Wednesday was a quiet day for fans of Clay Aiken. After the past few days of anniversary fun, it seemed odd not to find any new articles or videos about Clay. Just wait…I bet it won’t be long before we get a lot more news to enjoy!
So…on days when the news is quiet, it is a perfect time to dig into the computer and find something that I haven’t seen for a long time. And, since this is the last day of January, I can squeeze this January issue into an appropriate place.
The following is an article and interview from the January, 2006 issue of Singapore Teen Magazine. Have you seen this before? I have typed out the article as it is hard to read… What a fun trip to the past!
Sheryl: Based on record sales, you’re the most successful runner-up in American Idol history – what’s the reason behind your success?
Clay: Wow, I have no idea! (Pauses) Really, honestly, I don’t know. I guess it’s just the timing of things. When Kelly Clarkson (Winner of American Idol, Season 1) and I released our albums, it was the ‘pop era’, if you could call it that. We were able to give fans what they wanted. Now, the music in the market is mostly urban, so that’s why Fantasia (Winner of American Idol, Season 3) is releasing urban albums. Besides good timing, I really don’t know why, I just thank God for all of it!Sheryl: You’ve been under the constant scrutiny of the media and the public lately. How do you cope with paparazzi and gossip tabloids?
Clay: Well, it just gets easier over time. When what’s printed becomes more outlandish and far-fetched, it’s easier to pay no attention to them. After you’re more familiar with tabloids and the industry, you start to realize how ridiculous these rumours and statements are. You have to thicken your skin, and learn to laugh at it. Just let it pass!Sheryl: Share with us some of your most memorable experiences from high school.
Clay: (Excitedly) Oh, it’s definitely when I’m performing on stage! I’ve always sung in musicals and in choirs during my elementary and middle school years. But when I got to high school, I was cut from my senior musical! It got me really depressed, but I’m more than okay now! (Laughs gleefully) Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team, but look now, he’s the Michael Jordan! (More laughter) I’m not saying I’m Michael, but you know, it works out eventually!Sheryl: What’s your most embarrassing high school memory?
Clay: (Playful sigh) I’ve had so many embarrassing moments that there isn’t really one that stands out! Oh, when I was twelve, I was not popular at all. In fact, I was kind of a dork. When I was going to school, the cool thing to do was sit at the back of the bus. I was the kid who always sat right in front, and because I lived further away from school, my stop would be one of the lasts. So as more and more kids got off the bus, I’d slowly try to sneak closer to the back of the bus. It didn’t work, I got beat up by the cooler kids for moving too far back! Not cool at all.
Sheryl: Did you have a nickname back in high school?
Clay: Hmm… No, not really. There wasn’t a nickname that stuck. I think that’s a good thing!
Sheryl: Besides appearances, how have you changed since high school?
Clay: Well, I’m definitely more confident than I was then. (Jokingly) I’ve got a few more friends now! I had friends who were older than I was, and they’d tell me that once you got out of high school, no one really cares how popular you were. I didn’t believe them until I graduated and went out into the ‘real world’. They were right, the superficial things like whether you were popular or cool in school don’t really matter! So now I’m a lot more comfortable with myself, and I know there are more important things that matter.
Sheryl: You have a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. Is this what you’ve always wanted to study?
Clay: Not always. I was always planning to study music! But when I came out of high school, I spent two years working with kids before going to college and discovered my passion for it. I worked with kids who had autism, and I just kind of fell into it. I still have a huge dream for it! (Clay Aiken is on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities)
Sheryl: What are some New Year’s resolutions that you have for 2007?
Clay: Oh, I’m a ‘never-make-resolutions’ kind of person. I mean, if there’s something you want to change about yourself, you should just change it now! Why wait until next year? I’m a ‘right-now-resolution’ kind of man. (An amused laugh fills the line)
Sheryl: What can fans (aka Claymates) expect from your latest album, A Thousand Different Ways?
Clay: We had a mandate to do an album of the greatest love songs: it’s a test and a challenge in a way! I want to change them in my own way, you know? Deliver it with a spin to make something that’s true to the song and true to me – a sound different enough to be current and original, yet still genuine.
Sheryl: You’ve toured the United States and Canada on various occasions to promote your albums. When can we expect you in Asia?
Clay: (Energetically) I’d love to come to Singapore! I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur, but that’s as close to you guys as I’ve been. We’ve actually be considering it in the last year, it’s been a topic that’s ‘floated’ within conversations. But no promises just yet though!