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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - David Archuleta lost out on the "American Idol" title in May but the baby-faced teen released his first album this week hoping to capitalize on his young female fan base around the world.
Archuleta, 17, wowed audiences during the "Idol" concert tour and on the popular TV talent show with emotional piano ballads and renditions of standards like "Imagine" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me".
But in his first, self-titled album, the Utah singer delivers new songs in a variety of styles. Archuleta talked to Reuters about the album and what he has been doing in the last hectic six months.
Q: This first album was put together pretty quickly. How much does it reflect the real David Archuleta?.
A: "We didn't have a ton of time. We were experimenting with different things. There is something for everyone. People are expecting a Josh Groban thing from me but I didn't want to get stuck in that category, especially since I am 17. I wanted to prove that I wasn't just someone who sings only standards and covers. I wanted to show that I am still young and fresh and that I'm a teenager and I don't want to grow up too fast."
Q: You've been rehearsing with a band for your upcoming performances. What has that been like?
A: "The band is great. They are very talented people. It is such an honor to be able to play with them because they have so much experience and I have never really performed with a band. I'm getting really excited about the album release and all the TV appearances and shows. Sometime I get a little nervous about it all, but it's so exciting."
Q: You don't turn 18 until December. What's happening about school?
A: "I've not really had time to go back to Murray High School (in Utah). I've still been trying to do some school work online. It's really difficult trying to keep up with both things when you're recording and rehearsing and been on tour. It's been a bit of a challenge but I need to find some way to complete school because I think that is really important to do, being so young and not knowing where life is going to take me yet."
Q: How has your life changed in the past year?
A: "The weirdest thing is being not at home. You don't have your siblings around you. It's great to have texts and the phones to keep in touch with them. But it is weird to not have them nearby to talk to, not being able to hang out with my mom and sisters and play Nintendo with them. My dad is here with me while my mom watches over the rest of the kids."
Q: You have millions of female fans. Are you dating yet?
A: "I'm not, like, seriously dating. I'll go on fun dates. I'm all about getting to know people, trying to figure out how girls are different from each other, what I like about girls and what I don't like ... I think there will be that girl who I really feel like, wow, she's special. But I still don't know a lot and I'm still getting that idea of what kind of girl I'd want to be with for a long time -- if that makes sense?."
Q: Your album came out a week ahead of "American Idol" winner David Cook's first album. Is there any competition between the two of you?
A: "Not from what I've seen. I think we have wanted to extinguish that flame because we want to be separate artists and musicians. Even during the 'Idol' competition we weren't that competitive. No one really understood what was going on, watching this dream grow. Cook understands that more than anyone else because he went through the same thing. I still talk to him and text him every now and then. He's always checking up on me. He is like a brother and that shows that he is awesome."
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte