From an early
age, Clay Aiken was recognized for his wonderful voice and natural
ability as a live performer. After singing in the choir and in
several musicals, Aiken attained national fame on the popular
TV show American Idol. Though Aiken finished second in the competition
to Ruben Studdard, Aiken soon had a recording contract and released
his first single, the #1 hit "This Is the Night," within
weeks of the show's end. This success was followed by the 2003
release of his double-platinum debut album, The Measure of a Man,
which featured the hits "I Will Carry You" and "Invisible."
Later that same year, Aiken won the Fan's Choice Award at the
American Music Awards, proving millions of fans held the singer
close to their hearts. 2004 saw the release of another smash hit
for Aiken, the holiday album Merry Christmas with Love.
Aiken In-depth Biography
As the runner-up
to Fox TV's second American Idol: The Search for a Superstar competition,
vocalist Clay Aiken wowed television audiences in 2003 with his
Southern charm, sweet demeanor, and bright, glorious voice, and
became a pop star. Originally, Aiken planned to try out for the
reality TV series The American Race, but went ahead and auditioned
for the talent contest to please an encouraging friend. Out of
7,000 hopefuls, the Charlotte, NC, native won the hearts of the
judges as well as millions of fans across the globe.
30, 1978, Aiken was singing at an early age. Unlike most young
kids, Aiken was confident and ready to impress a crowd. He was
already singing the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers classic "Islands
in the Stream" at a local high school dance by age five.
Two year later, he was buying albums through a mail-order catalog,
eager to get his hands on any kind of music. Aiken's vocal talent
was blossoming and by the time he reached his teenage years, he
was a regular member of the Raleigh Boys Choir. Countless roles
in various musicals, (The Music Man, Oklahoma!), stage plays,
and playhouse shows allowed Aiken to hone his gift.
When it came
time to go to college, music wasn't Aiken's calling per se. He
studied special education instead and had dreams of attending
William & Mary for a master's degree in administration. Before
he could further his education, Aiken ended up wooing 21 million
television viewers each week from February to May with his sensational
singing voice. His rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge
Over Troubled Waters" sewed him a spot among America's hearts.
Although he finished second to Ruben Studdard, Aiken's loss was
not taken lightly. He landed a deal with RCA through Simon Fuller's
19 Recordings Limited within weeks of the show's finale.
month, Aiken's debut single, "This Is the Night," made
history by going number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. It sold
more than 392,000 copies during its first week, beating Elton
John's record for "Candle in the Wind 1997." In October
2003, Aiken issued his studio full-length, The Measure of a Man.
Once again, the little guy with the big voice made a big splash.
The Measure of a Man sold 613,000 copies and went to number one
on Billboard's Top 200 during its first week of release. His first
holiday effort Merry Christmas With Love followed in November
2004. The album debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Holiday
Albums chart, giving Merry Christmas With Love the biggest debut
week sales figures for a Christmas album in SoundScan history.
Wilson, All Music Guide