Thursday, May 29, 2008

Interview: Confessiona of a former AI

Cute interview at Channelnewsasia

Confessions of former idol Clay Aiken

He’s had four Top 5 albums on the Billboard charts, but Clay Aiken still can’t shake off his days as the geek on American Idol.

“I think to some extent in the United States, you don’t really shed that Idol tag,” he said over the phone from Los Angeles.

“It’s such a huge show that you can’t escape it.

“But I got here being myself on American Idol, and I try my best on continuing to be here based on being myself,” he added.

“If you want to be good at what you do, you can’t slack off. You have to continue to try to do better. Anybody who assumes I’m here only because of Idol is wrong.”

Aiken’s latest album, On My Way Here, confirms that sentiment. Most of the songs, he said, are about “becoming and discovering yourself”, and learning life lessons rather than lessons “from a book in school”.

It’s something that the Raleigh, North Carolina, native has first-hand experience of.

“I never wanted to be a singer,” he admitted. “I wanted to be a teacher. So all this kind of happened as a blessing — to be able to take my hobby and turn it into my job. All the experiences, luck and blessings have come because we’ve been open to a lot of things.”

Still, he’s quick to point out that fame does have its drawbacks.

“Like I was out the other day with my friends just wanting to get some dinner, and we had paparazzi following us the whole time — that’s a pain in the butt,” he said, sighing. “It’s part of the job. I think you just have to learn to deal with it.”

“It” includes rumours that the 29-year-old singer has had plastic surgery and is actually gay but afraid to admit it.

“That’s what’s so great about America,” he said, laughing. “One of our valuable amendments to the Constitution — freedom of the press — is also one of the crappiest. You can write anything you want. You don’t need to have any proof or any truth to what you write.”

Lucky for Aiken, besides the surgery and gay rumours, he’s not exactly exciting tabloid fodder.

“I stole a car one time. At 15, you can drive as long as a parent is with you but one day, they were out, so I took the car out for drive by myself. That’s probably the most rebellious thing I’ve done.”

Yup, Clay Aiken stole his parent’s car when he was 15. Doesn’t exactly scream magazine sales.

“Nobody’s ever the same person everyday, but for the most part, I think I’m pretty nice and easy to get along with. But my manager will probably say that’s crap.”

Still, he does have a snippy side. “Last night, I was watching one of the way-too-many music awards shows we have and the live performances were almost unbearable to listen to. I think people just don’t realise how bad they are. It was really awful. People were off-key, and it was a ... mess.”

Has Aiken turned into a Simon Cowell? “No, but it was really hard to listen to. I was telling my friend: ‘Oh my god, if I were ever that bad, please promise to tell me.’ I hope I’m never that bad.”

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Great Steely Dan musicians rock on Clay Aiken's new CD

Keith Carlisle, Freddie Washington, Jon Herrington and Jeff Young (all who have played with Steely Dan backing Walter Becker and Donald Fagen) played on all but one track of Clay Aiken's new CD called On My Way Here. This blog takes a look back at their great contributions to music.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

DWTS: Viennese Waltz

Check out this beautiful montage of the Viennese Waltz DWTS group dance set to "Sacrificial Love" from the On My Way Here CD.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

On My Way Here

On My Way Home was released this week. It features an eclectic mix of music from symphonic ballads, midtempo pop-rock, to a song with R&B flavor, one with a bit of country, and a beautiful, jazzy love song. I've never loved all songs on any album before, not even other Clay Aiken albums, but I truly can't pick a true favorite this time. There isn't one song I feel compelled to skip. Three that really stand out to me are "Where I Draw The Line", "Sacrificial Love", and "As Long As We're Here". Tomorrow there will three other stand-outs. Special mention for the best song on the album, "Lover All Alone". This song was a bonus with the iTunes purchase of A Thousand Different Ways and is now the the physical CD of OTWH. "Lover All Alone" was written by Clay (lyrics) and David Foster (music), and remains one of the most lyrically poignant and beautifully melodic songs I've ever heard. Clay might not consider himself a songwriter, but LAA proves that he is.

Clay promoted the album on several shows this week. Here are two performances:

"Ashes", an uptempo songs that is on the Good Morning America website (it was performed but was not show on-air), and "On My Way Here" from The View.


~On My Way Here~

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Jeans Are Feelin' Good

Cute video up at the CBS Website:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An Aural Experience

You can listen to Clay's entire new album at AOL Listening Party

Also be sure to watch Clay's Good Morning America appearance at the ABC website. There are videos for the on-air interview and performance of "On My Way Home" as well as a website only performance of "Ashes" and another interview.