Clay Aiken – Looking Ready To Rule The Pack

So…Clay Aiken is in New York, preparing for his participation on Celebrity Apprentice.  Personally, I am excited.  What a great opportunity to raise money for Clay’s charity.

The only problem I see is that we have to wait months before we really know what is happening.  I can’t wait to watch Clay as he attacks each project with intelligence and business savvy.  I believe that he will surprise many people who only remember Clay from his American Idol days!

It was so much fun to see the picture of Clay that was taken Friday evening.  He was dressed “to the nines”.  He looked as though he had been dressed by one of the top stylists around.  From his clothes to his hair, he was up-to–date and looked ready to rule the pack.

As an older fan, I have to remind myself that Clay is not dressing to appeal to middle-aged ladies.  I am not a huge fan of the spiky hair, but there are many men who wear this style and are considered in-style.  Some are older than Clay and some are younger.  I really like the following comment I found on the Internet:

 I do not for a second believe that people will decide they don’t like Clay based solely on his hairstyle. I think most people are not that superficial (at least I hope not anyway). I think they will form their opinion of Clay based on his personality and how he handles himself. Some will base their decision on how he looks, but I would say the vast majority won’t.

OK………..When will we get the next picture?

I found the following article about Clay on my computer.  It has been a long time since I have read it and it is worth another read.  I hope you will take a moment and read this interview.  I just know you will smile and feel so proud of Clay and the work he does to make the world a better place.

An Idol Who Really Gives Back
05/07/2007 7:00 PM, Yahoo! Music
Laura Hertzfeld

Before charming the hearts of American Idol fans in 2003, singer Clay Aiken was a teacher, focusing on special education in his native North Carolina. Today, in addition to performing and recording, Clay acts as an education ambassador for UNICEF, most recently in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Still jetlagged, Clay told Yahoo! Music in his smooth drawl why Idol Gives Back won’t solve the poverty problem, what it was like to grow a beard and wear long robes, and why he never sings when visiting schools abroad.

YAHOO! MUSIC: What were your overall impressions of Afghanistan?

CLAY: I think, more than anything, the trip to me was a stereotype-breaker because there are so many times in the U.S. that we see in the news the negative things that happen in Afghanistan. We see the head coverings and we think Muslim, we hear about suicide bombings and terrorists, and we think “Middle East.” Afghanistan’s not in the Middle East, it’s in South Asia, and it’s not a desert. My friends were all, “It must have been so hot there!” But you can see in some of the pictures the snow-capped mountains. There are many parts of Afghanistan that are really quite a lush landscape. I had a lot of misconceptions about the country and about the people there.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Why education? 

CLAY: Well you know, I was a teacher, so education is kind of important to me. I focus on education mainly with UNICEF on every trip that I take. A number of schools [in Afghanistan] were destroyed during the Taliban era. The schools that were around only housed male students–girls were not allowed to go to school. So now there are twice the number of students and there’s just not enough room to hold these kids. They are sitting outside on the ground all day.

YAHOO! MUSIC: The Idol Gives Back charity event raised more than $70 million. Could you relate to what you saw your fellow idols doing in Africa and other places?

CLAY: I think there’s definitely a problem–and I’ll point to recent charity events–when people go and they talk about the need in an area or a country and they don’t have the information. If you come back and you talk about the need in a country and don’t know what’s going on in the country, then you’re completely remiss. There’s always a greater cause [to poverty] than throwing money at the issue, and I think the strongest solution, the strongest weapon we have against poverty and hunger is education. When you take a look at something like Idol Gives Back and you realize that the main piece of information we got is that people are hungry in Africa, but we didn’t find out why they are hungry in Africa and we didn’t out where in Africa they are hungry, nor did we find out the major causes. Without the education about what’s going on in the country, we’re doing no service except for perpetuating that same stereotype that Africa, or any other country in the world, is lesser than the U.S., and we’re in the role that we have to give to them.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Did you perform for the kids you met in Afghanistan? How did they like your music?

CLAY: [Laughing] I made the mistake in Uganda of performing for some kids who were in a night commuter center, and they were singing a song and they were clapping. It was kind of a joyful, cheerful song. They didn’t know me, but they had heard that I was a singer, and so they asked me to sing a song, and I couldn’t think of what to sing. And someone whispered to me, “Sing ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.'” And so I got through maybe a line of the song before the kids started laughing at me so hard. They’d never heard any music like that before in their lives. So I’ve made it a point when I take these trips to never sing.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Maybe someday you’ll get a request.

CLAY: Maybe next time I take a trip I’ll make it a point to learn a native song.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Do you have a favorite story of any of the people you met in Afghanistan or a moment during your trip that touched you the most?

CLAY: One of the things that stuck with me more than anything else was just the hunger, the thirst for education. I mean, these kids wanted to go to school. My social studies teacher [who accompanied me on the trip]–she was quite jealous. She’s been teaching for 30 years and she’s never had a class full of students who wanted to be there as much as these kids in Afghanistan wanted to be there.

YAHOO! MUSIC: How has your work with UNICEF influenced your music? What do you take back with you?

CLAY: Every time I come back from these situations, you take a look at what’s important to you, and how privileged we are, and it’s easy to take that back. But it’s important to remember that we have to be a proactive society. It’s interesting to me to look at Afghanistan and realize that there are countries all around the world that we haven’t looked at because they haven’t affected us and yet, one of these days it’s possible that one of them could affect us. Had we taken a hard look at the needs of women and children in Afghanistan in 1996, it’s possible that we could have prevented September 11, 2001.

YAHOO! MUSIC: How did it feel to be an American in Afghanistan? Were you welcomed in the towns you visited?

CLAY: One of the main things to remember is that people in Afghanistan did not like the Taliban, either. I was worried going in, imagining what I was going to be involved with and what I was going to find myself running into. But, it was quite different. The people were nothing but hospitable, they were completely welcoming and so wonderful. We really just had nothing but a warm welcome everywhere. I thought [Kabul] was going to be a lot more antiquated. It’s a bustling metropolis. There was wireless internet in our hotel, glass elevators, it was right inside a shopping mall like we’d see in the U.S. It’s not some sort of deprived and destitute city like I expected to see.

YAHOO! MUSIC: I saw in pictures of you that you’d changed your looks a bit to fit in there.

CLAY: I wanted to be culturally respectful to the country and the people there. Its kind of part of their culture to be bearded and to be dressed appropriately. But that again is kind of part of the stereotype about Afghanistan, but there’s quite a bit of what I guess we’d call “Western” attire in the country.

YAHOO! MUSIC: How can young people get involved? 

CLAY: Learn about the things! You have to be educated about what’s going on in your world. You have to know the problems. Poverty and hunger are only the effects of larger problems.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Why is it important for celebrities to be the face of UNICEF?

CLAY: I haven’t necessarily heard too much negative, but I think the main problem is the media’s attention. We are a society that only pays attention to in the media. We put too much emphasis on celebrities. And even though I am one and I don’t mind the attention every once in a while, it’s sad that you have to have a celebrity to bring attention to these causes.

YAHOO! MUSIC: Do you still watch American Idol, and do you have an opinion on who’s going to win this season?

CLAY: No comment.

SO….What do you think?

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 clayaiken.com.

Comments

  1. What a smart, articulate man Clay Aiken is. Loved rereading this article. I can't wait to watch him on TCapp.

  2. That's such a wonderful article. That's the Clay I'm looking forward to people seeing on Celebrity Apprentice! I'm sure he will use this opportunity to show his intelligence, humor and kindness. Wishing him the best!

  3. Clay has tons of experience in the business world and in the not for profit sector. I expect that he will do quite well on Celebrity Apprentice. He has both the passion and the intelligence, not to mention humor, talent and looks =)

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful UNICEF interview with us!!

  4. I've always known how intelligent Clay is, but this article simply blew me away. Clay is absolutely brilliant! I can't wait for the world to see him on CApp. This is surely going to be the resurgence of Claymania. It's about damn time!

  5. Clay Aiken is one smart, compassionate, and dedicated man. I can hardly wait to see how well he does on Celebrity Apprentice. My bet is on him for the win!

  6. Great blog! I don't believe I have ever been so excited about a tv appearance as I am for the upcoming CApp and I think Clay will do very well.

  7. Hair, no hair, it's still Clay Aiken who is one talented, smart, funny man. Anxiously awaiting CApp! Thanks for that interview again. Shows where his heart is.

  8. Clay gave excellent answers in that interview. I love how he explained that just feeding the hungry is not a cure-all. Education is also a key weapon in improving the fight against hunger and poverty. People in general must be made aware of what is going on in poorer countries, regarding the causes of their situation, and how it can be improved. That in itself is another form of education.

    Clay is a thoughtful and intelligent man. I'm sure he will be subliminally educating everyone while on the Celebrity Apprentice show.

  9. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING CLAY AGAIN NO MATTER WHAT HE IS ON.. LOVED HIM FROM THE START AND ALWAYS WILL. HE IS AN AMAZING YOUNG MAN. HE HAS A VOICE LIKE NO OTHER I HAVE HEARD.

  10. I've never read this article before but he's quite well spoken. He's articulate and well mannered and I think he's pretty great! Add to that the fact that his voice is far superior to any others I've heard in recent years. It think he'll do great on the upcoming show and even though I've never watched the first episode, I'll make it a point to watch this season. Good luck!

  11. What a beautiful blog this is. You can count me in on the group that focused on Clay, the person, an amazing man and so faceted.

  12. What a great picture and thanks for the UNICEF article. I am looking forward to Celebrity Apprentice 2012!!! Hair is the last thing we should worry about, he looks scrumptous with the signature spikes and stylish business attire. So excited for National Inclusion Project, not sure how the show works, but hope NIP will get lots of exposure and funds!

  13. Excellent blog and pix, thank you so much!! (Btw, doesn't matter to me, but there's no knowing how he's doing his hair, the wind is blowing it so hard – those high-rises in NY act like wind-tunnels, brr.)

    It's so true and immensely important, what he says about needing to educate ourselves first, and how media usually doesn't explain anything so we base our opinions on misconceptions. Hope on Celeb App he gets a chance to educate us all on NIP; I second what Anna says, lol!

  14. I'm not a fan of the spily hair either. Reading the UNICEF article I realize how unimportant Clay's hair really is. What's important is not how Clay looks on the outside but what the man on the inside is doing.

  15. I think he looks great in the CApp picture. I am not one bit worried what his hair looks like. I think when the general public who had not seen him since AI see him on there, they will be quite impressed. I love the UNICEF article also. It is quite clear he studies up on the places he visits and is informed about the country and the situation there before he goes. I bet he has done some background checks about CApp also. He is a smart man.

  16. This was a wonderful blog. Thank you for all that you do!!

    First off…who in the world would care how Clay wears his hair? When I read some complaining the other day, I really laughed. For some "fans" Clay never does anything right…it is so sad!! I love reading all over the many Clay Aiken sites and seeing that the majority of the fans laugh at those silly people.

    I enjoyed reading the interview again. Clay is such an intelligent man. He does his homework and is able to adjust to react in the correct way to whatever is thrown to him. Celebrity Apprentice is the perfect show for him!!

    Thanks again for what you do here.

    And…being from New York, I will keep my eye open for Clay!!

  17. When I think I can't be blown away anymore by Clay Aiken, I read a wonderful interview. This interview about UNICEF is amazing!!

    I want to thank you for printing it for us. It really shows how smart Clay really is.

    On another front, I loved the new picture of Clay. He looked so handsome. To me, the haircut looked like it cost him a pretty penny. It certainly is the "in" look these days. Was someone really complaining?

    I am looking forward to your next article. I am sure you will keep us up-to-date on what is happening.

  18. I really enjoyed reading that interview again. Clay is such a good and smart man. He is so right about the Media…and people believe too much of what they say. I liked all of his intelligent answers, and most of all the last one…where they of course had to ask him "Do you still watch AI, and who do you think will win this year?" His answer: NO COMMENT! Nuff said! Lol!

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