SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Surrounded by thousands of fans at the LOVELOUD Festival on Saturday, Utah native and pop singer David Archuleta opened up about the times he felt most alone.
During the darkest of those days, Archuleta says he wondered whether it would be better “if I’m not here.”
Archuleta, 31, was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which considers acting on same-sex attraction to be a sin. The singer came out as a member of the LGBTQIA community in June 2021.
“I was 30 when I came to terms with myself and came out,” Archuleta says in a candid and at times emotional speech from LOVELOUD 2022 at Vivint Arena posted on YouTube.
The LOVELOUD Festival is designed to “ignite the vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept, and support LGBTQ+ youth in our communities,” according to organizers.
During Pride Month last summer, Archuleta said he’s unsure whether he’s gay, bisexual or asexual but that he had come to terms with his sexuality. For much of his life, the singer said he felt he had to “work so hard to hide that part” of himself.
“Because you think that if it comes out, it’s bad and that you’re going to do something wrong, and you’re going to let so many people down, and you’re going to let God down if you let this part come out of you,” he told the LOVELOUD crowd.
Archuleta says he spent “almost all of my life trying everything to change that part of me.”
“I thought if I put the effort in, I could change myself,” he said. “I almost got married three times because I thought if I just pushed forward and pushed through it … I would become straight and everything would be the way I thought it was supposed to be.”
When pushing forward didn’t change him, Archuleta said he had thoughts about ending his life.
“No matter what I tried, I couldn’t change that part of me,” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s better if I’m not here. Because if this is bad and if this is a sin, and no matter what I do I can’t get rid of this, maybe I need to get rid of myself. Because maybe that’s better than being this way.”
In the year since coming out, Archuleta says he’s “felt so much love … from complete strangers, from my family, from my friends.”
And the former “American Idol” runner-up shared a message with those who may be scared or confused as they come to terms with their own sexuality: “If you’ve come to believe all your life that this is bad and this is scary, it may be scary at first, but it is so worth it.
“I hope you can learn to love yourself, to have compassion for yourself. This has been such a liberating year for me to not be afraid of myself anymore,” Archuleta said.
The pop singer performed only one song, “Glorious,” at LOVELOUD because he’s still recovering from vocal surgery.
Before the performance, Archuleta dedicated the song to anyone who has ever felt “like you were lost, and like you were alone, and like you didn’t belong.”
“Because life is like a symphony,” he said, “and if you just keep listening, you’ll find the part that you play.”
The LOVELOUD Festival returned to Salt Lake City following a two-year absence due to the pandemic. Saturday’s event featured performances by Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, WILLOW, Anitta, The Aces, and Mat & Savanna Shaw.
“Because of the pandemic, it’s been far too long that we have all been able to come together like this to celebrate diversity and speak out on the power of unconditional love and equality,” Reynolds states in a news release.
LOVELOUD organizers say teen suicide is one of the most troubling issues in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. for youth, according to the Centers for Disease Control,” organizers wrote in a statement. “LGBTQ+ youth that come from a home or community where they are not accepted are eight times more likely to commit suicide.”
Proceeds from the LOVELOUD Festival benefit local and national LGBTQ+ charities.