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A simple looking young man with a gifted talent got the opportunity to show the world his vocal skills, when he competed in the American Idol Contest, and made the finals. Since the contest, his popularity skyrocketed across the U.S. and the globe. Since late 2004, his touring concerts have been sold out, a trend that will likely continue into the future. In summer 2003, Clay released his debut album "Measure Of A Man", which included his first hit single "Invisible". Prior to entering the American Idol contest, Clay has been working as a CAP/MR DD worker, which stands for The Community Alternatives Program For Persons With Mental Retardation/ Developmental Disabilities, where he mainly cared for a 13 year old boy. So Clay possesses more than musical talents, but also great humane characteristics. He was educated at UNC Charlotte, and he graduated in 2003 with a major in Special Education.
Clayton Holmes Grissom was born in Raleigh, North Carolina 30 November 1978 to his mother, Faye Aiken Parker and his late father, Vernon Grissom. When Clay was a teenager, he had a love for teaching and helping young children and later on studied to became a school teacher. When he was about 23 years old, a longtime friend persuaded him to audition for American Idol. When he was 25 years old he released his debut album, "Measure of a Man." (singles from his debut album include: "Invisible," "This Is The Night" and "The Way") His debut album sold over 600,000 copies in the USA in its first week of release. It has sold almost 2.5 million in the US. In the first week of the release of his single, it sold over 393,000 copies, the most since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind." His single, 'This Is The Night', went platinum in the US, and 6 times platinum in Canada. His song, "The Way," was co-written by Enrique Iglesias. His first album went triple platinum. Clay Aiken had three major tours in the year 2004: The Independent Tour in Spring, the Clay Aiken Solo Tour 2004 in Summer, and the Joyful Noise Tour in Winter.
More fun stuff about Clay Aiken
Trade mark: His wink
Changed his last name, Grissom, to his mother's maiden name, Aiken.
Was a special education major at UNC-Charlotte
Worked for the YMCA in Raleigh, North Carolina
Shortened Clayton to Clay after a suggestion from the producers of "American Idol".
Recorded two CDs entitled "Redefined" and "Look What Love Has Done" prior to American Idol. These CDs are no longer available.
Mother is Faye Aiken Parker; late step-father, Ray Parker; step-brother, Jeff; step-sister, Amy and half-brother, Brett.
Founded the Bubel/Aiken Foundation to include children with neurological disabilities in activities with typical children. Named the foundation for Diane Bubel, the mother of a child with autism he worked with in North Carolina, who persuaded him to audition for American Idol.
His freshman album, Measure of a Man, shipped double platinum.
Shared a house in L.A with former American Idol contestant Kimberley Locke
His biological father, Vernon Grissom, died February 27, 2004. His stepfather, Ray Parker, died on July 4, 2002.
Was the one and only contestant on the 2nd season of American Idol that was never voted in the bottom two or three.
Was born with a collapsed lung.
Got his first name (Clayton) from his grandmother's maiden name. He claims it is a Southern Tradition. (Source: "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life," by Clay Aiken)
Ranked #18 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (23 January 2005 issue).
His personal quotes:
"It doesn't really matter to me how I make a difference, I just wanna make sure that I do."
Clay Aiken supports the UNICEF relief efforts
NBC13 will air a one-hour "Tsunami Relief Fund Drive" on Wednesday. Held in conjunction with UNICEF, the fund drive will air live from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.The fund drive will broadcast live from WNBC in New York City, and will be hosted by the station's lead anchors, Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons. They will be joined by "Access Hollywood's" Nancy O'Dell, who will host the program from the West Coast. UNICEF Ambassadors Sarah Jessica Parker, Tea Leoni and Clay Aiken, along with UNICEF supporters, including "Will & Grace" star Debra Messing, will appear live throughout the show to help support the relief efforts.
"As members of the broadcast industry, it is imperative that we do whatever possible to reach out to those in need and provide support," said Jay Ireland, president of the NBC Universal Television Stations.
The fund drive will include the latest information on the countries most affected by this natural disaster including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand, as well as an overall look at the enormity of this tragedy and the potential for disease outbreaks and the effect on the children of South Asia.
Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, will appear live from Jakarta to provide the latest update on local relief efforts. In addition, representatives from the various relief agencies such as Doctors Without Borders and the American Red Cross will also brief viewers on their efforts in the devastated countries.
Viewers can call in pledges to a special UNICEF phone line -- (800) 4 UNICEF -- which will be manned by representatives of the organization. In addition, phone numbers and contact information for other organizations involved in the relief efforts will be posted throughout the show.
Learn to sing with Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken will sign his book "Learning To Sing", Clay Aiken new book.
Clay Aiken will sign his new book "Learning To Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life" at Virgin Megastore Orlando, Florida, Thursday, December 16, 2004 from Noon - 1:30 PM
Clay Aiken was first introduced to millions of Americans on last year's American Idol. Now chart topping singer, Clay Aiken, whose debut album, "Measure of a Man," graced the Billboard charts, has co-authored his first book. Clay Aiken will be stopping by the Virgin Megastore, Orlando to sign copies of his book "Learning to Sing," and to meet one-on-one with 300 of his closest fans.
Only 300 fans will have the opportunity to meet one of America's most loved idols. Clay Aiken will be signing copies of his brand new book, "Learning to Sing," for the first 250 customers who purchase his book at the Virgin Megastore. Clay Aiken co-wrote the book with Allison Glock, author of "Beauty Before Comfort."
An additional 50 VIP laminates will be given away through radio and in-store promotions. His true Claymates will also be able to pick up his latest CD, "Merry Christmas with Love" and his holiday DVD, both available at Virgin Megastore, Orlando.
From Clay Aiken ''Merry Christmas with Love''
Clay Aiken's back in his hometown for a pair of sold-out concerts. The Raleigh native is promoting his new album "Merry Christmas with Love." Clay ranks 13th in the new Billboard album chart. That's down a couple of notches from last week's chart but it's still one notch higher than Jessica Simpson's Christmas album.
Along with the album, Clay is also promoting a new book. It's called "Learning to Sing - Hearing the Music in your Life."
Hundreds lined up at Triangle Town Center Monday morning for a chance at getting Clay Aiken's autograph. Raleigh “Claymates” waited all night for a glimpse of the hometown star. Clay Aiken walked in to his usual welcome in Raleigh and when he's in town, the Claymates come out. Amanda Thornton showed up at 2 p.m. Sunday to secure her spot in line. She said, “We have every CD made and we make our own CD’s.”
Hundreds of others followed with book in hand. The Triangle Town Center manager, Mike Robbins, called in extra security for the overnight crowd. “We knew a couple of weeks ago this was going to happen, so we worked with Barnes and Nobles to make sure to keep everybody safe and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. Barnes and Noble handed out 300 wristbands to Claymates on a first come first serve basis.
Kirk Dunlap is from Virginia Beach and called in sick so his wife could meet her idol. “My wife is a big Clay fan. I am a big wife fan,” he laughed.
Tina Howard came all the way from Texas. I’ve read the book, yes. It’s wonderful. I thought it was really interesting. It said a lot that a lot of people didn’t know. And it was very well written and it’s a very easy reading,” Howard explained. “Learning to Sing- Hearing the Music in your Life” is described as an inspirational story of Clay Aiken's rise to stardom.
For fans, just seeing the North Carolina native is inspiring enough. Clay Aiken fans will get another glimpse at the star Monday night. He's singing at the BTI Center in downtown Raleigh to promote his new album, "Merry Christmas with Love."
Arthur Celebrity Audiobook featuring Clay Aiken
Arthur Celebrity Audiobook, Number One in The Top 10 Search Terms, Clay 2005 Wall Calendar... So, some news about Clay Aiken.
The Arthur Celebrity Audiobook featuring Clay Aiken. Well-known children's book character: Arthur has enlisted the help of a few celebrity friends to make a happier holiday for kids everywhere.
The Arthur Celebrity Audiobook, featuring Clay Aiken, Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Kelly Ripa and more of today's hottest stars, is now available in a special Holiday offer to benefit several children's charities. For every Audiobook purchased, an additional copy will be donated directly to the USO, Toys for Tots, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or the Polar Express Reading Challenge.
"It has always been my intention for Arthur to be helpful to children and families by providing educational stories that are highly entertaining. I'm thrilled that Arthur and I can also be helpful to these wonderful and worthy charitable causes," stated Marc Brown, author of the Arthur Adventure series.
Seventy percent of the net proceeds from the sale of each Audiobook will continue to benefit the three original Stories for Heroes charities: TheBubel/ Clay Aiken Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the National Education Association - Health Information Network.
The Arthur Celebrity Audiobook is an enhanced audio CD that features stories, animated pictures, music, games and educational content for children, parents and teachers. The Arthur Celebrity Audiobook is based on the popular.
Clay Aiken's Christmas Tour
In a November interview, Clay Aiken (bio | CDs - DVDs - books) made it clear that his "Joyful Noise" Christmas tour was going to be a "classy" affair. He asked his fan-base, known in those circles as "Claymates," not to scream, hold signs or dress shabbily.
He mostly got his wish as he performed Wednesday (12/29) at Phoenix's Dodge Theatre, a make-up show for one that he postponed in November due to illness. Fans wearing formal attire such as evening gowns and sequined jackets mingled with those donning more casual outfits like running pants and sweatshirts. Except for a few scattered offenders, fans were respectful of Aiken's wish to eschew signs and screaming.
In return for their compliance, Aiken at one point told the crowd, "I'll try not to burp, or scratch myself. I'll try not to spit on any of you in the front rows anymore."
The show kicked off with a young child coming to the front of the stage to sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Aiken then slid out from behind a sheer white curtain, after which a series of other curtains opened to reveal a band, an orchestra and a choir.
One choir of casually dressed teens sang from the back of the stage, while children wearing black pants and white shirts took to the front of the stage. Aiken strolled among the latter group as he sang.
Aiken's performance was solely filled with holiday music. Although Christmas had passed, he was determined to continue the feeling. He encouraged fans to cuddle up with the person next to them to share the warmth of the season.
"If you came with six or seven 'Claymates,' that's your call," he said with a laugh.
Fans wrapped their arms around each other as he took a seat and sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
"Sleighride" was an especially perky number, with Aiken snapping his fingers a la Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. He waved his arms like a music conductor as the orchestral music came to an end.
When Aiken sauntered into the audience at one point to sing a song to a woman--on bended knee, no less--it seemed to give the crowd license to let loose. Ditto when he slow danced with a back-up singer as they duetted on "Winter Wonderland."
Aiken made many attempts to push his album "Merry Christmas with Love" and his NBC-TV special, now on DVD, "A Clay Aiken Christmas." When he asked the crowd if anyone had watched his TV special, the vast majority applauded.
"Anybody watch 'Lost' instead? Yes sir, that usher's coming to get you. He's going to escort you right out of here," Aiken said, laughing.
During the two-hour show, with a 20-minute intermission, Aiken incorporated more performances by children. The kids who served as choir members during the show's first half read the story of Mary and Joseph during the second half. When one read about the birth of Jesus, some audience members quietly said, "Yes!" as if they were attending a tempered revival.
It is clear that Christmas music is perfectly suited for the "American Idol" sect. The soaring notes, vocal gymnastics and overdone solos that go over so well on the Fox-TV talent show go hand-in-hand with holiday music. In that regard, Aiken did not disappoint his core fans.
Clay Aiken is a Top Seller at Amazon, iPod...
In Music, the hottest sellers in Holiday Season at Amazon.com were U2’s "How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb," Clay Aiken's "Merry Christmas with Love," Nirvana's box set "With the Lights Out," Allison Krauss and Union Station's "Lonely Runs Both Ways," Rod Stewart’s "Stardust...The Great American Songbook Volume III," Green Day's "American Idiot," Josh Groban’s "Live at the Greek," and Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company." So Clay Aiken was number two in the sales with Merry Christmas with Love".
Clay Aiken's "Merry Christmas with Love,'' with 753,000 copies sold, is the top-ranked holiday CD on the SoundScan tally.
Clay Aiken gets into the Holiday spirit
Clay Aiken's name is getting to be less synonymous with Fox's American Idol and associated more often with U.S. holidays.
Aiken will be seen on New Year's Day riding on the first float McDonald's has ever entered in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
However, with a Christmas CD that has sold 270,000 in two weeks that debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, the 21-city The Joyful Noise Tour in support of the album and his Christmas special A Clay Aiken Christmas, Wednesday at 8 p.m. on NBC -- Aiken may become synonymous with Christmas.
A DVD of the holiday special that also features singers Barry Manilow and Yolanda Adams will be released Dec. 14.
Aiken has performed at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, at the Capitol Fourth in Washington on the Fourth of July and numerous Christmas-related television performances including last week's Rockefeller Center tree-lighting ceremony on NBC.
Next Wednesday night, December 8, NBC will air Clay Aiken's Christmas special aptly named "A Clay Aiken Christmas."
Special guest stars will include gospel singer Yolanda Adams, Barry Manilow, and my personal favorite, Will and Grace's Megan Mullally.
Clay will be performing songs from his new Christmas CD, Merry Christmas with Love.
I think that this is a big move for Clay in terms of stepping away from the ever familiar shadow of American Idol. Notice that this Christmas special is airing on NBC rather than Fox, and Clay did not appear on the recent American Idol show featuring former winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, and Fantasia Barrino. And there's also Clay's dispute with Clive Davis over the content released on his first CD, Measure of a Man.
Clay wanted a CD with morals and messages he approved of and emulated; Clive wanted to spice things up and turn Clay into some kind of sex symbol that would supposedly appeal to more people.
It must be noted that Clay isn't the only former Idol contestant to release a Christmas CD. George Huff recently released George Huff Xmas which includes 5 tracks of familiar seasonal tunes.
Clay Aiken's Mother Unimpressed With 'Smutty' AMAS
AMERICAN IDOL runner-up CLAY AIKEN's mother FAYE was so horrified with the antics at last month's (NOV04) AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS, she branded it a "smutty little programme".
Aside from ANNA NICOLE SMITH's rambling speech, the antics of PARIS HILTON, NICOLE RICHIE, JESSICA SIMPSON and NICK LACHEY failed to impress Aiken's mother.
Aiken says, "Paris and Nicole said the F-word. Nick and Jessica alluded to their sex life any chance they could.
"My mother was not enjoying what she would later call a 'smutty little programme'."
Confessions of a Claymate
Joyce French, 67, a mother of three and grandmother of five from Connecticut, is a self-proclaimed Claymate. For those not in the know, that means she's a devoted fan of singer Clay Aiken, the famous runner-up on the popular TV talent show American Idol. While she's not a card-carrying member of Clay's fan club, she owns every CD he has sung on, calls radio stations to play his songs, and has traveled three hours to see one of his concerts. When I call her to request an interview, she's blasting Clay Aiken's single "Solitaire" on her stereo while vacuuming her living room. She turns off the vacuum cleaner and the stereo so we can talk about her favorite subject.
Why do you love Clay?
Clay's just so likable! The first thing that caught my attention was his voice. On American Idol, when he opened his mouth and his voice came out, that's all it took to get my attention. I hadn't heard a voice so clear and so from the heart since Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis.
I assume you voted for him when he was on American Idol.
Every Tuesday night, continuously for two hours. I broke the talk button on my telephone because I hit it so much to vote for him.
How did you feel when he didn't win?
I knew all along that -- whether or not he won -- Clay would be a success.
What makes Clay so special?
He's the real deal. He has a grounded sense about him, but he also has an aura around him that I find totally spiritual.
Clay makes you feel spiritual?
Sometimes. When I've been sad, I'll listen to his music. It calms me down and brings me peace. The voice and the emotion in it just touch my heart. I also identify with Clay because he was a special education teacher. I have a granddaughter who is a special education student. I love that Clay is using his success to help children.
So, do you find Clay cute?
I think he's the sexiest man I've ever seen. He has great sex appeal and he doesn't know it -- and it's a wholesome sex appeal.
How do you compare Clay with other singers of his generation?
Oh, please! He's off the charts with his talent, demeanor, and charm. There's no one who can touch him.
And you've seen him in concert?
My son took me to see him in Albany. We had to drive for three hours to get there. I hadn't been to a live concert in 35 years. I have a bad back, and my son asked if I thought I was going to be able to do it. And I said, "I'd crawl on my hands and knees to see Clay live!" I saw nine-year-olds and ninety-year-olds at the concert, all cheering. But when he sang, they were totally silent.
Any peeves about Clay?
For a while, he was growing his hair a bit too long, or should I say, too tall. But when I saw him on TV last night, it was shorter.
Does anyone tease you about your enthusiasm for Clay?
Well, my grandson sort of does, because he likes rock. And my granddaughter prefers Britney Spears.