Subverting the Disney Image of David Archuleta


Now that it is clear David’s record label Jive is insistent on going the Disney teen star route – associating David with the Mickey Mouse set, from Hannah Montana to iCarly to touring with Demi Lovato – I’m starting this blog for no other reason than to preserve and reclaim the “Soul Man from Utah” and to subvert some fabricated commercial vision of Youth.

I mean, yes, it makes sense for his label to cultivate  a tween demographic since the older set (young adults) might look at David and immediately think “Disney.” I do believe I’ve seen more than a few comments from non-fans who saw him return to American Idol’s stage last week and responded with “He’s still too cheesy and Disney for me.”  The new single, “Touch My Hand,” doesn’t help with its uncomplicated and unimaginative lyrics.  Still, I imagine those particular older and cynical audiences have yet to be seduced by The Voice.  They unfortunately have yet to hear his aching and longing on a ballad like “Somebody Out There,” nor have they been privy to the danceable and hookable “Zero Gravity,” which has already inspired some cool remixes.

Since I’ve exhausted myself waiting for Jive to take David’s artistry seriously, I thought I’d create yet another blog, like The David Chronicles (consider us the “Soul Sistah” to that site), and take him seriously here! I invite you to participate in this alternative dialogue.  And rediscover his “Soul” – the “Shop Around” David, the “Heaven” David,  who wants his listeners to “understand” him when he sings.


And since I like debates and don’t shy away from the tough subjects – like politics, race, sexuality, culture wars, and the like – I hope we can explore all these forces and what they mean when we contemplate David’s artistry.

Oh, in time, he will outgrow the Disney persona that is being forced on him (and forced on him for no other reason than that David looks young and seems innocent). I personally would like to dig deeper beneath that superficial facade since I’ve caught a glimpse and know there’s more to the “Soul” of David Archuleta.

– Hello Gorgeous

Posted on April 28, 2009, in public image. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I have no doubt that David will not be tainted by the Disneyfication of his early career. I just think that if he second cd has more of his music on it, there will be no way that he will be discounted as merely another teen idol.

    Sometimes I wish David were homely, or arrogant. Well not really, lol, but there is this perception that he was bred in a laboratory. Therefore, he won’t readily be credited for his art. It will be an uphill climb, but I am ready for it.

    As for rediscovering the soul, I read something about during his idol journey he watered down the soul for a more pop sound as he figured that is what the idol audience required. He was probably correct about that. I do know that he definitely brings it up a notch during his concert performances. Too bad he didn’t have a chance to show that side when he returned to the idol stage.

    HG, thanks for starting this blog. It will be fun to have another place to discuss another side, and all sides of David.

  2. BD, thanks for being my first commenter! :) I’m really curious about where you read that piece about him “watering down” the soul for a more pop sound. Did he make this decision on his own? Did someone else tell him this?

    So I wasn’t imagining the soul dimensions; he was just trying to tone it down?!

  3. I must admit, Touch My Hand is my guilty pleasure and my fav song on the album-no jkg. :-) While his situation may not be perfect now, it will help him to learn what it takes to get what he wants in this industry.

    Tracy Chapman said that she was dismissed by her producers for her youth and gender when she was putting together her first album. Sara Bareilles says she’s shed many tears over the yrs as she sat in meetings w/writers and producers who ignored everything she had to say. Michael Jackson begged Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to let him be a fly on the wall when they were putting their albums together. Berry Gordy had no interest in developing Michael in that way. Sometimes when u struggle for something, u appreciate it more. David needs these struggles; they will help him grow.

  4. Hello,

    Just peeking in to have a look and familiarize my self with things here. BTW HG, I love your piece on Subverting the Disney Image of David Archuleta.

  5. This place is First Amendment paradise!


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