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David Archuleta says his ‘life is in the Lord’s hands’

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OREM, Utah — David Archuleta's favorite day is Sunday.

He can relax and listen to some music. He says it's a perfect time to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

And for Archuleta, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a plus.

"My life is in the Lord's hands," he says. "Even in the toughest times, I know he is there."

Archuleta, with his angelic smile and sweet nature, was at the Deseret Book store in Orem recently to sing and sign copies of his recently released book, "Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song and the Power of Perseverance." The "American Idol" runner-up drew a crowd of admirers as he talked — in Spanish — to the Deseret News.

At the age of 19, he composes, performs, writes and presents concerts. Some might say he is a phenomenon, not only musical, but in organizing and responding to his multiple responsibilities.

People have said that he is missing out on his youth — living as an adult, not as a young man.

But Archuleta responds emphatically, "I'm living my youth to the fullest. I'm doing what I enjoy doing. I am living my life to the fullest — if not now, then when?"

Even with his busy schedule, he says he allows time to be with his family, to talk to his friends and even to go to the movies.

He says his book came about because in all his interviews he has been asked almost the same questions about his life, and many people were curious to hear about it.

"I thought the best way to get part of my life to my fans was through a book. Show how I live, the challenges and achievements and how to overcome and how I got where I am now," he says as he signs a book that was awaiting his autograph.

One of the most challenging situations that he has faced was when he was 13 years old — not even being in front of the "Idol" judges was as hard and challenging as the thought that he would not be able to sing again.

During his early teens, Archuleta was diagnosed with vocal paralysis. At his young age and with his music goals, he was devastated. He was very nervous and sad at the possibility that he could not sing anymore. Surgery was an option, but with a chance of success of only 50 percent.

"I was very sad, and finally took the other option I had, using voice therapy. I had the same percentage of recovery, but also had the possibility that the (vocal cords would) remain permanently damaged. But I triumphed and I'm here, doing what I like in my life, singing."

He says his faith and trust in the Lord have been part of his career.

"I feel that my voice is living … with a divine purpose. Every time I sing, I do it with gratitude and reverence."

Archuleta became one of the most recognizable figures on television in 2008, when his tenor voice, youthful charm and sweetness helped him place second in the seventh season of "American Idol."

Archuleta loves his Latin roots.

He was born in Miami, but spent most of his childhood in Utah, where he lived with his father, Jeff, a jazz trumpeter, and his mother, Lupe, a Honduran salsa singer, and his siblings. Inspired by a videotaped performance of Les Miserables, he began singing at age 6. In 2003, he was crowned Junior Vocal Champion on the "Jenny Jones Show."

Today, he spends more time in Los Angeles, where he is dedicated to his profession as a singer and author. He says his new album will be released in late July.

While Archuleta is getting ready to perform for his audience outside the store, he has a message for young people, telling them to always continue to fight for what they believe and what they want to do in their lives.

"There is nothing in life that we cannot achieve. It will require sacrifice on our part, but we all have the potential to do the things we love if we seek it. Go for it!"

e-mail: cskinner@desnews.com