American Idol contestant David Archuleta, who's in town this weekend, speaks about giving back to society through music

Remember David Archuleta, the baby-faced first runner-up of ‘American Idol 7'? He's coming to Chennai. What follows the announcement are shrieks of delight and a volley of queries —“When is he here? Where is he performing? Where to buy tickets?...”

Well, the singer will be here this weekend, but not for a concert. “I'll be visiting Rising Star Outreach to meet children with leprosy, and their parents,” says David, in a phone interview. Rising Star Outreach (located in Kancheepuram district) works in close association with Marriott Home, which educates these children.

Marriott Home is an initiative by the Marriott group, and the event is part of Courtyard by Marriott's fifth anniversary celebrations.

David has been associated with Rising Star Outreach for over a year now. “I was introduced to the organisation by my dentist, a good family friend of ours. He showed me the website. I didn't even know that leprosy still existed,” he says. What shocked him most was that those with leprosy are still ostracised by society.

This is David's first visit to India, and the singer says he is quite excited about it. But, his goal is to be able to give back something to the people he will be meeting. “I think I'll get to sing for them. That will be a neat experience, as music is really special to me,” he says.

David, who's released three albums so far, says his favourite singers include Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Eva Cassidy. Has he tried listening to Indian music? “I've heard Lata Mangeshkar when I was 15. I found her songs interesting,” he says.

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