Friday, June 30, 2006

Paying his dues and having a blast!


Clay Aiken has done 6 major tours and he is about to tour again in support of his soon to be released Sophomore CD. The first tour was with the American Idol Season 2 group that had 41 stops. The second was a co-headlining tour with Kelly Clarkson. There were 30 stops and Kelly and Clay alternated opening and closing sets throughout the tour. They ended each night performing a duet together.




His first solo tour was dubbed the Not-A-Tour by the fans because it started out as a handful of dates and grew and grew until it became another national tour of 53 dates.

Clay released "Merry Christmas with Love" in late 2004 and put together the Joyful Noise Tour that year with 22 shows.

In the summer of 2005 he put together the Jukebox Tour with 26 shows that was his most ambitious project yet. He set out to be the human jukebox, singing a mixture of medleys and full length songs that spanned the Rock and Roll era from the 1950s to his present day hits and a few previewed songs that may or may not be on the upcoming Sophomore CD.

This was followed by the Joyful Noise 2005 Tour, covering 40 shows in the US and Canada.

That makes 182 shows in 2 and a half years. The guy loves touring. If you haven't seen Clay Aiken in concert then you haven't seen Clay Aiken. He sounds better live than recorded, if that's something you find hard to believe, listen to this video of part of the 1960s set that was taken by a fan at one of the Jukebox Tour stops. I'm not sure who has more fun, the performers or the crowd. This is what Clay is so very good at. This level of talent and charisma is god given.




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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fantasy



May 12th 2004. Clay was scheduled for an exclusive interview with Larry King on CNN but at the last minute he was conscripted to do a command performance for American Idol season 3 and according to his restrictive management contract, he had to do it. This was the last time he would perform for American Idol under contract to them. By the end of May 2004, Clay was free of their control and this song and the way he performed it was an inspired "see ya later" to AI because he was free of their control. You gotta love a guy who can enjoy the performance, sing the heck out of a great old song and flip the bird all at the same time. The final 4 contestants seemed to have as much fun singing back-up with Clay as he had making lemonade out of lemons. He even dressed like he did for his original audition, complete with untucked shirt and glasses but he looked every inch the star he had become!

That's my take on it anyway. Enjoy! It makes me smile every time!

Fantasy- Lyrics

Every man has a place, in his heart there's a space,
And the world can't erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship fantasii
All your dreams will come true, right away

And we will live together, until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever, as one

Every thought is a dream, rushing by in a stream,
Bringing life to our kingdom of doing
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship fantasii
All your dreams will come true, miles away

Our voices will ring together until the twelfth of never,
We all, will live forever, as one

Come see victory, in the land called fantasy
Loving life, a new decree,
Bring your mind to everlasting liberty

Our minds will explore together, old worlds, we conquer, forever
We then, will expand love together, as one

Come to see, victory in a land called fantasy,
Loving life, for you and me, to behold, to your soul is ecstasy
You will find, other kinds, that have been in search of you,
Many lives have brought you to
Recognize it's your life, now in review
And as you stay for the play, fantasy, has in store for you,
A glowing light will see you through

Its your day, shining day, all your dreams come true
As you glide, in your stride with the wind, as you fly away
Give a smile, from your lips, and say
I am free, yes I'm free, now I'm on my way...



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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You Never Forget Your First



Clay took his date, Amber, to the American Music Awards in 2003. He was nominated for 2 Awards before his CD was even released. The awards show took place a month after his debut CD went on sale and had gone double platinum in it's first week. This may be some kind of a record because I have never heard of that ever happening to another artist before.



Clay was nominated for:

Favorite Male Artist-Pop or Rock

Clay Aiken
Justin Timberlake
John Mayer
Kid Rock


and for


Fan's Choice Award

Clay Aiken
Fifty Cent
Beyonce
Justin Timberlake
Matchbox 20
Tim McGraw

He performed his hit "Invisible".



and also a duet with his friend Ruben. They sang a gospel flavored arrangement of "Jesus is Love", a song that Lionel Ritchie had recorded decades earlier. Their 3 song set got the only standing ovation of the night.





Naturally, Clay won the Fan's Choice Award because he has some very dedicated and loyal fans. Paula was on hand to congratulate Clay on his first major award. The following month Clay won a Billboard Music Award for his hit song " Invisible".



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Saturday, June 24, 2006

For Love of Solitaire




On American Idol 2 in 2003, all of the contestants sang songs from Neil Sedaka's extensive catalog of hits. Clay sang Solitaire as one of his 2 songs that night. Neil Sedaka was a guest judge and when the lights came up, and the camera panned the judges table, you could see tears in Neil's eyes, he was so moved. He told Clay that he sang like Andre Agassi plays tennis. "Perfection! Perfection!" He also told Clay that night that Solitaire would forever be a Clay Aiken song and that he would be thrilled to write and produce Clay's first CD. I think he liked it! See for yourself.



A year later, after recording and releasing Solitaire/The Way as a double A side single, Clay returned to the American Idol stage as a guest performer and he sang a new arrangement of Solitaire for the AI crowd.



Clay can change it up with each different venue and how the song evolves with time and experience is amazing. The next version was from when he was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I love this one because he sang the heck out of it to a very appreciative crowd but also because he wore his glasses that night. He was SO handsome!



This is a concert version. A little different once again. Another year has passed and on this particular night in Wolf Trap VA, there was a violent thunderstorm flashing and booming outside of the covered amphitheater. Plastic bags, ponchos, garbage bags and umbrellas were put to good use because nobody on the packed lawn was going anywhere till it was over. He's such a pro. You can see when he realizes that he messed up the verses because he got distracted by the lighning. He just takes it in stride. I just love that man!



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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Was there a Clelly? I think so.



Some fans of both of these artists feel that Kelly and Clay got very close when they spent 2 months together touring the country and sharing a tour bus. There was plenty of flirting but I think that Clay saw her as a bit too young and it never took off. Kelly wrote this song with (the guitar player) Danny Wiesman's help and debuted it on the last night of the tour. She was crying and many people felt that she was sad that she and Clay were parting ways.



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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Clay Aiken is Awesome!!!


So says a disc jockey from a radio station in Charlotte North Carolina.

4 disc jockeys are captured talking on the radio the morning after the American Idol finale when Clay Aiken made a surprise guest appearance on May 24th 2006. This station hasn't really given Clay too much of a break in the past and that's what makes this clip special to me.

I don't know who made this combination of audio set to video clips but it's a masterful job and I thank the creator, no not the big guy up there, I mean the montage maker. I'll happily give credit if I find out who made it.

Grab a snack, you may want to replay it a few times. ;)



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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Where is Clay Going?



Anyone who is interested in Clay Aiken is dying to know what will be on his 2nd CD. You'd think it would be easy to figure that out because the people who don't know our Clay are prepared for more of the same. Measure of a Man 2.0.

Stop right there if you're going down that road. Clay didn't choose those songs or that style, he wasn't given that kind of control. I think he had the choice to record what they gave him or pass up a recording contract. Smart boy, he knew he could sell those songs and hang in there long enough to have more say on the next one. Nothing that Clay has done since recording the debut CD has been predictable or like the debut CD songs.

Unfortunately for us and for Clay, the genius of Clive Davis only extended to handing Clay a short list of pre-selected ballads for his first CD. He recorded it in a few weeks between performances on the American Idol concert tour. Half the time he was flown to a studio and recorded the songs while leaning against the wall half asleep. RCA pushed that CD out like a reality show souvenir! Which is what they saw it to be. Little did they know that it would sell multiple millions of copies without radio play or that Clay had developed a huge and loyal fanbase.

Too bad the songs weren't all top drawer, too bad the songs were given away to many other Idol artists around the world to record. Too bad he didn't get radio $upport. Too bad he wasn't given the opportunity to perform internationally, but he sang the crap out of those songs and sold them to concert crowds in the US like only he could.

3 years later we are eagerly awaiting his 2nd mainstream release. One that he has more control over and one that he is excited about. If you've seen Clay in concert and heard what he can do for a song, including many covers, then you know, like his fans know, that this will be special.

What will he sing? What style? Which genre? Only he knows. The clues are few and far between. He gives a little bit of an idea in this interview from December 2005. Hurry up, Clay, we're waiting with baited breath here!




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