David Archuleta On What “Postcards In The Sky” Means To Him
David Archuleta is one of American Idol’s brightest stars for good reason: he’s charming, inspiring, and has a heart of gold.
The charismatic and kind 28-year-old singer debuted his touching music video for “Postcards In The Sky” last month. The song tells the heartbreaking story of a young girl who loses her mother and brother in a tragic car accident. Dealing with the sudden loss of family is one of the hardest things a human being can experience in a lifetime. Experts say that going through bereavement can cause harmful effects on both physical health and mental well being. Archuleta spoke with Music & Mojitos in an exclusive interview about why he personally needed to release the video.
“There was an energy that went into the song. It was to encourage people to let out their words because maybe it will reach someone who needs it,” Archuleta tells Music & Mojitos. “Maybe they’re the people who need to hear the words themselves.”
Archuleta believes that one person’s voice can make a profound impact on the recovery process. Archueta knows best, as his “Postcards In The Sky” co-writer, Jeff Trott, experienced the tragic loss of his niece. In the music video for “Postcards In The Sky,” the funeral scene shows balloons being released with messages attached to them. The uplifting content symbolizes that the sentimental thoughts would eventually reach loved ones who are no longer of this earth. “Postcards In The Sky” is a true testament to the human propensity to carry on, even through the darkest of days.
“I really wanted that message to be in the video,” says Archuleta. “I want to give people motivation to keep passing on their words.”
“Postcards In The Sky” wasn’t the first time Archuleta thought about others. American Idol’s Season 7 runner-up is no stranger when it comes to giving back to the community. In 2012, Archuleta served as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years. He courageously put his upward singing career on hold so he could serve as a missionary outside of Santiago, Chile, at the La Misión Chile Rancagua. It was a bold decision for Archuleta. By that year, he had sold over 1 Million albums, making him an in-demand star with serious television credentials.
The fame and fortune didn’t matter to Archuleta, who knew that his life’s purpose extended beyond music . He willfully walked away from a successful hot streak in order to help those who were in desperate need. In a world where countless individuals are only about taking as much as they can, Archuleta happily and selflessly gave to those around him.
Archuleta returned home in 2014, and wasted no time getting back to work. As soon as he made his triumphant return to the recording industry, Archuleta knew he wanted to perform for the men and women of the armed forces. Always thinking about others, Archuleta traveled overseas to entertain the troops. It was a career highlight that still stands out for the young singer.
“It was one of my favorite things I’ve gotten to do,” remembers Archuleta. “I had just gotten back from being a missionary. In a way, I had served. You’re away from your family. I was away from my family for two years and so were all of these people on the other side of the world.”
Archuleta hopes that his dedicated fans will be receptive to a brand new pop album that is expected to come out later this year.
“I just wanted it to be real and I felt like I got that chance with Postcards In The Sky. I learned how to speak the way I wanted to,” says Archuleta. “The messages were personal and meaningful. I just want to lift people up with the album. I want to keep sharing that. I want to give this album one last hurrah on this tour before releasing some new music.”
Another Interview with
David Archuleta May Shop For a Record Deal
David Archuleta has a big decision to make. Will he release his next album as an independent artist, or shop around for a record label?
You just started a new tour. How is the way you approach touring changed. Is there anything new fans can expect this time around?
I feel like I found how to keep energy flowing in the show while still being very real to myself. It feels good. I feel like I found a balance–I have old material I can mix with the new material as well as covers. I like to tell stories in my shows. It’s not something I did at the beginning. My goal is that people have a great time. But also feel lifted with a little motivation to keep going forward in life.
Postcards in the Sky had very deep personal themes. Will your upcoming work be as personal?
I think so. I think I’ll try to have more fun. I want to try some more fresh sounding stuff–I didn’t really care to do that on Postcards. Whatever the song is saying, that’s the direction that it will go. I’m not going to worry about “is this radio enough?” With the new material I’m doing–it’s still kind of that same thing–it is what it is. But I’m trying to add more fresh elements to it.
“Paralyzed” definitely has some more umph to it. I don’t know if that’s all the music is going to be. I’m more pop. I’m not a rock band like Imagine Dragons is. I wanted [the music] to convey the frustration of what’s being said in the lyrics. That’s just how it came out.]
Giving the song a harder edge to fit the lyrics.
It was actually more vice versa. My friend Nate is a producer of this new song. We hung out a bit, so he knew my story. He brought some song ideas and showed me a few. That was the one [Paralyzed] I connected with the most. I had another friend of mine, Isabeau [Miller], who I wrote several songs with on the Postcards in the Sky album. The three of us wrote it together. There are several songs on Postcards that she really helped with getting my feelings across. There’s a song called “Spotlight Down” that means a lot to me. Another called “Up All Night” Another one called “Shine the Light.” She knows what I’m trying to accomplish. They know I have a hard time making decisions. It’s not stopping myself when opportunities come. I’m afraid of what could happen, even if it’s good. A lot of times I’ll hold myself back. Something good could happen, I’m still scared so I just freeze. I’m like “Why do I do that? Why on earth do I keep doing that?” I get really frustrated with myself. This new song portrays that process.
What has he learned about himself since his last album?
With the Postcards album, I realized that people actually connect with the message, with scenarios that I was actually going through. I was afraid–I had ingrained so much in my head as a teenager that songs needed to be about relationships. I had never been in a relationship as a teenager. I felt so disconnected all the time. At the same time–this is what sells the most. This is what’s going to boost your career.
For my own music, I asked “What’s my story?” because obviously my story is not a relationship, because I had never been in one. Even when I was making Postcards in the Sky, I’d never been in a relationship. What do I have to say? What have I gone through? I had just gotten back from an [LDS] Mission and I had so many different things on my mind. It was still ingrained in my head–if it’s not relationships, love songs or party songs, they are probably not going to do as well. I thought “is anyone going to care about what I’m going to write about?” But I felt like–If I’m not authentic about what I’m doing with music, what’s the point of doing it? You want a career and you want to make a living. But as a creator and as an artist, and an expressive sensitive person, I needed to be authentic, or else there is no value in it.
And so [releasing music on my own terms and discovering] “wow people actually connect with this.” It was so relieving that I could actually be myself. I can be real with the topics I think about day to day. People will still listen and connect to it. I felt a confidence boost with that. Now that I’m older–I’m in my late 20s now–I’m not in the same place I was as a teenager. I have more to talk about. I’ve been in relationships. That will [be a topic] now. But I think it’s still going to be more about life and how to improve. Because I feel like I’m on this journey of self-improvement. I’m always looking to discover who am I and how can I be the best.