From his daily notes, voice coach Dean Kaelin has compiled a narrative of David’s vocal and musical trek to the top of the American Idol pantheon and into the hearts of America. This is the other side of the story we all saw unfold on stage, and it is told with warmth, insight, and marvelous detail by one of David’s closest collaborators and confidants.
The numerous alternate song selections are inventoried, many of which David learned and was ready to perform before various circumstances would suddenly require a new selection. Many of the titles are surprising and all of them are intriguing. What would it have been like, for example, to have heard David perform Something to Talk About by Bonnie Rait, or Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’? We can only Imagine. And speaking of Imagine, Dean reports that the incredible success of David’s performance of the song was apparently instrumental in helping American Idol acquire clearance to use the Lennon-McCartney and Beatles catalogs, something they had been seeking unsuccessfully for years.
Dean’s ambivalent relationship to the press is also chronicled, as he tries–with varying degrees of success–to help represent David and his family’s interests in the media during the repeated rounds of rumor-mongering and controversy over Jeff Archuleta’s influence and involvement. Dean also provides ample evidence of how unfounded and exaggerated the press reports were on this issue.
Perhaps most revelatory, however, is the discovery of just how much courage David displayed in bringing to his performances vocal elements and nuances that he had never used before. In addition to the challenges faced by every contestant–polishing their style and technique, bringing versatility to arrangements and different genres–David, at only just seventeen, was dealing with a voice that was still changing (“settling in” as Dean calls it). He was discovering notes he hadn’t had before, lamenting the loss of others, and having to figure out how to optimize the sound of an instrument that was not only still in flux but was in many ways new and unfamiliar on an almost weekly basis. But that never stopped David from taking chances. As Dean describes it, David might have been tentative in rehearsals and uncertain during warm ups; he might express doubts about more dramatic suggestions, but when it came to performance time, Dean would watch and marvel at how David would fearlessly take on every gamble, hazard every flourish, and catapult himself to the top of every week’s heap.
The David Archuleta we meet in these pages is to a certain extent familiar–the gentle nature, the humility and integrity–but there is also a David we could only ever surmise by the results we would see on the stage each week: the determined and careful craftsman, the analyst and planner, and yes, even the strategist. Even with a gift of talent as abundant as David’s, accomplishment and success in the real world does not come without enormous sacrifice and dedication. David may be a sweet and tender soul, but he is also a beast of a hard worker.
The journal will be available shortly in eBook form and can be purchased at www.davidarchuletastory.com. Due to overwhelming demand, there is a slight backlog in the distribution of orders purchased through previous methods.