A pop star profile by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

What comes to mind when I say “rock star” or “pop star?”  Do you think of your favorite singers?  Do you hear their music in your head?  Can you sing along with their songs?  Have you gone to their concerts?  What if I was to say that I am not talking about stars of the past, just stars of today?  Now who do you think of?

Perhaps Justin Bieber and all the little “beliebers” come to mind.  Perhaps you think of Miley Cyrus and the strange antics that have surrounded her recent career.  Lady Gaga with all of her wild outfits might be the next image in your head.  There are plenty of stars that stand out as much for their behavior or arrests as they do for their music.

So what about qualities?  Humanitarian efforts are probably not among the list.  Self promotion might be at the top.  Self gratification might seem like a top quality of many.  Don’t you wonder how the underage Bieber takes his entourage to a night club and then gets drunk?  Who finds it OK to condone the drinking, drag racing and egg throwing?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are plenty of good new rock and pop performers out there trying to do their best without making fools of themselves.  So what do you do when you get near the top?  Perhaps you put out You Tube “vlogs.”  Maybe you get a Tumblr, Twitter and facebook account.  You can do lots of radio interviews and public appearances.  If you’re a young guy, you can even date Taylor Swift.  She likes young guys.  Or you can stun the public and do something totally different.

As a teenager, David Archuleta made a name for himself on Season Seven of American Idol.  His pleasant personality and angelic voice captured the imagination of the viewers and the final episode went down to the battle of the two Davids, with David Cook.  While the more versatile rocker David Cook seemed the odds on favorite in the final weeks, the cute teenager from Utah was quietly impressing everyone, including the not easily impressed Simon Cowell.

If you watched the above, you saw the entire panel praise Archuleta, with Cowell saying after this performance, “You’re the one to beat.”  In the final night of singing, reviewers would tell you Archuleta was clearly the better performer.  The public, however, went with the rocker who showed great musical skills and was the best on many of the shows.  Archuleta received 44 percent of the over 97 million votes cast (an Idol record).  It was an emotional ending with Cook grabbing Archuleta and keeping him in the spotlight.  It was an Idol finish at its best.

From there Archuleta went on to make records, go on tours, make public appearances. He appeared on a PBS Christmas special, made a separate Christmas album and built a fan base like many other young stars.  He filmed a mini series in the Philippines and recorded traditional songs.  Then one night he told a sold out performance in Salt Lake City, “I would like to make a special announcement: that I have chosen to serve a full-time mission.”  It was not going to be one where he would be doing photo ops and promotional work.  He was going to really do missionary work.  So he left for Chile.

As you can imagine, it was a bit of a conflict for the popular young member of the Mormon Church.  Of course, he was encouraged to stay.  He was told he was doing a lot of good here.  He had a very positive public imagine.  His appearance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas show was very successful.  They had more ticket requests than ever before.  He could travel the world giving performances.  Indeed he made many international appearances.  It was not enough.

“I needed to do something that has nothing to do with me,” he later explained.  While his fans (Archie’s Army) and website released whatever they could, David was doing what he wanted to do.  Occasionally, a video of David would pop up on his You Tube channel, not much more than David saying Merry Christmas or some other greeting.  Meanwhile, he walked the dusty back roads of San Vincente, praying, studying and helping strangers.  It was not the life of a pop star.

David returned home recently after two years away.  He feels blessed to have helped others.  He visited, he preached and he sang, feeling more comfortable in song than in his Spanish language skills.  He learned more about life than any pop star on tour will ever know.  When you think of pop star qualities, you would not typically think of those his vocal coach used to describe David: “purity and wholesomeness.”

“I would like to make a special announcement: that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”
“I would like to make a special announcement: that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”
“I would like to make a special announcement: that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”



Categories: Entertainment, Music, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Sunday Night Blog and commented:

    In the over a year since this article was written, David has worked on a project for the Mormon Church, recording “Glorious.” He has also worked on his own music and made few public appearances. He has a short tour this fall, limited to Utah and Idaho so far.


  2. My problem is that I stopped listening to pop performers somewhere in the 90s as more and more of them began to sound alike, so much so I couldn’t tell one from the other.., and I’ve had a career in music for more than 40 years. No melodies, just aimless musical meandering, no catchy hooks, no clever chord changes, and the yelling. Why do all of these singers feel they have to out do Mariah Cary by singing, or was that yelling louder than she does? Singing is about control of the most beautiful gift given to mankind.., The HUMAN VOICE. That means both power and gentleness and an easy delivery based on skill and training, or at the very least a natural ability. If you want to watch a heart felt and extremely well done documentary, look for “20 Feet From Stardom” on NetFlix.

    I guy called me up referred by a friend saying, “I want to get into music, and Brook said to talk to you” I asked, what instrument do you play, or do you sing? “Oh no, he said, I can’t do any of that, and I don’t understand why people waste so much time learning to play an instrument.” I can make some BEATS though”. And that’s what it’s come to, a guy can access his primitive instincts and whack out some cool beats on a machine and call himself a musician. So you’re either a beat maker or a screamer. Even I, as an audio engineer, have paid dues as a musician first. I told him I couldn’t help him.

    Frankly when I listen to pop radio I have no idea which artist is which, they all sound the same. At least the ones that make it to Top 40 radio these days. And “Rap?.., don’t get mr started. I can, however, immediately identify The Supremes, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Journey, Toto, Frank Sinatra, Sting, Billie Holiday, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Elton John, The Ronettes, The Platters, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, The FourTops, Smokey Robinson, The Four Seasons, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchel, Stevie wonder and on and on infinitum. BTW, I hate American Idol.


  3. Thank you for the update on such an interesting young man. I recall part of that season since reading your piece. Nice to read about such a nice young man.
    Idol has produced quite a few successful singers.


  4. Ever since American Idol I have been obsessed with David Archuleta. He’s such a great person with an amazing voice.


  5. I stopped watching American Idol after the 2nd season when Ruben Studdard won. He had a beautiful voice but immediately after winner changed his musical style to do his “thang”. As far as Bieber I would take all his toys away and ground his punk self. What a jerk! It didn’t help that Oprah gave him a Lamborghini before he turned 18. Dressing and acting strange is nothing new when it comes to singers. Cher, Madonna, Boy George, Lady GaGa and Tiny Tim come to mind immediately. How about Tom Jones, Elvis, and Little Richard? What pisses me off is their illegal action out of the limelight. Grow up already!


    • The jerks do manage to steal the spotlight from the nice guys. I have not watched Idol in years. I did see the finally with the two Davids because I heard a lot of talk about it beforehand. I am glad I caught that one.


      • I vaguely remember catching just a small portion of that year’s performance. I agree with their decision. Not everyone hits it big like Kelly Clarkson. She is genuinely talented. Sometimes the 2nd & 3rd place finishers do better than #1. The black lady who went on to star in broadway hit it really big.


        • Jennifer Hudson is quite the star here in Chicago where she is from. She does good works too. I am not sure who even won a lot of these competitions. In a couple weeks I will have a piece about the winner of a similar show in France. He too was a nice person.


  6. Thank you. It is rare that people like this manifest. I like people like Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel who put their money where their mouths are. Thanks



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