David Archuleta speaks to Atwood Magazine about overcoming anxiety, The Office, and his new single “OK, All Right,” an uplifting feel-good mantra perfect for these dark, scary, and uncertain times.
Stream: “OK, All Right” – David Archuleta
It’s fine, I’m fine, OK, all right.
Anxiety and stress are currently front-of-mind for everyone during the COVID-19 global pandemic, but millions of people, pop stars included, were already dealing with anxiety long before we learned the terms coronavirus and social distancing.
“I get overwhelmed by worrying about everything, or can stress out pretty bad,” 28-year-old singer/songwriter David Archuleta tells Atwood Magazine. “I try to keep a good attitude, but things still seem to go wrong a lot of times. That’s when I start trying to distract myself from the over-worrying with positive things and tell myself things will be ‘fine, okay, all right.'”
Archuleta’s new single couldn’t have come at a better time. A soothing stress-relief mantra, “OK, All Right” is a calming force for these dark, scary, and uncertain times. The feel-good song arrives as the lead single off Archuleta’s forthcoming seventh studio album, following 2017’s sixth full-length Postards in the Sky and the 2018 holiday record, Winter in the Air.
sometimes I wake up in
the wrong side of my head
the little voices creep back in, but it’s cool
some nights the TV’s on
just so I don’t feel alone
which Office episode should I choose?
When i lose my mind
I go places nobody can find
when I lose my way
I just look at myself in the mirror and say
“It’s fine, I’m fine, OK, all right”
Effusive and spirited, with buoyant bright melodies and an effervescent beat, “OK, All Right” unveils Archuleta’s personal struggle with anxiety and his attempt to overcome self-doubt and overthinking. He sings openly about the haunting questions and looming thoughts that plague so many of us: The overwhelming fears and feelings that drain the light from our skies and the hope from our days.
“I do try to find the positive as best as I can, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain that attitude because negative feelings can really weigh down on you,” Archuleta explains. “A lot of the songs on this upcoming album actually are about the battle of dealing with negativity and how to move forward when I’m feeling down on myself.”
Singing with grace, warmth, and ease, Archuleta reveals the stinging pains that plague millions on a regular basis. In doing so, he offers a platform for us to relate, open up, and have a dialogue about our own anxiety, stress, grief, and worries as well.
A seasoned singer/songwriter best known as American Idol‘s seventh season finalist, David Archuleta has seen his fair share of highs and lows over the past two decades. Now on the brink of releasing the most honest and vulnerable music of his career, the independent artist has a message for his people seeking to better understand who he is, inside and outside the context of his new song:
“I want them to know he’s someone who deals with feeling down and doubting himself and his own worth a lot, but still finds his way through it and has managed to be a happy person overall. That those negative feelings don’t have to decide the outcome, but can help you become stronger from the constant wrestle with them. They create a unique path and unique strengths that make us overcomers, and also make life more fulfilling because of the battle.”
David Archuleta is a comforting presence in these destabilizing days, and his new single is a truly sweet, heartwarming mantra for battling anxiety, depression, and self-doubt. Atwood Magazine spoke to David Archuleta about stress, overcoming anxiety, and the healing power of “OK, All Right.” With a global pandemic creating distance at a time when we need connection the most, we need many more songs just like this one.
It inspires me to acknowledge that I’m not perfect and I get upset about things, but to not let them get to me and that I can find a way through it turning out okay. I hope listeners can feel the same thing.
A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID ARCHULETA
Atwood Magazine: Hey David! Obviously we’re living in very difficult, unprecedented times. That said, your music is so uplifting! How have you been managing, if I may ask, these days?
David Archuleta: Thanks! I’ve been managing okay. I think we’ve all had to learn how to make big adjustments in our lives, and find ways to stay productive or adapt to the pandemic. Also finding how to prepare for new music to release while not being able to leave. I’ve been quarantined with some family friends and it has helped to not be alone. I think it’s harder that way and so I feel for those who are quarantining alone. Make sure to FaceTime and find new ways to stay in touch with people!
Are you the kind of person who dwells, or do you try to find ways of keeping positive? Not saying these are mutually exclusive, but in a situation like this I find I’m the latter - always (albeit subconsciously) trying to be the person who lightens up a room.
Archuleta: I’d say I do try to find the positive as best as I can, but sometimes it’s hard to maintain that attitude because negative feelings can really weigh down on you. A lot of the songs on this upcoming album actually are about the battle of dealing with negativity and how to move forward when I’m feeling down on myself.
I feel like “OK, All Right” directly speaks to this idea of keeping hope and positivity flowing. Can you talk about what where you were when you wrote this song?
Archuleta: “OK, All Right” is a song where I kinda poke at myself and how much I overthink about things and let them affect my mood. I get overwhelmed by worrying about everything, or can stress out pretty bad. I try to keep a good attitude but things still seem to go wrong a lot of times. That’s when I start trying to distract myself from the over-worrying with positive things and tell myself things will be “fine, okay, all right.”
This song immediately addresses depression and anxiety, loneliness and solitude in its first verse. How have these themes manifest themselves in your life, and how do you cope with them?
Archuleta: Being alone can be a really wonderful thing sometimes. Every day I love to have a moment where I can have my space and quiet, and let my thoughts really release the way I can’t seem to around others. But then there are moments where I wake up and my thoughts have taken control in a bad way saying I’m useless, there’s no point in getting out of bed, and I get scared to be alone because there are moments where it’s hard to get the right perspective when my thoughts are so convincing. Sometimes I am so down I can’t get myself around other people. But other times it’s what I need to know I’m not as horrible as I’m believing to be.
Sometimes I am so down I can’t get myself around other people. But other times it’s what I need to know I’m not as horrible as I’m believing to be.
Loneliness is all the more prevalent these days. How have you been getting by?
Archuleta: I think it’s important to still give yourself a routine of sorts. Giving yourself a checklist of things to do so you keep yourself busy and not let your mind turn inward so much. It could be exercising, reading, studying, FaceTime calls, watch a show, find new music, try writing or creating something. If you give yourself a variety of things, the monotony that heightens the sense of loneliness tends to lose its power.
So, you mentioned The Office... that’s my “safe show,” the one I always put on whenever I’m feeling low or depressed too. What do you think it is about that show that you, me, and millions of other folks still find so attractive?
Archuleta: Haha, well it’s one I’ve been able to enjoy with my sister and some friends. It’s one that is just random and helps you vicariously live through some terribly awkward and uncomfortable moments while learning how to laugh at it. It fits a lot of the mood of “OK, All Right” really.
What are your favorite Office episodes, if you have any?
Archuleta: Haha, while I’m not the best at remembering episodes and their content, and I’ll admit I’m not a binge watcher of the office or of TV in general, some funny ones have been where Michael has everyone do the movie in Threat Level Midnight, and then Diversity Day.
It’s funny because when you listen to the lyrics, they’re kind of like putting off the bad things by layering a veil of happiness on top. “It’s fine, I’m fine, okay, alright.” It’s the kind of thing I might tell my fiancée when I don’t want to talk about what’s really bugging me. Is this an intentional turn of phrase, or means of balancing the upbeat melody with a little more nuanced lyricism?
Archuleta: Haha, well it’s definitely meant to touch in both places that you’re talking about. It’s meant to be applied in a bunch of ways and scenarios.
This is your first release in quite some time. Why did you want to return with this song in particular? What about it makes it special, for you?
Archuleta: I wanted to do something that would be fun. I can get pretty serious with my songs even if they’re meant to be more positive, so I wanted to light the mood up a bit.
“OK, All Right” has this summery, cheerful vibe that reminds me a little bit of Imagine Dragons’ “On Top of the World” and a little bit of Bieber’s Purpose album. What were your sonic and musical inspirations behind this track?
Archuleta: I didn’t really look at anything specific with “OK, All Right.” I heard random sounds in my head and described them to Chantry (who produced the song and I co-wrote it with) as best as I could and he would find something that felt right. We let the mood of the song take it where it needed to. I just wanted it to be one you could move to. Other songs on the album were influenced a little by Khalid, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, and even Hillsong. But just bits and pieces of a sound here and a song there.
This music video is more than a little cute! How do you feel it intersects with the message of the song, and where (if at all) do you feel it diverges and makes a story all of its own?
Archuleta: Haha, well it’s meant to be pretty sarcastic and cheery to contradict the doom and gloom feelings it’s presenting. The whole story is told in the lyrics, and the video just acts it out. In the end after the frustrated moments, I’m all right with things and having a good time at my birthday.
What feelings does “OK, All Right” inspire for you, and what feelings do you hope it inspires in your listeners?
Archuleta: It inspires me to acknowledge that I’m not perfect and I get upset about things, but to not let them get to me and that I can find a way through it turning out okay. I hope listeners can feel the same thing.
What do you most want people to know about the David Archuleta of 2020?
Archuleta: I want them to know he’s someone who deals with feeling down and doubting himself and his own worth a lot, but still finds his way through it and has managed to be a happy person overall. That those negative feelings don’t have to decide the outcome, but can help you become stronger from the constant wrestle with them. They create a unique path and unique strengths that make us overcomers and also make life more fulfilling because of the battle.
Lastly, what artists are you listening to right now that you would recommend to our readers? Any new discoveries?
Archuleta: I actually really like some Billie Eillish songs. She’s unique, and is a true artist and singer. Her style may put people off, but she has connected to what she feels rather than trying to get approval by being like someone else. I love that and want to discover more of that in myself.
My other artist I love is Jonathan’s McReynolds. He is probably my favorite right as of lately because he is so real about his lyrics.
Stream: “OK, All Right” – David Archuleta
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