David Archuleta punched his ticket to Hollywood by singing “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer, one of his chief influences. That performance was the first step of Archuleta’s journey as a contestant on the seventh season of American Idol -- a journey that saw him emerge from the thousands of other hopefuls and ultimately finish as the show’s runner-up.
Archuleta has released three albums since his stint on Idol: 2008’s David Archuleta, 2009’s Christmas from the Heart, and 2010’s The Other Side of Down. David Archuleta and The Other Side of Down consist of pop songs injected with substance and soul, the music sensibility that helped make him a star. It’s the music sensibility that helped make Mayer a star, too.
Archuleta’s latest tour, in promotion of The Other Side of Down, brought him to Jefferson Point Shopping Center in Fort Wayne, IN. It also brought him to the familiar space that all musicians occupy: the stage. Performing on an outdoor stage the night of November 20, Archuleta was surrounded by all those things that make the stage so special -- spotlights, the sound of the band, and adoring fans.
David Archuleta isn’t John Mayer yet. The beauty of the stage, though, lies in the moment when an artist can close his or her eyes and get lost in the roar of the fans, the crash of the cymbals, and the intensity of the spotlights. In this moment, David Archuleta and John Mayer are the exact same person. And Archuleta's potential to one day become Mayer probably seems just within reach.
It’s only when Archuleta opens his eyes that he realizes he’s still David Archuleta and he’s performing in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
But that’s fine. He’s young and he’s talented.
Madison Square Garden will come. And so will the inevitable collaboration between himself and John Mayer.
Maybe one day the songs they’ll be singing on American Idol will be his.
Photos by Tony Frantz