At the end of 2007, a book titled Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul was released. I re-read the story that Clay Aiken related in the popular book. I thought there might be some of you who had never read the article or others who would like to read it again. Please enjoy!
As I’m signing autographs, a very petite, pretty girl walks up to me and says, “Your ‘Invisible video made such an impact on my life.” I didn’t want to argue with her, but I thought she must have gotten that confused with some other video I’d done. “
I thought it couldn’t have been ‘Invisible. That was just a self-congratulatory video of me singing on the stage in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard with a bunch of people cheering. There was no story line; there was nothing inspirational about it. How in the world could that video have impacted anybody? “Are you sure you don’t mean some other video?” I asked.
“No, I’m sure it was ‘Invisible,” she said. I asked her to please explain, and she did. “Well, Clay, I used to weigh about 200 pounds.” She paused. “You look great, but what does that have to do with ‘Invisible’?” “When I saw the girl on the stage with you in that video and you put your arm around her, it made me feel so much better about myself, because you had an overweight girl in your video, and you accepted her. “
“Because of that, I was finally able to accept myself. After that, my whole life changed, and I lost 90 pounds.” Then it dawned on me what she was referring to. While we were making the video, the music director had pulled someone out of the audience and put her on the stage with me. She wasn’t hugely overweight; she was just a healthy-looking girl, but I guess she didn’t exactly fit the image of what people usually see on music videos. “
“She wasn’t stick-thin or model-gorgeous, but I never thought anything of it. ” “Thank you so much for sharing that with me,” I said, but a simple thank you was hardly adequate for the gift that young lady had given me. Her words led me to the realization that you never know the one thing you do that is going to impact someone’s life. I try to set the right example, but that day I realized that even things I would never think would make an impact do. “
“I never would have thought that video would have affected anybody in any kind of positive way, and lo and behold, it did. The person it affected most was me. I realized that from then on, I was going to have normal, average, everyday-looking people in all my videos. I literally had to fight with the people from my record label. They were not going to let me do it. “
“They said that the video wouldn’t sell, but I wouldn’t budge. When we made the video I told them I didn’t want any anorexic-looking girls or model-perfect guys. If we did have beautiful people, I wanted the beautiful girl to be with the overweight guy, and the average-looking girl with the model guy. I wanted people to know it doesn’t matter what you look like, that everyone is good enough. “
“I realized that’s why “Idol” has the impact it does. You never see a contestant with that music-video look. It’s about real people, and I think the reason why Season Two was so exciting is because not only were Ruben, Kimberly, and I all from out in the middle of nowhere, Podunk, but we were all extremely normal, average-looking people. We would have never gotten record contracts if it weren’t for that show: Ruben being such a big guy; Kimberly, who was gorgeous, but a plus-size woman; and me. I was a dork, and I still am a dork. “
“We’re all just normal people from down the street and around the block. The final realization I had that day in Atlanta is that it’s not just people who are in the public eye who have an impact on others. You don’t have to make a music video to make a difference in someone’s life. You can be a bagger at a grocery store or a teller at a bank. You never know when something you do is going to impact someone’s life without you even knowing it. “
~ Clay Aiken in Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul
The Chicken Soup For The Soul series has been a runaway success in the world of books. They have been translated into just about every language but…maybe…Klingon!
- The total retail sales of Chicken Soup for the Soul branded merchandise has topped $2 billion dollars.
- The Chicken Soup book series has over 250 titles and has sold over 110 million copies in North America. They have been translated into more than 43 languages.
- In 2008, Chicken Soup for the Soul became the best-selling trade paperback series in the history of publishing.
- 89% of the US public recognizes the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand.
- The Chicken Soup series holds the world record for having the most titles on the New York bestseller list at one time.
When was the last time you watched the Invisible Video?