Clay Aiken's Summer Plans: Touring and a New Album
By Jo Piazza Posted May 30th 2010 09:22AM
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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