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April - June 2010

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Give a Damn Campaign Launches

Give a Damn Campaign Launches!

CYNDI LAUPER'S TRUE COLORS FUND LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO SPUR STRAIGHT SUPPORT FOR GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER EQUALITY

Cyndi Lauper, Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Mraz, Cynthia Nixon, Anna Paquin, Sharon & Kelly Osbourne, Judith Light, Kim Kardashian, Clay Aiken, Wanda Sykes, and others join forces in Give a Damn Campaign Video Series

April 1, 2010 [NEW YORK] – Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund today launched the Give a Damn Campaign (www.WeGiveADamn.org), a bold, web-based initiative with the goal of educating and engaging the straight community in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. The call-to-action campaign kicks off with the release of its first series of videos which feature Cyndi Lauper, Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Mraz, Cynthia Nixon, Anna Paquin, Sharon & Kelly Osbourne, Judith Light, Kim Kardashian, Clay Aiken, Wanda Sykes, Eric Roberts, and Kevin Alejandro expressing why they Give a Damn about equality.

"In my life I've crossed paths with many different people and I've seen firsthand what it means to be discriminated against," said Cyndi Lauper, True Colors Fund co-founder. "I've come to realize equality means a lot to people who don't have it and that, as a straight person, I have a responsibility to stand up for gay and transgender people each and every day. We all have to get involved; we all have to give a damn."

The Give a Damn Campaign's debut video series, produced by Red Thread Productions, directs viewers to wegiveadamn.org, an innovative and interactive website designed by Purple Crayons, where they are presented with ways they can get informed and get involved.

The site is designed as an easy to understand introduction to the issues affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. In addition to the video component, wegiveadamn.org features three important sections: the Damn Blog, which is updated daily to keep readers informed on breaking news and ways to get involved, Personal Stories, where visitors can read about why other people support equality and how inequalities have affected their lives and Damn Issues, where visitors can learn about the issues that matter most to them.

Wegiveadamn.org also functions as a helpful tool for people to get involved in advancing equality. In particular, visitors are urged to reach out to the straight people in their lives to encourage them to show their support. Through the use of the site's "Tell a Friend" feature and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, users are able to easily share any of the videos, personal stories or other content that will best assist them in opening a dialogue about equality with the people in their lives. Additional opportunities to get involved are available through partnerships with an array of non-profit organizations. One of the easiest things visitors can do to support equality is join the Give a Damn Campaign. By providing their email address visitors can stay informed and stay involved, as well as enjoy a personalized and customized version of wegiveadamn.org.

"Our focus is to open a dialogue with everyone, especially the straight community, who may not be fully aware of the inequality facing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. The Give a Damn Campaign will help bridge that gap," said True Colors Fund Executive Director Gregory Lewis. "'Equality for all is the basis upon which this country was built and it can only be achieved if we all get informed and get involved."

ABOUT THE TRUE COLORS FUND

True Colors Fund, the non-profit organization co-founded by music icon and longtime activist Cyndi Lauper, seeks to inspire and engage everyone, particularly the straight community, to become active participants in the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality and ensure a strong and vibrant LGBT community.

For more information please visit www.truecolorsfund.org.

ABOUT SPONSORS:

The Give a Damn Campaign has been made possible with the very generous support of lead sponsors Purple Crayons, designers of wegiveadamn.org and the Give a Damn logo, and Red Thread Productions, producers of the Give a Damn video series. Additional support has been provided by Eccentricity Design, Dietrich Nelson & Associates, Inc., Jeff Ertz, Keaton Simons, MAC Cosmetics, and Mayu Mishina.

ABOUT PARTNERS:

The True Colors Fund's non-profit partners are: CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Immigration Equality, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE), Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), The Trevor Project.

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clayonline.com

Posted on the Public Side of the Fan Club

Clay and Ruben "Timeless" Tour Dates Announced

04/01/10

After much anticipation and speculation, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard confirmed today plans to tour North America. Kicking off July 23, 2010 in Asheville, North Carolina, Clay and Ruben will bring their "Timeless" tour to 17 cities including appearances at famed venues such as New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, LA Nokia Live in Los Angeles, and Pennsylvania's American Music Theater. This is the first time the two artists will tour together.

"I couldn't ask for a better tour mate. To be able to share the stage with him again is so exciting," said Clay Aiken. "He is such a talented artist. He inspires me daily and I think that respect and admiration will truly be reflected in our show."

"It is truly a blessing and an honor to be on the stage with my friend," said Ruben Studdard. "The relationship that we have built over these past eight years will definitely translate into a great show for our fans. And I'm really looking forward to singing the timeless classics every night."

Concert goers can expect an entertaining evening as two friends and colleagues blend their talents for an unforgettable show. Clay and Ruben will be performing their renditions of classic hits from the past five decades. Fans can look forward to duets and special surprises throughout the tour.

In 2003, on the second season of American Idol, with over 24 million votes cast by the TV viewing audience, Ruben Studdard won the title, while Clay Aiken was the very close runner up. The two became instant friends and have shared the joys and pressures of their success over the past seven years. Since Idol, both artists have released albums, performed around the country and made multiple appearances on TV.

For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.clayaiken.com orwww.rubenstuddard.com

A LIST OF CURRENT TOUR DATES (AS OF MARCH 28, 2010):

Jul-23 - Asheville, NC - Biltmore Estates

Jul-24 - Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theater

Jul-25 - Melbourne, FL - King Center For Arts

Jul-26 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall

Jul-29 - Snoqualmie WA - Casino- Mountain View Plaza

Jul-31 - Reno, NV - Silver Legacy Casino

Aug-01 - Los Angeles, CA - Club Nokia

Aug-03 - Milwaukee, WI - Potawatomi Casino

Aug-05 - Windsor, ON - Caesar's

Aug-06 - Chautauqua, NY - Chautauqua Institution Amphitheatre

Aug-07 - Mashantucket, CT - MGM Grand Foxwoods

Aug-08 - Lancaster, PA - American Music Theater

Aug-10 - Hampton Beach, NH - HB Casino

Aug-11 - New York, NY - Hammerstein

Aug-12 - Verona, NY - Turning Stone Casino

Aug-13 - Hammond, IN - Horseshoe

Aug-14 - Biloxi, MS - Beau Rivage

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billboard.com

Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard to Tour Together

Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard To Tour Together

by David J. Prince, N.Y. | April 01, 2010 6:32 EDT

Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, the two contestants who battled for the "American Idol" title in 2003, announced today plans for a co-headlining summer tour. Studdard, who was voted the winner, and Aiken, the close runner up, will play dates on the East Coast and the midwest, kicking off the trek on Jul. 23 on Asheville, NC and winding up Aug. 14 in Biloxi, MS.

The two former adversaries, who have shared a seven year friendship throughout their post-Idol careers, are touring together for the first time ever. The two singers plan to perform separately and together, and promise surprise guests at different tour stops.

"I couldn't ask for a better tour mate. To be able to share the stage with him again is so exciting," said Aiken in a statement. "He is such a talented artist. He inspires me daily and I think that respect and admiration will truly be reflected in our show."

"It is truly a blessing and an honor to be on the stage with my friend," Studdard added. "The relationship that we have built over these past eight years will definitely translate into a great show for our fans. And I'm really looking forward to singing the timeless classics every night."

Here the the Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard tour dates:

Jul. 23: Asheville, NC (Biltmore Estates)

Jul. 24: Jacksonville, FL (Florida Theater)

Jul. 25: Melbourne, FL (King Center For Arts)

Jul. 26: Clearwater, FL (Ruth Eckerd Hall)

Jul. 29: Snoqualmie WA (Mountain View Plaza)

Jul. 31: Reno, NV (Silver Legacy Casino)

Aug. 1: Los Angeles, CA (Club Nokia)

Aug. 3: Milwaukee, WI (Potowanami Casino)

Aug. 5: Windsor, ON (Caesar's)

Aug. 6: Chautauqua NY (Chautauqua Institution Amphitheatre)

Aug. 7: Mashantucket, CT (MGM Grand Foxwoods)

Aug. 8: Lancaster, PA (American Music Theater)

Aug. 10: Hampton Beach, NH (HB Casino)

Aug. 11: New York, NY (Hammerstein)

Aug. 12: Verona, NY (Turning Stone Casino)

Aug. 13: Hammond, IN (Horseshoe)

Aug. 14: Biloxi, MS (Beau Rivage)

©2010 Billboard. All rights reserved.

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examiner.com

First photograph from the shoot from Clay Aiken's "Tried and True"

First photographs from the shoot for Clay Aiken's "Tried and True"

May 1, 12:13 PM · Randy Hamilton - Durham Photography ExaminerVincentClayTrey(1).jpg

Clay Aiken, by Vincent SoyezReaders of a previous article in this column, about the photography shoot for Clay Aiken's next album, may be delighted to learn that the first of those photos have been released. These initial images are representative of the three locations for the day-long session.

The album cover has been available for a while, and you can view it on any number of the usual merchant sites. The album cover photograph was taken in the Mecca Restaurant in Raleigh, in the upstairs dining area.

In addition, other images are approved and are now or will soon be posted on photographer Vincent Soyez's web site. Whether or not any of these photographs (other than the cover shot) will appear in the CD package remains to be seen.

VincentClayTrain.jpg

Clay Aiken, by Vincent SoyezAbove we have a picture in the bar at Treyburn Country Club, and below is one of those taken at the 18th green on the Treyburn golf course. As you can see, the sky was very dramatic that day. At least one other shot from the golf course shows Aiken perfectly framed by the cloudy sky. That one has not been released; perhaps Decca is saving that for the CD package.

The photograph at the right shows Aiken on the deck at the south end of the train car at the American Tobacco Campus. In the slideshow accompanying this article are two publicity shots taken at the end of the Treyburn session.

If you compare these photos to the location photos in the previous article, you get a sense of how transforming is Soyez's work. You can see this more clearly by viewing these images in a larger format, as well as many other samples of his photograpy, on his web site.

VincentClayGolf.jpg

Clay Aiken, by Vincent SoyezAccording to Soyez, we can expect additional finished photographs to be posted, as they are approved, over the coming days and weeks. Readers who want to be kept informed can watch Soyez's web site for new images or subscribe to this column to be notified when new articles are published.

© All

images in this article are copyrighted by Vincent Soyez and should not be copied or used without his permission.

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deccarecords-us.com

Clay Aiken Press Release

CLAY AIKEN COMES FULL CIRCLE WITH ALBUM OF TIMELESS CLASSICS TRIED AND TRUE

Aiken's First Recording For Decca To Be Released June 1st

May 7, 2010 (New York, NY) -- Clay Aiken has never sounded more at home than he does singing the lushly arranged classics on his fifth studio album Tried and True — the international pop phenomenon's first album for Decca Records. Showcasing Aiken's powerful voice and considerable interpretive gifts, the new CD is comprised of songs from the '50s and '60s that Aiken grew up listening to as a child. The platinum-selling artist and idol to many has arguably never sounded better. Tried and True will be available everywhere on June 1st.

For Aiken, Tried and True (so named because he feels the songs have stood the test of time) was about getting back to himself after a career performing more pop-oriented material. "There are a lot of elements to this album that are about me returning to what I'm comfortable with," Aiken says. "To me, older songs are more melodically appealing and beautiful. So doing this album was an opportunity to just be myself."

Aiken's delight in the material on his new disc shines through with his impeccable vocal delivery, as well as his genuine emotional connection to each track. Highlights include swinging album opener "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," made famous by Frankie Valli; "Misty," the Johnny Mathis hit, and a soulful rendition of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." Tried and True also features two songs Aiken sang while appearing as a contestant on the second season of American Idol: "Mack the Knife" and "Unchained Melody," alongside songs with guest appearances by saxophonist David Sanborn on "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and Broadway star Linda Eder on Roy Orbison's "Crying."

Aiken launched his career journey seven years ago on American Idol, where he won over millions of viewers with his phenomenal voice and down-home charm. He parlayed his success into full-fledged stardom, selling more than six million copies worldwide of his previous four albums, all of which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard chart. In addition, Aiken has launched nine live tours, made the New York Times best-seller list by co-authoring the inspirational memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life, and won several American Music and Billboard Music Awards — all while donating a significant amount of his time to such charities as his own foundation, National Inclusion Project and acting as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. In January 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin in the Tony Award-winning musical Monty Python's Spamalot. In June, he embarks on a co-headlining jaunt with good friend Ruben Studdard.

For more information, visit: http://www.clayonline.com

5/7/2010

Clay Aiken Bio

Clay Aiken has never sounded more at home than he does singing the lushly arranged classics on his fifth studio album Tried and True — the international pop phenomenon’s first album for Decca Records. The bulk of the album — which showcases Aiken’s powerful tenor voice and considerable interpretive gifts — is made up of songs from the ’50s and ’60s that Aiken grew up listening to as a child in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“My birth father was a musician and my mother sang in a band when I was a little kid,” Aiken says. “There was always music playing in the house. A lot of the songs on Tried and True, like ‘Unchained Melody,’ ‘Suspicious Minds,’ ‘It’s Only Make Believe,’ and ‘Crying,’ are songs my mother used to sing. If folks do think I sound at home on this album, it's probably because singing these songs came very naturally for me. I never took sheet music or lyrics into the vocal booth. I knew them so well that I didn’t need to.”

For Aiken, Tried and True (so named because he feels the songs have stood the test of time) was about getting back to himself after a career performing more pop-oriented material. “There are a lot of elements to this album that are about me returning to what I’m comfortable with,” Aiken says. “I’ve often joked with friends that I feel like I was born at the wrong time because the person I am and the songs I like to sing are all from earlier eras. To me, older songs are more melodically appealing and beautiful. So doing this album was kind of an opportunity to just be myself. I’m kind of an old soul, so singing gorgeous orchestral arrangements backed by a big band fits me really well.”

Aiken’s delight in the material comes through not only in his vocal delivery but in the way he connects to the emotional undercurrents running through each of these melodic ballads. With the thoughtful help of executive producer Dave Novik (Decca’s Senior Vice President of A&R), as well as arrangers Chris Walden, Jesse Vargas, and Ben Cohn, the classic standards on Tried and True are respectfully updated and refreshed, but still retain the spirit in which they were written and sung by various legendary artists through the years. “I told Dave Novik that I wanted to do something that paid tribute to the Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, and Andy Williams type of sound, because those artists sang really emotional stuff and did it beautifully,” Aiken says. “I mean, have you ever heard Johnny Mathis sing ‘Misty’? What is he doing with his voice! He’s like some kind of amazing freak of nature. It’s just incredible.”

“Misty” is on the album, as well as “It’s Impossible” (memorably done by Perry Como in 1970 and later by Andy Williams). Tried and True opens with a swinging version of Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” made famous by Frankie Valli (“We chose it because it’s a song people remember no matter how old they are,” Aiken says), followed by “What Kind of Fool Am I?” (featuring a saxophone solo by David Sanborn), which has been recorded by Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. “I tried to steer away from the Rat Pack mentality on this album, because so many people I admire, like Michael Bublé, have done it really well, but Dave introduced me to this one and I discovered what a great stylist Sammy Davis Jr. was,” Aiken says. Country legend Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe” is here, (thoroughly de-countrified), as well as “There’s A Kind of Hush” (made famous by both Herman’s Hermits and The Carpenters), and “Suspicious Minds,” which Aiken sang during his 2005 “Jukebox Tour.”

Tried and True also features two songs Aiken sang while appearing as a contestant on the second season of American Idol: “Mack the Knife” and “Unchained Melody,” which is one of his mother’s favorites. “My mom had this dream that ‘Unchained Melody’ was going to be my ticket to stardom,” Aiken says with a laugh. “She always thought she was going to take me to Nashville and I was going to sing that song and have a big hit on the radio with it, so I’ve sang it all my life. It’s exciting to finally have my own version.” Then there’s a song Aiken wanted to perform on Idol but never did, to his regret: “Moon River” (featuring a guitar solo by Vince Gill). “I really wanted to sing it, and [then-executive producer] Nigel Lythgoe told me I should, but I had folks in my ear telling me not to because they didn’t think it was a vote-getter, but I love it.”

And finally, there’s Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” which Aiken performs as a duet with singer and Broadway star Linda Eder, whom he asked to sing with him not only because of her “beautiful, crystal-clear voice,” but also because of her star turn as the ingénue in Broadway’s Jekyll and Hyde. While in high school, Aiken auditioned for a county showcase with that show’s signature song: “This Is The Moment.” “I ended being one of the only soloists in the county who got to sing for this big performance,” he recalls. It was on the very same stage, Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, where Aiken taped a live concert special for PBS that will air in June.

It’s just another way that Tried and True feels like a king of homecoming, seven years after launching his career journey on American Idol. After winning over millions of viewers with his phenomenal voice and down-home charm, Aiken parlayed his success into full-fledged stardom. He has sold more than six million copies worldwide of his four albums: the double-platinum Measure of A Man (featuring the hits “Invisible” and “This is the Night”), 2004’s platinum holiday CD Merry Christmas With Love, 2006’s gold-certified A Thousand Different Ways, and 2008’s On My Way Here — all of which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard chart. In addition, Aiken has launched nine live tours, made the New York Times best-seller list by co-authoring the inspirational memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life, executive produced and starred in his first TV special, A Clay Aiken Christmas, and won several American Music and Billboard Music Awards — all while donating a significant amount of his time to such charities as his own foundation, National Inclusion Project and acting as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. In January 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin in the Tony Award-winning musical Monty Python’s Spamalot.

While admitting Broadway is "a challenge" he'd love to tackle again, Aiken considers the small screen his second home and has made numerous television appearances as both guest and host. He was a correspondent for The Insider for the 2005 Emmy Awards, co-hosted The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and Live with Regis and Kelly, both in 2006, appeared on the sit-com Ed (2004) and legendary soaps All My Children (2005) and Days of Our Lives (2006). He also made a guest appearance on the comedies Scrubs (2006) and 30 Rock (2009). Popular among late-night talk-show hosts, Aiken has made memorable appearances on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, Larry King Live, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has a particular bond with Jimmy Kimmel, guesting on Jimmy Kimmel Live! multiple times, usually participating in skits that allow him to show his comedic side. Two years ago, Aiken’s whole world changed when he became a father for the first time. In June, he will launch his first tour since his son Parker’s August 2008 birth: a co-headlining jaunt with good friend Ruben Studdard. The “Timeless” tour, in which the two will perform renditions of classic hits from the past five decades, kicks off on July 23rd in Asheville, NC, and takes in 17 venues across the U.S. through mid-August. “To be able to share the stage with Ruben again is so exciting,” Aiken says. “He is such a talented artist. He inspires me daily and I think that respect and admiration will truly be reflected in our show.”

“Timeless” tour-goers will no doubt be delighted with the classics that appear on Tried and True. “I’ve done well with adult audiences in the past,” Aiken says, “whereas my past albums have been about trying to sing songs just because they might appeal to Top 40 radio, this album is a chance to do what I want to do: Sing songs that I think are great and not try to put a square peg in a round hole."

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Reuters.com

Billboard CD Reviews: Clay Aiken, Juan Gabriel

Billboard CD reviews: Clay Aiken, Juan Gabriel

Fri May 21, 2010 5:16pm EDT

NEW YORK (Billboard) - After a series of so-so soft-rock efforts, Season 2 "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken looks back to the music of the '50s and '60s on "Tried & True," a big-band-style collaboration with German producer Alex Christensen, whose resume includes work with Paul Anka, Sarah Brightman and Right Said Fred. Given the cabaret-ready character of Aiken's voice, the change in direction suits the singer. Where he used to sound like an oldster attempting to crash the top 40, here Aiken's vocals exude a relaxed vibe that seemingly reflects his recent stint on Broadway in "Spamalot!" That even goes for a surprisingly authoritative version of "Mack the Knife," where Aiken summons a swagger he never previously displayed. Other songs include "Moon River" (with a tasty acoustic-guitar solo by Vince Gill), a jazzy take on Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe" and "Unchained Melody," which gets the full Hollywood-orchestra treatment.

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popeater.com

Clay Aiken's Summer Plans: Touring and a New Album

Clay Aiken's Summer Plans: Touring and a New Album

By Jo Piazza Posted May 30th 2010 09:22AM

aiken.jpg

Clay Aiken has a busy summer in front of him. The former American Idol has grown up a lot since he was the runner up on the second season of the show.

Two years ago, Clay's whole world changed when he became a father for the first time. In June, he will launch his first tour since his son Parker's August 2008 birth: a co-headlining jaunt with good friend (another former Idol) Ruben Studdard. His fifth album, "Tried and True"comprised of songs from the 50s and 60s that Aiken grew up listening to as a child comes out next week.

Celebenomics took some time to chat with Clay about his tour, his album, branding himself post 'Idol,' how having a baby has made him a savvier business man and how he has managed to never catch an episode of 'Glee.' "With the exception of CNN and the stuff on NBC on Thursday nights and that I don't watch too much TV," he says.

Celebenomics: How did you and Ruben decide to do this co-headlining tour together?

Clay: We've stayed in touch for seven years and we really just got to the point that we had been saying we wanted to tour and sing together for years and we realized we had this summer free so we said 'Let's jump on this.' We decided we will sing the songs we love and the songs people recognize, not album tracks we have had in the past, but songs people know that are recognizable and timeless.

Celebenomics: Is Parker coming along?

Clay: No. Not coming along this time.

Celebenomics: Has being a dad influenced your music?

Clay: Not my music. I don't sing about being a father or fatherhood. I think it does make me a little more responsible and it makes me think about business a little more than I have in the past. I used to do things because I wanted to and now I pick apart the budget a little more. I realize I have to put this kid through college.

Celebenomics: You did something really smart with your last album that got you some flak. You sold it on QVC. I think it was a brilliant move to take it directly to the people who were buying your album. Is that why you did it? To get your audience where they shop?

Clay: I think its important to stay in our own lane and cater to the people who have gotten us to this point and do it in a way that allows other folks to familiarize themselves with what we do. I think there is a push for new artists to focus on the top forty market and to try to get a hit on the radio and cater to the younger demographic and I don't think that is me. I'm not saying our audience is old. You can have mature people in their twenties but I find that folks who are more settled in their lives and are more mature have tastes that aren't as fickle and they tend to support the artists they enjoy. We don't deny them that.

Celebenomics: Besides the album and the tour what else is on your plate for this summer?

Clay: The album has been pretty all consuming and occupied my time for the past six months and now this tour will be occupying my summer. In the fall we will be putting together a tour for the album and all summer I will be stopping off at local PBS stations to promote my PBS special.

Celebenomics: In 2009 you parted ways with RCA and picked Decca as your new label. How did you choose them?

Clay: We had a few folks who were talking about forming a relationship and what was most appealing about Decca is that they have a group of artists, some of them you know, some you may not know. They have artists like Boys to Men, Andrea Bocelli and Rufus Wainwright. It's an eclectic group and none of them fit into one category. Decca is very good at allowing its artists to figure out what they want to do. I think they are good about embracing the adult market and they allowed me the freedom to do what I wanted to do. They didn't tell me I had to put a certain song on an album and make this one a remix and so forth.

Celebenomics: Are there any artists you want to collaborate with?

Clay: Trisha Yearwood. She may not be the first person you think of but she has an incredible voice. And Cyndi Lauper who has been active in causes that are important to her and I both.

Celebenomics: I would love to see you as a guest performer on "Glee" performing some of these old standards off your album?

Clay: I've never seen it.

Celebenomics: What (jaw drops)?

Clay: My television is typically tuned to CNN. I watch "The Closer". I want to be on "The Closer" real bad. I'm addicted to it. With the exception of CNN and the stuff on NBC on Thursday nights and that I don't watch too much TV.

Celebenomics: Since you came out have you had fans write in and talk to you to let you know that your coming out of the closet has helped them?

Clay: Not so much. It is helpful and I understand why it could be helpful. But I think the more fuss is made about it the less it normalizes it. The truth is that being gay is not news. it should be something that we strive to normalize. It's nothing we need to broadcast. It's a fine line. I do understand the benefit but I hope for the days when it is not news and not a headline.

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usatoday.com

Clay Aiken, "Tried and True": A Track-by-Track Review

Clay Aiken, 'Tried and True': A track-by-track review ClayTriedTruex-inset-community.jpg

Decca Records

Go to any estate sale with a stack of vinyl, and, invariably, you'll find a selection of singers whose music seems left behind by time and popular opinion, acts like Perry Como, Jack Jones, Andy Williams. These were the pop singers whose careers were the last bastions of adult resistance against the onslaught of rock 'n' roll. During their day, they recorded prolifically and sold well, but -- with the exception of Johnny Mathis, whose ethereal, vibrato-laden voice seemed to drift in from another, dreamier universe -- any lasting impact on contemporary artists has proven to be the exception rather than the rule.

These are the acts to whom Clay Aiken pays tribute on Tried and True, his debut for Decca Records. Unlike Tony Bennettand Frank Sinatra, they weren't jazz singers at heart, though you could hear the vestiges of big-band music in their lavish arrangements. Every once in a while, they'd even cut a Beatlessong or sneak onto Top 40 radio, though no one ever mistook them for cutting-edge pop music. They were old-fashioned even 40 years ago, but they always had exceptional voices and impeccable, if conservative, taste in songs.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You. This song, originally a hit for Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, then the easy-listening Lettermen trio, has two sections so radically different they sound like they originated in different songs: First, a quiet verse extolling a lover's virtues, followed by a grand declaration -- "I love you BAY-bee!" Everybody makes that chorus swing, but Clay's arrangement leans on the backbeat harder than most -- think the theme from Bewitched -- until you can practically see the Rockettes legs kicking in union.

What Kind of Fool Am I? Clay's one foray into Rat Pack territory comes via this ballad, a 1962 hit for Sammy Davis Jr. Given the headlines he has made during the past year, it's easy to its lyrics -- "Why can't I cast away this mask of clay and live my life?" -- resonate with him. David Sanborn is featured on saxophone.

It's Only Make Believe. Conway Twitty sang this as a baritone's rockabilly ballad on his 1958 chart-topper. Even if Clay grew up listening to Twitty's version, that's absolutely not his style. Instead, he completely transforms the tune, with a walking bass line; some subtle reharmonization; and an easy, swinging groove. The handclaps during the instrumental breaks are just silly, though.

Misty. Clay totally cops his opening phrasing from the Johnny Mathis version. The arrangement is sumptious, with piano, strings, vibes and a muted trumpet solo.

Mack the Knife. Clay fans should enjoy this one, since it's likely to bring back fond memories of his "judge's choice" performance of the song on during Top Three Week on American Idol. But, really, what's left to be done with this song? It's been sung for dramatic effect, for shock value, for irony, for laughs. Clay's take sounds like the easy-listening version of Bobby Darin's arrangement.

It's Impossible. By the late '70s, this song, made famous by Perry Como, had become a punchline, thanks to a Steve Martinroutine that parodied it -- "It's impossible ... to put a Cadillac up your nose." Most singers have considered the song off-limits since then, but Clay's sincere attempt revitalizes it somewhat, its arrangement highlighted by subdued strings, acoustic guitar and trumpet.

Unchained Melody. Another favorite from Clay's Idol run (sung the same night he did Mack the Knife), and, if you liked it then, you'll love it now, with its multiple modulations and a fully realized vocal performance from Clay that expresses yearning both tenderly and powerfully.

Suspicious Minds. Clay largely succeeded in removing the country and rock elements from Conway Twitty's It's Only Make Believe. He's less successful attempting the same thing with the Elvis Presley hit Suspicious Minds, a song that drew its power not from its over-the-top arrangement but from a desperation in Presley's performance that bordered on paranoia. In Clay's version, the horns and strings and cooing background singers don't accent Clay's interpretation, they cover for it.

Crying. Roy Orbison once said that "when [Crying] came out I don't think anyone had accepted the fact that a man should cry when he wants to cry." And the sort of hyper-emotional pop in which Aiken specializes would have been almost unimaginable without Orbison as a predecessor. Some singers lose any pretense of restraint when singing this song, but Clay, performing it as a duet with Linda Eder, keeps his voice in check, making this a perfect number when it's time to revel in a little self-pity.

There's a Kind of Hush. Like The Carpenters, who revived this song in 1976, Clay doesn't improve on Herman's Hermits 1967 hit, but he does give it a fresh-sounding big-band arrangement that anybody who feels this song needs a new version should enjoy.

Moon River. Clay's version of Henry Mancini's Breakfast at Tiffany's classic begins with the motif from Beethoven'sMoonlight Sonata, and Clay sings the first verse accompanied solely by piano. When you see Vince Gill's name on the bill for this one, you expect to hear his high harmonies (which would have blended beautifully with Clay's slightly darker tenor); instead, he contributes a lovely acoustic guitar solo.

Favorites: Unchained Melody, Moon River, It's Impossible

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A Minute With: Clay Aiken, from "Idol" and Beyond

A Minute With: Clay Aiken, from "Idol" and beyond

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CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) – Singer Clay Aiken says he's returning to the music he loves with his fifth studio </span>album</span> since emerging seven years ago from the hit TV show "American Idol" which brought him fame but also some personal challenges.

Aiken, 31, was thrust into the spotlight as runner-up in the second series of "Idol" and learned along the way to stand his ground whilst also accepting the glare on his private life.

When his "dear friend" music producer Jaymes Foster gave birth to his son Parker in 2008, Aiken decided to come out as gay, a decision he was not happy to make but is glad it is over.

His fifth album, "Tried and True," released on June 1, contains songs from the 1950s and 1960s such as "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Misty," and two songs he sang while on "Idol" in 2003 -- "Mack the Knife" and "Unchained Melody."

This month he also embarks on a co-headlining tour with Ruben Studdard, the winner of "Idol" when Aiken competed, and plans to tour with his new album early next year.

Aiken, one of the top 5 best-selling "Idols," spoke to Reuters about his new album and career:

Q: Why go back to the '50s and '60s?

A: "This is more what I always wanted to do and is far more true to who I am than what I ended up doing after I got off "Idol." You get off the show with a big record contract and the record company has to figure out what to do with these people they are handed. It is a bit of a challenge to create something out of nothing."

Q: Why these songs on your debut for Decca Records?

A: "These are songs that I grew up listening to in the car with my mum. They are beautiful melodies. They aren't top 40 driven necessarily but they are called standards for a reason - they set the standard for what is great. I don't think there are songs on the radio nowadays that meet that standard. There aren't any new classics. What will we in 30 or 40 years time look back on and see as the classics from today?"

Q: What is the key to building success after "Idol?"

A: "I think everyone would love to have the answer to that! If I knew I would have bottled it. I think diversifying helps a little bit but remaining true to yourself also helps. There have been times in the past seven years when people have tried to get me to dress extra cool for example but you just can't try to be someone you are not. I feel like I am somewhat intelligent when it comes to making decisions about branching into this or that area but a lot of it has to do with luck and having good people work with you."

Q: Do you still watch Idol?

A: "No, I haven't watched it in years. I stopped watching it in the third season because it stressed me out too much. They were getting kicked off the show and my palms would start sweating. I cut the show out of my life to relieve some of the stress and found I was doing fine without it."

Q: You've done about nine tours since 2003 and you were in the Monty Python musical "Spamalot" on Broadway until last year. Would you like to do more on stage?

A: "The stage thing I loved. Movies? No. Part of the reason I have been successful is that I have stayed open to different possibilities and for that reason I would not rule anything out. But I enjoy the live aspect. There is something about talk shows too with the live atmosphere that I enjoy."

Q: You had a son, Parker, two years ago. How is he doing?

A: "He is doing quite well. He is healthy and happy and like any two-year-old. He tires me out."

Q: Are you glad that the focus on your persona life has moved on after you came out publicly?

A: "It was not such a controversy. I think the controversy was more for me. I had been out with everyone I have worked with for years. But there is a fascination with this and you can't live your life without people asking you questions so when my son was born I thought I would just knock all this out at one time. I didn't want to have him deal with anything hidden or lies. I don't know I am happy that I did it. I am happy it is over but I am sad it has to be done. No one has to come out to say they are straight."

Q: How do you cope with the attention that comes with fame?

A: "I stay at home most of the time. I don't go out because I am lazy and boring and would rather stay at home."

(Editing by Michael Perry)

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Clay Aiken: New Album is Like a Homecoming

NEW YORK, June 5, 2010

Clay Aiken: New Album Is Like a Homecoming

"Idol" Season 2 Favorite Releases Fifth Studio Album, "Tried and True," a Collection of Covers from '50s and '60s

(CBS) By Melissa Castellanos

When "American Idol" season two favorite Clay Aiken belted out his touching 2003 rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," he won over the hearts of millions.

Now, seven years later, he's built his own bridge of success as a platinum-selling artist, Broadway actor, author and, more recently, a dad.

The down-to-earth, Raleigh, N.C. native just released his fifth studio album, "Tried and True," featuring classics from the '50s and '60s.

"It seems like a little bit of a departure from the last four albums I've made to some extent, but in truth, it's really more of a homecoming in a way, because it's really what I have always wanted to do," Aiken told CBSNews.com.

Aiken points out that the classics had more emphasis on the melody, lyrics and orchestration when compared to contemporary songs heard on the radio today.

"They are standards because they did set the standard for what's really excellent," he added.

Aiken stopped by "The Early Show on Saturday Morning"'s "Second Cup Cafe" to perform his version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Mack the Knife."

Despite "Idol" 's positive influence on his career, Aiken admits he hasn't watched the show since 2005, because it stresses him to see others endure the grueling pressure.

So what does Aiken think about "Idol" judge Simon Cowell leaving the show?

"Simon was always the catalyst for the show's success," he said. "He's an integral part of the show, so I guess it remains to be seen (how the show will change.) Simon was a nice training ground in some ways -- knowing what critics might say."

In June, Aiken will co-headline the "Timeless" tour with good friend and fellow "Idol" alum Ruben Studdard. (It was Studdard who beat out Aiken in seson two).

"It will be Ruben and Clay -- like Sonny and Cher, like Donny and Marie, but a substantially different version than that!" Aiken joked. "He's one of the most infectious performers that I have ever seen. Every time he comes on stage, you can't help but smile. He is one of my favorite people in the world."

In 2008, Aiken reached some major milestones -- his "dear friend," music producer Jaymes Foster, gave birth to his son, Parker and, at the same time, he decided to come out as being gay. Although it wasn't easy to do and he wasn't thrilled with the idea, he's glad to be moving forward with his life.

Aiken, who refers to fatherhood as "amazing" gushed, "Sometimes I still have to pinch myself. ... It has been surprising and fulfilling from minute one."

He has sold more than six million copies worldwide of his four albums: the double-platinum "Measure of A Man" (featuring the hits "Invisible" and "This is the Night"), 2004's platinum holiday CD, "Merry Christmas With Love," 2006's gold-certified "A Thousand Different Ways," and 2008's "On My Way Here," all of which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard chart.

Aiken has launched nine live tours, made the New York Times best-seller list by co-authoring the inspirational memoir, "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life," executive produced and starred in his first TV special, "A Clay Aiken Christmas," and won several American Music and Billboard Music Awards.

In January 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin in the Tony Award-winning musical, Monty Python's "Spamalot."

By Melissa Castellanos

©MMX, CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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Clay Aiken Finds Comfort in Old Songs, New Life

Clay Aiken Finds Comfort in Old Songs, New Life

By MARTHA WAGGONER, Associated Press Writer – 38 mins ago

RALEIGH, N.C. – For Clay Aiken, life now is about being comfortable, from the songs he sings to the life he lives.

Aiken's CD "Tried and True," released last week, is a collection of 13 songs from the 1950s and 1960s, all of which predate the 31-year-old Aiken. But Aiken feels intimately familiar with the music that he heard as a child, while riding in the car with his mother.

The songs, including "Mack the Knife," "Unchained Melody" and "Moon River," are not merely standards, but songs Aiken wants to sing live. And since many singers make their bread and butter from touring these days, Aiken says he never wants to record another song that he won't perform live in concert.

"There are certain songs I've recorded that I've never sung since the studio," says Aiken, who starts a tour in July with good friend Ruben Studdard, to whom he came in second on "American Idol" in 2003. "So every song on this album is a song that I enjoy singing and love doing live."

The cover for the album features a different look for Aiken: He's pictured with slicked-back blonde hair, not his usual red, in a photo that harkens another era. Still, there is something comfortable about it: He's sitting in a well-known restaurant in Raleigh, where he grew up (he lives in an area nearby).

"I wanted everything to be about being at home," says Aiken — his hair back to red — as he sits beside his mother, Faye Parker, at her home in Raleigh.

Aiken is equally comfortable talking about his sexuality as he is about his music. He came out in September 2008 after the birth of his son, Parker, who was born through in-vitro fertilization to a friend, Jaymes Foster.

His newly redesigned Website still has promotions for his favorite projects — UNICEF and The Inclusion Project. But now it also includes GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which focuses on safe schools for all students.

Aiken chose GLSEN because of the teasing and name-calling he endured on school buses and classroom hallways.

"But the truth is, when I look back on it, I absolutely know that (being gay) is why I got picked on. People said it, we heard it," Aiken says, glancing at his mother.

Even though his mother knew about the bullying, Parker says she didn't acknowledge Aiken was gay until he told her at the end of 2004.

"I heard the kids call him names," she said. "I knew some things about him were a little bit more effeminate than others. But parents engage in denial."

Aiken wonders if his endorsement for GLSEN will make a difference for gay kids. "I don't know what it would have done for me," he says. "But I feel like there's a potential impact there."

The 2009 student advocate of the year for GLSEN, Austin Laufersweiler, says gay teens do care when a famous person acknowledges their sexuality.

"The face that significant people identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender gives this cause credibility and it certainly allows one to be more courageous," said Laufersweiler, 18, of Marietta, Ga., who just graduated from high school. "It really spreads the message that I can come out in school if this person can come out to the whole world."

The GLSN promotion is another step in gay rights advocacy for Aiken, who spoke in February at the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas gala in Raleigh. He's also taken to his blog to criticize anti-gay statements and legislation.

Aiken credits his increased advocacy to his son Parker, who Aiken hopes grows up in a different kind of world as far as treatment of homosexuals (Aiken and Foster share custody of Parker, who visits Aiken's home in two- to three-week stints typically).

"If he's gay, I want him to not even think about the fact or have to worry about the things I had to worry about," Aiken says.

He adds: "I'm not going to pound the pavement as much as some folks would like. ... But I also think there's a place for deliberate, thoughtful advocacy."

___

Online:

http://clayaiken.com/

http://www.glsen.org

FayeandClay4.jpg

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"Tried and True" Clay Aiken Debuts in the Top 10

Jun 09, 2010

'Tried and True' Clay Aiken debuts in the Top 10

07:35 AM

Clay Aiken pulls a Top 10 debut for his standards album last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, as Tried and True enters The Billboard 200 at No. 9 with 22,000 sales.

Also, Daughtry has two albums in The Billboard 200 this week, as his debut takes a 43% jump in weekly sales. That puts Leave This Town at No. 72 and Daughtry and No. 147.

Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert are the only other Idolacts with albums in The Billboard 200 this week, though Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox are still on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

Clay Aiken, Tried and True (22,000, debut, 22,000 total/4,000 digital, debut, 4,000 digital total) (#9 Billboard 200)

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The Voice -- Linda Eder Official Fan Newsletter

June 15

Dream Duet!

On the evening of March 12, 2010, a very special musical event took place at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, North Carolina. American Idol superstar Clay Aiken debuted his new album, TRIED & TRUE [which was just released on June 1], before a live audience. As it turned out, there was a huge surprise in store for the audience on this special night! Many of Clay's fans knew that he was going to sing a duet, but the identity of his partner was a well-kept secret. Linda's entrance onto the stage brought thunderous applause from the already psyched-up audience.

Linda and Clay's duet of Roy Orbison's "Crying" was one of those "moments in time" that the audience members will never forget. It is a moment Clay and Linda will fondly remember also.

Clay Aiken and Linda Eder

THE VOICE goes one-on-one with Clay Aiken!

VOICE: To start, could you tell us a little about the concept of TRIED & TRUE?

CLAY: TRIED & TRUE is a collection of some of the most recognizable, and in my opinion, melodically beautiful songs of the 50s and 60s. These songs, as with so many we consider standard, are really some of the most gorgeous songs ever written and I wanted to sing them because you just don't hear songs this good on the radio anymore.

VOICE: Given all the great classic songs included on TRIED & TRUE, it seems like the perfect album to debut a duet with Linda Eder, who is so well-known for singing standards. When did you first become aware of Linda Eder? Could you tell us about how you discovered her music and your thoughts about her as a performer at that time?

CLAY: I heard Linda for the first time in the same way that many did... through her incredible performance in JEKYLL & HYDE. I was a senior in high school when I first heard the soundtrack to that show, and as we all know, her voice is incomparable and unmistakable. I performed "This Is The Moment" for a regional talent show when I was in high school, and though that wasn't her song in the show, she was a major reason that it has always been a favorite of mine.

VOICE: When did you come to meet Linda Eder?

CLAY: I first met Linda in 2008 at a benefit for Rosie O'Donnell's Broadway Kids organization. Linda sang an incredible version of "If I Could" that had half the audience in tears. Rosie was kind enough to introduce us afterwards. Linda also sang for a Family Equality Council event when I was in attendance. I love how she is so willing to use her incredible gift for causes that are important to her.

Clay Aiken performs songs from his new album, TRIED & TRUE.

VOICE: You and Linda have something special in common - you both got your start in the music industry from wildly popular television talent show competitions (Linda from "Star Search," and you of course from "American Idol"). Plus, you both have incredible voices. One could say you're kindred spirits! Could you tell us a little about the actual experience of recording the duet with Linda?

CLAY: It was really interesting going in to the studio with Linda. I've recorded duets before, but never actually been in the studio when the other person sang. (the magic of the music industry, huh?) Linda is so laid back and casual in the studio that it was a breeze. She knows what sounds great, and she is so good that she doesn't have to put forth that much effort to be perfect. Some folks sing through songs line by line over and over and over and over to get things right. With Linda it was pretty much perfect the first time. There were a few times when she said, "Oh, I wanna do that over," and all of us in the control room just looked at each other with surprise because we already thought she had nailed it.

VOICE: In particular, many fans are raving about your duet of "Crying" with Linda. Can we perhaps expect more collaboration in the future?

CLAY: When it comes to female singers with flawless and impeccable vocals, very few folks compare to Linda. I do hope we find opportunities in the future to work together.

VOICE: Unrelated to TRIED & TRUE and the duet with Linda, both you and Linda are involved with charitable organizations. Could you please tell us about your charity, the National Inclusion Project, so that Linda's fans can learn more about it?

CLAY: I worked as a special education teacher before I started this whole singing thing. Many of the kids who I taught or worked with were left out of extracurricular activities because of their physical or cognitive limitations. So, after Idol, a friend of mine and I started an organization to help community groups, after school programs, summer camps, daycares... really any group that works with children... to help them include children with disabilities into their programs. We would love for you all to check out more at www.inclusionproject.org.

THE VOICE was very interested to hear what those in attendance at the PBS taping thought of the duet, and we are happy to share those impressions with you. We will begin with Clay's #1 fan!

~ Clay's Mom, Faye Aiken Parker

Clay's fans (many of whom were already Linda's fans) who were privileged to be in the audience on that special evening, and even some who just wished they were there, were very enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts for Linda's fans in THE VOICE. We know you will enjoy reading their descriptions of the experience of attending the PBS taping and hearing Linda and Clay perform "Crying."

Judy Anderson from Ontario, Canada writes…

I have been a fan of Clay's from the beginning, and I must tell you, this concert absolutely blew me away! It was fantastic, professional and perfection. No one knew that Linda Eder was going to be there, and it was such a treat! My God, the best two voices out there today! Clay and Linda just harmonized perfectly… it was just beautiful. I can't wait to hear "Crying" again… once is just not enough. I want to put my headphones on and capture the beautiful tone. I traveled with two friends out of Toronto by bus for a total of 26 hours… and I'll tell you, it was worth it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I will travel anywhere to see Clay. No two concerts are the same. I've seen lots of performers in my day... but since Clay, no one even comes close. I am beyond thrilled that Linda will be on the CD with Clay! PERFECTION!!!

Tracie Anderson from Texas writes…

I am a Clay Aiken fan and a Linda Eder fan. I saw Linda in JEKYLL & HYDE and was just blown away by her talent. I can't wait to hear Clay and Linda's "Crying" duet. It doesn't get any better than having two amazing voices in one song!

Cathy Anselmo from Ohio writes…

First of all, the concert was professional all the way, from Clay's singing, to the dancing, to the lighting effects. When Linda came out and they started singing "Crying" together, it just moved me so much. Their voices combining together to makes such beautiful music was just heavenly. Both Clay and Linda know how to sing. They pronounce words perfectly and the blend was just magnificent. This concert was my first Clay concert, and I am hooked now and only want more. He is an entertainer with a capital E, and I know he will succeed in this crazy music business.

Rosalie Barsky from Arizona writes…

I am a huge Clay Aiken fan, and I have waited all these years for Clay to find a good home with a label that recognizes his tremendous talents. When I heard he was doing "Crying" with Linda Eder on his first CD with Decca, I was thrilled beyond belief because he finally had a voice comparable to his own to share a duet with. Linda has one of those memorable voices that few can match and joined with Clay's memorable voice, this song can be nothing but beautiful and sublime. I haven't heard it yet, but it is one of the cuts I am most anxious to hear.

Pam Bassett from California writes…

My husband and I traveled from Los Angeles, California to Raleigh to see the PBS special. I can honestly say after having followed Clay Aiken's career for the past eight years, having listened to all of his albums and attended several of his concerts, we have NEVER heard his voice in better form! His duet with Linda was fantastic as well! This PBS special was entertaining and well done! We look forward to the coming TRIED & TRUE album release and seeing him with Ruben Studdard on tour here at the Nokia Club on August 1st!

Alice Bledsoe from Texas writes…

I was one of those lucky people who had the privilege of being at the PBS taping in Raleigh on March 12th! It was one of the greatest shows I have ever witnessed, and its airing on PBS cannot come soon enough! Fortunately, the album releases in just a few weeks, and I can't wait to download it from iTunes at midnight and buy my hard copy locally the next day! That Linda was also part of the night and dueting with Clay on the album… my goodness, it was more than I could have imagined! It was pure bliss and such a treasure to hear two wonderful people who sing so beautifully and with such heartfelt emotion, true song stylists and, for my ears, the two best voices in the world today. A number of my friends who were there said they immediately thought of me when Linda was introduced as they know I so love her too. I was SOOO glad they had an opportunity to hear her sing live.

I will paraphrase a little of Clay's introduction of Linda. He started out by saying that in his senior year of high school, he had been in an event at this venue and he performed "This Is The Moment" and explained it was from a musical filled with great music, JEKYLL & HYDE. He said there was a singer in that great show who was so fabulous and blew people away with her performances… that he has long considered her voice absolutely incredible, as have many… that they wanted a great voice to be in the duet with him… that PBS held her talent in such high regard that it could be no one else… and that he was honored to have her there to sing this duet with him. When Clay first mentioned JEKYLL & HYDE, of course, my thoughts went to Linda. As his story continued and he talked about this voice of one of the ladies in the show, I uttered an OMG and my heart rate increased! Then after he said how much PBS loves her… Oh, Lord, it had to be… more OMGs… and finally it was!!! He finally said her name. When Linda came onto the stage, she looked beautiful and just shone! Linda's appearance was kept as a surprise, and Clay was so proud to present this wonderful gift to the audience. It raised an already perfect night to even higher levels! Just WOW! WOW! WOW! They soared in the delivery of this classic song! Their voices blended so very beautifully, two extraordinary singers who know how to harmonize and duet well!! During a portion of the song, in duet, Linda's voice was featured more, and later, Clay's voice was the feature; elsewhere, they blended so well. Linda also had a solo section. It was absolutely phenomenal! After the show, many of the Clay fans were saying that was their favorite performance of the night, or else it was in their top three!

I've dreamed for years that Clay and Linda's paths would cross and they would work together. I absolutely cannot wait for the PBS airing so I can see all the performances again and order my very own copy!!! I still can't believe it happened, but I'm ohhhh so very glad it did! (Hmmmm… wonder if they might want to go on tour together?! That would be just WOW!) Truly, Linda and Clay are each my all-time favorite musical artist. I'm so very happy about this collaboration. Linda's tour is coming to Richardson, Texas in October… what a treat for Texas!!! Wish tickets would hurry up and go on sale!

Jeannette Boyle from New York writes…

I loved Linda since "Star Search," and seeing her onstage with Clay was the fulfillment of a dream that began years ago but was reinforced when they appeared at the Family Circle Award Ceremony in New York City last year. Clay didn't sing that night, but Linda blew the roof off Tavern on the Green, and I was one happy person seeing and hearing it all. Clay Aiken has a unique magnificent voice, and I have never heard it better than the Raleigh concert introducing his new CD, TRIED & TRUE. In his introduction to one song, Clay took great care in stating that he, DECCA and PBS wanted to have a duet with the most superb female voice they could find. All three made lists of potential duet partners, but only one name appeared on all three lists… Linda's. My jaw dropped because I have wanted him to sing with her for so long. He also said he wanted to sing WITH his duet partner together… not via tapes. The perfect duet resulted and showed the wisdom of this decision. The duet of Roy Orbison's "Crying" was amazing. Their voices blended beautifully. There was not only a sweetness of sound but also a strength of control that is difficult to describe. They made magic with their voices, hitting notes and inflections with a common confidence some other singers could only dream about. Linda and Clay shared the stage such a short time that you hated to see her leave. Everyone rose to their feet to thank her for lending her beautiful voice and presence to an amazing evening. I hope to see and hear them on stage together again. I hope you feel the same. Meantime, I cannot wait to get my hands on that CD!!!

Joy Brown from Iowa writes…

I had the privilege in March of this year to not only attend the taping of Clay Aiken's upcoming PBS special, but also the rehearsal the night before. At this rehearsal, we got to hear some amazing songs and arrangements that were going to soon be heard by all. Clay told us that the next night we would be hearing a duet but would not tell us who it would be with. They did rehearse it without the other singer that night, so we knew it would be the song "Crying." My mind was racing, trying to figure out just what voice would be joining his on one of my favorite songs.

The next night came and we were treated to one incredible song performance after another. It was time for the much anticipated duet. Clay introduced his duet partner, talking about how it was the only name that kept coming up by all, the only choice, really. Linda Eder. As she walked onto the stage, the audience roared. What a perfect, incredible choice. I wish I could convey to you all just how amazing this duet was. I am not sure the right words exist. Clay and Linda sang this song so beautifully that one must truly experience it to know what I mean. The notes, the music, the voices… the perfect blending of two voices that complement each other perfectly… two voices that are the perfect match of strength and beauty. I have heard many, many duets in my time, and this has easily become my very favorite. I truly look forward to hearing it again, many times!

Wendy Champion from Nebraska writes…

On March 12, 2010, I attended the taping of a very special one night only concert by Clay Aiken in Raleigh, North Carolina. This PBS special, scheduled to be aired in August, highlighted songs from Clay's upcoming release of his CD, TRIED & TRUE, available on June 1st. We were treated to Clay performing some of the beautiful songs of the 50's and 60's… "Mack The Knife," "Misty" and "Unchained Melody," to name just a few. When Clay began to introduce a duet that was going to be on his upcoming CD, it was a wonderful surprise for the audience… and for me, as a long-time Linda Eder fan. It was a total thrill to see her walk on stage and sing "Crying" with Clay. It was a beautiful blending of two of the strongest and purest voices I have ever heard. I am so excited for the CD release date to own this amazing duet, but to be there to see Linda and Clay perform it live was a dream come true for me!

This was not the first time that Clay's fans had the opportunity to see Linda and Clay together. In April of 2009, the Family Equality Council held their award dinner at the Tavern on the Green in New York City. The event brought together LGBT parents, friends and allies to celebrate the progress made as a community of loving families towards full equality. Platinum recording artist Clay Aiken and the Director of Center Kids at the LGBT Center in New York, Terry Boggis, were honored. They had a very special guest performance by Linda Eder. Linda sang "If I Could" for the enthusiastic crowd.

Maylon Clarke from Cape Town, South Africa writes…

I live in Cape Town, South Arica, and have been a fan of Clay's voice for many years. I have, because of this duet on his up-coming CD with Linda, been watching her videos on YouTube. She is also a wonderful singer. I will be looking out for her from now on, even though I never heard of her before. I am a huge fan of good singers and am so glad to have found another.

Gini Clifford from Tennessee writes…

I was at the Raleigh concert and it was just fabulous! I didn't think it could get any better when I heard them announce Linda's name, and I almost jumped out of my seat! Their voices blend so beautifully together, it was stunning! My husband and I travel to New York City frequently and have heard some wonderful voices, but Linda is in another league. I bought him one of her CDs at a Broadway Cares auction several years ago and we just love it! I would love a CD of duets from these two outstanding voices.

Anne Cotton from North Carolina writes…

I was thrilled to be able to attend Clay Aiken's PBS taping! I thought the Clay Aiken/Linda Eder duet was wonderful. I was thrilled that "the powers that be" had paired Clay with someone of substance, someone with "stature" and reputation in music. Plus I LOVE her voice! And y'all know I love Quiana, (Clay's backup singer from Charleston, South Carolina) and I believe she and Clay could have done a superb job, but having Linda Eder duet with Clay was a major "get" to me. People have asked about the duet being just for the one night, the taping or the album. I'm 99% sure that he was talking about a duet ON the album, not a duet just for the concert. Clay said that he's been wanting to do a duet and that "they" (the label, his management, and himself) each made a list of possible people to duet with, and one name was on all three lists. Then he introduced Linda and the crowd went wild! (Or maybe that was just me!)

The performance was beautiful and powerful, to me. I know some people felt there was a "disconnection" or "physical distance" between Clay and Linda, but that may have been because they needed space between them so the cameras could get each of them in close-up shots. I was sitting up close on the side. I have no recollection of where the cameras were for the duet, but I didn't feel "disconnection" with them. I felt vocal blending, but I also felt the heart wrenching sadness of the lyrics. I bet on the broadcast there will be close-up shots of both. Linda was wearing a beautiful white dress, but I have lost the details in my mind! I think it was a halter top-ish gown with small pleating in the skirt or something similar, which gave nice movement. Anyway, she was beautiful and I was thrilled to see her live! Linda Eder was the icing on the proverbial cake! It just showed how much TPTB wanted this show and wanted Clay to succeed on this important night! This is the kind of pairing Clay should have been getting for the past seven years! I do want to say I thoroughly enjoyed the musicians… the muted trumpet, the bass, the cello, the orchestrations, and the arrangements. As others have said, there was no denying that there was much thought and a lot of money put into this production! I'm so looking forward to how they put this show together! I can't wait to hear this CD and see this Special!!!

Vickie Davie from Florida writes…

Having seen just the video clip of the concert, I wish I had been able to be there!! A once in a lifetime experience to be sure! "Crying" is one of my mother's and her sister's all-time favorite songs, so I know it well and have loved it for years. I can't wait to hear the TNT version with Clay and Linda! Clay does duets so well. They both have such stunning voices, and I am sure they sound amazing together! My mom has all of Clay's albums, and knowing the music on this new one is from her generation, she's looking forward to it as well. I'm also really looking forward to what Linda's fans think of it, and the rest of the album and the PBS special. It would be great if we could hear from Linda herself, too. I think it's really cool that you're doing this. Thanks for asking for our input.

Marilyn Detken from Florida writes…

I was very lucky to be at the PBS taping. My two favorite singers are Clay Aiken and Linda Eder. I have been to more of her concerts than Clay's. When I realized that he was about to introduce her to sing with him, I nearly fainted. I never thought that we would be able to enjoy these two wonderful voices together. But when they started to sing "Crying," it made the concert for me. My favorite singers, singing my favorite Roy Orbison song, more beautifully than I could have imagined! I cannot wait for this CD.

Deb Dixon from Ontario, Canada writes…

The entire evening was amazing, and Clay's and Linda's voices singing "Crying" were so incredible together. It was a few minutes in time when you just held your breath because the sound was so pure and the voices blended so unbelievably that it left most people stunned by its beauty. There just weren't enough superlatives to describe it. Honestly! When Clay introduced Linda, he said that they had decided they wanted a duet with a female on Clay's upcoming album… so the label, Clay, and his management EACH sat down to write a list of female vocalists with whom they would like to hear him sing. Linda Eder was the ONLY person on all three lists. It was a brilliant choice! We went to the taping as Clay Aiken fans, but Linda gained a lot of us that night too.

Robyn Flintoft from New Jersey writes…

I read your request about the PBS special and the duet by Linda and Clay. I was fortunate to be there and cannot wait for the special, as the whole night was beyond amazing. The details are a bit fuzzy. I don't remember what Clay said in his introduction of Linda, but I knew that he must have been speaking about her, and I was so excited to see her come out onstage.

Last year I was invited to the Family Equality Council dinner in New York City, where Clay and Linda were honored. I have been a fan of hers for many years, have many of her CDs, but had never been able to see her live. I told my friends about her amazing talent, and recommended CDs and youtube clips. I was thrilled that Clay was getting to meet her that night (if he didn't know her already). They are the cream of the crop, IMO, when it comes to vocalists. So, to find out that they recorded "Crying" for Clay's CD… whoa! Before they began the song, I knew we were going to be "blown away" by the duet. Talk about an understatement! They really "stand out" in comparison to so many of today's "singers." No need for technological enhancements for their voices! I am going to three of Clay's concerts, in New York and Pennsylvania, and I hope that Linda makes guest appearances. It would be wonderful to again experience the magical blending of their voices, live.

Cindy Goodwin from North Carolina (formerly of Andover, Minnesota) writes…

I was at the Raleigh concert when Linda sang the duet with Clay and I loved it. I felt they blended together very nicely. When he announced it was Linda that would be singing with him, I smiled from ear to ear because like her, I am from Minnesota and I had just moved here to Cary 11 days prior to the date of the concert. I turned to my aunt Pat, who came down with me, and said, "Did you know Linda is from Minnesota?" I remember watching her on "Star Search" and, like Clay, they both are success stories from reality TV. I look forward to the album. Both Clay and Linda are made to sing songs like this.

Carole Hart from Ontario, Canada writes…

I was privileged to be able to attend the taping in Raleigh on March 12th. It was, without a doubt, the most awesome concert I have attended in my all too many years. Clay's voice was better than it ever has been. The songs being sung were ones that were made for his voice, and he made those old songs sound like we had never heard them before. His duet with Linda Eder was simply amazing. In my opinion, not too many people have voices that even compare to Clay's, but Linda's voice was superb and they complemented each other so well. Did I say that the concert was Awesome? Amazing? Unforgettable? I can't wait for Clay's CD to drop on June 1st and for the PBS Special to be aired so I can hear and see it all over again. As an aside, did you know that Clay, his manager and the AR guy from Decca all wrote a list of who they thought they should get to sing a duet with Clay on the album? Linda's name was the only one that appeared on all three lists! I think they picked a real winner.

Donna Hoermann from Missouri writes…

I have been a fan of Clay's for seven years. I had never heard of Linda Eder until Clay did a benefit in New York and she was there. A lot of Clay's fans posted about what a great singer she is. I Googled her and what a find! Her voice is sublime. I did not get to go to the taping of the PBS special, but read all over the Clay boards what a great duet they did together. I cannot wait to hear it. Two beautiful voices! From what I read, Clay, his manager and the Senior Vice President from Decca Records, Dave Novik, all put three names in a hat of females that they thought had the best voice for the duet. All three of them picked Linda. WOW! So, needless to say, I am so excited to be able to hear this song. I wish it was on the youtube promo from International Media, but it isn't. It is one of two songs that I am anxiously anticipating that we have not heard yet. The other is "Unchained Melody," which I hear has an ending that sounds like a sonic boom or 747! I can't quite understand that but can't wait to hear it.

Rita Hovermale from North Carolina writes…

Hi Linda,

I was one of the lucky ones who was there in Raleigh, North Carolina the night of the PBS taping. Your duet with Clay of "Crying" was one of the HIGH points of the concert. Few, if any, of us knew that you would be a surprise guest. What a rare TREAT!!! I don't think I have ever heard two voices so totally blend together to form a NEW VOICE!! A MAGNIFICIENT VOICE! It sent shock waves through to the very core of my being! I couldn't breathe with the wonder of it! I have lived many years and enjoyed the joy that good music brings. I have lived through the times of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, Robert Goulet and Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae and Kathryn Grayson, to name a few of the great man/woman duet combos. I cannot WAIT until the CD TRIED & TRUE becomes available on June 1. Then I can play it over and over and over, any time I like!!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful one-of-a-kind voice with Clay's fans, your fans, (and after the CD drop and the airing of the PBS Special), a whole generation of new fans!!!

God Bless,

Rita Hovermale (Clay fan and now a Linda Eder fan!!!)

Mina Jones from Arizona writes…

I was not at the taping of the PBS special in Raleigh, but I have heard how wonderful the "Crying" duet was. I cannot wait to see it on my TV.

Alice Kakuda from California writes…

At the Clay Aiken PBS taping, I was blown away hearing the duet sung by Clay and Linda! Their voices blended so beautifully, drawing out such an emotion in me that left me breathless! NO kidding! I had never heard Linda before, nor knew of her background until Clay introduced her to us. I'm so looking forward to hearing their duet again as I know that I'll be playing it repeatedly, whether from iTunes or on a CD. In my opinion, these are the kind of singers we should hear of more often, but radio plays only mainstream artists. I listen to the top 40 countdown on Saturdays to hear what's current and unfortunately, not the best artists, nor songs. With the domination of Clear Channel, that's all we're getting… a select group of popular artists whose songs are repeatedly played! (Sorry for my rant.) I do hope that the TV stations select Clay's Special to air, as this was an event that was spectacular! Since then, I've learned more about Linda and hope to one day see her in another performance. Actually, I was hoping that she would be touring with him, but I guess that's unrealistic. What was so special was to be able to hear artists like her with such talent! It was a thrilling and unforgettable evening of great singing!

Thanks for asking for our comments. Best to Linda.

Nancy Light from Connecticut writes…

My husband and I were at the PBS taping and lucky enough to hear the duet Linda did with Clay of "Crying." It's funny because a few weeks earlier I had been talking with a friend about who would be a great guest on the special, and we both had Linda Eder on our list. My Dad, who passed away at 91, discovered Linda's voice when he went to the library in his later years to take out CDs that he would then make into discs for himself to play at home. We found many of Linda singing after he passed away. I had no idea he was a fan - but was thrilled he had discovered how great she was. I smiled thinking my Dad had good taste! I'm not one who normally jumps out of my seat and gives standing ovations. I really want them to mean something, and I kind of hate that sometimes they seem so forced. I have to tell you that after Clay and Linda's duet, I was up and standing and clapping so loudly before I had time to even look around and see if anyone else was. Of course, they were. It was simply spontaneous. It was such a magical moment and they were incredible together. My husband kept talking about how he had such chills when they were singing. Their emotional connection was gut-wrenching and achingly beautiful. Simply an amazing experience! I cannot wait to hear it again and am so looking forward to TRIED & TRUE. "Crying" is going to be a standout in what I'm sure is going to be a stellar album.

Julia Maish from Illinois writes…

I was at the Raleigh taping of Clay Aiken: Tried & True -- Live! Oh, it was sensational! Linda Eder (the best female voice) singing with Clay Aiken (the best male voice) was absolutely sublime. I can't wait to hear the recording of this and see the PBS special. I'm so glad Linda was a part of this show.

Kelly McKown from Kentucky writes…

I was honored to be at the PBS taping and will freely admit that while the name Linda Eder might have been in my head floating around, it had no real context. I wasn't a "fan" per se and couldn't have told you any particular mark on Linda's resume. But the excitement in Clay was evident as he began the buildup to her introduction. I will admit that I was slightly hesitant when I realized the song was "Crying." Roy Orbison is iconic. He's "un-imitatable." There's a haunting quality to his voice that is especially apparent on "Crying" that has always made the song for me, but the duet Clay and Linda have put together left me with chills. Their voices blended perfectly and at the end of the night when my friends and I were dissecting the concert piece-by-piece (as Clay fans are wont to do), it was "Crying," not any of the other songs, that made me anxious with anticipation for the CD. I wanted to hear that song over and over again right at that moment. While I still might not be able to recite Linda's resume or tell you everything that she has coming up, I am definitely now a "fan" and want to hear more.

Sue Nepa from Pennsylvania writes…

I was in attendance at the taping of Clay's PBS special in Raleigh on March 12, 2010. The duet between Linda and Clay was absolutely mesmerizing. Not only did they harmonize perfectly, their interpretation of "Crying" was moving and real. Every nuance, every glance brought this already powerful song to life. I witnessed two very talented performers who love their trade and who both happen to have near perfect voices. It was a night I will never forget and I can't wait to hear the finished performance on Clay's new album, TRIED & TRUE. Thanks for asking our opinions. As you may have already realized, Clay's fans are very dedicated and devoted and appreciate true talent. I have found Linda Eder to be such a talent when I saw her at our State Theatre here in Easton, Pennsylvania. I am glad Linda and Clay have become friends.

Doreen O'Boyle from Pennsylvania writes…

I was at the PBS taping. The moment I realized Linda was in the theatre and would be joining Clay on stage, I was overcome with emotion. I had been a fan of Linda's since I saw her on "Star Search" and dreamed of Clay dueting with her. I knew before either singer sang a note that something magical was about to happen, and it did. Two amazing vocalists created a moment I will never forget. "Crying" needs to be released as a single for everyone to hear. It will be the first song I listen to when I purchase Clay's new CD, TRIED & TRUE.

Emily Patrick from Ohio writes…

I first heard of Linda Eder by way of a Clay Aiken post awhile ago. Clay said if we ever got the chance to hear Linda in person... don't miss it. Linda then showed up at our "Picnic with the Pops" outdoor symphony program here in Columbus, Ohio last summer. I talked up the show to my friends and five of us went to hear her perform. It was wonderful! She told how the flight she was scheduled to take from New York was cancelled, and she drove all the way to Columbus alone in the rain. She spoke of her dear son and left us with a warm and happy feeling. I do watch her performances on youtube. I drove to Raleigh to watch the taping of TRIED & TRUE in March and was thrilled to hear Clay introduce Linda. They were magic together. I can hardly wait for June 1 and the release of the album.

Roseann Rizzo from New Jersey writes…

One word describes Clay and Linda singing... heavenly!

Nancy Roseen from Rhode Island writes…

I was so excited to attend the taping of Clay Aiken's PBS special on March 12, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina! I had heard that Clay would be singing a duet with someone, but I didn't know who it would be. We've obviously all heard Linda Eder's beautiful voice, but we were excited and surprised when Clay introduced her at the taping. Clay commented that everyone involved in putting this all together was trying to think of the perfect person for this duet. He said that all their lists included one name in particular, Linda Eder, so the decision was clear. If Linda would agree to do it, she was their choice. I had never heard Linda Eder live, but from the moment she opened her mouth to sing, I knew right away that we were all in for a real treat. As the song, "Crying," progressed, their voices rose to the occasion, and Linda's voice (in my opinion) could not have been a more perfect match for a duet like this with Clay. I think that when people hear it for themselves on the PBS special, they will be thrilled and amazed at how their voices complement one another. I personally was blown away, and I got the feeling I wasn't alone. I just can't wait for EVERYONE to hear this masterpiece!

Bonnie Rugar from North Carolina writes…

I understand you are interested in hearing from people who attended the March 12 PBS taping of the TRIED & TRUE special. I was there and had the thrill of hearing the fabulous duet sung for the first time. "Crying" has been a favorite song of mine for a long time, so I was thrilled to hear that Clay would be singing it. When he announced that Linda Eder would sing with him, I was really looking forward to it. We fans of Clay know that he is wonderful on duets, but when he and Linda sang "Crying," it was the best duet I have ever heard. Two powerful, beautiful voices, neither one trying to outdo the other, both blending their voices so perfectly! What a gift it was, and I can't wait for the release of this CD to hear it again.

Lillian Sawyer from Maryland writes…

I was there the night of the PBS special taping for Clay's TRIED & TRUE CD. I have never in my entire life experienced such a night or a voice such as that night. The duet with Clay and Linda on "Crying" was the very best, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of snippets, the CD and the showing on PBS of this special. "Crying" was, is and will be my very favorite cut. June 1 cannot come soon enough.

Christina Schlaechter from Ohio writes…

OMG is the nickname that the fans have given that incredible show in Raleigh on March 12, and it's appropriate. I was very fortunate to attend the PBS taping and was blown away by not only Clay's incredible vocals, the big band orchestra, and production of the show, but also by the beautiful songs that were chosen and the amazing duet "Crying" with Linda Eder. Their duet was one of a few very exciting highlights of the show. Clay mentioned onstage before the song that a few lists had been made when carefully choosing a vocalist for a duet, and that Linda Eder's name was on all of them. She and Clay performed beautifully, and I cannot tell you how anxious and excited I am waiting for Clay's TRIED & TRUE album to be released, so that I can hear this song, among others, again. I only buy one or two albums a year. Of all Clay's albums, this is the one I have most anticipated.

Deborah Schlee from Massachusetts writes…

I was in the audience the evening that Clay Aiken's PBS Special was taped in Raleigh, North Carolina. After the PBS taping was over, "Crying" is the one song that I couldn't get out of my head and that I wanted to hear again the next morning... the next week... and the next month. I am still anxiously awaiting the release of Clay's album, so that I can finally hear this stunningly beautiful duet once again. Both Linda and Clay have such exquisitely mesmerizing voices. Their hauntingly melodic rendition of "Crying" resonates with the listener long after the song is over. I truly believe that "Crying" will be received by both the public-at-large, and critics alike, as one of the most beautiful songs on Clay's upcoming album, TRIED & TRUE.

Camille Schulte from Washington State writes…

I was at the concert in Raleigh when Clay and Linda did their duet "Crying!" He explained that he had done duets before, and some of the artists he had never even met. This time he wanted to be in the studio at the same time as they both did the recording. As Clay introduced Linda, it occurred to me I had seen him with her before, and I had at Tavern on the Green in New York City. I LOVE that she was the guest performer on that special night for him AND now that they have recorded this amazing duet together, I would LOVE to see an interview with the two of them. I'm such a fan of both!!!

Darla Steinke from Manitoba, Canada writes…

I had to write and tell you how absolutely thrilled I was to first hear Clay say Linda's name, and when she walked out on stage… well, it was the icing on the cake for me. This is what I wrote to one of my friends who wasn't able to attend the concert and who I only know through a Clay site, starting with when Clay first mentions Linda's name.

OMG! It was fabulous and so was Clay, of course. I didn't want it to ever end and the surprise of Linda Eder singing... well, you have no idea what a shocker and a surprise that was for me and what it meant to me as well. My heart almost fell out of my body. I have been a fan of Linda Eder for what seems like forever. I first heard her name mentioned many years ago by Kathie Lee on "Regis & Kathie Lee." She talked about her all the time and what a fabulous singer she was and when she was finally on the show, I was mesmerized by her voice and I've loved her ever since. I have many of her CDs, and since I got my computer I have a ton of her music. She's awesome.

So were you to have asked me who besides Clay would I want to see most in concert, Linda Eder would have been my answer, honest to God. I swear that's true. So when he said her name, I nearly had a coronary. And when she actually walked out, I burst into tears and cried, very appropriately through the entire "Crying" song. It was an unbelievable moment for me to see the two singers I love the most in this world together singing. Amazing!! I can still almost feel that feeling again just writing about it here. I still find it hard to believe that she was there with Clay, and I'm so, so glad that duet is on the CD. I tell you, it was the shock of my life. She is a beautiful singer! I know you don't know who she is, but she is going to have lots more fans once the CD is released and they hear her beautiful voice. My very favorite Christmas Carol is sung by Linda, "The Bells Of St. Paul." It's so lovely.

I had never seen Linda live and have always wanted to, but with living in Canada it's pretty expensive to travel to New York to see a Broadway Show as I know that's what she does a lot of. I was able to fly to Raleigh with my air miles. I have a wonderful "Clay friend" who lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina. I stayed with her and I'm eternally grateful to her for letting me stay this time. To see Linda live was a dream come true for me.

Bobbi Thornton from Wisconsin writes…

I was at the PBS taping and the show from start to finish was just awesome. Particularly, the duet Clay did with Linda, "Crying," was one of the highlights of the show and one of the crowd favorites. I'm hoping they can record together again sometime in the future as their voices complemented one another's.

Sue Wakefield from California writes…

I was at the taping of the PBS Special for Clay Aiken's new CD. When he introduced his duet and started talking about looking for someone to duet with, everyone's curiosity was peaked. Who could sing with that voice - the power and the control! Whose voice could blend with Clay's so that they sounded like one, and yet each individual would stand out on their own. Clay said there were three lists when they were trying to decide, and the person chosen was on all three - Linda Eder! I've been listening to Linda for years and wore out my GOLD CD. I have the original cast recording of JEKYLL & HYDE. I've listened to her Broadway CDs over and over! I know Linda's voice and the thought of her singing with Clay gave me chills. When they started singing, I knew Clay had chosen the perfect singer. Their voices blended… their voices soared, and there were a few seconds when the last notes died out that you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium. Well done, Linda! Well done, Clay!

Terri Ward from New Jersey writes…

Last year, I attended Linda Eder's concert at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. It was one of the most memorable concerts I have ever attended. To hear that Linda and Clay Aiken will be singing a duet on the coming TRIED & TRUE CD is more than exciting. Together these beautiful voices will be magic.

Linda Werner from New Jersey writes…

I was at the taping and was blown away by two of the most fabulous voices in the business. What a treat to hear them sing together. It's a performance that is not to be missed.

Kay Williams from Florida writes…

I first became aware of Linda Eder in January, 2006 when I was searching for just the right version of "Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart" to use in a Clay Aiken montage that I wanted to make. Linda's version was perfect and just what I was looking for. When Clay introduced Linda at the PBS taping in Raleigh, I knew we were in for a treat. And we certainly were! I have never heard "Crying" sung more beautifully. Linda's and Clay's voices were wonderful together, intertwining and blending into musical notes that had not even existed before. Linda's fans, as well as Clay's fans, and those who are unfamiliar with either singer, will be thrilled when they finally hear this amazing duet. I can't wait to hear it again.

Brenda from North Carolina writes…

I reside in North Carolina, but unfortunately was not able to attend the PBS taping in Raleigh. The wonderful comments left on the Clay Aiken fan board regarding Linda perked my interest!

I Googled and listened to her perform on several YouTube videos and must say I was very impressed! I love the emotion she puts into her singing, and her powerful voice that is so controlled! I cannot wait for the release of Clay Aiken's new CD, TRIED & TRUE and look forward to hearing "Crying," the duet Linda sings with Clay!

Cori from Massachusetts writes…

My friends and I drove from New England to attend Clay Aiken's PBS taping in March. I've seen Clay in concert many, many times, but I don't think he has ever sounded better. I wasn't sure if I would like the music for this album as that era is not one of my favorites. But the new arrangements and Clay's vocal interpretation of them changed my mind completely. The whole evening was amazing and in my phone recap to friends who could not attend, I described the duet with Linda Eder as simply phenomenal. I had never heard Linda sing before, and I was so happy that he was dueting with someone who was so talented and who blended so beautifully with his voice. They sang a duet of "Crying" that made it my second favorite song of the night. He hit notes that sounded like they were just invented. Her voice was as smooth as maple syrup on a cinnamon pancake. My best to Linda and her fans.

Marianne from North Carolina writes…

I was at the PBS taping in March. When Clay began the introduction for "Crying" and said Linda Eder, I had no idea who she was. I certainly do now. Not only did their voices blend beautifully but instead of singing with each other, they sang to each other. For a few minute, those two had me believing they really had been a couple that broke up. I've only seen this happen one other time, and that was years ago during a live performance by Barbra Streisand and Kenny Rogers when they sang "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." Clay has sung duets with other talented singers over the years. "Crying" with Linda is by far the best. I can't wait for the TRIED & TRUE album release so I can hear this again. You will love it.

Sharon from North Carolina writes…

First off, I would like to tell you that I have been a huge fan of Linda's since 1988 when I saw her on "Star Search." I found her captivating from that moment and still do to this day. I own every piece of music that she has ever recorded and still believe she is THE best female voice out there today, hands-down.

Moving on to 2003, my husband and I decided to watch "American Idol." Not because it was something we wanted to watch, but it was a release from all the news of war, terrorist attacks and the problems our country was facing at that time. So we tuned in to watch the auditions, and the night that we happened to tune in was the night that Clay Aiken auditioned. From the moment he opened his mouth and the word "take" came out of it, I was hooked. I've been a fan of his ever since with no signs of stopping anytime in the near future. During that season of "American Idol" and as the weeks went on, every time Clay sang, I kept saying that a dream of mine would be to hear him sing with my favorite female artist - Linda.

I was very fortunate to see the taping of Clay's upcoming PBS special in Raleigh. I have seen Clay perform live many times (as a matter of fact, I normally plead the 5th when I'm asked how many times), and his voice has always been stellar, but on March 12th, I saw a man that not only do I support fully, but I saw a man that was singing in a way that I've never heard before. It was pure perfection. No other way to describe it. As a matter of fact, the only words that were heard around the theater after the show was over were "Oh, My God." Well, those words were never more true to me than when Clay was talking about a song that he recorded with one of the best female voices out there today, and this person was the main aspect why JEKYLL & HYDE was given the reviews that it received. Well, as my friend sitting next to me said, my reaction was the "gasp heard around the world." He said Linda's name, and I honestly didn't know how to react. I do know that I didn't breathe for the next few minutes, and then tears of happiness formed. Linda walked out and the sounds that came out of their mouths were like something I hadn't heard in years. The song "Crying," always a favorite of mine, was put in a realm that can't be compared. Linda and Clay sang together like they had been doing it for years. The song was absolutely gorgeous, and it will be the very first one I listen to when I get my hands on Clay's new CD on June 1st. I would love to see them collaborate again in the future because I do think that Linda is the best female voice out there, and I feel the same way about Clay being the best male voice out there today. Both sing with crystal clarity, incredible range and a natural ability to make the listener feel what they are singing. After so many years of being "overlooked" by his previous label, it's great to see Clay now so happy, singing songs he loves, and sharing the stage with someone that I have a lot of respect for and have been a fan of for 22 years. I look forward to reading the next edition of THE VOICE.

Sylvia from Kenya, Africa writes…

I am very happy to be able to share what I feel about Clay Aiken's new CD. I live in Kenya, Africa, so I did not have a chance to attend the PBS taping, but from the wonderful reviews I have received from everyone who was there, the concert was out of this world. I also love Linda Eder's beautiful voice. She's wonderful and very talented. I am waiting very eagerly for the release of the CD and the PBS taping DVD. It might take me two months to get the DVD but I'll get it.

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usmagazine.com

Clay Aiken: "I'm Not on the Market!"

Clay Aiken: "I'm Not on the Market!"

1277156803_clay-lg.jpg Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com for GLAAD

Tuesday – June 22, 2010 – 9:46am

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Claymates are screaming once again as their hero, Clay Aiken, 31, just returned to Billboard's Top 10 with his latest disc, the standards-heavy Tried and True. I decided to catch up with single dad to Parker Foster, 2 (with Jaymes Foster) about his fifth album, summer tour with American Idol Season 2 best bud Ruben Studdard and his second Father's Day. Read on and, hey, pipe down so you can hear him!

UsMagazine.com: It's been two years since your last album. What makes it different than the last one, which was very emotional and lyrically deep?

Clay Aiken: The last album was more lyrically deep than most of them. This one is more of me doing what I always wanted to do, which essentially is covering some of the best songs from before my childhood. Songs like "It's Impossible or "Can't Take my Eyes Off of You," songs that my mom played when I was a kid. And on top of that, it's really kind of what I always wanted to sing. When I was with a few other [record] labels I really didn't have the opportunity to be myself because they try their hardest to put people in their boxes and get the radio singles and try to make things work a certain way. There wasn't really a place where I was before that allowed me to sing what I wanted to sing without having to worry about radio or without having me worry about being extra cool. Which, I mean, clearly I am (laughs). I can't really convince anyone else that.

Two of the songs of the songs I did sing on Idol. I think that to some extent, anybody who comes off the show sort of needs to stick with what brought them through that dance. I loved what I got to do on Idol every week. They were great songs that I really enjoyed singing them and when I got off the show I didn't get a chance to do that as much. So this is is probably the favorite album one I've done. I loved the last one. I had a lot to do with it and I picked songs within the parameter set for me by others. This time, I got to be involved from day one.

Us: Do you feel that your former label tried to sculpt you into their version of a pop star?

CA: I don't blame anybody. If I were the folks at RCA and I got handed someone like me handed [over] and I didn't get to choose them, I wouldn't know what the hell to do either! They did the best they could for no track record for Idol. To some extent, there was an effort to try to make me what a pop star is supposed to look like, sound like and be like, instead of having too much opportunity to do what I should be doing.

Us: What made you want to tour with Ruben? Didn't you want to sever your association with Idol?

CA: Anyone who comes on American Idol wants to make sure that people realize that they can stand on their own. I've said a few times that Idol got me to the same place it got everybody else who was a runner-up. I'm very appreciative of being given the stuff that I have, but the six years post-Idol kind of have been trying to take what they gave me and make it continue to work.

Ruben and I are the two most opposite people you will ever meet in your life, but we're really good friends and we love hanging out together. I have no problem being tied to Ruben for a long time. Because we did the same plan, we took the same journey to get to the place where we are. We've been saying over and over and over, "you want to do something together?" And finally we have a few months this summer, and decided to stop talking about it and do it. Singing older songs are sometimes more fun because the audience already knows them and they can sing along and dance. To me, it's about being about to perform live. Everything I do from now on will continue to be songs that aren't about being the coolest thing in the world or being radio-friendly, they are about being me and also something I enjoy performing.

Us: How are you going to handle the fatherhood thing on the road?

CA: [Parker will] probably stay with his mom. It's not that long of a tour, so he'll probably stay with her, and we're in L.A. for the tour. It's close to his birthday, so we'll be in L.A. for that and I'll see him afterwards.

Us: How has it been juggling your career and being a dad?

CA: It hasn't been that hard. We've been pretty well. Anybody who has a kid has to juggle everything. So it's not that much different. We have a nice system that we work out between when he's with her and he's with me and we're together and all that stuff. It's been really authentic.

Us: Fatherhood has really changed you.

CA: I feel a little more mature and substantially older. I realized on Father's Day, "Oh wait, I don't have to do anything for Father's Day, it is for me!" It's strange to think about that. I enjoy also the quiet of living in North Carolina still and then I come back here to New York a good chunk of the time, at least a week a month doing [press]. I'm a fan of New York. People are a little more grounded here.

Us: Lastly, I have to ask everyone: Are you single or dating?

CA: I am not on the market. I don't know what I am. I am not looking, let me put it that way!

By Ian Drew for UsMagazine.com. To read more of Ian's blog, click here and don't forget to follow him on Twitter.

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Clay Aiken Ready for Tour, Would Return to "Idol" as Judge

Clay Aiken Ready For Tour, Would Return to 'Idol' As Judge

by Gary Graff, Detroit | June 23, 2010 12:32 EDT

"American Idol's" second season runner-up Clay Aiken has his own idea of what the show should do to replace departing judge Simon Cowell.

"I've always thought it would be a great addition to the panel to have someone who's a former contestant and knows what it's like to be up on that stage and be critiqued," Aiken tells Billboard.com. So is he raising his hand? "Well, I'm so far removed from it at this point that I don't know if I remember what it's like, but who knows. I would not put myself out there to be as caustic as (Cowell) is, but if they want to call me, bring it on. We can talk."

Aiken, however, has plenty of singing to do before having that discussion. The North Carolina-based singer released his fifth album, "Tried & True," on June 1; the collection of pop standards -- including "Unchained Melody," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Misty," "Mack The Knife" and "Moon River" (with Vince Gill) -- marks his first release away from the "American Idol" enclave of 19 Recordings and Sony Music (he's now with Decca), and Aiken feels it shows the measure of the man better than his previous releases.

"It's what I've wanted to do for the past seven years," says Aiken, acknowledging he felt like "a square peg in a round hole" on his more contemporary pop albums. "I like songs that have incredible melodies and nice orchestrations and arrangements that are really about the voice and the melody and just being beautiful, and these songs are that. People talk about it being a big decision to change course, but I actually see it as an opportunity to kind of get back to what I've always wanted to do."

Besides the album, Aiken performed a special concert in March at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium which was taped for a PBS special that will air in August, along with an accompanying DVD. Meanwhile, Aiken is gearing up for the July 23 start of his 16-date summer tour with second-season "Idol" winner Ruben Studdard, who was one of the guests at the March concert.

"We've been talking for years about trying to do something together and had never really found the time to do it," Aiken notes. "But both of us looked at our calendars around December of last year, January of this year, and said, 'Wait a second, we don't have anything this summer we're dealing with.' He's working on an album right now, and mine will have just been released, so...'Let's just do this. It's now or never.'"

Aiken promises the shows will feature quite a bit of collaboration between he and Studdard, too. "It's kind of a musical revue of sorts -- some of the biggest hits and greatest songs -- from our point of view -- and songs that have influenced us from over the past five decades," Aiken explains. "We'll start in the 50s and do some medleys and then move on from their. We're really good friends and have a great time when we're together, so I think it's going to be a lot of fun to do a tour like this, for us and for the audiences, too."

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Clay Aiken -- A Day in the Life

Clay Aiken -- A Day in the Life

By Ashley Iasimone

Posted Jun 24th 2010 01:45PM

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It's the morning after Clay Aiken released his new album, 'Tried and True.' Backstage at 'The View,' the singer sits on a plush green sofa in his dressing room, surrounded by others but in his own world, eyes glued to his iPad as he waits for his call to set. Aiken starts his day out in a solitary mode, but perks up when he and his crew mull over which cover he should choose for an upcoming DVD release. Across the hall are the dressing rooms of Belinda Carlisle, who is also appearing on today's show, and guest host and 'Sex and the City' actor Mario Cantone, both of whom Aiken chats with before going on camera.

"I did not celebrate for the album at all," Aiken admits to PopEater, stifling a yawn. "I've been working pretty hard. Typically, when an album comes out, you spend most of your day doing press and interviews and whatnot."

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This is one of those days. Starting out in midtown New York City in the early hours of the day at 'The View' (with the PopEater crew in tow, as well as a busy itinerary that runs until roughly 5PM and includes stops at ABC, CNN and 'Talk Stoop' in hand), it's clear to see that he's the type of guy who needs a little breather between charming talk show hosts, reporters and fans with his smooth vocal performances and dry sense of humor. Although the fresh-faced Aiken says that he usually doesn't have a problem with mornings, the week has been so busy that he's been feeling slightly sleep deprived.

"The most difficult part of the day when you're doing this press thing is having to get up so early and getting started too early. Interestingly enough, someone just said to me yesterday, 'Oh, you just have to sing and talk,' but it's tiring! You wouldn't think it would be so tiring, but my brain has to work for these things, and that'll wear you out," he says with a laugh.

Still, Aiken, who has been relatively out of the spotlight this year, is proud to be talking about 'Tried and True,' no matter how exhausting it might get. The album is a departure from his previous releases in more ways than one -- not only did Aiken record a collection of standards like 'Unchained Melody,' 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You' and 'It's Only Make Believe' rather than modern pop songs, he actually called all the shots. "I got to be a part of the process from beginning to end, from 'What type of album do you want to do?' to 'OK, let's do that,'" Aiken says. "'What songs do you want to do? OK, let's do that. What type of producer do you want?' I got to be very hands-on with every part of it, which was different. In addition to it being kind of sonically different to what I've done, it was different to be a part of that. It gives you more ownership, and it just really makes it more my baby."

"This is where the fun starts, ladies," Aiken, bringing his iPad back out to take his chances at a frustrating round of Solitaire, tells us as we board a waiting car that will transport us to our next stop, ABC. Once he starts his game, he's in it to win it. "This is not looking good. And if I lose, I get real cranky," he jokes, his gaze still locked on the game. "I give up at three minutes. There's no point. That two of hearts is underneath there, and I can't move him without a red queen, and I'm not gonna get one."

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Seven years ago, Aiken briefly left his hometown of Raleigh, N.C. to get his start on what propelled his oncoming fame as a pop singer -- the second season of 'American Idol.' After coming in a close second to contestant Ruben Studdard, he went on to launch his recording career. As a performer, Aiken undoubtedly enjoyed his time on the show, but he has not watched it for at least five years now, and, while he understands why he's still asked about it, he doesn't have much to say about its current state. Aiken explains that the idea of watching it now makes him a bit nervous and adds, "People change and grow. Once you know how the sausage is made, you don't want to eat it anymore. It's a part of who I am, obviously, but it's not a part of my weekly routine."

As the van pulls over in front of ABC's headquarters, Aiken looks forward to finding himself a grilled cheese sandwich from the cafeteria for lunch, preferably made with cheddar, American and/or provolone -- "Those are the only three I like," he says. We check in at the security desk, head up the escalator and hang out in a news conference room while he once again waits to go on camera. Aiken munches on his grilled cheese, slips out of the room for his interview, returns and watches his recent appearance on the 'The Joy Behar Show,' shaking his head at the fact that CNN.com is running an item about how he called Simon Cowell an "a--hole" -- a lovable one, that is, all in good fun.

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Today, he's returning to CNN for another interview, which he's psyched about. "CNN is on all the time in my house and I'm upset I can't get CNN International. I'm very bothered by that," Aiken laments. This is not a disingenuous endorsement -- Aiken gladly calls himself "that big a nerd," and his hobbies are pretty telling of his personality: "That's pretty much what I do when I'm alone. I watch CNN. I don't like crowds. I'm kind of a homebody. I'm a little bit of a hermit. I don't really go out and do too much at all. I'm relatively boring in my free time, and I'm fine with that."

In fact, after the CNN reporter jokingly offers him a job and we leave the network to head to Cat Greenleaf's 'Talk Stoop' in Brooklyn for one last interview, Aiken pokes fun at his own "boring" nature and then remains quiet, save a business call or two. He's in one of the most fast-paced cities in the world but his initial excitement for New York City has waned. "When I lived here for 'Spamalot,' I kind of got my fill of New York City," he says. "I mean, I love coming here. I actually like it quite a bit. But it's not like I'm gonna go see the sites or anything. What is there to do? Clubs, I guess? No thanks."

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It was around the time of his run in 'Spamalot' two years ago that Aiken came out to the media, the "Yes, I'm Gay" headline emblazoned on the cover of People magazine. "When anybody comes out, there are going to be people who are supportive and people who are not," Aiken says, referring to fans – including those who he thinks still refer to themselves as the devoted "Claymates" -- and the general public. "Obviously, I was doing 'Spamalot' at the time and I was kind of nervous. I specifically remember that night, thinking, 'OK, I'm going to walk out prepared to be booed,' and nobody did. And people were very supportive. People have been very supportive throughout the whole process and it didn't really change."

With 'Tried and True,' Aiken goes back to what he knows best: home and the music that he heard his mother play while he was growing up. He cites his mom, who often sang in the car as well as at clubs and weddings with a local band, as one of his biggest influences. In particular, she always had a dream that Aiken would record 'Unchained Melody,' head out to Nashville with it and have a big hit. Now, Aiken is raising his own son, Parker.

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"For the most part, around the house, we don't have that much music playing," Aiken says. "For some reason, I'm nervous to sing for him. My son doesn't like to listen to me sing, but he enjoys listening to other people sing. Maybe kids just don't like to hear their parents, ever. When they're teenagers they don't want to hear them. When they're babies they don't want to hear 'em sing. Maybe it's just a genetic thing."

So maybe his kid doesn't have the musical bug yet -- he is only two years old, after all -- but what if he one day wants to follow in his dad's footsteps? Aiken, simply a father looking out for his son, is quick to quip, "I don't plan on that happening. I obviously will encourage him in whatever he wants to, whatever he's passionate about, but I'm just gonna hope it's not this."

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When we arrive at the Cobble Hill brownstone where Aiken will be interviewed for 'Talk Stoop' with Cat Greenleaf, he changes into a plaid shirt, accessorized with suspenders -- "I'm sitting on the stoop, why not?" he rationalizes -- and puts on a smile for Greenleaf's crew and family. His final press appearance of the day is relaxed, the sun is shining and Aiken treats Greenleaf to a brief a cappella performance.

Aiken's live performance will soon be taken to the road this summer when he embarks on his co-headlining tour with old 'Idol' friend Ruben Studdard, which kicks off on July 23 in Asheville, N.C. In a way, as of late, things really have come full circle for Aiken. "We're two very, very, very, very different people and we're kind of brought together by music, which I think is kind of nice and somewhat poetic," Aiken says. "We are gonna be able to do this on the road together and kind of share what we both love."

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