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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reviews of On My Way Here Both Good and Not So Good


The reviews are coming in, and as we might have known, some of the reviews are less than kind. But there are also some that also give it good ratings. Here is a list of some of the various reviews for On My Way Here with online media:

EW.com

MSNBC

Miamiherald.com

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!

You can still send your mom a mother's day wish from Clay. Just click here:

Happy Mother's Day From Clay

Then fill out the information and send a beautiful song to your mom from you and Clay. Hmmm, from you and Clay....nice ring to it!!

Tidbits 5/10

  • Clayboard - All4luv heard a Clay mention on the Jimmy Kimmel show Friday night. She says, "Jimmy mentioned how Clay will be on the show next week to "rekindle their love!!" Can't wait to see wha t those two have cooking!!!"
  • According to CaliClayFan at The Clayboard, "Just saw that Clay's going to be on Good Day LA next week. They showed a clip of the Amazon video and said he'd be in studio next week."
  • Clay was interviewed on 97.1 WASH FM in Washington D.C. today by one of their disc jockeys, Maureen. I must say that this was one of the best interviews I've heard in a long time. So positive and she really seemed to genuinely like Clay and his CD. Check out the interview for news about UNICEF, his visit with Rachel Ray, has Clay gone green, and his mother's day plans.
  • Andecar at The Clayboard found the following information in her Sunday newspaper:
    I just received my Sunday newspaper inserts and comics and Clay is listed in the inside cover of the US Magazine. It's the question and answer section where there's a recent photo of Clay and the question is from a Brazilian fan who wanted to know what Clay plans to do now that Spamalot is finished. The answer was promote his new CD and relax at home in North Carolina.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune - In an article about David Archuleta, Clay is mentioned as follows:
    That's why losing "American Idol" could be good, in the long run, for Archuleta's career.
    For one thing, only two of the previous six "Idol" champs, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, have attained superstar status. Meanwhile, several "Idol" also-rans (Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken and Chris Daughtry, for example) have fared better than their season's champs.

Spamalot Souvenir Program With Clay Insert To Be Sold At Playbill Store Online


Great news for all of you who were not able to get the souvenir program which included Clay's picture. Now that Clay is no longer in Spamalot, it is no longer restricted to the Shubert Theater.

Keep this in mind: There are only so many available and pre-sales begin Monday, May 12. Better not wait to get your order in.

Here is a letter from Bruce Stapleton, Director of Merchandising at Playbill, with all the information you will need to purchase this program.

Hi everyone! I'm back with some good news. While Clay was performing in Spamalot, sales of the souvenir program with the Clay Aiken insert were restricted to the Shubert Theatre. Now that Clay has left the show, PlaybillStore.com, in conjunction with Max Merchandising, is pleased to announce that the Spamalot Souvenir Program with Clay Aiken insert will be available to purchase online for the first time - a PlaybillStore.com exclusive! A portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Pre-sales begin Monday, May 12th, and orders will ship out in protective packaging via USPS priority mail the week of May 19th. There are a limited number of the Spamalot Souvenir Programs with the Clay insert available, so get your order in early! The insert features the cast headshots plus production credits and bios on one side of the insert, on the other side of the insert is a full color photo of Clay as Sir Robin. Insert measures 17 by 22 inches when unfolded. The souvenir program itself features dozens of full-color production photos from the show with the original Broadway cast; hilarious quizzes and other activity pages; and a bonus CD single of Eric Idle singing a song cut from Spamalot: "Soggy Old Blondes." 36 pages in all, plus the Clay Aiken insert.

The price is $20 plus $5 shipping and handling, plus any applicable sales tax (Playbill maintains offices in NY, CA, FL, TX, IL, & MI and must by law collect state and local sales taxes when shipping to those states). All orders must be placed online with a major credit card. PlaybillStore.com does not ship outside the USA.

When the pre-sale begins on Monday, you'll find the souvenir program with insert in the Spamalot section of the store at the link below.

Playbill Store

Please feel free to post this info elsewhere. Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Yours,

Bruce Stapleton
Director of Merchandising
Playbill, Inc.

Friday, May 09, 2008

ABC Nightline's Clay Aiken Playlist



ABC Nightline's "Playlist: Clay Aiken" interview aired last night. Clay talked about how the music of his childhood influenced his life and his new CD, "On My Way Here". Several pictures of Clay were also shown in a short segment about "Geeks".

Download the cap at ClackUnlimited.

Clay Shares Laughs, Spamalot Experience and OMWH with Today Show


Clay's marathon of TV appearances continued today with an interview on NBC's Today Show. Clay talked about why he no longer watches American Idol, and said that he enjoyed his Broadway experience more than he thought he would. He also discussed how the new album came to be, saying he and executive producer Kipper immediately bonded.
Clay also dropped by MSNBC, as a UNICEF ambassador, to discuss the current situation in Myanmar, which was devastated with a cyclone that killed as many as 100,000 in the Asian country.

Sunny 101.5 FM Interviews Clay

South Bend, IN's Sunny 101.5 FM interviewed Clay today. The exclusive interview is available as a MP3 download at the Sunny 101.5 FM website.

AOL's Mo Rocca Chats with Clay at Benihana Restaurant




AOL News' Mo Rocca had a 5 minute sit down interview with Clay at the Benihana Japanese restaurant in New York City. In the interview, Clay talked about why he loves the restaurant, shares his thoughts on the new album, and picks up a few lessons about "edamame", which he finds out are soybeans, not peas.

Don't miss this interview! It's one of the best ones we've come arcoss in a while!



Thanks to the heads up from Anew and Afresh and the ConCLAYve.

On My Way Here Digest - May 9, 2008

  • Hits Daily Double is revising their first week sales estimates for Clay. New figures predict that Clay will move between 90,000 and 95,000 copies in the first week -
    YOUR WEAKEND TOP 10 CHART PREVIEW: Good news, kiddies-there will be five debuts in next week's Top 10, and one of them will actually break 100k! That would be Neil Diamond, whose second Rick Rubin-produced Columbia album is headed toward the top of the chart, with a projected 125-130k. Behind the old-timer will be RCA/RMG's debuting Clay Aiken, who should come tantalizingly close to six figures, with 90-95k. Madonna's Hard Candy (WB) appears to be melting toward 85-90k in its second week, probably good enough for #3 in this age of diminished expectations, though she probably can't wait to get her act to Live Nation. Another diva, Mariah Carey (Island/IDJ), will likely be next with 80-85k, while the sophomore album of J/RMG's Gavin DeGraw is headed for a bow in the neighborhood of 70-75k, which would probably get him to #5. The rest of the Top 10 should go something like this: Toby Keith (Show Dog/Mercury Nashville), 70-75k: Leona Lewis (Syco/J/RMG), 65-70k; Josh Groban (143/WB), 50-55k; and Dierks Bentley (Capitol Nashville), 28-32k; with #10 up for grabs between Reprise's Michael Buble Wal-Mart exclusive EP at 28-32k and Taylor Swift (Big Machine/Universal Republic) 28-30k. You are now free to get back to going through your Facebook notifications. (5/9a)
  • Billboard's Chuck Taylor offers his review of "On My Way Here" - the song -
    Clay Aiken readily admits that despite massive retail and touring success, radio has never been a particularly tight ally. So he recorded "On My Way Here," his first new album of original material in five years, with an eye on simply finding songs that fit him-and lo and behold, the title track could well be one that AC radio embraces. First, it's co-written by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, who has worked with Leona Lewis, Natasha Bedingfield and dozens of other hitmakers. Second, the lyric offers that rare message you actually listen to: "I've seen the best, the worst/I wouldn't change what I've been through/I've touched the sky, hit the wall, but did what I had to/On my way here." Aiken was so moved by this song that it locked in an album theme about growing up and lessons learned. The singer might be accused of excess bravado in the past, but here, he delivers a restrained performance, still ever-emotive. Claymates-who proved tenacity by supporting en masse his just-wrapped Broadway run in "Spamalot"-will be reduced to tears, but even those who have dismissed Aiken in the past will find this "Way" convincing. -Chuck Taylor
  • USA Today's Idol Chatter blog has a review of the full OMWH album. I think it's a fair and respectable review and it's obvious the reviewer, Ken Barnes, actually listened to the album first -
    I got a copy of Clay's On My Way Here earlier this week and thought I'd revive the old track-by-track semi-review method I've used on some past Idol albums.

    Most of you won't be jolted to learn that Clay's favored style of music is not mine. Musically, he has a preference for the big soaring, orchestrated pop ballad; lyrically he seems to like songs about overcoming struggles or general inspiration, or songs about the difficulties of finding a perfect relationship, or celebrating it when you do, or resolving trust issues once you're in a relationship. You have to be careful about reading too much into the song choices (they could well be songs he just likes singing), but I can imagine his fans becoming a little concerned about his happiness.

    Much of this sort of thing in general can veer into the mawkish or overly sentimental or cliched, and the songs Clay chose to do here are not exempt from those problems.

    Yet it's good to see him being able to fulfill his vision through songs tailored for him, as opposed to the cover format dictated on his last album. And there are definitely aspects of the album I liked, including the singing -- Clay has a fine instrument in his voice and deploys it skillfully throughout, so that even when I'm thinking a song is pretty mushy, I also realize it's well-sung mush.

    [...]
  • Tower.com's review of OMWH is up. Wonderful! -
    Under the tutelage of producer Marc 'Kipper' Eldridge, Clay Aiken finally breaks out of his shell to deliver his best record to date.

    It has been 5 years since Clay Aiken was runner-up to Ruben Studdard in the second season of American Idol. Since being propelled into the spotlight in 2003, Aiken has released 3 full length studio albums, including a Christmas CD, authored a New York Times best-selling book Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life along with Allison Glock, and has recently made his Broadway debut playing the role of Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot in January, 2008.

    On My Way Here, released on the RCA label, is the singer's 4th record and perhaps his most authoritative. The album recounts Aiken's experiences, positive and negative, over the past 5 years. The title track, "On My Way Here", was originally written by Ryan Tedder (One Republic) and immediately caught Aiken's ear. It conveys the infinite trials and tribulations of growing older and depicts new challenges that arise as adults, a theme clearly relevant to Aiken's recent past.

    Catch Clay Aiken on his U.S. summer 2008 tour to promote the new album.

    Favorite Songs: "On My Way Here", "Ashes", and "Where I Draw the Line"

Tidbits 5/9

  • All Headline News - Clay ends 3.5 month run on "Spamalot" -
    Former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken recently ended his starring role in the Broadway show "Spamalot" as Sir Robin. The show is a Tony Award-winning musical.
  • Hip Hop DX - American Idol runner-ups churning out successful careers -
    "If you take American Idol, there's always one winner, but the second and third-place contestants also put out records." Indeed, Justin Guarini, Clay Aiken and even Koch Records signing William Hung represent the success of runners-up in the most famous musical competition of late. "We'll be able to break some records outside of the winner," hopes Rifkind.
  • Honolulu Star Bulletin - Kimberley Locke article ...
    Just ask Kimberley Locke. She came in "third" during the second season of "American Idol," the so-called last-girl-standing when it came to the scrappy duel between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard.
  • Ultimate Guitar - Neil Diamond on track to #1 album -
    Billboard is reporting that “shopping for the Mother’s Day holiday on Sunday, May 11, may amplify the demand for certain sets¯like the mom-friendly efforts from Diamond, [Clay] Aiken, [Toby] Keith and [Josh] Groban.”
  • Concord Monitor - random mention -
    Unless you're a full-blooded extrovert, you know the kind I'm talking about. The daughter's-friend's-dad you've met twice at birthday parties and now feel compelled to converse with even though you know him only as "Jenny's dad, the one who kind of looks like Clay Aiken and is always sweating."
CDD Blogwatch
  • Carolina On My Mind - OMWH lands in the Clay nation -
    From Clay Aiken's amazing "Spamalot" send-off Sunday night to the release of his incredible CD, On My Way Here, this week has been off the charts, filled with memorable moments and the long awaited strains of a beautiful eclectic collection of music.

    As they watched countdown clocks proclaim Tuesday, May 6, finally here, many fans listened to AOL's sneak preview of album tracks. Release parties, iTunes downloads, and midnight runs to 24-hour stores began a Clay Cyberspace CD listening party that is still in high gear.

    Even when met with shelves not yet stocked, CA fans have adeptly maneuvered most "minor" obstacles. In their quest for the new CD, many have assisted clerks locate albums still in shipment boxes, rearranged stock for a more prominent OMWH display, and continued sharing this exceptional album within their network of family and acquaintances.
  • Chexxxy's Pearls - Clay performs from OMWH on Good Morning America
  • Techno Geek Girl gives her "completely and totally biased" review of OMWH -
    The big day came this week: Clay Aiken's new album came out on Tuesday! Woohoo, w00t, yippee and all that! I took a few days to listen ::mumblemumble:: times, and now I think I'm ready to do my own little review. Keep in mind that I am COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY biased, and I am NOT ashamed of that, and will not even TRY to be 'objective'. (btw, there is NO objective opinion, ever. Everyone has SOME sort of bias.) So, here goes my very unobjective, fangirly opinion.
  • Clay - The Man looks at OMWH in words and through "Ashes'" gorgeous graphics

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Clay Visits The View



Video clip courtesy ConnieTalk.

Clay visited The View today to promote On My Way Here. He sat down for a brief interview, where he talked about the new album, the BAF, Mother's day and his fans, before performing the lead single, "On My Way Here".

Download the cap at ClackUnlimited.

Fans Interview Clay on Portland's K103 FM


GrowlClay919 was one of 3 Clay fans who got the opportunity to interview Clay on Portland, OR's K103 FM today. The interview is available on K103 FM's website.

ABC NightLine Interview Tonight; CBS Interview Now Online

Clay will be on ABC's NightLine tonight at 11:35 PM EDT for an interview about the new album, "On My Way Here". ABCNews.com today ran a great article titled "Aiken Ditches Cover Songs":

Long before he starred in Broadway's "Spamalot," Clay Aiken was a performer. Some might say he always knew his audience.

[...]

Today Aiken, 29, still knows how to please a crowd and remains the most successful of the male "American Idol" contestants. His first three albums played it safe, with few original songs and lots of crowd-pleasing covers. Critics complained Aiken wasn't revealing enough, and after belting out Brian Adams and Mr. Mister, Aiken himself has admitted that it was tough for him to make a statement via repackaged music.

[...]

But unlike his previous albums that conform to a particular genre, Aiken considers his newest album, "On My Way Here," which arrived in stores this week, to be an eclectic mix that reflects his personal style. Aiken only wrote one song on the record, "Lover All Alone," but selected the remaining songs to represent experiences he's had in the past five years.

[...]

In 2003 Aiken did, however, come very close to winning "American Idol," the most well-known singing contest in the nation. As one of the two finalists left standing, Aiken lost while Ruben Studdard walked away with the coveted recording contract.

Since then, Studdard was dropped by his label after a disappointing performance on the music charts, while Aiken's albums went platinum. After receiving several prestigious honors from Billboard and the American Music Awards, Aiken has sold more albums and had more No. 1 songs than any other "American Idol" alum except for Kelly Clarkson.

CBS News also posted a report/interview about OMWH. Watch the interview at CBS Video.
Clay Aiken's Life Lessons

Clay Aiken's new album "On My Way Here" has been released and is his first collection of original songs since his debut album went double platinum in 2003. Karen Brown reports.

Clay Interviewed by "Extra" About OMWH, American Idol


Clay was interviewed by "Extra" about On My Way Here. He tells them that he no longer watches American Idol, saying the show has lost its innocence. The CB's dogloverlikeclay summarizes:

Heads up for anyone who gets Extra (it usually is on the same channel as Access Hollywood). They just did a great piece on Clay (unlike that debacle last week that AH did). They showed some past AI pics of him and then showed him now looking mighty fine. They asked him about AI which he gave his standard "same as high school" answer. Then they showed the OMWH cd cover and him singing in the studio. It was all positive and did I mention how fine he looked??
Download the video cap at SendSpace

At Extra's website, Simon Cowell chimed in on Clay's comments about no longer watching AI -
From "Idol" present to "Idol" past -- Simon takes a slap at second season runner-up Clay, who dissed the show in a new interview -- and caused one hairy situation! Seeing Aiken's new blond hairdo, Cowell quipped, "So that was Nancy Grace, where's Clay? It's just that hair. I can't listen to him."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tidbits 5/8

Clay, front and center, in Wal-Mart's email to customers.
  • Clay returns with new CD -
    • Herald Tribune -
      Clay Aiken: ON MY WAY HERE

      A common criticism of “American Idol” finalists is that when they get into the recording studio, their talent is overshadowed by poor material selection and overproduction. There’s not a hint of that on Aiken’s first album of original material since 2003.

      Hear here: tinyurl.com/3ena5p. Grade: A-
    • Ventura County Star -
      Clay Aiken

      "On My Way Here," RCA

      In the Broadway show that is Clay Aiken's public life, he is, of course, the leading man. His fourth full-length progresses just like the Original Cast Recording, with character development songs early ("On My Way Here"), beatific love songs in the middle ("Something About Us"), and a dénouement of regret and lessons learned ("Lover All Alone"). Aiken, who debuted on the Great White Way this year in "Spamalot," sings like a theater veteran: almost too perfectly, with a self-aware showmanship. But that doesn't make pop-rock nuggets like "Ashes" any less catchy, or the ballads — on which Aiken's breathy tenor could break housewife hearts — ring any less true. With big American melodies, stock AC production and general inoffensiveness throughout, this should satisfy his army of self-dubbed Claymates.
    • Blogcritics -
      American Idol Clay Aiken returns with On My Way Here. All American Patriot and sometime Ford Truck pitchman Toby Keith has a double disc of his 35 Biggest Hits, that also includes a new song, "She's a Hottie.
    • E! Online asks - who's hotter? Clay or Josh Groban?
      Musically, of course.

      These two titans go head to head this week on the charts. While Clay Aiken has been enjoying a meaty role in Spamalot, Josh Groban surprised us recently with his deeply moving appearance in Jimmy Kimmel's video valentine to Ben Affleck.

      So what's it gonna be: Clay's On My Way Here (which is totally hot for your mom) or Josh's Awake Live CD/DVD (which is offering you 23 minutes of its epic awesomeness here).
  • American Idol mentions:
    • TV Squad - down to the final 3 --
      Now that we've said goodbye to so many other hopefuls we're down to a Final Three every bit as strong as Season Two's Kimberly Locke, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, though drastically different.
    • Reality Wanted -
      As far as I’m concerned there is only one real winner and that is David Archuleta. If he doesn’t win I’ll be as disappointed as I was in Season 2 when Ruben Studdard won over Clay Aiken. But what the hey, who’s selling more records now????
    • TV Fodder -
      David’s performance of the Ben E. King song was truly cool. He was made for songs like this. I see him eventually filling the shoes of people like Clay Aiken and Josh Groban, singers who have pure voices and sing mature songs.
    • Boston Herald -
      “But after Clay Aiken in season two, it turned out that you didn’t have to win to have a career. Jennifer Hudson was the best example of that. She was voted off sixth from the end and she won an Oscar. Chris Daughtry was fourth from the end. It’s feasible that every single one of the top 12 this year could have a recording career. So I stopped getting emotionally attached to where everyone finishes.”
    • Monsters & Critics -
      Clay Aiken went on record about the show that launched his unlikely career.

      He doesn’t watch American Idol anymore.

      Aiken revealed to Extra why he doesn’t watch the show that launched his career five years ago.

      “It’s just not the same thing. It’s like going back to your high school and none of your teachers are there. It’s just completely different,” Aiken explained.

      Aiken continued, “I feel like the show was very innocent for awhile when I was on it and I absolutely thank God for it…It’s just not the same show.”
    • Extra - Clay no longer tunes into Idol -
      Claymate alert! Clay is aching to tell the world how he really feels about the show that launched his huge career five years ago -- and it isn't pretty! "I haven't watched an episode," reveals Clay, "it's just not the same thing. It's like going back to your high school and none of your teachers are there, it's just completely different."
  • Clay on GMA:
  • Mercury News - Clay Aiken knows he's no Justin Timberlake -
    Clay Aiken knows he's no J. Timberlake

    Honey-voiced pixie Clay Aiken is pretty realistic about his niche in the musical landscape. "I'm not cool, you know what I mean? I'm not gonna lie," he said in a recent interview. "I'm not trying to be Justin Timberlake. Thank God we have him, but I'm not him. . . . I'm not gonna bring anybody's sexy back." Aiken embraces his pop-lite sensibility in "On My Way Here," his first album of all-new material in more than four years. The "American Idol" alum - he placed second to Ruben Studdard in the Fox show's second season - was the first non-winner to release a successful album, "Measure of a Man," which went double platinum in 2003.

    He followed that up with two cover albums: "Merry Christmas With Love" and "A Thousand Different Ways."
  • MSNBC writes about Clay's hair:
    Clay Aiken

    Remember Clay Aiken in his early “American Idol” days? He was just a sweet, scrawny kid with spiky hair and dark caterpillar eyebrows. Flash-forward through five years of mind-blowing makeovers and you’ll now see Clay’s own Spector-worthy bright blonde “Ode to Ellen” (even the caterpillars molted into matchy-matchy flaxen features). The big problem with this, and all of his other hair don’ts, is the tendency toward flat iron abuse. The man can’t stand a wave or fluff or anything resembling the natural state of human hair. If only Clay would go with the flow.
  • Monsters & Critics - Simon Cowell unleashed ... comments about Clay:
    The mouth from Britain is dishing about Clay Aiken, Miley Cyrus, Hillary Clinton and Jason Castro, as Cowell sounded off to his girlfriend at Extra.

    Terri Seymour sat down with her main squeeze, American Idol’s Simon Cowell for The World According to Simon.

    Responding to a recent “Extra” interview in which American Idol alum Clay Aiken revealed he no longer watches the show.

    Cowell said, “So, that was Nancy Grace? That hair…I can’t listen to him…[But] to be fair to Clay, he was actually one of my favorite contestants in a way because he was so ambitious and so desperate to win.”
  • USA Today - QVC redefining how it does TV shopping -
    Be more entertaining. QVC is getting out of the studio more often to broadcast from remote locations. It has sold hair care products from an upscale Manhattan hair salon, Yankee memorabilia from the team's famed stadium and National Football League merchandise from pro football stadiums.

    It's also airing live musical acts. On April 28, American Idol alumnus Clay Aiken performed songs from his new album On My Way Here. That day, QVC received more than 15,000 orders for the $19.38 CD — which also came with a five-track bonus CD/DVD.
  • Prefix - Neil Diamond releases new album -
    Neil Diamond had his first hit 42 years ago, but he's never had a Number One album. Until now. That's what the stats are projecting, anyway; according to Billboard, the early sales figures for the new album Diamond released this week, Home Before Dark (his second in a row to be produced by Rick Rubin), show the 67-year-old to be outpacing everyone from Madonna to Clay Aiken.
  • Reuters - Neil Diamond on track to #1 album -
    The current No. 1, Madonna's "Hard Candy" (Warner Bros.), may slide to No. 2 or No. 3 next week, while new entries from Gavin DeGraw, Clay Aiken, Toby Keith and Josh Groban look headed for top 10 bows.
  • Clay bids farewell to Spamalot:
    • Broadway World -
      Monty Python’s Spamalot marked its third anniversary on Broadway with a special 3-D performance. They welcomed American Idol alum Clay Aiken as well as London’s Lady of the Lake, Hannah Waddingham for a limited engagement with the show.
    • Herald Dispatch - "Clay Aiken just ended his three-month run in Spamalot and will spend his downtime at home in North Carolina. "
    • Entertainment Weekly -
      Catering to the last question, Idol has actually sent its talent straight to the Great White Way, including mama's fave Clay Aiken (Spamalot), Tamyra Gray (Rent), Constantine Maroulis (The Wedding Singer), LaKisha Jones (The Color Purple) , Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray) and of course, Fantasia.
  • Salt Lake Tribune - it's not about winning anymore, on Idol -
    For one thing, only two of the previous six "Idol" champs, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, have attained superstar status. Meanwhile, several "Idol" also-rans (Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken and Chris Daughtry, for example) have fared better than their season's champs.
  • The Daily Northwestern - review of OMWH... bleh... (also on another article ... "These are the people who truly make up our campus, so we hope you enjoy reading about them. And if not, there's always Social Diary, Anticipation Index and Clay Aiken's latest release to make you smile - or piss you off.")
    Clay Aiken

    On My Way Here

    When he wasn't starring in Monty Python's Spamalot, dissing Kelly Ripa or dodging gay rumors, Clay Aiken found the time to make an album. His second original work, On My Way Here, documents heartbreaks, regrets and growth since debuting as a nerdy Idol wannabe. Though he's sporting a heavier physique and longer hair, not much else has changed. Aiken's sound is the same - cheesy Top 40 pop that makes middle-aged women (his "Claymates") swoon. The title track, written by One Republic frontman Ryan Tedder, sets the mood with its simple piano and sweeping strings. Aiken sticks to what he's best at with ballads like "Something About Us" and "The Real Me"- clichéd love songs sappy enough to make Claymates toss their elastic-waisted Hanes. Although Aiken tries to switch it up with jazzy, funky beats and pop-rock guitar riffs, this one falls flat.
  • Seattle Pi - Clay no longer tunes into Idol - "Well, not exactly. Extra has the scoop that American Idol alum Clay Aiken no longer watches American Idol. "It's just not the same thing," Aiken says. "It's like going back to your high school and none of your teachers are there. It's just completely different.""
CDD Blogwatch
  • There Was A Man, The ConCLAYve, All That Is Clay Aiken - Clay performs "Ashes" on GMA - online edition
  • Anew and Afresh gives a review of OMWH -
    For far too long Clay has been singing music chosen for him, according to someone else's idea of what sort of musical artist he is and all too often, they've tried to put him in a box that was too small for a voice as big and as versatile as his. With this new album, however, Clay's finally singing songs that come close to matching his talent. I've been listening to the entire album all day, and thus far I haven't found one song on it that I want to skip. When was the last time you were able to say that about any album these days? It's the first time I've been able to say it about any of Clay's albums.
  • ClayKat - Clay is here with a new CD -
    Well here we are - May 6th! I needed a break from work and have many overtime hours anyway, so I left early this afternoon to go for a nice walk and pick up my copy of On My Way Here, then spend the evening enjoying it.

    I loaded the CD into my iTunes file on the computer, and lo and behold, something funny occurred: it decided the album is called On My Way There! Hilarious! I haven't corrected the mistake yet - who knows, if I'm the only one with this bug in the title, it might be worth something some day. ;-)
  • All That Is Clay Aiken - thanking Clay for OMWH -
    This album is amazing. I really cannot put into words how I feel about it. I had heard the snippets from the different online vendors and knew it was going to be great. I had no idea how great it really was until I actually heard the entire CD. You can tell that Clay, Kipper and Jaymes put their heart and soul into every aspect of this work.

    Clay's voice has matured and is so much fuller now. Just by listening to him sing, you can tell this was a happy experience for him. This is the CD that Clay has been wanting to produce from the get-go. The worth the wait.
    It is very eclectic that it has something for everyone. In one interview today he said that his involvement with Unicef had some effect on a couple of the song choices. I would have been surprised if he had not had at least one inspirational song since he mentioned discovering one while on a trip with Unicef. Inspirational to R&B to mid-tempo. Some could even be cross-overs. I love all of the songs.

Clays Posts on Official Fanclub

Clay posted his reaction to the news of sales estimates for OMWH that came out today. The CB's nebclayfan recapped what Clay said, which cannot be quoted directly because it is from the fanclub:

Clay just posted a long post about the sales number on the OFC in the message board part in the topic that Jaymes started. Basically, said don't blaim the label or the publicity people. That they weren't sure they could get the cd done and so could not ask 3 months in advance to be on shows. They had asked DWTS and AI but that with the competion being so tight, it is very hard to get on those shows. He said the publicity people have worked hard to get him on what he is going to be on. He said he knows that we are his best publicity, that he loves us but does not want us to point fingers. He is disappointed in the totals too, but it may turn around.

Shipwreck Island Studios Files OMWH Review

This is a wonderful review of "On My Way Here" from Shipwreck Island Studios. They also did a great review on ATDW came out back in 2006.

It has been a while since Clay Aiken has graced the music world with a full blown studio album. 5 years after "Measure Of A Man", Clay showcases his growth as a musician as well as a person. From the catchy "Ashes" to the inspiring "As Long As Were Here", Aiken shares his diversity like no current musician. After every Clay release I find myself wondering what could he possibly do next to showcase his talent? Of course only he knows what is to come up next.... But with On My Way Here, he has hit another homerun. There's a great pallet of songs to choose from. There are of course the Clay Aiken pop rock tunes that music fans all know him for, then there are tunes that will shock even the most faithful "CA" fan. If you are only a fan of his pop rock material then chances are you will be giving this disc a lower rating then myself simply because of that reason. But if you like a broad range of material that covers different musical genres then it is a no brainer that you will appreciate this release. The one song that I feel will shock many "Everything I Don't Need", because it is "CA" outside the box. Clearly going the extra mile to try something different and frankly I think it worked out perfectly. Overall Clay has done the impossible again, releasing a disc that has something for everyone. If you liked his previous releases it only makes sense to continue the trend and pick this one up. If you didn't like his past works.... I say give this one a try, listen to some audio clips via iTunes or other legal websites. A fun filled adventure from start to finish in the way only "CA" can do it.

> Good - New material, vocal arrangements and the right direction. Clay Aiken has a viewpoint in today's music world that most artists simply do not.

> Bad - Some music lovers may shy away from this release because it isn't all pop rock material.

Gather.com's Interview with Clay


We were promised a while ago that Gather.com would interview Clay. We got the heads up that the interview is now up on Gather.com, based on questions submitted by fans. The interview is focused around Clay's work with the BAF and UNICEF:

[...]

Gather: Karen M. asked "As for UNICEF I would be interested to know of the locations that you have visited; which is the first one that you would you like to return to for a follow-up visit? Why?"

Clay: I've been to Indonesia, went there after the tsunami, I've been to Uganda in the same year to see the effects of the war and that was one of the most devastating things I've ever seen in my life. I went to Afghanistan last year for what UNICEF was doing there, and spent this past Christmas in Mexico.

[...]

Gather: Jean A. asked, "You have recently mentioned that you may be going on a UNICEF trip this summer...can you talk anymore about that? Your trips to Banda Aceh, Uganda, Afghanistan, and Mexico brought so much awareness about the plights of others around the world. I'm looking forward to your next trip!"

Clay: We usually don't talk about trips before I take them for security reasons. While we don't say where we're going, but of course when we talked about Mexico, its ok, but typically they like to send me places where they are scared that they could lose me so we don't usually don't talk about where I'm going before I go for those reasons.

[...]

Gather: Sandy P. asked, "Do you get to go to any of the camps and participate with the kids. I hope so, I know how much you love and care about them. I hope you get to enjoy their joy at times."

Clay: I have done that a few years ago and we tried doing them last summer but I was on tour. We want to try to do some more of that this summer. I miss that part of my life. At the same time it can tend to be a distraction and that's not what I want to cause. It's not beneficial to disrupt the routine, but participating and interacting is something I love to do.


[...]

Gather: Debra B. asked, "Hey there Clay--just wondering what book are you reading right now? And do you have a favorite book from your childhood that you would love to read to your own children someday?

Keep up the good work! You have an awesome voice and a good heart. =)"

Clay: I'm actually not reading anything right now, but recently bought my favorite book from when I was a kid which is The Magic Hat of Mortimer Wintergreen by Myron Levoy.

Clay Performs "On My Way Here" on GMA

Clay returned to ABC's "Good Morning America" for the first time in over 1 and a half years today to perform his new single "On My Way Here" and an old Clay classic, "Invisible". A performance of "Ashes" didn't air on TV but was made available on ABC.com.

Clay performs "Ashes" ... via YouTube:



TV Guide Thinks It's 2005

We were a little shocked when we saw this posted today in TV Guide's email. Clay performed "Back for More" on a July 2005 episode of GMA. He appeared on this morning's show to promote OMWH.

Morning Show
Clay Aiken On Good Morning America
Millions of Claymates were beside themselves this morning when Idol's second-season runner-up, Clay Aiken, debuted his new song "Coming Back for More" on GMA. It's amazing how a former Idol contestant who didn't even win can still drum up hordes and hordes of fans after more than five years. Sure is a lot more than you can say for whats-his-face who actually won Season 2.

OMWH On Track to 80K-85K in First Week

Hits Daily Double estimates that "On My Way Here" will move between 80,000 and 85,000 units in first week sales.

Neil Diamond - 125,000 - 130,000
Madonna - 85,000 - 95,000
Clay - 80,000 - 85,000
Gavin DeGraw - 75,000 - 80,000


RCA American Idol alum Clay Aiken is On My Own Here, with loyal Claymates pushing his first-week sales total to 80-85k, just ahead of fellow J Records heartthrob Gavin DeGraw's self-titled sophomore album with 75-80k.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Reminder: Clay on GMA - Wednesday, May 7

Clay will be on ABC's Good Morning America this morning - Wednesday, May 7. Make sure you tune in!

video

Tidbits 5/7


  • OK! Magazine - Clay Aiken has no rumors to clear up:
    Believe everything you read about Clay Aiken. Go ahead, ask him yourself. The onetime American Idol runner-up and current Broadway star tells OK! he has no rumors to clear up — not even the one about his sexuality.

    “At this point everyone knows everything,” Clay tells OK! “I had a fan a few years ago say ‘I know everything about you except for what your favorite color is.’ In that case, I’m never telling anyone my favorite color. I’ve stuck to it for five years – no one knows. For the most part, people know quite a bit. After five years, people have figured out as much as there is to know.”
  • Clay Aiken is back with a new album
    • Canadian Press wire
    • Las Vegas Review Journal
    • Baltimore Sun -
      Clay Aiken has always seemed like the most bewildered of the " American Idol" graduates -- his insta-fame cut with a bit of what-just-happened? caution, his music a hit-or-miss split between what he wants and what he's supposed to want.

      Five years later, on his second full album of originals, "On My Way Here" (RCA/19), Aiken is starting to figure it out.

      He is at his best when he wraps his big voice around big ballads, usually ones with big messages attached. He maximizes the drama on "As Long as We're Here" to poignant effect, with booming phrases that would make Celine Dion proud, followed by vulnerable questioning that emo leading men would secretly admire. He undersells "Something About Us" like it was a classic Johnny Mathis ballad and fills "The Real Me" with a quavering uncertainty that makes it work.
    • The Frisky -
      Clay Aiken’s fourth record also comes out today and perhaps he’ll follow its lead. In his single, The Real Me, he teases his fans with lyrics like, “Do I let it show, does anybody know?” The answer is YES!
    • New York Post -
      ATTENTION all Claymates: The second-place finisher in the second season of "American Idol" is finally putting out his second album of original tunes.

      Between releasing his 2003 double-platinum debut, "Measure of a Man," and today's "On My Way Here," Clay Aiken released a Christmas album, a disc of cover songs and a Wal-Mart exclusive Christmas EP - and, as of Sunday, completed a 31/2-month stint in Broadway's "Spamalot."
    • Idolator - It's Clay Day!
      From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews, even when the new release schedule isn't quite as exciting as it was the week before. Under consideration today is an album that Largehearted Boy has said the "mainstream media" is "fawning over": Clay Aiken's On My Way Here.
  • American Idol mentions:
    • Asheville Citizen Times - "Overall: David has a quality voice of a genre ala Clay Aiken. He will be successful and he will be around for at least another week. 9."

Clay Greets Fans at NYC Virgin Megastore



Clay celebrated the release of On My Way Here with hundreds of anxious fans at the New York City, Times Square Virgin MegaStore where he signed copies of the new album.

The CB's HopelesslyDevoted recaps:
That was really fun! We were all downstairs and Clay appeared and came down on the escalator to huge screams and applause. He did his press/photo op thing (lots of press there) and did some interviews. He took his picture with one of the winners from the CDR party and then came up onto the stage for more photo ops. He looked gorgeous....happy and well rested. He was very gracious and sweet while signing things. He took his time and looked up quite alot at you...smiling and chatty. At one point he got up from the table and bent down to talk with a little girl that was there..it was so sweet. Jerome and Mary were with him. A representative from RCA/SONY was there and I have also heard PR/Barry was as well. We were fortunate to be allowed to present him with the poster that everyone had signed from the CDR party the night before (thank you everyone for making it so special). He seemed to enjoy it and then said something like (paraphrasing because I am still in 'the fog')...'glad to see Im not the only one signing stuff around here'...lol...after you got your CD signed you were ushered back upstairs...where you could watch from the second level. I will post some low quality video I got with my digital camera until the professionals get here. There were lots of clack gatherers so we should have some great video and pics coming our way! It was really really fun...Clay was awesome and as I ran out early to catch my train it was so great to hear OMWH blasting outside on Broadway from Virgin's speakers!
... and the CB's AustenFan adds:
The CD signing was incredible. Great crowd and Clay looked fantastic. I gave a CD to a friend and the first reaction she had after looking at the cover was 'What a handsome man'. Wooh heartbeat.

You could hear Clay's music out in the street and very loudly throughout the store. The music is very exciting with rock and urban touches along with some more traditional styles. Just a wonderful eclectic mix.

I hope the folks in the store know it's Clay and not that top 40/MTV group, Tokyo Hotel that had a signing and performance right after Clay. Because Clay rocks on this album. I mean that seriously. I saw some of TRL today where Tokyo Hotel was performing and the host started to say 'the fans had been there for...' like it was overnight or some huge amount of time and then said 'hours' and then joked 'weeks'. Because it was the Clay fans who were there overnight and had that huge crowd for most of the day. People were hanging over the railings to see what was going on. They were snapping pictures in the street.

And I love how the they announced 'Clay is in the house'. And called him a superstar to the cheers of the crowd.

Last night when they started to play Clay's album in the store people screamed and cheered and sang along and rocked out..dancing and grooving in the aisles. Some folks with cameras filmed so hopefully people will see the great reaction to Clay. And the Ticket Dude from Spamalot stopped by Virgin Megastore and showed his support. It's wonderful how Clay has impressed those folks. Just like we're impressed by them.

I did get some video that I hope to post in the next day or two. Just an amazing day and what a wonderful album. Clay is a fine musician and one incredible artist. He's also a very decent man. As the Ticket Dude said...they've had good actors and singers in shows before...but when Clay spoke about Broadway Cares and helping the charity, that's when he understood our devotion. Something he'd never seen with any fan group. 'And it's not misplaced' he added.

And Clay is gorgeous to boot. What more could one want.
The CB's JustGrace shares her recap:
Ok, so I think I finally have a quality recap for everyone! I just got back from NYC, what a whirlwind!

Upon reading the reports that people were camping out overnight on Sunday, I was really discouraged, and even contemplating not wasting my money, In my mind, there was no way I was getting a wrist band if I was getting into the city at 2:30 Monday afternoon. But you know what, I planned the trip, I was going to carry it out, darn it! And am I thankful I did!

A big wave to the OFC girls that welcomed me into their "family", since I traveled alone for this event. We had such a great time out in line. All I can remember was everyone saying how it was great to be with their freinds. Many of us had never met before, yet there was such a sense of family in that line. We had a lot of bonding time to boot! A big thank you to Kendra for keeping us quite entertained all night "Bring out your dead!"

At about 11:00, we were escorted in groups to line up inside the store. Let me tell you, I felt like a sardine! It was hot and stuffy, but I was happy as a clam listening to that beaultiful album playing through the store. And I was so happy that everyone in line received a writband! I bid fairwell to everyone "See you tomorrow!" with a great big great and lots of EEEEEs.

I lined up around 12:00 this afternoon, great timing, I was about thirty people back. This placed me right in front of the escalator, hehe. I heard a blond woman say to the security gaurd something about him coming down the escalator....NO, he can't be.....oh yes he did! And he stood right in front of me and another group of wonderful ladies ::waves to ClayNovember:: and he looked right in my eyes as he said, "Hey Ya'll, Thank You!" I melted, at that point, I had no idea what was happening around me...I have no pictures, I lost all memory of how my camera functioned. As the millions of flashes began to go off, I was a goner, lost in the Aikenfog. I managed to get a short video on my phone, If I can figure it out, I will post it! So VERY shortly after the intial chaos, it was sooner my turn. I stepped up to Mary, who I didn't even realize was saying hi to me. I jumped a little and was like "OH! Hi Mary!" totally out of it, I was embarrassed. But the embarrassment soon was clouded by a look from peircing hazel eyes looking my way. "Hello, what's your name?" ummmmm what is my name? I know I shook his hand. "Thank you so much for coming." Then he looked straight into my eyes and gave a smile that could melt anyone into a puddle of goo. I am suprised Jerome didn't have to break out a mop to clean me up off the floor! I am telling you, if looks could kill!

The expereince lasted about 10 seconds, but the memory will last forever! I had a blast and it was worth every minute of waiting on the streets of Times Sqaure! I have defaintly found a new family!


CDD supports:

Bubel Aiken Foundation GoodSearch for TBAF UNICEF