Clay was interviewed by ChannelNewsAsia recently. It's a great interview! Thanks to There Was A Man for the text -
He’s had four Top 5 albums on the Billboard charts, but Clay Aiken still can’t shake off his days as the geek on American Idol.
“I think to some extent in the United States, you don’t really shed that Idol tag,” he said over the phone from Los Angeles.
“It’s such a huge show that you can’t escape it.
“But I got here being myself on American Idol, and I try my best on continuing to be here based on being myself,” he added.
“If you want to be good at what you do, you can’t slack off. You have to continue to try to do better. Anybody who assumes I’m here only because of Idol is wrong.”
Aiken’s latest album, On My Way Here, confirms that sentiment. Most of the songs, he said, are about “becoming and discovering yourself”, and learning life lessons rather than lessons “from a book in school”.
It’s something that the Raleigh, North Carolina, native has first-hand experience of.
“I never wanted to be a singer,” he admitted. “I wanted to be a teacher. So all this kind of happened as a blessing — to be able to take my hobby and turn it into my job. All the experiences, luck and blessings have come because we’ve been open to a lot of things.”
Still, he’s quick to point out that fame does have its drawbacks.
“Like I was out the other day with my friends just wanting to get some dinner, and we had paparazzi following us the whole time — that’s a pain in the butt,” he said, sighing. “It’s part of the job. I think you just have to learn to deal with it.”
“It” includes rumours that the 29-year-old singer has had plastic surgery and is actually gay but afraid to admit it.
“That’s what’s so great about America,” he said, laughing. “One of our valuable amendments to the Constitution — freedom of the press — is also one of the crappiest. You can write anything you want. You don’t need to have any proof or any truth to what you write.”
Lucky for Aiken, besides the surgery and gay rumours, he’s not exactly exciting tabloid fodder.
“I stole a car one time. At 15, you can drive as long as a parent is with you but one day, they were out, so I took the car out for drive by myself. That’s probably the most rebellious thing I’ve done.”
Yup, Clay Aiken stole his parent’s car when he was 15. Doesn’t exactly scream magazine sales.
“Nobody’s ever the same person everyday, but for the most part, I think I’m pretty nice and easy to get along with. But my manager will probably say that’s crap.”
Still, he does have a snippy side. “Last night, I was watching one of the way-too-many music awards shows we have and the live performances were almost unbearable to listen to. I think people just don’t realise how bad they are. It was really awful. People were off-key, and it was a ... mess.”
Has Aiken turned into a Simon Cowell? “No, but it was really hard to listen to. I was telling my friend: ‘Oh my god, if I were ever that bad, please promise to tell me.’ I hope I’m never that bad.”