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ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Media & Appearance Archive  |  2003: PRESS & MEDIA
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Author Topic: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA  (Read 11657 times)

Marilyn

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2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« on: April 26, 2010, 10:07:22 PM »
Melodie
Administrator
2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« on: June 25, 2003, 09:12:59 PM »   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Listen to 5 soundclips from Observer reporter Leigh Dyer's exclusive interview with Clay:

Charlotte.
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 10:08:02 PM »
Melodie
Administrator
 FOX AFFILIATE REJECTED CLAY - OOPS!!
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2003, 09:16:52 PM »   

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CHARLOTTE OBSERVER:

Posted on Wed, May. 14, 2003   
 
Local Fox affiliate rejected Aiken

Did Fox 18 mess up?

That's the question Charlotte's Fox affiliate (WCCB) will try to answer when it airs, for the first time, the tape of Clay Aiken's first audition for the "American Idol" show on tonight's "Fox News at 10" broadcast.

The station held a contest last October to select one Carolinas contestant for a guaranteed audition in front of the "Idol" judges in Atlanta -- and Aiken lost. A panel of judges (Ramona Holloway of 107.9 The Link; freelance television producer Anne Oberlander; Lonnie MacFadden, music director for Swing 1000; and Scott Bauer of the performing arts department at Central Piedmont Community College) instead chose Quiana Parler, a 23-year-old singer from Charleston. Parler was one of the last contestants "Idol" judges cut before the show narrowed its field to the final 32 contestants.

In the audition, Aiken sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" sporting his pre-makeover tousled red hairdo and glasses. Holloway said his voice was great, but his nerdy image wasn't. "It was just like Opie being the next `American Idol,' " she said. "At the time it didn't appear that Clay had the whole package."

Aiken, undeterred by the cold shoulder in Charlotte (where he was a UNC Charlotte student at the time), went on to audition in Atlanta on his own and has become a breakout star on the show, where he is a top-three finalist. He finds out tonight whether viewer votes will send him to next week's finale.

STAFF WRITER Leigh Dyer 

Charlotte.com
 
 
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Marilyn

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 10:08:57 PM »
Melodie
Administrator
CLAY LAUDED FOR WORK WITH YOUTH
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2003, 11:07:16 AM »   

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From LifeWay.com:

'American Idol' finalist Clay Aiken Lauded for Work with Youth

RALEIGH, N.C. (BP) — After beginning with thousands of hopefuls, "American Idol" contestants have been narrowed to two – including a Southern Baptist. Clay Aiken, of Leesville Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, survived elimination on the May 14 broadcast of the Fox network show and will advance to compete in the final round against Birmingham, Alabama native, Ruben Studdard.

Studdard and fellow finalist Kimberly Locke of Gallatin, Tennessee – who was voted off the show May 14 by a margin of only 4 percent – have both joined Aiken in expressing their religious beliefs on air.

Aiken, 24, was a studious special education major at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, devoted to helping kids through the struggles of life, when suddenly a chance at stardom was thrown his way.

At the advice of friends, Aiken traveled to Atlanta last October to camp out for four days before auditioning for the second season of American Idol, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. After more than 1,800 potential idols in Atlanta were narrowed down to 20, Aiken was among those who joined contestants from six other cities in Hollywood. There, the performers were narrowed down to 30, then to 12 and so on.

Along the way, Aiken's strong character has been noticeable. He has told reporters that the influence he has gained as a finalist is worth more to him than the money or the fame. Influence is something he used for good even before his stardom, as he worked as a YMCA counselor in his hometown.

"I enjoy singing, and I love performing. There's definitely a thrill you get from performing on stage when everybody's cheering for you, and then there's a completely different kind of thrill when you're working with children," Aiken told the News & Observer. "You don't necessarily get the applause, and you don't necessarily get the cheers and the pats on the back and everything, but there's a different kind of acceptance. There's a totally different type of feeling of worth when you work with kids."

Aiken had a strong fan base with the children even before his American Idol days, and the difference he made in their lives was obvious. "I have witnessed him take a child with autism who couldn't communicate, and by the end of the school year, with Clayton just talking to her and working with her with cue cards and picture cards, that child could say a handful of words," Jeff Flake, a supervisor of after-school programs at the YMCA, told the News & Observer.

In his Q&A on the American Idol Web site, Aiken said, "American celebrities have an amazing amount of influence on the way America thinks, feels and acts. I think that such influences should be used in the most positive way possible," when asked why he wanted to be an American idol.

Also in the Q&A, Aiken said success, happiness, and stability are his goals in life. "I would love to be known as a generous and selfless person," he added.

Because of the realization of his influence, Aiken said he holds back sometimes when one of the show's three judges, Simon Cowell, harshly criticizes him on camera. Though he says he has it in him to return some of the quips to Cowell, he refrains because "children might be watching."

"I don't think that's an example I want to set for somebody – not if I want to be the American Idol," he said in the News & Observer.

http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0,1703,A%253D153355%2526M%253D50012,00.html
 
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 10:10:47 PM »
Melodie
Administrator
AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 2 CD
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2003, 09:33:17 AM »   

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POP: Idolatry Take 2, thy name is love

"American Idol Season 2: All-Time Classic American Love Songs," various artists, RCA **
It would have been nice to have a recording of Clay Aiken's masterful rendition of Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire" or Ruben Studdard's hit-worthy covers of the Manhattans' "Kiss and Say Goodbye" or the Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."

Alas, the producers of "American Idol" are impatient. Rather than waiting to see what the kids had to offer as the season went on, they rush-released this karaoke collection of love songs from the second season's cast to capitalize on the show's popularity while it was still airing.

Hence, Clay is saddled on the CD with Jeffrey Osborne's mediocre "On the Wings of Love." Ruben is luckier. His version of the oft-recorded "Superstar" is soulful, even if he glosses over some of the original song's darker edges. Kimberley Locke's classy read of "Over the Rainbow" is probably the best track.

Since this group of kids can sing considerably better than the weak first-season bunch, "AI:2" is an easier listen than the terrible "American Idol — Greatest Moments" CD featuring the first cast.

"American Idols Live" perform July 8 at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul. — Howard Cohen, Miami Herald

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/entertainment/music/6227688.htm
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 10:11:44 PM »
Melodie
Administrator
TITN SONGWRITER CHRIS BRAIDE
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2003, 05:56:50 AM »   

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FROM MANCHESTER, UK:

Chris is a number one man

David Skentelbery

A SONGWRITER from Warrington is a hit on both sides of the Atlantic after his new song went straight to number one in America's Billboard Hot 100.

This is the Night, performed by American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, was co-written by former Woolston High School pupil Chris Braide, 30 and Aldo Nova, from Montreal.It sold 397,000 copies in the first week. And although it has now dropped to third place, it has already sold more than half-a-million copies.

If it maintains its progress, it could become one of the biggest-selling records of recent years.

And it's a second bonanza for Chris. Last year, he co-wrote the song for British Pop Idol Will Young which was a hit before if was even released, with 1.2 million copies pre-ordered by fans.

He co-wrote his new song after meeting Aldo Nova in Miami where he was writing for American Idol.

Delighted

The pair "just clicked" and although Clay Aiken did not win American Idol with the song, the record is outselling Flying Without Wings by the winner Ruben Studdard. This entered the chart at number two.

Chris, who lives in Richmond, Surrey, with wife Olivia, said: "I am absolutely delighted - it's quite rare to go straight in at number one.

"We're still celebrating and I still can't believe this has happened. I've been getting calls from all over the place, including Los Angeles and Miami, from friends in the business who have heard the news.

"The first time my wife heard the song, it brought tears to her eyes, and she predicted it was going to be a massive hit. But we're both surprised just how big a hit it is.

"Now, without wishing to sound arrogant, getting a number one is like an addiction and I can't wait to do it again." The new Clay Aiken album has two more of Chris's songs on it.

Material

Chris is also working on material for Kylie Minogue's new album and for R and B singer Beverley Knight. "Things are certainly going well and keeping me busy at the moment," he said. "Kylie certainly seems pleased with my song - she's walking around singing it!"

Chris left Warrington 11 years ago but his parents, Ann and Ken, still live at Longbarn and he is a regular visitor to the town.

He also wrote the Children In Need number one record, Have You Ever, for Steps.

When he isn't penning songs, he also plays guitar and piano and has his own band, Braide, which specialises in rock and pop.

Dad Ken said: "We are very proud of his achievements.

"Now it looks like his ship has finally come in."


07/07/2003

http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/news/stories/Detail_LinkStory=62257.html
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 10:12:52 PM »
Melodie
 CLAY-MANIA CONTINUES
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2003, 07:17:24 AM »   

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July 09, 2003
For Immediate Release
Matt DeMargel

Clay Aiken hasn't been at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in over two months, but memorabilia from his appearance is still paying off for the fans. A Durham Bulls souvenir program featuring Aiken on the cover wearing his Durham Bulls jersey sold for $26 on ebay, the online marketplace, on Monday evening.

"Amazing," Durham Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said, "we've had programs featuring (Hall-of-Fame Second Baseman) Joe Morgan on the cover along with a number of other famous Durham Bulls, but none have had the appeal of Clay."

The program, called Play Ball, is handed out free of charge to all fans at Durham Bulls games. The team switched from the 80-page program to the 16-page playbill in 2002 in order to get the team's information in the hands of more fans. Different photos are regularly featured on the cover, however, Aiken is the first person to dawn the cover that is not a member of the Durham Bulls.

The picture features Aiken on the pitcher's mound waving to the crowd of over 10,000 fans before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Thursday, May 8th. Aiken also sang the national anthem before the game that evening. His popularity covinced Birling to give Clay another run on the cover of Play Ball.

"We will definitely use that picture again," Birling continued, "Clay's appearance generated a sellout at our game that evening, so the least we can do is give him a second printing on our program."

http://www.durhambulls.com/cgi-bin/showPressRelease.cgi?id=949966137
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 10:13:14 PM »
Cruiser
Guest
  CLAY INTERVIEW - COLUMBUS DISPATCH
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2003, 02:47:50 PM »   

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An Idol Moment
By Ashley McKnight THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Clay Aiken reinvented himself during his American Idol journey. From red hair and glasses to red leather and contacts, he mastered everything along the way to creating a pop image.
Everything, that is, except dancing.
His inability to dance was the subject of controversy: Paula Abdul begged him to give it a try on the show. When he did, Simon Cowell told him to put those hips away. Fortunately for Aiken, professional dancers will gyrate for American Idols Live!, which kicked off Tuesday in St. Paul, Minn.
"Amen!" Aiken said, reacting with relief to the fact that he won't have to shake his groove thing on tour.
The 2003 American Idol runnerup (Ruben Studdard finished No. 1) took time from rehearsals in St. Paul last week to talk about his experience on television and with the tour.
The 24-year-old chatted on a cellphone as he caught up with other Idol finalists and tour members.
"I'm getting in the elevator, so I might lose you," the Raleigh, N.C., native warned in his friendly Southern drawl. "If I do, I'll call you back."
Aiken was a senior at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte when he tried out for American Idol. A special-education major, he worked with a program for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.
Aiken said the live show features numbers from the TV show, including Flying Without Wings and Bridge Over Troubled Water. Yet fans can expect to hear more-current songs.
This tour has "lots of stuff that people haven't seen before, so it should be a pleasant surprise," he said.
"We were told that even the Idols can expect some surprises."
He and the other finalists will have the chance to show off their personalities a little more, Aiken said.
"That's the most exciting thing about this tour."
And, of course, he and Ruben will sing from their albums and perform together.
Asked whether their friendship is as tight as it seems, Aiken replied solidly, "Absolutely."
During the conversation, Aiken laughed at a comment from someone in the background. The group has been through so much together that they are "just really excited about being back together. We're doing what we love," he said.
"We knew each other when we started as nothing, when we were just hopefuls. Now we all know where the other person came from. None of us are starstruck with the other.
"We're thrilled about being together for two months, maybe not about being on a bus for two months, though!"
While they might love performing, they don't always enjoy other aspects of the business.
"We hate rehearsals," he said with a laugh.
Aiken recommends American Idol to aspiring performers as a lesson about the inner workings of the music industry.
And he isn't worried that the pop label will keep people from taking him or his comrades seriously.
"I don't think so because the American public picked all of us."

amcknight@dispatch.com

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 10:14:34 PM »
Cruiser
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  MTV ARTICLE - TITN VIDEO
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2003, 08:01:29 AM »   

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MTV : Clay Aiken's 'Night' Video Says 'This Is The Soul'

 The shining moment from Clay Aiken's photo session for Rolling Stone came accidentally, when photographer Matthew Rolston caught the singer looking away while he changed lenses.

Rolston told Aiken not to move and snapped a picture that not only became their favorite in the magazine, it served as inspiration for the "American Idol 2" runner-up's video for his first single, "This Is the Night."

"He's a very soulful artist, and I think that comes from someplace within, and somehow the moment of that photograph seems to convey it," explained Rolston, who directed the video Thursday. "It just was a moment."

Rolston, whose résumé includes clips for Madonna and the Backstreet Boys, recaptured that moment by filming the video in a similar setting.

"It's a little bit like if you could be behind the scenes at one of my photo shoots," Rolston said of the video. "There's a few different scenes, different backgrounds, changes of clothes — it's very simple. First and foremost it's Clay performing, which he does very well.

"You can see a photographer silhouetted in the foreground of some scenes, and a camera and some lights, but it's not pushed very heavy," he continued. "Most of it you're within the world of whatever scene he's in."

The video, which includes scenes shot in black and white, was shot in a studio on the top floor of an old vaudeville theater in downtown Los Angeles. With his selection of backdrops and the natural lighting from floor-to-ceiling windows, Rolston created a timeless feel.

"My visuals don't illustrate the subject of the song; they are all about getting you a portrait of this new young performer," he said.

"This Is the Night," which topped the singles chart when it was released alongside Aiken's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" cover last month (see "Has America Changed Its Mind? Clay Beats Ruben On Singles Chart"), will be featured on his as-yet-untitled debut, due in September (see " 'Idol' Chatter: Ruben, Clay, Others Discuss Post-Show Plans").

Clive Davis is executive producing the project, which will feature many of the same producers and songwriters who worked on Kelly Clarkson's Thankful, including Steve Mac (Nick Carter), Cliff Magness (Avril Lavigne) and Desmond Child (Cher).

Steve Morales (Christina Aguilera) and Rick Nowels (Dido) also worked with Aiken on the album before he kicked off the Pop Tarts Presents American Idols Live tour Tuesday in St. Paul, Minnesota (see "After 'Idol,' Clay And Ruben Will Share A Stage 39 More Times"). The outing hits Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

MTV LINK TO VIDEO STORY

—Corey Moss
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 10:15:30 PM »
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  IS CLAY AIKEN A TRUE IDOL? - FOLLOW UP
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2003, 01:33:52 AM »   

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Beavers On Idol
American  Idol: Follow Up to "Is Clay Aiken a True Idol?"
by James Shepherd (2003/07/15)

As a courtesy to all Clay fans and "fanatics" who emailed me in response to my article of July 13th, "Is Clay Aiken a True Idol?" this message is for you. Thank you very much for all of your warm, courteous and informative emails. It would be virtually impossible to email all of you individually, therefore, please accept this article as my only way to get back to you.

I do thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. You reveal the extraordinary class and good nature that Clay has shown as he increasingly becomes the true idol that you are making him. I would also like to take the opportunity to incorporate some of the feedback you have given to me that has proven to be most valuable indeed. This input comes not only from your emails, but also from some of the Clay message boards that I have been trying to follow that are currently discussing my July 13th article. It is so very hard to keep up with the activity on those Clay message boards. I know that if I have missed anything, I will find out very shortly after this article is published.

Profile of a Clay Fan
My July 13th article left the false impression that Clay fans are mainly teenaged girls. I do apologize for this oversight. I knew better than this well before I wrote the article and I should have been clearer. It is difficult to find out the average profile statistics of the Clay fan, and I still assume that a significant proportion are young and female, however, I am more than aware that there are many males who are fans of Clay, and that age seems to be no barrier as to Clay's appeal. There are men and many women of all ages, right up into their 80s who are fanatical about Clay. This is truly extraordinary indeed and shows that Clay has a much wider appeal than the traditional singing idols. In other words, Clay is not necessarily just a "youth-appeal" idol as were Elvis Presley and The Beatles. This is a very important point to make.

The Three Requirements
I knew that I was taking a risk in listing what I felt were the three remaining requirements to establish Clay as a true idol. Obviously, the first requirement of the need for increased security for Clay during the Tour has been fulfilled already. I received many responses on that point, and the evidence given to me was convincing enough to establish in my mind the truth of the claims. Clay, apparently has been assigned two and sometimes three body guards to keep him safe, whereas the other contestants on the Tour freely mix and mingle with the crowd; including Ruben.

Obviously, the Tour management feels this is a necessary precaution, but not because Clay's fans are wild people who would rip him to shreds just to obtain a relic from his person, but simply because there is always a risk that a crowd can get out of hand. It is a wise precaution, in my opinion, but it does speak volumes.

It would seem that evidence is also coming forth through eye-witness accounts that people are swooning when Clay is performing on the Tour. Also, the cheers from the Tour audiences increases significantly when Clay appears on stage. In any event, the first two requirements I listed have or are being fulfilled.

Generally speaking on the three requirements I listed, an argument was put forward that such requirements are really not appropriate because these three have been fulfilled by the fans of performers other than those true idols such as Sinatra, Presley and The Beatles. Quite frankly, I have no counter to this argument for this is quite true. I simply wanted to acknowledge this fact for the record, but also add that time is perhaps the only factor that can identify a true idol. In other words, the impact that a true idol has on the culture or a segment of society can only be seen through the looking back through a point in time decades later. We can now see and understand the impact that Sinatra and Presley had on music. As for The Beatles, their impact was felt not only in music but in fashion, attitude and to some extent, spirituality. As to the positive or negative effects these impacts had is always an area of further argument and debate. This leads me quite nicely into the next topic.

Clay as a Role Model
One of the requirements of the contestants of American Idol is that they should present a good role model to society. Fox took a very firm stand on their decision regarding Frenchie Davis in spite of a rather large and well organized protest to force it to overturn its decision. As for Clay Aiken, it is hard to imagine a better role model for society than what he projects.

The top finalists on American Idol 2 seemed to show strong evidence that they are established in the Christian faith. All  were from the Bible Belt, and so this should not have been a surprise to AI viewers. I admired their willingness not to hide their faith, which shows conviction and courage. In my opinion, this is a very good foundation from which to become excellent role models.

In reviewing previous true idols, some projected through their music a spirit of rebellion against the society from which they came. There is nothing wrong with protest, but if the alternative presented is non-existent or negative, it makes the protest rather futile.

Clay seems to present an extraordinary positive role model for youth and for society in general. He brings with him his Christian values, but he has influenced his fans to support his charities too, e.g., Autism Society and Finley YMCA. There is no telling where this will all lead to, but one thing is for sure, this direction is very positive indeed and makes him stand out amongst the idols that preceded him.

FCC Investigation
One would have to be blind in following American Idol material to have missed that there are Clay fans who have swamped the FCC with complaints that something was wrong with the final voting. I do not know if anything will come of this investigation, if there is one. At this point in time, it might be best to simply let the whole thing drop because Clay's true "idolship" will be confirmed or denied by his fans.

However, I did want to comment on this area because when I first started to write about American Idol, I wrote about the voting system and how it should be changed. Later on, I reversed my position because if American Idol is not to be just a singing competition, and if it truly did want to find an "idol," then the multiple vote method that AI uses is perfect for finding an idol.

This is what I find disturbing about the final vote for American Idol 2. Clay fans have demonstrated time and time again their intense loyalty to Clay. You can see it plastered across the Internet today, and I doubt it was much different a couple of months ago. So, how in the world Ruben received the majority of the votes is beyond me. It just does not make any sense.

A loyal fan of a contestant will continually vote on the telephone for the entire time allotted, whereas a "normal" fan might vote for a few minutes and then walk away. Considering the non-activity of Ruben's message boards on Ezboard.com, I would safely say that Ruben might have a lot of fans, but they seem pretty normal to me. Whereas if you go to one of Clay's message boards, your head will spin because of the activity.

Perhaps there is a simple and logical explanation as to why so many Clay fans could not get through to vote on the phones. I understand that Clay's mother tried for two hours before giving up because not one call would go through. But quite frankly, to me this whole business sounds very suspicious. It would be nice to find out the truth behind this matter.   

Clay's Singing
After discussing the voting controversy, I just wanted to leave on a positive note. Over the past few days, I have been trying to analyze as to why Clay's singing has affected so many people and so deeply. You just have to read some posts or emails from Clay's fans and it won't take long to realize that this is a firm truth.

I doubt this is an original thought, and I do not have the time to scour all the Clay Aiken boards to find where I should give credit, but I'm sure it's there somewhere. In any event, all I can do is go by my own reaction to Clay's singing and start from there. Yes, I do like his singing, and yes, there is something special about it.

I believe that Clay has a unique gift of taking a well-known and great song, sung by an equally great singing star, and somehow making it sound better than the original. How Clay does this is beyond me, but I do believe that this is at least the effect. Surely such a special gift as this should allow Clay to have a very long and successful recording career.

James Shepherd is the Editor of Beavers On Idol and webmaster for www.americanidolatry.com (a website for Canadians who love American Idol).

BEAVERS ON IDOL
 
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 10:19:00 PM »
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  A NEW BREED OF FANS FOR A NEW BREED OF STAR - ARTICLE
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2003, 11:13:02 PM »   

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American  Idol: A New Breed of Fans for a New Breed of Star
by LWLHD Committee (2003/07/17)
 
The New Breed of Fan
There’s a new breed of American fans out there. To borrow a phrase, a softer, gentler breed . These are the fans who don’t grab the media’s attention because they don’t make splashy sound bites. You won’t see them clamoring for autographs or jumping in front of studio cameras or pushing through the red carpet line. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all if they hadn’t multiplied by the hundreds of thousands, behind the meteoric rise to fame of American Idol star and Billboard chart topper Clay Aiken.

Somehow Clay Aiken attracts the kind of fan who doesn’t really like the label “fan.” Many of the people buying Clay’s singles and requesting airplay for his songs have never before belonged to a fan club. They are themselves somewhat perplexed by their fascination with the young singer from North Carolina .
 
Scratch almost any Clay Aiken internet fan club, and you won’t find the homogenous, frenzied, teenaged pack you’d expect. The tweenies are there, of course, but they’re joined by an older, steadier crowd who has helped put Clay over the top because their own brand of fervor is backed by their pocketbooks.

If you enter a Clay internet message board, you could find yourself exchanging messages with folks who have Masters degrees, who run their own businesses, who are up for partnership at their firm. Sometimes you have to pry that information out of them—they still haven’t quite convinced themselves that there isn’t something unseemly about adoring a 24-year old pop star.
 
But as you talk, you discover this brand of adoration isn’t much like the usual fan club fawning over a star’s eye color or love life. There’s a little more to it. People are talking about Clay because of who he is beneath the stage makeup and newly-spiked locks. Why the fascination?


The New Breed of Star
Clay's explosive rise to fame confounded accepted industry wisdom about what America wants in a “pop star.” Why did the first single from a relative unknown sell more units its first week than those of any recording star other than the venerable Elton John, whose single “Candle in the Wind” was a tribute to the immensely popular Princess Diana?

Yes, Clay does have a tremendous set of pipes. But, honestly, so do a lot of other people the media never says boo to. And, yes, he’s easy on the eyes. But in the entertainment industry, personal trainers and the magic scalpel guarantee that a pretty face is no rare commodity. And winsome personality? Sure. Clay’s got that in spades. As do a lot of other celebrities—or, shall we at least submit that projecting charisma on Leno is second-nature for most in Tinseltown. So how did Clay Aiken get picked up on the radar screen like an incoming missile?

Let’s pull out an old-fashioned word: character. Your character is the genuine, guileless you. The you that decides what’s most important in your life and pursues it, consciously or unconsciously And if you’re an artist, your character—your heart, your soul, your intentions, your dreams-- is what distinguishes your art from the art of others.
 
Why is it when Clay Aiken sings, jaws drop? Because his character and personality well up and out of his throat in a way that turns his amazing range, tone, and near-perfect pitch into a sound that transcends technique. It’s a sound that raises goose bumps. It’s a sound coming from somewhere deep inside Clay. And people don’t forget it.

Clay's character is what makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Something shines above and beyond his good looks and raw talent. Something pulls it all together into a whole that rises enough above the rest of the pack that we sit up and take notice. It’s Clay's character that propels him uniquely apart from the generic, pouty-lipped pop stars the music industry hands us with a knife and fork.

Traditionally, the music industry dictates what’s “cool” and we nod happily and run out to spend our money on it. Sit in at an industry board meeting while they map out the schema for their next star-in-the-making. Do you really think you’d hear them suggest the next big thing will come in the shape of a 24-year old who says grace in public restaurants, who never swears, and who refuses to drink alcohol in public? All of which Clay Aiken does. Or do you think they’d propose the star-to-be de-emphasize his entertainment career by stating that he’s only doing this for a few years before returning to a teaching job? Which Clay has also done.

Music industry types might not have chosen Clay Aiken as the arbiter of “cool” for their star-making machine, but, by sticking to his guns, Clay has managed to redefine cool. Clay is going to follow his own moral compass no matter what you think. And it doesn’t really matter if Clay’s beliefs and actions are ones you yourself would choose. Living inside your own convictions, without apology, without concern for others’ opinions, is perhaps the coolest thing of all. And it’s also, without doubt, one of the most attractive traits an individual can possess. Good bone structure and a nice set of pipes can’t even touch the sheer force of a steady self-assurance.

Where Star and Fans Meet
So it only makes sense that a pop star who breaks the mold will engender mold-breaking fans as well. Clay’s got character. He stands for things. And Clay’s fans, that new breed, want to stand for things too.
 
Here’s an example. Clay has stated publicly that he wants to use his celebrityhood to raise public awareness of a cause close to his heart: helping children with autism. So what do his fans do? They organize bake sales and car washes and donation drives to raise funds for their local autism societies. They set up web sites and non-profit associations to bring attention and money to autism support services. That’s work. That’s a little more than buying posters or concert tickets.

If you talk to these fans, many will tell you that Clay first caught their eye because of his undeniable talent. But Clay stayed in their sights as little parts of his character trickled out into the media. The fans point out that Clay—who has been handed more instant fame and money than most of us can even imagine—said the first thing he’ll do with his money is open a foundation for autism. And this is not idle talk: foundation setup is under way.
 
Many fans assert this young man from North Carolina has re-ignited their own ideals, which had somehow gotten lost under the shuffle of job, marriage, and children. In some way that’s still not entirely clear, Clay has struck a chord. And, to judge by record sales, hundreds of thousands of people are responding.

So we’re left with a new breed of fans for a new breed of star. If you push one of these new fans hard enough, you’ll probably get an abashed admission that, yes, as a matter of fact, Clay is pretty darn hot. Wanting to do good works doesn’t preclude wanting a hug or a five-minute conversation with Clay. But just as Clay refuses to view himself as a pop icon, so does this new breed refuse to treat him as a commodity that must be shared with any stranger who asks. These fans prefer to honor Clay without hounding him for attention or pushing themselves into the spotlight alongside him.
 
Clay Aiken, by remaining true to his character and his passions, demands a respect we would much less likely give any prefab, impossibly cool, pop-star product doled out to us by the music industry. And so these new fans step back from the autograph line, step towards non-profit work, and make room for the young singer who has reminded them of what matters most in their lives and their world.
 
The LWLHD Committee (Look What Love Has Done), can be reached at this email address: lwlhd2003@yahoo.com
This Committee also manages the following website: http://www.lwlhd.org

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2010, 10:20:30 PM »
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  DETROIT FREE PRESS - ARTICLE
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2003, 11:42:32 PM »   

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Feat of Clay: Ruben won 'American Idol,' so why is Clay Mr. Popularity?
July 18, 2003
BY JULIE HINDS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

When the second season of "American Idol" ended, Ruben Studdard was declared the winner, the people's choice, the big man on TV's talent-show campus.

But ever since, runner-up Clay Aiken has been generating heat.
Clay was on the cover of Rolling Stone. Clay's single beat Ruben's on the Billboard charts. Clay reigns on the Internet.
Clay, Clay, Clay.
To use a Brady Bunch analogy, Clay is Marcia at the moment, with a tendency to hog the attention. And Ruben, well, he could be feeling a bit like Jan.
On Sunday, the "American Idols Live" national tour arrives at Joe Louis Arena. The show was sold out, but some tickets are now available.
With it comes the continuing saga of Clay vs. Ruben.
Buck Head, a disc jockey at WKQI-FM (95.5), says he gets 50 to 80 e-mails each day from Clay fans across the nation.
He can't remember the last time he got a Ruben-themed e-mail.
Last week, the Smokinggun .com posted an item about letters sent by angry Clay fans to the Federal Communications Commission calling for a probe of the Fox network and the "American Idol" viewer voting process.
Hey, Clay fans aren't described as Claymaniacs for nothing.
Some "Idol" watchers, however, are having a hard time figuring out what all the fuss is about.
"People need to get another hobby," says disc jockey Man@ Large of WDRQ-FM (93.1). "Both of them were talented singers . . . This is not Bush and Gore in Florida."
From the start of this year's "Idol" contest, it was clear Ruben and Clay would be standouts.
Ruben, a plus-size hopeful from Alabama, charmed the judges with his velvety tone and unspoiled personality. Clay, a North Carolina contender who looked more like a geek than an entertainer, shocked everyone when a Broadway-ready voice came out of his Harry Potter body.
By the night of the final episode, it was a neck-in-neck race between the two. Then the controversy started.
During the live broadcast, "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest twice announced the wrong numbers for the voting margin. First, he said the difference between Ruben and Clay was 13,000 votes out of 24 million, then he changed it to 1,300. The actual margin was 135,000, and the fumbles were blamed on the TelePrompter and a cue card. Another figure raised more questions. Verizon and SBC Communications reported a surge in calls on the night of the "Idol" vote -- 200 million more than a typical weeknight. Some Clay fans speculated jammed phone lines robbed their favorite of a win. Were the "Idol" results an accurate measure of popularity? Statistics experts caution it's impossible to compare the "Idol" vote -- which allowed viewers to call more than once -- to a one-person, one-vote election or even a national opinion poll.
"I wouldn't take this as who America prefers," says Don Dillman, a social scientist and leading figure in survey methodology who teaches at Washington State University. "This is more of a game. If you want to know who America prefers, I'd go to the Gallup organization and have them do a sample of 1,200 people."
In the days since Ruben's victory, Clay has continued to best him in various contests.
When Clay and Ruben's first singles were released simultaneously -- the better for the "Idol" producers to cash in on their instant fame -- Clay's single ("This is the Night") went to No. 1, with Ruben's single ("Flying Without Wings") close behind at No. 2. This week, Clay is eighth on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Ruben is at 18.
Clay is also a hot topic on the Web. On the weekly Lycos 50 list of top search topics, Clay rose to No. 1 in mid-June and remains at No. 3. Ruben isn't on the list.
But those who follow the music industry say Ruben could prevail in the long haul.
Clay had a few early advantages in this matchup. Physically, he is closer to the boy-band pop star mold than Ruben.
"He's spiky-haired, cute, looks like Ryan Seacrest," says WKQI's Buck Head. "Ruben's a little bigger. He's not selling sex appeal."
Clay also gave what many considered a grabbier performance during the final "Idol" sing-off. His emotion-laden version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" blew away the judges and eclipsed Ruben's performance.
"I think that's kind of why Clay has been igniting things more than Ruben has," says Detroit native Zena Burns, who's music editor for Teen People.
Clay also was comfortable with the media blitz that accompanied the "Idol" finals. Ruben, in contrast, seemed surprised at the attention.
Burns says Teen People readers seem evenly split between Clay and Ruben. And she predicts Ruben's day will come.
"I think things are going to change drastically when their records come out . . . That's going to be Ruben's time to shine. It's going to be more of an urban pop sound, and that's so hot right now."
For his debut album, Ruben has been working with rapper Fat Joe, among others. Burns says the singles from his album may have a better chance of climbing Billboard's Hot 100 list.
Clay's first album is expected to be in keeping with his image as "more of a male Celine Dion," as Burns puts it.
The albums won't be pitted against each other, as the singles were. RCA has dropped its original simultaneous release date of Aug. 19 and now plans two September releases that will be spaced apart.
Perhaps this will give Clay and Ruben a chance to compete on their own terms, in their own unique styles.
May the best music win.
Contact JULIE HINDS at 313-222-6427 or hinds@freepress.com.

DETROIT FREE PRESS ARTICLE
 
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2010, 10:23:28 PM »
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  THE MARKETABILITY OF CLAY & RUBEN - ARTICLE
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2003, 07:36:09 AM »   

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The Marketability of Clay and Ruben
by Christina Olanick -- 07/22/2003

Simon Cowell may have declared that America choosing Clay and Ruben as the two American Idol finalists was going for talent over image, but Christina would argue that both Clay and Ruben in fact had marketable images from day one. Just what are those images? And who seems poised to be more marketable in the long run?

This past season on American Idol, a big hullabaloo was made out of the whole “talent vs. image” issue. On the Tuesday night finale, judge Simon Cowell, in his supreme wisdom, declared that America got it right by choosing Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken as the top two finalists, thus apparently going for talent over image. Does this indicate a new trend in pop music - one towards quality and away from commerciality? Maybe - but then again, maybe not.
Despite what Simon would have us believe, Clay and Ruben had marketable images from day one, the winner of AI was chosen based on who had the better image, and the real-life winner will be determined by who has more long-term marketability.
In their very lack of the “right” look, Ruben and Clay rediscovered a highly marketable image – that of the lovable misfit. Considering the past popularity of similar personas, from Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp to Ernest Borgnine’s Marty, it’s surprising that everyone was so taken aback by Clay and Ruben’s success. The music industry has been concentrating on promoting brooding bad-boys, simpering sex-kittens, and the like for so long that it’s slipped their minds that people have a need for celebrities they can identify with, relate to, and sympathize with.
Ruben and Clay on American Idol represented the common person’s potential to transcend their own personal stereotype and become a success. Thus, for their representative in the music industry, the American public chose the contestant who appeared to be the most successful. It was Ruben who had that “winner” image. Clay may have been the only contestant never to land in the bottom two or three, but Ruben had the overwhelming support of the judges and the media. They told the public time and time again that Ruben was the winner. Of course, the millions of ordinary people voting wanted a winner to represent them. Ruben’s image in the media won him the AI title (DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying that Ruben didn’t deserve to win, or that Clay should have won. But I have read enough critiques of Clay and Ruben’s singing – by musicians, vocal coaches, music teachers, and even an engineer who used audio analyzing equipment to quantify the quality of their voices – to convince anyone that if the winner was chosen based on vocal skill alone it would have been Clay).
So why was Ruben preordained by the judges (read: Simon) and the media?
In Simon’s case – as third place AI contestant Kimberley Locke astutely pointed out to Paula Abdul after being voted off the show – it was because he thought Ruben was more marketable. That is, Ruben had a cooler image. Really, Simon doesn’t seem to have any taste or discerning ear of his own, but he’s able to pick up on signs and signifiers of what will most readily be accepted by the public. It’s an attribute of his that is most vividly depicted by his wildcard pick – cute and bubbly, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Carmen Rasmusen, whose singing has often been harshly criticized. So when faced with the choice between a big, raspy-voiced, jersey-wearing black guy and a gangly, giggly, freckle-faced white boy, Simon didn’t have too tough a time deciding which one he’d support.
The media was likely thinking along the same lines as Simon – that it was cooler to support Ruben. But they probably also found it easier. After all, there really wasn’t all that much to say about Clay. Sure, he was a nice guy, he worked at the YMCA and taught autistic kids, but who really wants to hear about that? Ruben, meanwhile, seemed to come with his own marketing campaign. He was “representin’ the 205.” He was the “Velvet Teddy Bear.” He was “Ruuuben!” Ruben’s gimmicky image was much more marketable than Clay’s within the American Idol framework and led to him winning the popular vote.
The contest is over now, but the comparisons continue. Will Ruben or Clay have more success in the real world? Now that the fans have the opportunity to get to know their idols beneath their gimmicks; whose image has the power to captivate the public for years to come?
Ruben’s image, unless you count the addition of a new nickname (the “Round Mound of Sound”), has been pretty static. He doesn’t say much in interviews apart from the same-old thanks to God and his fans, the awestruck statement about what an amazing experience it’s all been, and the occasional monosyllabic quip. We haven’t learned anything new about who Ruben really is.
Meanwhile, Clay’s image has been getting more detailed and better defined ever since he was unleashed upon the interview circuit. His chatty nature dominates interviews and he always has funny stories to tell and goofy faces to pull. Clay is an entertainer through and through. He’s also made it clear that there are certain principles he stands for. Besides being the unofficial spokesman for the Autism Society and YMCA and his general good manners, Clay doesn’t believe in premarital sex and would never dream of doing anything he’d be ashamed to have his own children know about. And as Clay’s troubled childhood becomes known to the public, he is becoming an even more sympathetic and admirable person.
Not only is the media finding Clay the more interesting and charming of the two AI finalists, but they’re also beginning to recognize that he has a certain appeal that was not shown to its full advantage on American Idol – namely, sex appeal. Some find it baffling and try to deny it, but hordes of screaming girls can’t be ignored – the fact is that Clay has sex appeal, and plenty of it. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that possessing such an appeal definitely gives Clay’s image an edge.
The frenzy surrounding Clay is already being compared to Beatlemania. His enormous overall appeal is reflected in his chart-topping single sales, his making the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, his unnamed album rocketing to the #1 spot on Amazon, and the sheer adoration of the crowds for him at the American Idol concerts. Clay’s genuine, sincere nature is what most fans find so endearing about him. Image is still an essential factor in any celebrity’s success, but Clay has proven that “image” is more than how one looks and that it doesn’t have to be constructed by production executives and publicists. He achieved all that he has just by being himself. Ruben may be the “Velvet Teddy Bear,” the “Round Mound of Sound,”and the American Idol, but it’s Clay – plain ol’ Clay - that people can’t get enough of.

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2010, 10:24:46 PM »
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  CLAY SUPPORTS AFI'S NATIONAL EXPANSION PROGRAM - ARTICLE
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2003, 04:12:47 PM »   

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AFI's Jean Picker Firstenberg, American Idol's Clay Aiken to Visit Washington July 29 to Support AFI Screen Education Center
Press Release - Tuesday July 22, 3:29 pm ET

Aiken Supports AFI Proposal for Program's National Expansion
 
LOS ANGELES, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- American Idol's Clay Aiken will visit Washington DC and Capitol Hill on behalf of the American Film Institute (AFI) and the AFI Screen Education Center on Tuesday, July 29.
Clay Aiken, who was completing his studies to become a special education teacher before entering the "American Idol" competition and an astonishing rise to super-stardom, supports AFI's efforts to expand the K-12 AFI Screen Education Center program nationwide.
AFI's Screen Education Center empowers teachers to use filmmaking and media production to engage students in the study of traditional subject matter, get them excited about what they are learning, and give them new tools for expressing their knowledge and understanding. AFI believes screen literacy -- the ability to read and write the language of the screen -- is a core 21st Century skill.
Joining Aiken on July 29 will be AFI Director Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI Co-Director James Hindman, Director of AFI New Media Ventures Nick De Martino, and Director of AFI Screen Education Mitch Aiken. A day-long itinerary includes visits to the US Department of Education and Capitol Hill, a tour of the White House and an evening reception at Morton's of Chicago.
     
SCHEDULE:

     9:00 a.m. (Estimated)   White House tour (without press)
     10:30 a.m. (Estimated)  U.S. Department of Education
                             Visit with Secretary Ron Paige (tbc),
                             Under Secretary Eugene Hickok
     12:30 p.m.              Lunch in US Capitol's SC-6 with Members of
                             Congress
     2:30 p.m.               Press Opportunity outside US Capitol's Swamp
                             press area
     6:00 p.m.               Reception at Morton's of Chicago,
                             1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
                             Hosted by AFI Trustee Allen J. Bernstein

More About AFI
AFI is the preeminent organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image. AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned Conservatory, provides film preservation leadership and explores new digital technologies in moviemaking. AFI's New Media Ventures programs bring together the creative and digital communities, as the department seeks to develop a literacy program for the 21st century, helping young people learn to read and write screens of all sizes-cinema, television, computer and the Internet. With AFI ON SCREEN, the institute is the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the US, with programs at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI FEST); the AFI National Film Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. A 49,000 square foot complex with three theatres -- one historic, two new state-of-the-art stadium-style theatres -- the AFI Silver exhibits film and video generally unavailable elsewhere in the region. AFI's annual almanac for the 21st century, AFI AWARDS, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year. AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies, 100 Stars, 100 Laughs, 100 Thrills, 100 Passions and 100 Heroes & Villains have ignited extraordinary public interest in classic American movies. During the past 31 years, AFI's Life Achievement Award has become the highest honor for a career in film. More information about AFI can be found by visiting its Web site, located at www.AFI.com .
For further information, please contact: Joan Kirby, +1-301-495-6747, or Peter Mirijanian, +1-202-857-0670, both of AFI.

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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2010, 10:25:06 PM »
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  CLAY AIKEN & NYC MAYOR BLOOMBERG - PRESS RELEASE
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2003, 12:46:21 AM »   

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Press Release   Source: Wachovia Bank, N.A.
American Idol Clay Aiken and NYC Mayor Bloomberg Join Wachovia for Grand Opening Celebration Monday
Friday July 25, 9:32 am ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Wachovia Bank, N.A., one of America's leading customer service banks and the largest retail bank on the East Coast, opens its first two Manhattan retail financial centers, Monday, July 28, in Rockefeller Plaza and at Madison Avenue & 45th. The financial centers offer smarter, easier ways to manage money for customers in Manhattan.
     WHAT:     Clay Aiken, the American Idol runner-up whose single, "This is
               the Night," has sold more than a million copies, denoting the
               single as platinum, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg join
               Wachovia (wa-KO-vee-ah) executives and employees for a
               celebratory ribbon cutting and press conference Monday, July
               28.  The ceremony will include brief remarks from all
               participants and a public Q&A session, followed by an
               opportunity for private one-on-one interviews and photos,
               including interviews with Clay Aiken.  Other activities that
               day include Wachovia street teams, a contest to win one of two
               $5,000 Wachovia accounts, Krispy Kreme donuts for the masses,
               and more.

     PARTICIPANTS:
               Clay Aiken, American Idol Runner-Up, Currently on American
               Idols Live Tour
               NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
               Ben Jenkins, Head of the General Bank, Wachovia Corp.
               Reggie Davis, CEO, Atlantic Region, Wachovia Bank, N.A.
               Jim Fitzgerald, Regional President, New York/Connecticut,
               Wachovia Bank

     WHEN:     Monday, July 28, 2003
               7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

     WHERE:    Wachovia Financial Center
               49 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite F
               New York, NY 10020

     CONTACT:  David White, 336.774.9229 (w); 336.406.5622 (cell)
               Kris Kriofske, 336.774.9229 (w); 336.577.7542 (cell)
               Fran Durst, 908.598.3062
               Mary Beth Navarro, 704.374.2292

    SATELLITE: Satellite coordinates for the July 28th Manhattan branch
               opening VNR:
               Feed time:  10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m., July 28
               Telstar 6, Transponder 14
               11966.5 Horizontal

               During the next 18 months, Wachovia plans to build additional
               financial centers in Manhattan and expand its existing ATM
               network throughout the city.

 
 
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Re: 2003: PRESS & MEDIA
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2010, 10:25:33 PM »
Melodie
Administrator
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Posts: 53



     liveDaily Interview: 'American Idol' star Clay Aiken
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2003, 07:00:37 AM »   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
by Christina Fuoco

July 25, 2003 04:46 PM - "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken seems naturally inclined to be impeccably nice. While speaking to liveDaily by phone, he pulls up to First Union Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and quickly diverts his attention to a fan.

Oh here. Let me give you a hug," he says to the admirer.

Aiken, 24, of Raleigh, NC, made his way into the hearts of "American Idol" fans by being nice--and having the type of voice that raises the roofs of Broadway theaters.

His first single, "This is the Night/Bridge over Troubled Water," debuted at No. 1, besting "Flying Without Wings/Superstar" by "Idol"-winner Ruben Studdard. The Aiken cut sold nearly 393,000 copies in its first week, making it the biggest debut since Elton John's 1997 "Candle in the Wind" remake surrounding the death of Princess Diana.

Aiken's sales success isn't good enough for some of his fans, apparently. A group of them recently wrote to the FCC claiming that the "American Idol" results were fixed, something that Aiken laughs at. However, the FCC reportedly is looking into the matter.

Aiken talked to liveDaily about his forthcoming album--due out in September--the "American Idols Live" tour and the perils of being popular.

liveDaily: How's the tour going so far?

Clay Aiken: It's going really well. We're having a good time with it. We had some rough dress rehearsals but our shows have been extremely, extremely good.

What was rough about the dress rehearsals?

Oh, we were just forgetting when we were supposed to come in; not knowing our songs, all that stuff. We just had trouble with that. I didn't know the words to some of my songs until the first show.

What are some of the songs that you're singing?

I'm doing "This is the Night" and Ruben and I are doing stuff that will be coming off of our new albums. We're having a good time with it.

Is your album finished?

It's almost done. I'm driving to New York [on July 16] to finish up one [song on July 17], and then I'll be finished. I'm lovin' being finished. Hopefully I can relax.

Who are some of the songwriters you worked with?

Chris Braide worked on "This is the Night," …; Cathy Dennis, she wrote "A Moment Like This" from last year's show. And just a bunch of big-name producers: Clif Magness, who did some stuff with Avril Lavigne; Rick Knowles, who works with Savage Garden, Santana and Michelle Branch; Steve Morales, who did all the Enrique [Iglesias] and Shakira stuff.

What can people expect from it?

The nice thing about it is that it's not a huge departure for me. The record company, myself and the management group have been able to really agree on what we'd like to see from it. We're not going to see a lot of hardcore, inappropriate stuff that I'm not all for. A lot of the stuff is like "This is the Night." It's a pop-flavored album. I think there's a lot of people out there who may not be the best influence for kids. I wouldn't want my kids listening to some of the stuff out there. None of the stuff on the album is like that.

What do you think about all the complaints that "American Idol" was fixed?

It's kind of flattering because it's coming from fans who like me, and all that stuff. But I was on the show and involved closely in it for a long time, and I know everyone who was involved in it. I totally trust the outcome of the show. It was so close. It wasn't like the outcome was 70 to 30 percent. I completely trust the results. Sometimes I just wish people would put their energies into supporting a charity or something like that instead of calling the FCC. (laughs) It concerns me because Ruben's a good, good friend of mine. I totally am proud of him and support everything that he does. Both of us really got exactly what we wanted out of this show. We both went into it hoping to get a recording contract and get this type of career--and we both got it. He's got the title and that's what different. Other than that, we're both having a great time and I'm totally happy with where I am. So, people who want to write letters can write letters to the Autism Society and help them out. (laughs)

How have you handled the sudden stardom?

It's been difficult. It's hard to look at our pictures in newspapers and on magazines and all that type of stuff and think of it as anything more than, "Oh, it's just me. That's my picture. That's not a big deal. Who cares what cover it's on. Who cares what magazine it's in. It's just me." People who scream and cheer for us, it's like, "Wow." It's really hard to take in a lot of times. We're just ourselves when we go up there and sing. It's amazing that--what, nine months after we started the show?--so many people want to be around us and hear us.

How do you get used to that?

You don't. I don't think you can. Every night something's different and new. Last night I had panties thrown on the stage. Every night it's something different. It's extremely flattering every single night. It's all a new experience. It's something that we all wanted to do for so long. We're just enjoying the ride and trying to take it all in.

How do you keep from laughing when women throw their panties on stage when you're trying to sing?

I laughed, right there in front of them. (laughs) How can you try to not laugh? The lady who was sitting in the front, I just asked her, "Please tell me you weren't wearing these before you threw them on stage." It's very funny. I'm not used to it, don't worry.

What is the format of the "American Idols Live" show?

We start with Charlie Grigsby, and the first half is all solos. We start with Charlie and work all the way to Ruben through the first half. The second half is all group songs, medleys, Ruben and I do a duet, Ruben and I both sing our songs from our album during the second half. The guys sing together, the girls sing together. We do a tribute to the Bee Gees.

What song do you and Ruben do together?

That's a surprise!

What is it like to tour with the other "Idols"?

We know each other so well. I think that's what's so cool about it. We've all known each other for nine months now. We know where everybody came from. We're all just friends. Nobody gets star struck at anybody. Everybody's just hangin'. We've known each other for so long that we're really like a family. We travel together. We live together and all that stuff. We definitely enjoy being together. We really perform well together. We used to rehearse for the show and just have the nastiest rehearsals on Wednesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Then when the show hit the airwaves on Wednesday nights, our medleys would come together flawlessly. That's just the way the whole show has worked because we know each other so well.

http://www.livedaily.com/news/5265.html
ALWAYS AND FOREVER-UNCONDITIONALLY!!!

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