Clay Aiken Biography
Clay Aiken is a prodigious singer, who rose to fame on the second season of the hit reality show on television, ‘American Idol’. Immediately after the end of the show, he was offered a recording contract with the distinguished company, ‘RCA Records’.
Some of his best known works under the label include ‘Merry Christmas with Love’, ‘A Thousand Different Ways’, ‘All is Well’ and ‘On My Way Here’.
He has also had the privilege of working under another upcoming record label, ‘Decca Records’. Apart from his career in music, he has been a frequent talk show guest appearing on ‘The Tonight Show’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’.
He is also an active ambassador of the ‘National Inclusion Project’. Which he also created and also serves on the board of ‘People with Intellectual Disabilities’. Another important facet of this young star’s career is his role in Broadway.
He made his Broadway debut with ‘Spamalot’, where he played the role of ‘Sir Robin’. In the fast paced world of ‘on-and-off’ celebrities, Aiken has made his mark and is here to stay for a long time. His efforts and works have all been recognized by a large body of awards including the American Music Awards and Billboard Awards.
Clay Aiken Age
clay was born on November 30, 1978 and is currently 44 years old as of 2023. His birth sign is Sagittarius.
Clay stands 6 feet and 2 inches tall.
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Clay Aiken Family| Early Life
He was born and raised in Raleigh, North carolina. As a child aiken sang in the “raleigh boychoir”. When he was a teen he also sang in church choirs, school choirs, musicals and local theatre productions.
After high school, he sang lead with a local band, Just By Chance. Co-hosting and performing with the band at “Just by Chance and Friends” shows in Dunn, North Carolina.
Moreover, he was also MC and performer at the Johnston Community College Country. Showcase in Smithfield. And at the North Carolina Music Connection and Hometown Music Connection shows in Garner, and Benson.
He performed the national anthem numerous times for the Raleigh IceCaps and the Carolina Hurricanes hockey teams. And performed it at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
Three demo albums of Aiken’s vocals were created before American Idol with the aid of studio time given as a birthday gift by his mother. A cassette called Look What Love Has Done (by Clayton Grissom), a cassette and CD entitled Redefined (by Clayton Aiken). And a CD that combined some songs from each of the previous demos: “Look What Love Has Done, Vol 2” (by Clay Aiken).
Estranged from his abusive birth father Vernon Grissom and with his mother’s and grandfather Alvis Aiken’s permission. At the age of 19 he legally changed his surname from Grissom to his mother Faye’s maiden name, Aiken.
Aiken attended Raleigh’s Leesville Road High School and took courses at Campbell University before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 1995, Clay started working at the YMCA.
Still in high school, Clay learned quickly that he could make a difference in the lives of young people. He found his interest in special education while directing YMCA children’s camps as a teenager. At age 19, he served as a substitute teacher for a classroom of autistic students at Brentwood Elementary School in Raleigh.
It was during that experience that he decided to finish college and become a special education teacher. While attending college in Charlotte, he took a part-time job as an assistant to a boy with autism. And it was this child’s mother, Diane Bubel, who urged him to audition for American Idol.
Although his American Idol activities temporarily delayed his academic pursuits. Aiken completed his course work while on tour and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in special education in December 2003.
Clay Aiken Career
Aiken had filled out an application to participate in the reality show Amazing Race when a friend of his insisted that he try out for American Idol instead. Television viewers first glimpsed Aiken during the audition episodes at the beginning of American Idol’s second season.
The show’s judges first saw Aiken as a nerdy type unlikely to be any kind of idol. But after hearing him sing Heatwave’s “Always and Forever” decided to advance him to the next round. The clip of the judges’ surprise during this audition performance was replayed many times over the course of the competition.
Aiken made it to the round of 32 before being cut from the show, but he was invited to return for the “Wild Card” round; his performance of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” sent him on to the final 12 as the viewer’s choice.
While noted for his performance of ballads, such as Neil Sedaka’s “Solitaire”, his upbeat performances, including The Foundations’ “Build Me Up Buttercup”, were also appreciated. Aiken received enough votes every week to keep him out of the bottom three.
Part of his appeal was his “geek to chic” transformation in appearance. “I looked like Opie,” Aiken said to People magazine regarding his appearance at his American Idol audition in 2002.
He replaced his glasses with contact lenses and agreed to let the show’s stylists change his hair style. With longer, flat ironed, spiky hair and a penchant for wearing striped shirts. Aiken had established a trademark look by the final American Idol season 2 show.
On May 21, 2003, Aiken came in a close second to Ruben Studdard, who won the contest by 134,000 votes out of more than 24,000,000 votes cast.
The result was controversial, as some hypothesized that Idol’s voting system was incapable of handling the number of attempted calls.
In an interview prior to the start of the fifth season of American Idol, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe. revealed for the first time that Aiken had led the fan voting every week from the Wild Card week to the finale, when the possibly-random voting result gave Studdard the win.
Though officially, Aiken was the show’s “first runner-up,” he has since gone on to be the second season’s best-selling star.
Measure of a man
Clay released his first solo album “Measure of a Man” in October 2003. The album debuted at the number one spot on the billboard 200 with over 600,000 copies sold in the first week.
The album received RIAA Double Platinum certification on November 17, 2003.
Later that year, Aiken won the Fan’s Choice Award at the American Music Awards ceremony, and his CD single “This Is The Night/Bridge Over Troubled Water” won the Billboard award for the Best-Selling Single of 2003.
Merry Christmas With Love
In 2004, he released a holiday album, ‘Merry Christmas With Love’, which became the fastest-selling holiday album. The album also went on to receive RIAA certification.
The same year, he also made his acting debut in ‘Ed’, where he played himself. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and tied Céline Dion’s record for the highest debut by a holiday album in the history of Billboard magazine.
A Thousand Different Ways And All Is Well
This was clay’s second studio album which was released September 19, 2006. The album contains ten cover songs and four new songs, one of which Aiken co-wrote.
Clive Davis is credited with the cover concept. Debuting at number two on the Billboard chart, A Thousand Different Ways made Aiken the fourth artist ever to have his first three albums debut in the Top 5 and scan over 200,000 in the first week.
On My Way Here
Aiken found a song, “On My Way Here”, written by OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, that struck a chord with him and became the inspiration for the album’s theme in addition to the album title. For a cohesive sound, Aiken chose Mark ‘Kipper’ Eldridge to produce the entire album. On My Way Here was released May 6, 2008, on the RCA label.
According to an article posted on Billboard, Aiken and RCA parted ways shortly after his On My Way Here album was released. Aiken’s rep confirmed to People magazine that Aiken left RCA.
Stated in the cited People article, “The buzz about Aiken’s exit was fueled earlier this week when his picture disappeared online and Billboard, citing unnamed sources, reported Friday that Aiken, 30, had been dropped by the label. According to Billboard, Aiken’s 2008 album “On My Way Here” sold just 159,000 copies in the U.S., compared to his 2003 debut album, “Measure of a Man”, which sold 2.78 million copies”.
Tried and True
The album was released on June 1, 2010 and features songs popular in the 1950s and 1960s, including two Aiken covered during his run on American Idol, “Mack the Knife” and “Unchained Melody”. In conjunction with the PBS special a companion DVD, Tried & True Live!, was released on July 27, 2010. A tour to promote the album is planned for early 2014.
On December 20, 2011, Aiken released a new single, “Bring Back My Love” under the Decca Label. The single is his first original song since the release of his album On My Way Here in 2008.
On March 27, 2012 Aiken released Steadfast, a new album of previous recordings and songs only sung in concerts. The album debuted at #120 on the Billboard 200 chart with sales of 4,000 in the first week.
In 2003, Aiken sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and received a standing ovation from the audience. Lewis compared Aiken with Frank Sinatra and marveled at the dedication of Aiken’s fan base.
Aiken starred in and executive produced his first TV special (December 2004), titled A Clay Aiken Christmas, with special guests Barry Manilow, Yolanda Adams, and Megan Mullally; the special was released on DVD later that month.
On July 4, 2004, Aiken was one of the performers in the A Capitol Fourth concert in Washington, D.C. and performed in the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series in 2004 and 2005. He also sang “Isn’t She Lovely” on the popular television show “Scrubs”.
Aiken was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 2004 and participated in several skits. He has appeared multiple times on The Tonight Show, interviewing with Jay Leno as a guest in addition to singing, and has become a regular guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
In November 2007, Aiken was a contestant on a celebrity edition of the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. Playing for his charity, the National Inclusion Project, he chose to drop out after the ninth question with US$300,000, despite having a copy and a save at his disposal.
If he had played the tenth question, he would have won US$500,000; Aiken and the 5th grader playing with him both had the correct answer.
In May 2009, Aiken made a guest appearance on 30 Rock in the season 3 episode “Kidney Now!.” It was revealed in this episode that he is the cousin of the show’s character Kenneth.
In 2012, Aiken was the runner-up on the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, raising US$361,500 for the National Inclusion Project. In 2013, Aiken guest starred on an episode Law & Order: Special Victims Unit along with Taylor Hicks and Ashanti, playing themselves as judges for a singing contest on the episode called “Dissonant Voices.”
In the 2014 midterm elections, Aiken was the Democratic Party’s candidate for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district. He won the Democratic primary, held on May 6, 2014, by fewer than 400 votes.
His main opponent, Keith Crisco, died days after the primary vote but before the votes could be certified. In the general election, held on November 4, 2014, Aiken was defeated by incumbent Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, 59 to 41 percent.
North Carolina’s 2nd district is considered a safe Republican seat. Aiken’s campaign was captured by a filmmaking team and shown in the 2015 documentary miniseries The Runner-Up, which aired on the Esquire Network.
Clay Aiken Net Worth
Clay has an estimated net worth of 7 million dollars as of 2023.
Mary Did You Know
Clay Aiken Son
Clay has a nine year old son “Parker Foster Aiken” with his former baby momma “Jaymes Foster”.
Jaymes Foster|Baby mama
Clay’s baby mama “Jaymes Foster” is also deeply disappointed clay lost his election. According to a source, a win would have meant she could have petitioned for a reduction in the $7,500 child support payment Opens a New Window. she must give Aiken every month.
As Radar reported, Foster gave birth to openly gay Aiken’s now six-year-old son, Parker, in 2008 after undergoing artificial insemination. Aiken and his former best friend have since fallen out, and they’ve been in and out of Los Angeles courts over custody issues Opens a New Window. for years.
Clay Aiken Boyfriend
He has been in relationships with Jeff Walters (2010 – 2011), Devin Finn (2010) and Reed Kelly (2008 – 2010). Clay has had an encounter with Jaymes Foster-Levy (2003).
Clay Aiken Broadway
On January 18, 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut when he joined the cast of Monty Python’s Spamalot for a four-month run, ending on May 4, 2008.
He played Sir Robin, in the Tony Award-winning musical directed by Mike Nichols. In addition to Sir Robin, Aiken played the 1st Guard and the Brother Maynard roles.
On August 12, 2008, it was announced that Aiken would resume his role as Sir Robin beginning on September 19 and ending on January 4, 2009.
On December 23, 2008, Aiken had his caricature unveiled at world-famous Sardi’s restaurant. In December 2018, Aiken and Ruben Studdard starred in Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Christmas Show on Broadway.
Clay Aiken Albums
- Measure of a Man (2003)
- Merry Christmas with Love (2004)
- A Thousand Different Ways (2006)
- On My Way Here (2008)
- Tried and True (2010)
- Steadfast (2012)
Clay Aiken Instagram