Landing in the "American Idol" finale gets you a lot of things: a new car, instant name recognition, the opportunity to work with the industry's top producers and songwriters on your debut album. (If you're Kris Allen, you also score a hideous, pointless trophy.)
What you don't get, however, is time. Somehow in the midst of doing press for the show and going on a massive tour, you're expected to put out a high-profile album in just a few exhausting months.
Season-seven runner-up David Archuleta survived the first year of post-"Idol" craziness, and while he's pleased with how his debut self-titled 2008 album turned out, he's making sure the music on his next pop album reflects more of who he is.
"I'm hoping that at least some of the songs I've written this time around will be able to make it on to the record," Archuleta recently told MTV News. "I don't think songs have to be like these super-#1-smash-hit-sounding songs, because I think it's more important that it's like, 'Hey! This is coming out of me. This is something I connect with. This is something that I like to sing.' "
In addition to pushing himself as a songwriter, Archuleta hints that he might cover more genres on the next album. "Even if it's, like, different styles of music ... when you write, it's like, 'Yeah, even though these songs are different, they're David songs.' And you can't say anything different. You can't say, 'Oh, that's not a David song.' It's like, 'Well, yeah it is because it's my story and I wrote about it and it's coming out of me!' "
Fans worried the 19 year-old cherubic singer might pull a Kelly Clarkson and release a dark, moody collection of tunes à la My December needn't fret. "[I'll] still look for the radio-friendly music and stuff. I want the stories to be more relatable to what I wanna talk about," Archuleta said, adding, "It's, like, fun music! But you can tell that it's my story. And I like that."
David spent a fruitful week in Nashville working with Joy Williams, Matt Wertz and Mat Kearney producer Robert Marvin (who recently spilled/tweeted the beans on two song titles, "Falling Awake" and "Sooner or Later") and from what Archuleta told us, it was a liberating experience. "In other songwriting sessions I might have had, I was feeling so much pressure. 'Oh, we have to get something done, this isn't good as it should be.' But I wasn't worried about any of that while I've been writing so far."
After Nashville, Archuleta spent some time in New York City with songwriter/producer Jeymes Samuel, who has worked with KT Tunstall, Mr Hudson and, oddly enough, Gorillaz. When asked if he would ever want to collaborate with Damon Albarn's supergroup, Archie laughed, "I don't think they'd want me."
So when will fans get the chance to hear Archuleta's new, more personal material (provided it makes the cut)? "I guess it just kind of depends when stuff is finished," Archuleta shrugged, before beaming, "Which is exciting, because last year it was like, 'Everything has to be done by this time!' And [now] it's like, 'Wow! I don't know when it'll be coming out.' And that's kinda nice!"
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