While a lot of people might know David Archuleta from his appearance in American Idol season 7, he’s come a long way since then. In 2020, David released his latest album, Therapy Sessions, and in June 2021 he publicly announced that he is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Showing no signs of slowing down, David was one of the singers on 2023’s season of The Masked Singer and has some major performances scheduled before the end of the year.
This year, David will be returning to the LOVELOUD music festival and performing at two of the festival’s dates and locations. LOVELOUD is the brainchild of Imagine Dragons’ front-man, Dan Reynolds, who founded the nonprofit in 2017. The music festival’s mission statement is to “ignite the vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love, understand, support, accept, and celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends and family.” With the state of legislation against the LGBTQ+ community in the United States right now, the festival is an important moment of love for the queer community, and a perfect place for David to perform.
Ahead of his two appearances at LOVELOUD 2023, INTO spoke with David Archuleta and discussed the importance of LOVELOUD’s mission, his experience with being out publicly, and his thoughts on queer pop culture.
“I think many queer fans gravitate to her because she wears her anxieties and insecurities on her sleeve.”
You’re returning to the LOVELOUD music festival this year for appearances in D.C. on October 17 and Salt Lake City on November 3 after initially performing for the show in 2022. What do you feel makes LOVELOUD so important for both the LGBTQ+ community and their allies?
I’m so excited to come back! So my first time attending LOVELOUD was actually before I came out. It was the very first one in Provo UT, and growing up in Utah in a conservative environment at first I was really hesitant to go. I thought there was some hidden agenda and they were going to try and take me away from my safe place and corrupt me or something lol. Then, when I went, it taught me what LGBTQ+ people were really like, and why they were how they were. Later it would help me understand to see myself as a person even after years of trying to convince myself I wasn’t part of the LGBTQ+ community myself. So, to be a performer and be out was an emotional, vulnerable but freeing experience. Now I’m excited to celebrate that journey and road with others who may be on similar paths or coming to learn like how I did my first time going!
You came out to your family in 2014, and then publicly in 2021, and you’ve spoken about how you weren’t necessarily comfortable with coming out but felt that you needed to in order to show people that they’re not alone. That’s a struggle that many of us might go through – how have you found the experience of being out since you spoke out publicly?
I really wasn’t! I heard so many times people say “just keep it to yourself. Why do you have to tell everybody? Don’t shove it in our faces!” And so I didn’t want to do that and make people feel uncomfortable with me! But I realized it never feels good to hide who you are just so other people will accept you and like you. It felt very lonesome even when I was around a lot of people because I felt I was being an imposter. A fraud and a liar. I could never find peace with myself with that even though I thought “I’m not lying I’m just trying to change myself completely!” When I realized I couldn’t I was devastated, but then thought “what if I just was honest?” That’s terrifying but maybe I will find people going through the same thing if I were to be truthful. And I did, and it’s been beautiful.
LOVELOUD is a celebration and affirmation of LGBTQ+ identities. What’s are you looking forward to most this year, and how does it feel to take part in this after your own journey to acceptance?
I am so excited!! One I love is Lindsay Stirling and that she’ll be there! I got to sing on her last Christmas album and love that she is performing as an ally. I also am a big Victoria Monét fan. Aside from that, last year since I had newly come out it was very scary to do (yet freeing) and now I am over the fear hurdle and celebrating and feeling more confident so I look forward to having that celebration and fun with everyone!
What do you think queer pop culture needs more of now?
I think it needs more diversity! To show that being queer doesn’t just look one way. I think there is a stereotype of what queer people look like and act like and I’m glad it’s becoming more diverse, so I just hope that continues to expand.
Who is a queer pop culture creator that deserves to be recognized?
Well, I find it ironic that Victoria Monét is performing here. I feel she is someone noteworthy to mention! Bisexual representation to show it really is a thing! You don’t have to be just 100% straight or 100% gay it can be a spectrum, and also just the fact that she is so talented. Another singer I would mention is Ryan Nealon he has incredible, real, raw songs and voice!
What mash-up would you love to see between two of your favorite queer icons?
I already saw one dream collab happen with Sam smith and Kim Petras. Maybe Calum Scott and Kehlani? I think they’d be fire together. Or maybe Renee Rapp with him too!
What’s your dream collaboration?
I think it’d be so fun to collab with Charli XCX or Tori Kelly.
Finally, what do you have to say to all the fans who are attending LOVELOUD this year?
I love you all!!! Look forward to celebrating the life of every person, whatever they look like, wherever they come from, and whoever they love.♦
You can buy tickets for LOVELOUD here and see David Archuleta this Fall!