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Jan. - March 2007

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Soap Opera Digest:

Clay Aiken's Soap Days

By Janet Di Lauro

AMERICAN IDOL star Clay Aiken made his daytime debut on DAYS OF OUR LIVES this Christmas season when he gave the newly-reunited Steve and Kayla a private concert. Aiken sang "Everything I Have" and the classic Christmas carol, "O Holy Night." After taping, Aiken sat down for a chat about the experience, the chances of a return engagement, and how appearing on the show made his longtime best friend Kristy's day.

Soap Opera Weekly: Are you a fan of DAYS OF OUR LIVES?

Clay Aiken: I'd never seen it, not that I'm not a fan. I've never been on another soap opera. (He laughs.) But my best friend, Kristy, is a huge fan. She's a DAYS OF OUR LIVES nut. She's a Daysmate. She watches it every night. She TiVos it and watches it.

Weekly: She must have been excited when you told her you were going to appear on the show.

Aiken: I had to be very careful about how I broke the news to her. I knew that she was going to flip out, and, lo and behold, she did flip out. She's watched DAYS since she was three. She knows every character. And, today, I decided that I would bring her with me. She has literally been sitting in the dressing room, giddy as a 13-year-old. She's always very composed and professional. Today, she'll meet someone and say, "Hi. Nice to meet you," very calmly. Then, as soon as they walk out of the room, "Ohhh, my Goooodddddd!"

Weekly: How did you end up on DAYS, as opposed to another soap?

Aiken: We actually had a few shows that we talked to, but DAYS has such story history. It's really popular. We didn't even talk to Kristy about it. Had I talked to Kristy I would have had no choice. They've got a really storied history. I actually spoke to Michael Bublé, a friend of mine who sang on DAYS a few years ago. Since then he's gone on to be this huge star the world over, but he says that, to this day, people still come up to him more than anything else and say, "You sang on DAYS OF OUR LIVES." I think it's just something that resonates with people.

Weekly: So how did your soap opera debut go?

Aiken: You know what's interesting? When I did AMERICAN IDOL, we were at CBS. We would literally stay locked in our dressing rooms. Not like in a cage or anything, but we were stuck in the dressing rooms for hours every day. Y&R and B&B were [taped] on that lot. We would get the feed of those soap operas, so we would watch them. They would take FOREVER to do one scene. They'd do them over and over. I thought, "It's going to be a LONG day today. I'll have to do this scene six times." I was so impressed at how quickly they worked. We rehearsed the scene once, taped it once; then, we left.

Weekly: Which gets your adrenaline going more, doing AMERICAN IDOL or appearing on DAYS?

Aiken: I would have to say your adrenaline gets pumping on IDOL. A, you have the judges. B, you have the pressure of it being live. C, the most important thing, you have the audience right there. The benefit to doing something like this is that it's taped. So if I did mess up, we could have done a second take, a third take....

Weekly: Did anyone on the DAYS cast hit you up for autographs?

Aiken: I signed a bunch and took photos [with Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Alison Sweeney (Sami)]. Kristy took photos with almost everybody, including the custodial staff. Just for the fun of it. Just because she's here.

Weekly: It sounds like this was a positive experience. Would you consider coming back to DAYS?

Aiken: I'd love to. They talked about having Patch and Kayla's theme song be "Everything I Have." We'd love to come back and do that again. If Kayla is a Claymate, we'd do a concert for her.

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I found a really long interview with Clay on Ch:

Sheknows.com

10 questions with Clay Aiken

In the ever-crowded field of American Idol alumnus there are two that have towered over the rest -- first season winner Kelly Clarkson and second season runner-up Clay Aiken. Between record sales and concert tickets, those two performers shadow over the music industry, courtesy of a little television program, has been immense. Now that a few years have passed since Aiken proved nice guys finish second, he takes a few moments to reflect with SheKnows.

His new CD, "A Thousand Ways" is comprised completely of cover versions of famous love songs. Taking a breath from his whirlwind resurgence on the pop culture landscape, complete with the required Aiken controversies, the singer sits down to answer ten questions about Clive Davis, the media circus surrounding him and if he is the new Christmas crooner for our times.

SheKnows: Considering this is officially your second album, why release a CD with songs made famous by others?

Clay Aiken: It wasn't our intention to do it this way. But we started noticing that so many of the greatest songs we were finding were cover songs. Clive made the suggestion and thought it would be a great idea to remake the greatest love songs of all time. When Clive Davis has an idea you have to assume its going to be great. So we listened to him and gave it a shot.

SK: Being an appreciator of popular music, was it a difficult process to go through and choose the handful that appears on the record?

CA: We really made it a collaborative effort. Clive chose songs, I chose songs, and Jaymes (executive producer Jaymes Foster) chose songs. We really found that we had a great deal of matches on all three lists. Not only did we want to pick songs that were excellent copyrights and stellar songs, we also made sure that each song really matched me vocally and stylistically. I mean, "I'm Too Sexy" was a big hit, but seriously—me singing it wouldn't really fit!

SK: In the last year the focus, in terms of the public eye, for Clay Aiken seemed to be about his hair, his latest suit, the floored American Idol fan, (and recently—Kelly Ripa), how thrilled are you to have the Clay Aiken focus on your music again?

CA: (Laughs) I think that part of the focus on "Clay Aiken" is always going to be on how weird he looks! Part of the phenomenon is that this skinny, dorky looking white kid could be transformed into something moderately presentable! (Laughs) I hope that people have always been able to look past the exterior and hear me sing. Or, at least, be able to say "He may look weird, but he can sing well!"

SK: Larry King made you laugh the other night after playing a clip of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and called it 'the second place song.' Your success seems to have given a shot of confidence to anyone who finishes in American Idol's Top 10 ever since. Do you take pride in that?

CA: I remember being back on Idol when we were in the top 144. We all thought that when we made the top 32 we were set. We would never have to work another day in our lives. Then when we were in the top 32 we thought our lives would be over if we didn't make it to the top 12. Then we thought the only way to make it would be to be in the top two. But the truth of the matter is that Idol is a stepping stone no matter where you make it. There are individuals who have made it all the way to the top three who have done nothing with themselves as far as a career in the entertainment industry goes. Then you look at those from our season. First, second, third and fourth place finishers all had the drive and took the initiative and worked hard to get record careers. Kim Caldwell came in sixth and has a successful place on television as a host. Our 12th place finisher, Vanessa Olivarez, went on to have lead roles in major national stage productions. Matthew Metzger got cut in the top 32 and he had a major role on One Life to Live. A guy named Josh Strickland got cut on the first day of the top 144, yet he worked hard, and he has the lead role in "Tarzan" on Broadway now. So, I don't necessarily think that I am the example of how you can make it, even if you don't win. I came close enough to the top to have a lot of stuff come to me by way of the show. There are lots of others who worked hard and whose talent really got them to great places without even needing to be in the top three.

SK: What was it like to come out of that show where you were all grouped together for months and months, working incredible hours and then at the end of the tour, suddenly, you're on your own? Was that difficult for you or were you excited to explore your own spotlight?

CA: I think one of the neatest things about Idol is its ability to prepare people for the entertainment world. Everything from dealing with criticism to how to perform in from of a camera, it's really a boot camp.

SK: Why the title "A Thousand Different Ways?"

CA: I think there are many ways that the album title is appropriate. For one (and most simply), the songs are covers. So, presumably, each song could be sung 1000 different ways or more. But more deeply -- there are thousands of different ways to tell someone you love them. You can show it. You can say it. You can sing it. And there are thousands of different kinds of love. So, instead of having a title track, the song "A Thousand Days" really just served as an inspirational 'jumping off point' and helped us find our album title.

SK: The idea this record is brilliant, popular music is littered with incredible vocal songs made famous by singers who didn't quite squeeze everything out of the song. Have you spoken with any of the songwriters before crafting your own versions?

CA: I have had the privilege of hearing from Diane Warren and Richard Page. Both wrote songs we recorded. There were quite complimentary.

SK: I see you credit Clive Davis for the concept for the album. You've worked with him since 'Idol,' but even without that connection, for him to be the type of person who not only manages talent and nurtures them, but to come to Whitney Houston's aide, you must be proud to consider him an influence in your career and life.

CA: Clive's reputation really precedes him. It's been quite an amazing experience to know that I have been privy to the "Clive Davis fingerprint" on our projects.

SK: When I last saw you perform live, you entered the arena to "Kyrie Eliason" and everyone had chills. I know Mister Mister's "Broken Wings" is on "A Thousands Ways," but will you ever record "Kyrie Eliason?" It is a match made in heaven.

CA: I love that song. It was tossed around as an idea early on for this album. But as it's not a love song so we had to shelf it.

SK: Clay, you are in the middle of another Christmas tour with a full orchestra. What do you like so much about touring during the holidays? Are you the new Neil Diamond?

CA: There's such a positive energy and feel around the holidays. Audiences always have such a different energy at Christmas and the songs are so hopeful.

~Joel D. Amos

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WebProNews.com

Yahoo Answers Unicef

David A. Utter

Staff Writer

Published: 2007-01-30

They have long supported charitable works by their employees and users, with the latest effort combining star power and Yahoo Answers to bolster the Up Close 2007 campaign to benefit Unicef.

Yahoo teamed with Unicef for a ten-day celebrity-studded awareness building campaign. Through Yahoo Answers, celebrities from film, TV, music and sports will ask questions of Yahoo's users to build awareness of children's issues throughout the world.

Actors Lucy Liu, Lawrence Fishburne, Alyssa Milano, Danny Glover, and Tea Leoni, musicians Clay Aiken and India Arie, NBA star Elton Brand, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson have been listed as celebrity participants for the program, which runs from today through February 9th.

The opening question, "What can we do to get more Americans committed to supporting programs that help children?", comes from singer and Unicef Ambassador Clay Aiken. Nearly 2,000 answers have been posted in response already; they range from thoughtful to useless, with answers in the latter category being voted down by users in favor of exposing the better ones in the thread.

Quite a few responses made early on touched on a similar idea: increase awareness of Unicef and its mission. There are a number of worthy causes people can support. If they only know Unicef from the Trick Or Treat coin collecting done each Halloween, that means there is room for people to learn more.

The Yahoo Answers campaign should be a good start toward educating more people, since Yahoo draws so much online traffic, and its Answers service has become a popular stop for users ever since its debut in December 2005.

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ETonline.com

CLAY AIKEN made an appearance on "Good Morning America" Thursday to promote UNICEF's public awareness campaign for Child Survival 2007, and the "American Idol" runner-up also revealed which former contestant gets his vote!

"I'm jealous," Clay lightheartedly replied when asked about JENNIFER HUDSON. "There was a point I was considered the most successful 'Idol' loser, but now I'm not anymore. I saw the movie ['Dreamgirls'] and she deserves the Academy Award," he added. "Now I'm going to be in second place again."

Of course, Clay has proved to be number one with fans. As just one example of the strength of his devotees, a February 2006 People magazine poll ranked Aiken as reader's "Favorite American Idol."

But the singing sensation wants to use his fame to help others, and is a dedicated advocate for children's causes, such as UNICEF's mission to provide health, education, equality and protection for children across the globe.

"We want to get people involved," Clay said of his role with the organization.

To find out more about Clay's UNICEF mission, check out his page at unicefusa.org by clicking HERE

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BAF Champions for Change Benefit, March 31, 2007

Mar 31: The Bubel/Aiken Foundation Hosts Champion for Change Gala at Raleigh’s Cardinal Club (Raleigh)

Raleigh, NC- The Bubel/Aiken Foundation (TBAF) will be hosting its annual Champion of Change Gala, Saturday, March 31, at the Cardinal Club in Raleigh. The Gala honors individuals and groups who have created opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in all that life has to offer.

The event will feature a special performance by multi-platinum recording artist Clay Aiken as well as an exquisite three-course dinner from Executive Chief Fred Leach, compliments of the Cardinal Club. Lynda Loveland, local news anchor for WRAL-TV, will serve as mistress of ceremonies. Champion of Change awards will be given to State Farm Insurance, Coach Jim Johnson, TBAF’s Voices of Beta Alpha volunteers and Youth Honoree, Jonathan Bunzey.

“I am proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our honorees. State Farm Insurance’s corporate commitment to seeing communities become places where all children can participate, our own Beta Alpha volunteers’ passion and dedication to raising awareness all across the country, Coach Jim Johnson’s decision to include a child in an event that in turn gave hope to countless people, and Jonathan Bunzey’s willingness to take the benefits from his own experience and turn it around to help others should inspire all of us to use our voices to make a difference in our own communities for inclusion”, said Clay Aiken, co-founder of TBAF.

State Farm Insurance has teamed with TBAF to provide much needed funding that will spur the development of an educational curriculum focused on teaching social and life skills to children of all abilities. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation’s K-12 Inclusive Community Service Project is designed to address factors that impede the successful inclusion of children with disabilities both in school and in the community. With State Farm’s help, the Inclusive Community Service Project will create awareness about the abilities of all young people. We will be able to change the attitudes and behaviors that stigmatize and exclude children with disabilities from all that life has to offer. Together, State Farm and The Bubel/Aiken Foundation will foster real life experiences that promote the positive role full inclusion will play in all our lives and the lives of generations to come.

In July 2006, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation formalized its volunteer efforts in an initiative called the Voices of Beta Alpha. Over the course of several months, Beta Alpha chapters have been established in twenty states and on nine message boards. Chapters have been actively doing fundraisers ranging from jewelry sales to trivia nights raising significant funding to support the Foundation’s mission of full inclusion.

On February 13, 2006, Champion of Change Honoree, Coach Jim Johnson made the kindhearted gesture of inserting his team manager who has autism, Jason McElwain—now known to the world as J-Mac—into Greece Athena High School’s final home game, which the Trojans won 79-43. J-Mac scored 20 points in just over four minutes, including six three-point baskets, to become an instant national celebrity. Johnson is being honored as a Champion of Change for his commitment to including everyone on his team and making a decision for inclusion that has brought to light the possibilities that including children with disabilities can bring not only for the particular child but also for an entire community.

For the past four years, Jonathan Bunzey, the Champion of Change Youth Honoree, has worked on the We Build People Campaign at the A.E. Finley YMCA in Raleigh, NC. He raises money for kids with special needs to be able to have the same, fun camp experience at the YMCA that he has had. In his first year with the campaign, he raised around $700. Three years later, Jonathan challenged himself and raised $6400.

“The Bubel/Aiken Foundation believes it’s time to include all children in community programs. We would like everyone to understand that inclusion benefits children with and without disabilities. The Foundation is committed to creating communities where ALL children can learn, live and play together. My sincere thanks go out to the Cardinal Club for embracing the mission of our foundation by hosting this gala. I’m grateful for everyone’s support and participation. My hope is that together, we can make our world a better place for ALL children”, said Diane Bubel, co-founder. Bubel will be speaking at the Gala.

The Cardinal Club is located on the 28th floor of the Wachovia Capital Center Building, 150 Fayetteville Street Mall. The event begins at 7 pm. Tickets for the event are sold out.

About TBAF: The Bubel/Aiken Foundation will serve to bridge the gap that exists between young people with special needs and the world around them. By providing services and financial assistance, TBAF supports communities and programs in creating awareness and opportunities for full inclusion where barriers break and doors open. It is their goal to create an environment for children where inclusion is embraced. To learn more about The Bubel/Aiken Foundation or ways to get involved visit their website at www.bubelaiken.org.

About Cardinal Club: The Cardinal Club provides an elegant gathering place for North Carolina's business and social communities. As a respite from a busy world, the Cardinal Club's atmosphere encourages Members to enjoy family and friends, foster new relationships and expand personal and professional horizons, all in a world-class setting of comfort, privacy and uncompromising quality. As an integral part of its community, the Cardinal Club is committed to Raleigh's development and prosperity and to being the employer of choice in the Raleigh area hospitality industry. Visit them on the web at www.cardinal-club.com

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Big push for Aiken tickets

March 26, 2007, 4:55PM

Big push for Aiken tickets

By ANDREW DANSBY

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Aiken has Houstonians buzzing

A slow-selling second album and a daytime TV feud have done little to quell Claymania in Houston.

The Houston Symphony's phone lines were jammed Monday with calls inquiring about tickets for American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken's July 6 appearance with the orchestra.

The symphony sent e-mails to its subscribers and to Aiken fan clubs, prompting the onslaught.

"We've never seen response like this," symphony spokesman Art Kent said. "Not that we're unhappy about it. The response has been great. But I haven't even put out the press release."

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Call 713-224-7575 or log on to www.houstonsymphony.org.

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