Clay Aiken – “I’m Really Not That Special”

Rolling Stone magazine is a biweekly publication that covers music, politics and popular culture. It was founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason. Jann Wenner is still the magazine’s owner, editor and publisher.

Making “the cover of the Rolling Stone” is a landmark achievement for music artists. Each issue reaches close to 1.5 million people.

July 10, 2003 was the official date on the Rolling Stone Magazine that featured Clay Aiken on its cover.  But, the magazine was available in the middle of June.

Many people were surprised when they heard that Rolling Stone was featuring Clay Aiken.  His inclusion in this venerable magazine lent an air of acceptance not just to Clay but also to the concept of American Idol.

Another question asked was why Clay and not Ruben? Since Ruben was the winner of American Idol, it was a valid question and some Ruben fans were upset and rather vocal about their disappointment. However, Clay’s story was really about the “guy next door” who becomes famous and was a tale that America loved.  Clay was entering his last year of college with the intention of becoming a teacher. Clay said that he really wanted to be on The Amazing Race and auditioned for American Idol so his friends would stop bugging him to enter the competition.  The general public embraced the young man who seemed puzzled as to why people were so captivated by him.

In answering questions about the photo shoot for Rolling Stone, Clay said that the cover shoot for Rolling Stone magazine required 8 hours of work and numerous changes of clothing.  He admitted that he was somewhat tricked by the photographer who asked him to put on the black shirt and to not button it all the way down.  He didn’t understand why, but quickly understood when they turned on a fan. Clay admitted that he was surprised they chose the photo they did. He said that they only took about 2 photos of him in that shirt.  “I don’t know why people get so excited about that picture.” he says incredulously, “It’s just me!

When a reporter asked Clay if he had bought a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine with his photo on the cover, he replied that he was too embarrassed to go in and buy it. He asked one of his friends to buy one for him.  He said while laughing, “I couldn’t go in and say ‘Can I have a copy of me on a magazine?!”

Clay was recording his album in London when he talked by phone to WRAL radio about the Rolling Stone experience.  He said he really didn’t understand the significance of all of this until Ruben explained it to him.

Clay’s fans swarmed the bookstores and newspaper stands for copies of the magazine and many fans turned to E-Bay as a source.

The article, written by Erik Hedegaard, was the first time that Clay opened up about his life before American Idol.  The writer was thorough and asked many interesting questions and seemed impressed by Clay’s down to earth attitude. He was treated fairly and with respect.

Do you remember the article?  What was your favorite part?  Do you still have your copy of the magazine?

The following is a wonderful video of the Rolling Stone Photoshoot.  Take a look!!


For another look at the Rolling Stone Article and cover, visit The Life and Times of A Clay Aiken Fan

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

38 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – “I’m Really Not That Special”

  1. I LOVE IT. I didn't buy the magazine cause I wasn't aware of it at the time. One of my dear friends gave me one 2 yrs ago. I feel so lucky to have it now.

    I love the photo shoot and the interview. He is so articulate….even when he was still a "kid." Clay Aiken is just an amazing man.

  2. Most definately still have my magazine….. Gosh..I remember waiting and waiting for it to hit the store… Anything Clay…and I had to have it….

    I remember it being very well written, and I also felt some questions that Clay had to answer were invasive… One of the things that got me was that Clay always, even at a restaurant, would say a prayer before he had his dinner.. His upbringing to me definately showed me that he has a rock solid foundation…to live by…. I was hooked at the first, and I still will purchase anything with Clay on it… He definately is a keeper….


  3. I just wanted to say thank you to CANN for bringing all these wonderful articles back to life again, while we have a downtime, until Clay announces his next career move… I look forward to them every day.


  4. Here’s the funny part – it was my HUSBAND who went to the store to buy that issue of RS!! Clay Aiken captured the imagination and hearts of millions of people around the country. I loved that article, loved the photos.

    Thanks CANN!!!!

  5. Reading this was great, and I had never seen that video.
    Clay Aiken sure deserved to be on the RS cover. I wish I had known about him then, unfortunately I did not buy that magazine.

  6. I didn't even KNOW about the RS cover until some time in 2005 – luckily for me, a friend found a copy of it on EBay and bought it for me, much to my delight.

    And, thank you for the YouTube of the video shoot. I saw that for the first time a couple of years ago and it's neat to see it again.

    I wonder if he had any idea of all the fantastic (and not so great) things that were to happen to him as the years progressed?

    He sure is special. I sure am sure am lucky to call myself a fan.

  7. I’m having such a great time reliving all these special moments that CANN has brought to us. Clay you really are special and I can hardly wait to see what is next.

  8. Hooray for Clay!!
    I’ll never forget how finding that precious Rolling Stone issue at the store was like finding gold! It’s one of my most prized possessions still.

  9. “An image I won’t be ashamed of”
    Well, Mr. Aiken, IMO you have succeded in that goal! I couldn;t be more proud of you than today. You’ve come a long way baby since that RS cover and you have a long way to go still. Clay Aiken, a man among men and a singer in a million.

    • I love remembering all the fun times we have had being a Clay Fan.

      Thank you for your support!!

  10. I still have my Clay Aiken Rolling Stone magazine safely tucked away! Hard to believe it’s been six years already! I love when he was asked what he sees when he looks in the mirror, and he said “I see me!!”

  11. I still have my magazine, but I didn’t get it when it first came out. I didn’t even know Clay Aiken was in RS! I watched all of AI2 and voted for Clay, but lost track of him until summer 04. I heard about a concert and went to see him. Then I found the mb’s. A kind friend sent me a copy of RS.

  12. OMG, thank you so much for posting that video. I don’t think I have ever seen the whole thing, just bits and pieces.

    I love a gorgeous man who really isn’t aware of his appeal. That is Clay. And that laugh just makes me smile ear to ear.

  13. Just wanted to add that I loved the video of the photoshoot. I don’t think I have ever seen that before.

  14. I’ve still got my RS magazines. One is framed and the other 2 are safely in plastic.

    I loved the excitement of running out to stores trying to find it and it wasn’t easy to find. I recall 3 stores in particular that said that as soon as they got them on the shelves they were gone.

    I guess that is why there has to be a 2nd printing of this particular edition. Love it still.

    Thank you for the memories of this. It’s fantastic.

  15. What a fun look back at the RS cover. He still doesn’t think he’s sexy. BWAH!! I love that about him. Great video, thanks for putting it up.

  16. I still have my Clay Aiken RS magazine, and so many others with Clay on it safely in a box!!
    I never forget how many times I read that magazine over and over at the time. There was no internet for me back I used to go to the stores and check every magazine just to find Clay on it!!!
    also I love the video…great memories.

    Thanks CANN!!!!

  17. Clay may not think he’s special but I bet all the children who have been helped by his foundation and his UNICEF work think he’s pretty special!

  18. I still have my RS magazine with Clay on the cover. I had to put it in plastic as the edges were getting a little ragged. I still have LOTS of magazines with Clay either on the cover or inside in articles. I remember every time I went to the Store I would look through the magazines just to find a picture or story in them and best of all I have a lot of posters that were in the magazines also. Used to hang them on my wall. Thanks so much for all the articles about him on your site..I look forward to them. Oh, yes, I really loved the video of the photoshoot too.

  19. I had to go everywhere to find that Rolling Stone issue. And that was the beginning of a beautiful fanship for me. I still have it tucked away and reread it from time to time, even though I practically have it memorized.
    I loved that he would bow his head and say grace during the interview before eating.
    Also, didn’t even know what spaghetti bolognese was and the next time I was at an Italian restaurant, I ordered it. Loved it and now everytime I have it, I think of Clay.
    (Oh, alright–I admit it–I pretty much think of him all the time anyway!)

  20. I still have my copy of RS and the cover is in a frame. It’s the first and only copy of RS I’ve ever purchased. I’ve experienced a lot of firsts thanks to Clay.

  21. Clay… are VERY special. I am so glad that I am a fan and I look forward to whatever you choose to do!!

  22. Rolling Stone………the cover is a big deal. I did not know Clay was featured on the cover….Good for him.

    I am going to have to look it up and read the article.

    Thanks for this interesting feature.

  23. Clay…….you ARE special. You have helped so many people and you have educated so many about children’s rights and so much more.

    I think I will have to dig out my Rolling Stone Magazine and read the article again!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.