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Clay Aiken biography

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Clay Aiken is an American pop singer (born Clayton Holmes Grissom on November 30, 1978). Clay Aiken captured the hearts of millions. In September 2006 Aiken was appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

The Clay Aiken say:

"As a so-called 'celebrity', I have become used to scurrilous allegations and untruths being made about me and my work. I have always taken the path of not reacting to these matters and have accepted them as, somehow, coming with the 'job'. However, I cannot, and will not, stand by when these attacks are made on my family and my charity. So, I have instructed my attorneys to not only vigorously dispute the claims that have been made but to also pursue all possible remedies against those involved in the perpetration of these untruths."

Why we know him at present?

"I like Clay Aiken. I'm not the kind of guy that would typically watch some reality show about "the making of" an American Idol, but I got into this season's series, largely because of Clay. Yes, I am male. I'm not popular among my friends for liking Clay Aiken, but I do. Why? He has an incredible voice, plain and simple. There's more to it than that though. When I listen to him, I'm moved, as if for the moment that's what life is all about: just letting myself get absorbed in music. He's not the only artist that has that affect on me, and won't be the last, but he's got that quality about him, and that makes him special.
Clay wants to be left alone, and I want the press (not only tabloid scumbags, but real journalists like Dianne Sawyer) to leave him alone. His life is his own, and it's his to live. We have no business prying. He sings for us, we enjoy it; he performs for us, we enjoy it. That's all that matters."
Two of the most popular "American Idol" contestants are Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken. Both of these artists have gone places since their wins. Aiken brought his southern charm to the show in 2003, and was runner up.

Reviewer: Mr. N (Los Angeles, CA)

He was born on November 30,

1978 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Aiken wowed people when he released his debut single, "This Is The Night." The song was number one on the Billboard hot 100. The single beat Elton John's record of sales for his 1997 single dedicated to Princess Diana entitled "Candle in the Wind 1997."
From an early age Aiken had a talent and at the age of seven, he was purchasing his own albums. Aiken was a member of the Raleigh Boys Choir. He sang also church choir, musicals and local theatre productions. Three demo albums of Aiken's vocals were created before American Idol ("Redefined" a CD titled "Look What Love Has Done", and a CD that combined songs from both demos, titled "Look What Love Has Done").
Aiken performed the Dolly Parton ("Islands In the Stream,") when he was only five.
Aiken dropped his music career in college. He opted to be a Special education major at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
This all changed during 2003 when Aiken was selected as a runner-up in the Fox Television Show: American Idol. Aiken appeared on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine. He was offered a record deal with RCA. It was at the beginning of 2003.
In October 2003, Aiken released his debut album entitled The Measure of a Man. The album features the songwriting talents of artists such as : Cliff Magress, Steve Mac, Steve Morales, Rick Nowels and Desmond Child.

It is no secret that,

in the late 1990s, Aiken decided to get his last name legally changed to that of his mother's middle name. His biological father, Vernon Grissom, was an alcoholic.
Aiken attended Raleigh's Leesville Road High School and took courses at Campbell University before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
While attending college in Charlotte he took a part-time job as an assistant to a boy with autism.
His American Idol activities temporarily delayed his academic pursuits. Aiken completed his course work and graduated with a bachelor's degree in December of 2003.

Sours: Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Why fans love him?

Clay Aiken may look wide-eyed and unassuming, but when it comes to figuring out what his fans want for Christmas, he's got it all figured out. On Merry Christmas with Love he so cannily anticipates the musical sugarplums dancing in the heads of his devotees that you half expect him to climb down the chimney and hand-deliver it. Key to the dozen-song collection's appeal is its straightforwardness: Parting ways with the sea of celebrities who use holiday discs as an excuse to cut loose, Aiken banishes irony and coyness so absolutely here that certain carols--the medley "Hark the Herald Angels Sing/O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night" especially--take on church-like tones; expect tree trimmers to put aside their tinsel and contemplate the meaning of the season. Yet don't expect them to miss out on any merriment. On less chestnutty selections like the ballads "Mary Did You Know" and Celine Dion's "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day," Aiken lets it rip, reining in a passion and pure-heartedness so believable that fans will wish he, rather than the guy in the red velvet suit, were Santa Claus.
Tammy La Gorce

Nitty-gritty details

"I worked with Mike Bubel, who has autism, when I was going to school at UNCC," says Aiken. "His mother was very instrumental in encouraging me to get into this business." The Foundation remains close to the singer’s heart at all times. "My music career has allowed me to do the same thing I was doing before – work with kids with disabilities," he says. "It has given me a big stage to talk about the same things I always cared about. I don’t get to be as hands-on with the kids anymore, but I do get to work toward enacting change on a much larger scale." He has also traveled to Indonesia. "You just cannot believe how some of these kids are forced to live," says Aiken. "It’s truly heartbreaking, yet many people don’t even know these conditions exist. I am hoping to shed light on some of these problems and so that more resources can be allocated to help make things better." "You know, my mother has always been someone who urged me to help people in need. Maybe that’s it. I don’t think it’s something you can learn. It’s just something you do."
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