Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm a mug for Clay Aiken

I'd been puzzled by who sang the revival of Without You (a.k.a. I Can't Live (If living is without you)) in the radio. Hearing it lately, I was always set aback by the vocal fluency of the male singer. Until I got a copy of it in my laptop, then was the only time I discovered that the man behind the voice was Clay Aiken.

Clay Aiken? I did not know him. So, the ever dependable Google helped me check him out. Then I found out he was a runner-up in the hit show American Idol Season 2 (Just a runner-up for that voice is a diminution for such skill).

His voice is so great. It's so high yet so chesty. He is definitely one of my crushes now. I don't care if he looks gay (and even if he is, it's zilch). His voice captivates me so much that I'm compelled to like his whole persona. Not to mention his altruism for being a UNICEF ambassador of goodwill, he is such an admiration.


Marin said...

Here’s a recap of Clay’s career since May 2003.

On June 10, 2003, Clay released the single "Bridge Over Troubled Water". The B-side was “This Is the Night". This was RIAA certified platinum on July 15, 2003. It debuted at #1 on both the "Billboard Hot 100" and the Hot 100 Single Sales Chart, and was the fastest-selling single since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" and the best-selling single of 2003. It was also the first CD single to go platinum since 2002.

Clay’s solo cd, “Measure of a Man” was released on October 13, 2003. It debuted at #1 on the "Billboard 200" and sold 613,000 copies in its first week. This made it the highest-selling debut for a solo artist in 10 years, and according to Wikipedia, the highest debut of any Idol. The cd was RIAA Double Platinum certified on November 17, 2003, and more than 2,750,000 cds have been sold. The single "Invisible" became a huge hit. Also in 2003, Clay won the Fan's Choice Award at the American Music Awards ceremony, and his CD single "This Is the Night/Bridge Over Troubled Water" won the Billboard award for the Best-selling Single of 2003.

During the winter of 2003, Clay was in Disney's Christmas Day Parade and The Nick At Nite Holiday Special, where special effects allowed him to sing an awesome duet of “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” with Bing Crosby.

Clay and Kelly Clarkson, the Season 1 winner, joined forces for the "Independent Tour” where they alternated as headliners. Clay was also scheduled for a few summer tour dates, but demand was so high that he ended up doing 50 performances across the United States, in what became known as the "Not-a-Tour." Clay sang the song “Proud of Your Boy” for Disney’s Aladdin Special Edition DVD. They were the exclusive sponsor of Clay's Summer Concert Tour. Clay made a music video which is on the Aladdin Special Edition 2-Disc DVD. He also performed a duet on Kimberley Locke's debut cd “Without You” released in May 2004.

Clay’s 3rd tour of the year, “The Joyful Noise Tour”, had a Christmas theme and began in November, 2004. This tour was sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities, with a conductor and a 30-piece orchestra. In some cities, Aiken was supported by the local philharmonic or symphony, such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Local choirs from schools participated at each concert. "The Joyful Noise Tour" had sellouts or near-sellouts at every venue.

Also in November, Clay released “Merry Christmas With Love”, which set a new record for the fastest-selling holiday cd since 1991. The cd debuted at #4 on the "Billboard 200" and tied CĂ©line Dion's record for the highest debut by a holiday album in the history of Billboard magazine. "Merry Christmas With Love" sold over 1,000,000 copies in 6 weeks, was the best-selling holiday album of 2004, and received RIAA Platinum certification on Jan. 6, 2005.

Clay also wrote a memoir called “Learning To Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life”. This book debuted at #2 and made the New York Times Best Seller List.

In December 2004, Clay starred in his first TV special, “A Clay Aiken Christmas”, with guests Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams, and Megan Mullally. He was also Executive Producer.

Clay made a guest appearance on the TV sitcom “Scrubs” in February 2005. He was also on Oprah to fulfill someone’s “Wildest Dreams", and appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil concerning bullying among teens. During the summer of 2005, Clay’s “Jukebox Tour," performed songs of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, favorites from “Measure of a Man”, and some new material.

In September 2005, Clay was a celebrity guest of designer Kenneth Cole during the Fashion Week shows in New York City. He was a guest reporter for The Insider later that month at the 2005 Emmy Awards. The Kenneth Cole outfit was then donated, along with other items worn by celebrities at the Emmys, to the Clothes Off Our Back charity auction. His tuxedo, cufflinks, and shoes sold for a combined total of $27,250. Clay returned to do more guest reporting segments on the show.

Clay’s 2nd Christmas tour, in November 2005, told the story of an older woman who lost the Christmas spirit and a young boy who helps her find it again. A cast of actors, dancers and back-up singers traveled with the tour, and members of local theatre groups performed in each venue for smaller non-speaking roles and crowd scenes. The tour opened in Vancouver, Canada, on November 2, and ended in Clearwater, Florida on December 30.

For many, the highlight of last year’s finale was Clay’s re-emergence with a new look but the same captivating voice. His third cd, “A Thousand Different Ways” was released on September 19 2006. This cd had 10 cover songs and 4 new ones. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard Chart. Clay was the 4th artist ever to have his first 3 cds debut in the top 5 and scan over 200,000 in the first week.

Clay also had an EP, “All is Well”, which had 4 Christmas songs, and was released exclusively to Walmart on November 28, 2006. Clay did a third Christmas tour in 18 citites in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and ran from December 1 through December 23. He used local orchestras to support him and open the shows with seasonal music.

In 2007, Clay appeared on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Valentine’s Day special. On February 22, he co-hosted “The Morning Show” with Mike and Juliet. listed Clay as one of the hottest people in music.

Clay fans are looking forward to a 20 date tour this summer, called the “Symphony Tour” across the country. This will run from July 4 through August 19th. has the dates and tickets may be purchased there.

Clay’s foundation is called the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, and its goal is to integrate children with disabilities into the everyday environment of their non disabled peers. Clay has also done benefits and concerts for various causes including the 2004 Rosalynn Carter Benefit, the America's Promise Benefit, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS where he sung a duet with Heather Headley. He was one of the celebrity readers for the "Arthur Celebrity Audiobook Stories for Heroes Series," which benefits the BAF and other charities, and was the spokesman for the series. He was also a spokesperson for the 2004 Toys for Tots drive, and is an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities and UNICEF, to help ensure children everywhere obtain education. He went to the tsunami stricken Banda Aceh area in Indonesia in 2005 and northern Uganda. He also went to Kabul and Bamyan in Afghanistan in April, 2007 where he spent time with children in their classrooms. He participated in the NBC4 telethon, which raised over $10 million, and recorded public service announcements for South Asian tsunami relief. He also recorded a video to be used as a public service announcement to raise money for tsunami victims.

Clay appeared before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs of the Committee on Appropriations He was the 2005 spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF drive.

In September, 2006 Clay was appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. This committee advises the President and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on issues regarding programs and services for those with intellectual disabilities.

Clay was voted the Favorite Reality Star of 2003 by TV Guide readers, and “the most-loved reality star of all time” in a TV Guide poll in the summer of 2005. In February 2006 he was voted "Favorite American Idol" by People Magazine with 69% of the vote.

And the beat goes on…

Anonymous said...

His voice is awesome! Poor sap is too pretty for his own good.

Jojo from Queens, NY said...

Welcome to the Clay Nation, Drake! You're not alone in the Clay Admiration Club! FYI, there's so many Filipinos here in the US who love and admire Clay. He's like the Nora Aunor of USA who came from a humble beginning and was a geek and a nerd and then became a famous singer/star and also an author when he published his best-selling book "Learning To Sing: The Music in your Life" which is a great collection of his inspiring stories from childhood until the American Idol phenomenon. I highly recommend it and I guarantee that you'll be touched by it and the more you're going to admire and be inspired by our Mr. Ambassador Clay Aiken. I used to live in San Juan, Metro Manila, kababayan!

Jojo said...

Drake, Clay is not gay and he's been telling that fact to the media more than once since 2003 as soon as the American Idol Season 2 was finished but still they continued to harrass him with the same question and even published fabricated stories about him. Clay doesn't deserve such treatment from the media especially from the tabloids. Here's a link to a blog that will enlighten you on this topic.
And for your further reading pleasure to get to know Clay better:
Who would have ever thought back in September, when Clay angrily confronted Diane Sawyer about the media’s constant prying into his private life, that just a few short months later he would be publicly laughing about the "next big tabloid scandal?" For that matter, who in a million years would ever imagine that a mere three days after the “national debate” (tm Inside Edition) sparked by the “hand over mouth” incident with Kelly Rippa, that Clay would parody himself on national TV during a major music awards show?

Yet here he is, holding court on stage, in the middle of a symphonic Christmas concert, laughing about the possibility that he could be the cover boy for next week’s National Idiot tabloid rag. Not only laughing about it, but snarking big time about his alleged "love child," a "…skinny, little redheaded kid running around" somewhere.
Clay may have grown up a bit sheltered, raised without the benefit of a strong male role model. But make no mistake – the man has received the education of a lifetime in the past three years. He’s seen the children of Uganda that move through the night to seek safety in city shelters. He has held the small hands of orphaned children in the tsunami ravaged Banda Aceh region of Indonesia, and he has no doubt heard the devastating stories of being in the midst of the war torn Middle East from his brother. Last, as well as least, he has been enlightened to the rotten-souled industry types of Hollyweird, not to mention some freaky “fans” along the way.

Let’s put some things in perspective here.

I don't see the world through the eyes of Clay Aiken. But through my own eyes, I can see that Clay has come full circle. Through his life experiences, his recent humanitarian work, and his dealings with those in the “pop culture” media, he has learned how to separate the honorable from the hubris, and to laugh at the envious wannabes who deign to smear his name, impugn his character, and harm his career. He has also learned that his fans are beginning to learn the same.

Many people don’t seem to understand the position Clay took in regard to the discussion of his private life. “Just one statement,” some pleaded. “Just say it one more time,” as if one or twenty one more times would suddenly cause the topic to dissipate. I think not; not while the pop culture media exists only to showcase the foibles and flaws of our stars. Not while a large segment of the American public still desires to know the failings of the American rich and famous, so as to make them feel more worthy as flawed human beings themselves. No, whatever he may say, they would continue to challenge him.

Because that’s what they do.