emotions that trouble me and start stirring. I don’t understand them until I get them out in music a lot of times. I usually need help from other songwriters to fully pull it out. I have a tendency to hold it in and get stuck.
9. You’ve stated that Les Misérables is where you got your initial interest in music. Would you ever consider performing in a Broadway show?
I have considered it. I’ve actually auditioned for a couple. Acting isn’t my forte though. And things like memorizing lines are hard for me because my mind is like a CD that skips. It’s got all these scratches that prevents the lines from coming out smoothly. Haha. I’ll keep giving it shots though when more opportunities come!
10. Is there another side of entertainment you want to explore? If so, what?
I actually would be down to try acting some more. Practice and doing it is the only way to get better at it.
11. What kind of music do you listen to the most?
I listen to a lot of christian/gospel music. Jonathan McReynolds, Danny Gokey, Kierra Sheard. I also like some Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi songs.
12. What is something you wish more people knew about you?
Hm, that I love alone time. And I feel at my best and at peace when I know I don’t have to be perfect. It’s ok to be flawed (which I know) but I like when other people are ok with that too. I need to work on not worrying what other people think so much. When I’m alone I don’t have to worry about what anyone is thinking though. That’s usually when my song ideas come too.
13. Can you tell us a secret?
I’ve never had a drink of alcohol in my life.
14. Do you have a party trick?
Watch me disappear! Jk. hide in the corner. jk. I really am not a partier. Unless it’s a super smash bros tournament party.
15. Saved the best question for last. What do you remember from being on the set of Hannah Montana?
I remember being really nervous and not knowing how to socialize with anybody. But everyone was really nice. I felt uncomfortable being around people, so I went into the break area where they had a kitchen. Miley Cyrus came over to grab a drink and then asked if I wanted to go get sushi with her and some other people. I didn’t know how to respond (I’m an awkward person), so I just said, “Oh, I’m good. Thanks!” and I stayed in the kitchen by myself. I wish I had gone, but I was too anxious to say yes. She was very nice though.
- Photographer Cyrus Panganiban