Saturday, April 28, 2007

Clay and Kimmel: Filling in for Larry King, the Sequel


Well, after seeing Jimmy Kimmel rip the paparazzi and Gawker Stalker's Emily Gould a new one a while back (and wasn't that great? -- who knew he had it in him?), I wondered what might happen if he was invited back to guest-host Larry King Live again, on another topic. I'm not saying I think it should unfold this way, necessarily, but it would certainly be interesting! (cue dream sequence music)

(Kimmel on the Larry King Live set, wearing a striped dress shirt, patterned tie, and coordinating suspenders. He addresses the camera.)

Kimmel: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Larry King Live. I’m Jimmy Kimmel, filling in for Larry. Again. Apparently, CNN got a lot of mail after the last time I was on, so God knows why but they’re giving me another shot. So if you don’t like the show tonight, write to them -- it’s all their fault. Tonight’s topic? Challenging crass comedians.

Speaking of whom, I’d like to welcome my guests...from a competing timeslot on a rival network which will not be named: Conan O’Brien (closeup of Conan, whose expression suggests that he’s been sandbagged) and “comedienne” Kathy Griffin (mock horror, then as much shameless mugging as her Botoxed face will allow). We did invite everybody’s favorite coffeeshop freeloader, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, to join us, but unfortunately right now he’s tied up in some litigation due to a little incident involving photoshop, a minor and a bottle of white-out. Maybe next time, Perez! If there IS a next time. We’ll also be joined by a special surprise guest.

Sooo...I guess I’ll just throw a general question out there and either of you can answer it, if you dare. What’s so entertaining about whether somebody’s gay or not? And if someone has clearly stated that they aren't gay, why can't you figure they know what they're talking about and leave it alone? And if somebody says their sexual orientation is nobody else’s business, why do you seem to disagree? Geez, I guess that was three questions! Anyway, what--

Conan (huffily): Nobody told my agent this was the topic. He said--

Kimmel: Really? Oh. Sorry about that. But since you’re here anyway, would you care to--

Conan: Not really. All I’m gonna say is I do what my audience likes. Bottom line...they laugh, the ratings go up, my sponsors are happy. Now excuse me while I fire my agent.

Kathy (stridently): I gotta weigh in on this. He’s right -- that’s what it’s all about. "My gays" laugh their asses off at my material -- I don’t care what anybody thinks as long as they think I’m hysterical. And they do. So there.

Kimmel: Okay, but what about the other 99.9 percent of the population? I mean...you know some of your stuff is in really bad taste. (to Conan) And YOU. Who used to write for The Simpsons, probably the funniest, smartest show on TV. And Saturday Night Live, which...well...USED to be. Isn’t this kind of a comedown for you, pandering to empty-headed frat boys?

Conan (meanly): Hey, I’m laughing all the way to the bank. And as far as I'm concerned, you’re a hypocrite -- didn’t you used to do exactly the same thing?

Kathy: Yeah, gimme a break! (sneers) When did you qualify for sainthood?

Kimmel: You know, you’re right. I was just as guilty of this as you are.

Kathy: Heh. Ain’t THAT the truth.

Kimmel: Yep, I freely admit it -- I made gay jokes with the best of ‘em. One day, though, I started looking around and realized that not only were a good number of the people I’ve met and worked with gay, but they were normal everyday folks who were good at their jobs, had families, etc. and the stupid jokes I was making were hurting them, limiting my audience, and making me look like a lowlife. And pretty soon, those jokes weren’t very funny to me anymore. And then I met one of the guys I’d been skewering -- somebody YOU (indicates Conan) and YOU (indicates Kathy) still make fun of regularly, and boy, was THAT an eyeopener. Speaking of whom--oh, willya look at that! It’s time for a break. Time flies when you’re having fun, huh? Stick around -- we’ll be right back.

(AFTER THE BREAK)

Kimmel: Okay, we’re back with Larry King Live. I’m Jimmy Kimmel, filling in for Larry, and tonight we’re with Conan O’Brien and Kathy Griffin, talking about how they feel about appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Conan and Kathy (outraged): HEY!

Kimmel (shrugs, resigned): Well. We have an addition to our panel...joining us via satellite from the local affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina, please welcome pop superstar Clay Aiken. Clay, how’re you doing?

Clay: Ah’m good, Jimmy.

Kimmel: I’m here with Conan O’Brien and Kathy Griffin.

Clay: Oh joy. What, wasn’t Perez Hilton available?

Kimmel: As a matter of fact, no. He’s...um...tied up.

Clay (deadpan): Why am Ah not surprised.

Kathy (a patronizing whine): Hi, Claaaaay.

Clay (evasively): Mmmmwhatever.

Kathy (batting her eyelashes): Didja get the present I sentcha?

Clay: The feds warned you about that, Kathy.

Kimmel: So, we’ve been talking about why people make dumb unfunny gay jokes. Any comment on that, Clay?

Clay (thoughtfully): Well, Ah don't rilly know why, Jimmy...Ah guess since it has nothin’ ta do with me personally, Ah don’t rilly have an opinion on it, ‘cept it seems prejudicial, short-sighted, an’ mean-spirited. An’ it buys inta stereotypes, which is the kinda thang dumb, lowrent people do, y'know? Oops! Ah guess Ah DO have an opinion on it after all! (sardonic chuckle)

Conan: Oh, puhleeze! Clay, get real. If you’d just come out of the closet--

Clay (coldly): ‘Scuse me, Mister O’Brien...Ah don’t believe we’ve met. Mah name is Clay Aiken, an’ Ah’m a singer. An' a teacher, an' a UNICEF ambassador. Now, this is none o’ yore business, an’ not that it matters coss y’all’ll believe whatcha want to anyhow, an’ this is absolutely, positively, the LAST time Ah’m talkin’ ‘bout this, so LISTEN UP NOW: Ah’m straight.

Kathy (sarcastically): Yeah, riiiiight!

Clay (hard as nails): Well, 'course yore not gonna believe me, coss what would ya do fer a livin' then, ya parasite? What the heck would ya talk about? Ya might hafta hire some actual writers an’ try ta be...y'know...funny. Good luck with THAT one. Y’know, you oughta be payin’ me a commisson fer all the money you’ve made offa me. Ah’m gonna git mah lawyers workin’ on that one.

KImmel (surprised): Clay, I thought you said--

Clay (impatiently): Oh, stow it, Jimmy. Ah’m fed up. (to Conan, incensed) So you tell me, Woody Woodpecker, since yore such an expert -- how am Ah supposedta come out of a closet Ah was never IN ta begin with? An’ who are YOU ta define who Ah am? Only AH git ta do that. (sly smile) Ya wanna know what Ah think?

Conan (nonplussed): Uh, not--

Clay: --Ah think ya got some sorta weird obsession with me. Yep, some kinda sick fetish. Ah think yore rilly a Claymate, an’ it bothers you a lot. (Mah apologies ta you Claymates out thayre, but y'all know what Ah mean.) Conan, Ah'm thinkin' mebbe ya oughta git yoreself some help. That’s what Ah’d do if Ah were you. Ya rilly need ta stop lowerin’ yoreself with this crap.

Conan (furious): Are you cr--

Kimmel (interjecting): You probably oughta think about it, Conan. ‘Cause this guy? Can kick your ass.

Oh, what d’ya know about that? Time for another break. Conan and Kathy, thanks for joining us. It’s been...enlightening, that's for sure! When we come back, Clay here will demonstrate some chokeholds, and we’ll take some of your calls, here on Larry King Live.

(Many thanks to Fountaindawg for the photoshop, geekette for the original cap, and artquest for putting up that Kimmel video on YouTube.)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tickets: $500…Hotels/Airfare: $1000…Seeing Clay Aiken four times this summer... PRICELESS

MasterCard loves me. I called to increase my credit limit as we are buying a Jacuzzi and I was buying a large block of group tickets for friends to see Clay Aiken perform at The Mann Center in Philadelphia. Sometimes they ask why you want a credit increase. What would I have said? Soaking my head and soaking my heart?


I had to go to New York City on business this week (wouldn't you know it Clay was in NYC as well but never stopped by my hotel for some reason). I'm sure my MasterCard bill came while I was gone. I'm sure my husband will write little notes all over it. And they will have a lot of these "????????" There are memberships to venues that I'll never visit again. There are tickets, upgrades, group tickets. Airfare to North Carolina when I don't even have a ticket. And that doesn't even include the ridiculous price I paid for four Red Sox broker tickets. One time before when I bought broker tickets for a Joyful Noise concert, I had my son intercept the Mastercard bill. My husband is smarter, he just pays cash for his little Home Depot extravaganzas. "I know I just needed a hammer but I bought this really great ladder to go with it."

Planning for the concerts is a lot of fun. On my message board, there is a section just for tour planning. It's appropriately named the Stampede because that's what happens when a tour is announced. The locals recommend hotels, ticket groups are created. "Hey, I need a roommate! It doesn't matter if I've never met you before!!" I think there are times when I've got hotels reserved in more than one city on the same day.

The funny thing is when I describe following the tour to different people. My husband gets the camaraderie part but doesn't get the whole seeing multiple shows of the same concert part. I need to show him the video of Clay's hilarious improv stand up comedy that is interwoven with the music. Maybe that will show him that no two shows are alike.

But there are the others who were like me a few years ago. Professional women who love their job, love their husbands and kids but yearn for something just for them. I had that very conversation with our head of sales just yesterday. Marketing and sales have a symbiotic relationship and in some companies don't get along. I get along with our head of sales famously well, she and I have become friends. We worked a tradeshow together yesterday and took a late lunch. She and I were both tired and talked about what to do to rejuvenate ourselves. I started to tell her about the concert trips. From the beginning and meeting other professional women (and men) 4+ years ago and developing close friendships to the traveling around from city to city enjoying life, each other, Clay and his music. I talked about seeing different parts of our country as well as learning about problems in far flung corners of the world like Uganda and Afghanistan. Then I described becoming aware of limitations in programs for children with disabilities and how the Bubel/Aiken Foundation is trying to change that-basically, the whole Clay Nation experience. Her eyes were wide, her jaw slightly dropped. She got it. She said "That is sooo great." It made me long for something like that for her and grateful that I have Clay and Clay fans in my life.

So, with ticket buying out of the way in the next few weeks except for upgrades and party planning, everyone will settle back into their routines. Then July will arrive. And the buzz coming from the message boards will be palpable.

Aside: I wrote this blog on the morning of April 26th. When I came home that evening, my husband had opened up the Mastercard bill and there were nine “?” next to charges. I guess I know him pretty well.....

I remember when Mastercard asked people to create their own "priceless" commercial. Unfortunately, they also gave the general scenario that you had to use but if they didn't I was going to send this in.

VOICEOVER:Filling up the tanks of a caravan of cars $200

VIDEO: Cut to line of cars of people of all ages/genders wearing Clay T-shirts laughing and filling up their tanks.

VOICEOVER: Ticketmaster charges and hotel bookings for four nights in four cities: $1000

VIDEO: Cut to a pile of Clay Aiken tickets being handed out and same group of people checking into a hotel

VOICEOVER: Convincing your husband that you can take a week to follow Clay Aiken's summer tour with 30 of your closest friends? Priceless

VIDEO First show woman dragging suitcase and camera to get into one of the cars, waving to husband who is shaking his head and smiling and then to Clay rocking on stage to Back for More with crowd doing first pump and that same group of people having the time of their lives. Last shot is the same caravan pulling out of another gas station showing license plate that says "I'd rather be at a Clay Aiken concert". Instead of the license plate number, you see the Mastercard symbol.

And yes, I have one of those license plate frames.


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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Final Day for Clay Aiken's UNICEF Appeal for Afghanistan

UNICEF Ambassador's Fundraising Drive Exceeds Original Goal, Now Over $161,000 on Tenth and Final Day














UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Clay Aiken administers oral polio vaccine to a newborn at the Sadat Health Clinic in Bamyan Province.


UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken's $100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan Appeal is now on its final day, having far exceeded its original goal. According to the UNICEF Fieldnotes blog, $161,798.82 was raised as of 9:00 AM EDT Friday, April 20.

Funds raised from this appeal will support health and education programs for children and women in Afghanistan, including the following:

* Extending education, particularly to girls who could not attend school under the Taliban

* Building and rehabilitating schools

* Training teachers

* Polio Immunization Campaign

* Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Campaign

* Protection of Children from Abuse and Violence

* Providing safe water and sanitary latrines

UNICEF is serious about accountability and regularly reports on the progress of its campaigns via reports available for free to all on its website.



















As part of this fundraising campaign, UNICEF Fieldnotes further reports that all donors who give $50.00 or more will receive a copy of Clay's Field Report via e-mail from UNICEF. The report will detail Clay's five day visit to Afghanistan. While there, he visited Kabul and Bamyan, observing schools, health clinics and a center for street children. The report will also feature exclusive photographs from the visit. Donors of $1000 or more will receive an autographed copy.

Video from Clay's field visit was posted last week on the Official UNICEF MySpace page. Click below to watch:

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken visits Afghanistan



Please act immediately to support these lifesaving programs for the children of Afghanistan.

Click HERE to make a secure, tax-deductible donation to support UNICEF's programs in Afghanistan.



















Clay talks to students in an outdoor classroom at the Shirin Hazara School.




Photos and Video: UNICEF

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Clay Aiken Thanks UNICEF Supporters for Afghanistan Donations, Fundraiser Ends Sunday

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken thanked donors for their "overwhelming support for UNICEF's work in Afghanistan" in a video posted on UNICEF Fieldnotes blog.

Watch his message below:



Clay Aiken's $100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan Appeal has now far exceeded that goal, raising $161,798.82 as of 9:00 AM EDT Friday, April 20, according to the UNICEF Fieldnotes blog.

Clay also appeared on Entertainment Tonight on Friday to discuss his recent field mission to Afghanistan. In an interview with Jann Carl, Clay said that the children of Afghanistan are "hungry for education."

The fund-raising appeal, which ends Sunday, April 22, will raise funds to support health and education programs for children and women, including vaccination programs, supplying hand water pumps to increase clean water availability to families and providing tents to use for temporary classrooms and community programs.
















UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken and Afghan interpreter listen as school children perform a song of welcome. Clay's five day visit to Afghanistan included visits to Kabul, the capitol city, and Bamyan, a remote mountain province.


Donations for Clay Aiken's emergency appeal to support UNICEF's programs in Afghanistan are being accepted through Sunday, April 22. Please go HERE and donate today to support these important programs assisting the health and education of Afghanistan's children.
















Clay cradles a newborn after administering an oral polio vaccine. Medical aid had been blocked under the Taliban. Afghanistan’s infant mortality rate is over 25 percent. To reduce infant and maternal deaths, UNICEF is immunizing more than 4 million children under five and an estimated 4.2 million women of child bearing age.


Photos and Video: UNICEF and Entertainment Tonight

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Clay Aiken's Afghanistan Appeal for UNICEF Passes $160,000, With Fundraising Drive Ending This Weekend

BREAKING NEWS: Watch Clay on Entertainment Tonight on Friday, April 20, talking about Afghanistan. Check HERE for show times!



UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken's $100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan Appeal has now far exceeded that goal, raising $161,798.82 as of 9:00 AM EDT Friday, April 20, according to the UNICEF Fieldnotes blog.

UNICEF has now extended the challenge by showing how $200,000 could supply 970 hand water pumps to increase clean water availability to families or provide 333 tents to use for temporary classrooms and community programs. Donations will also support other UNICEF health and education programs for children and women in Afghanistan.















UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken arrives at Bamyan outpost. Clay grew a beard and dressed in traditional Afghan men's attire to show respect for Afghanistan's customs.



Clay completed a five day field visit to Afghanistan last week, traveling from the capital city of Kabul to a remote UNICEF outpost in Bamyan, This visit is a feature story on the international UNICEF website, which also features photos and video of Clay's journey from UNICEF Television. (The video can be viewed or downloaded using RealPlayer.)

Video from Clay's field visit is now also available for viewing on the UNICEF MySpace page and is also posted below:

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken visits Afghanistan

















Clay administers oral polio vaccine to a newborn at the Sadat Health Clinic in Bamyan Province. The Taliban had blocked shipments of polio vaccines into Afghanistan, with difficult-to-access areas like Bamyan particularly hard-hit because of risks to aid workers' security.


Donations for Clay Aiken's emergency appeal to support UNICEF's programs in Afghanistan are being accepted through Sunday, April 22. Please go HERE and donate today to support these important programs assisting the health and education of Afghanistan's children.
















Observing an outdoor classroom at Shirin Hazara School.
















Clay addresses the international press at a news conference in Kabul on April 11. His field visit was hosted by UNAMA, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.


Photos and Video: UNICEF

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

UNICEF Reports Clay Aiken's Afghanistan Appeal Raises $139,778 in One Week, Exceeding Goal

Donations Still Being Accepted to Provide Education and Health Programs for Afghanistan's Children


BREAKING NEWS: UNICEF reports $145,902.31 total U.S. donations for Afghanistan as of 5:15 p.m. EDT tonight. Canadian donations yet to be reported.

New challenge to raise $200,000 issued!













UNICEF reported today that Clay Aiken's Appeal to raise $100,000 for Afghanistan in 10 Days has now exceeded its goal, raising $139,778 in just six days.

In the Fieldnotes blog on the US Fund for UNICEF website, UNICEF's Chris Phillips writes:

Clay Aiken's Fieldnotes post from Monday told us about the great need he saw first-hand in Afghanistan. Schools are struggling to provide school supplies to every boy and girl who wants to learn. Your gifts will make a tremendous difference in the lives of these kids.

Today is Day 7 of the challenge.
We've got three more days left and we've already exceeded Clay's $100,000 goal. How much more do you think we can raise for the children of Afghanistan in three more days?


Congratulations to UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken and to everyone who has already made a donation to support the children of Afghanistan.

With three days remaining in the fundraising campaign, donations are still urgently needed.














How many more children will be able to go to school? How many more books will they have available? Will they have tents to study in, instead of sitting on the ground in the open? Will there be equipment for a science lab, and maybe even some games and sports equipment for their physical well-being, too?

Here are UNICEF's goals for the expansion and extension of community-based schools:

*Support the Ministry of Education in enrolling 500,000 girls in community-based schools over a two-year period.

*Establish 10,000 community-based schools.

*Train 10,000 community teachers on basic teaching/learning methodologies, subject contents and classroom management.

*Set up 1,000 double-set latrines and 2,000 water points for schools and communities.

*Increase community awareness and participation in girls' education.

*Improve the capacity of education administrators to plan, implement and manage projects from a community-based, bottom-up perspective.

*Facilitate the integration of community-based schools in the formal school system.


The $139,778 raised to date will make a real difference in the lives of many children in Afghanistan, but putting these programs in place nationwide will take millions.

Let's do everything we can to raise a few dollars more. If you haven't donated yet, please go HERE and make your donation now. If you have already donated, please spread the word to others who have not, or consider an additional donation to support UNICEF's programs in Afghanistan.








PHOTOS Courtesy US Fund for UNICEF


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Monday, April 16, 2007

Clay Aiken's Afghanistan Appeal Draws Massive Response for UNICEF

BREAKING NEWS: Unicef Ambassador Clay Aiken has blogged about his visit to Afghanistan.

Read his blog, "There is so much more that needs to be done", at UNICEF Fieldnotes.














UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken talks with Jamad, a student at a unique school where boys and girls from grades 1-9 share classes and study in the open. The school is in urgent need of funding to buy tents and materials to build a new school to allow more children the opportunity to be educated.

ALL PHOTOS: US Fund for UNICEF

A Message From Clay Aiken, UNICEF Ambassador:

"I've just returned from Afghanistan and see that the need is urgent. Let's aim high and work together to raise $100,000 in 10 days. Join me in standing with UNICEF to help these kids."















Click HERE to Support UNICEF's Programs In Afghanistan



BREAKING NEWS:
Update on $100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan


An appeal by UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken to raise $100,000 in ten days for children in Afghanistan has received an overwhelming response.

According to the UNICEF Fieldnotes blog, UNICEF supporters, including Clay's fans, had donated $69,638 by the end of the second day of the ten day campaign. Clay completed a five day visit to Afghanistan last Wednesday, aimed at raising awareness about the hope and promise he saw in the young people of the war-torn country.

“The people here are very strong and they are very proud of their country,” Clay told reporters at a press conference in Kabul held by UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan). He praised the “strength and conviction of the Afghan people and their ability to make sure that this country returns to its glory after such a long darkness.”















A light-hearted moment for Clay and the kids.














Clay with 11 year old Nasrin, who attends school with 1,050 other girls. There are only 16 teachers. The community urgently needs funds to train teachers so more kids can attend classes.



Last month, the Government of Afghanistan honored UNICEF's extraordinary work in the field of education, which has helped hundreds of thousands of children return to school, trained thousands of teachers, and built hundreds of schools.

More funds are urgently needed to help UNICEF as they work for the survival and development of children in Afghanistan. Please act now to Support UNICEF's Programs In Afghanistan.














Clay at the chalkboard, teaching the alphabet to Afghani school children.

This afternoon, Clay blogged at UNICEF Fieldnotes to provide further details of his visit to Afghanistan. The ConCLAYve will provide regular updates on the Afghanistan fund-raising campaign in support of education and health programs.
















Clay meets with Fawzia, another student at a unique co-educational school in Afghanistan. The school needs funding to build a new school and to provide materials for the students and their teachers.
















Clay administers polio vaccine to a newborn. UNICEF's immunization campaign is targeting areas like remote Bamyan province, where there is little access to health care. Afghanistan’s infant mortality rate is alarmingly high at over 25 percent.


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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Clay Aiken iTunes Podcasts, Part Five: On being a UNICEF Ambassador















BREAKING NEWS:
$100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan


Click HERE to Support UNICEF's Programs In Afghanistan

A Message From Clay Aiken, UNICEF Ambassador:

"I've just returned from Afghanistan and see that the need is urgent. Let's aim high and work together to raise $100,000 in 10 days. Join me in standing with UNICEF to help these kids."
















Clay talks with schoolgirls in Afghanistan
Photo from ABC's "Good Morning America"


See Clay in Afghanistan in Diane Sawyer's report for GMA:





In 2004, Clay Aiken was appointed an ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, with a special commitment to education. Almost immediately, he was at work for the benefit of children, serving as spokesman for UNICEF's tsunami relief efforts on a series of appearances on "The Insider" and "Entertainment Tonight", as well as taking part in the NBC tsunami relief telethon.

In March 2005, three months after a quarter of a million people died when the tsunami hit Indonesia, Thailand, South Asia, Africa and other regions bordering the Indian Ocean, Clay traveled to Banda Aceh and other areas of Indonesia to witness UNICEF's rebuilding efforts. He talks about this field visit in the last of five podcasts available for free download on iTunes.

Two days ago, Clay completed a five day visit to Afghanistan, where he traveled between Kabul and Bamyan to witness the grass roots health and education programs that UNICEF was delivering. Read the press releases from ReliefWeb and UNICEF.

Clay's other UNICEF work includes testifying before the United States Congress on behalf on increased appropriations for UNICEF; traveling to northern Uganda to witness the phenomenon of "night commuters" and to meet with former child soldiers who were being reintroduced to a normal life; serving as the national spokesperson for the 55th annual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign and visiting schools that were the top fund raisers; raising over $70,000 in just one week, through the support of his fans, to help provide lifesaving medicines and other emergency supplies; hosting the 2006 UNICEF Snowflake in New York City, and; participating in UNICEF UpClose, an awareness-building campaign powered by Yahoo! Answers, a new forum for discussing the challenges facing the world's most vulnerable children.

With his $100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan appeal, he continues his dedication to helping the children of the world not just survive, but reach their full potential.

In this interview, Clay talks about his first UNICEF field mission to Indonesia, the almost indescribable scenes of death and destruction, and the amazing resilience of the people.

(Excerpt: Clay Aiken,“ I Want to Know What Love Is” from "A Thousand Different Ways")

At the same time, through that, and having the opportunity to work with that foundation [The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, founded by Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel], I guess we somehow caught the ear or the eye of UNICEF. They have different celebrity ambassadors who work in different areas that they work in, whether it be clean water or activism for HIV and AIDS and women’s rights, different areas.

They work in education, and one of their biggest areas of concentration is making education accessible for all kids throughout the world, and as a teacher there was a natural synergy for me to possibly do that. So they called me up and asked me to participate and be their ambassador for education, which I thought "Sure, why not, I'm happy to help UNICEF.” I’d heard about UNICEF and knew about it, and never really anticipated exactly what that would entail.

I took my first trip to Indonesia in early 2005 and I was told it would be a practice run. They told me, “We'll take you to Indonesia and it will just be a practice so you can kind of prepare you a little bit for the types of things you will see on these trips.” and I remember getting off the plane in Banda Aceh and the very first thing they took us by when we got off the plane, maybe a mile down the road, they took us to this huge field, empty field, the ground was unsettled.

















And I said “So, what are we looking at? What used to be here?”

And they said “Nothing used to be here. This is a field, but it’s a mass grave with thirty five thousand bodies in it.”

Three five zero zero zero.

Thirty-five thousand bodies in this field which was no more than two acres, so there were bodies on top of bodies because in the Muslim faith you have to bury the body pretty quickly, so they had done that. That the first thing I saw on this “practice run.”

A mile away from the ocean we could see the water marks on the buildings third story up, where the water had come to the third story.

I met kids, I met two, not kids... two college-age students who were standing near this 5000 ton barge that was a mile and a half inland, sitting on the ground. We were looking at that and there were two college students that we walked by, and I struck up a conversation with them. It was interesting: Idol had been over there, so they knew who I was. It was kind of funny, and I talked to them for awhile, and I asked them what they did.

This is how the conversation from them went, what they said:

They said, “Yeah, we live about a mile and a half away, we go to college, we’re in medical school…” this that and that… “We are planning on finishing school. Both of our moms and dads died in the storm. Both of our brothers and sisters died in the storm, and we’re going to finish college in about three years and we think that we will…”

And I said 'Whoa whoa whoa, back up.” It was just amazing to me, on this first day, this first two hours that I was there, that I was finding people who were just tripping over the fact that their families had died like it was nothing.

I asked one girl, “How can you do that? How do you say to me so nonchalantly, ‘Oh, yeah, both my mom, dad, brother and sister died in the tsunami’?” and she said, “Everybody lost someone. I don’t have any right to feel more sorry for myself than that.' And I just… (exhales forcefully) I did everything I could not to cry,

We met a man who actually drove us around and stood on the steps to what used to be a house and stood there with us and told us through tears how he had been called into the middle of town in the middle of the day that Sunday morning, and had gone into town and while he was in town the water came and killed both his wife and his son and five other members of his family in the house.

He had taken us to his home --- or what used to be his home --- and stood on the steps and told us that his wife and son died right there and he was crying and I was trying not to make it worse.

And I remember thinking to myself, “How can THIS be practice?" I looked at the lady from UNICEF who was with me and said “You’ve got to be kidding me. If this is practice, I don’t think I can handle this” She said, “Well, you know, these people are resilient, and they’re ready to move on with their lives and they are ready to go.”

I remember one guy who was selling water and juice near the water to make money to rebuild his house. I asked him if he planned on rebuilding near the water, and he said that he did. I said, “Aren’t you afraid?” and he said "Man should not fear the sea. Man should only fear God" and I thought “Wow, this is an amazing testament to strength and durability and resilience, that these people can talk like this.

(End with excerpt from “I Want to Know What Love Is”)


Click HERE to see Clay's Indonesia field report for UNICEF.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Clay Aiken iTunes Podcasts, Part Four: On Teaching, Inclusion and The Bubel/Aiken Foundation















Accepting the winning auction bid of $55,000 for the original manuscript of "Lover All Alone" written by Clay Aiken and David Foster, Bubel/Aiken Foundation Champions of Change Gala, Raleigh, NC March 31, 2007.


Photo by cablegirl



Clay Aiken has sold nearly four and a half million CDs and about one and a half million CD singles and EPs since 2003, as well as selling $28 million in concert tickets during his seven tours. His first career --- and his continuing passion --- is teaching, especially of children with special needs.

This passion for inclusion is not new. In this interview, Clay talks about why he originally decided to choose teaching over singing, what meeting the Bubel family meant to his appreciation for the abilities of children with special needs, and his fight for the inclusion of kids with special needs into the YMCA programs when he was a counselor a decade ago. He explains why gaining life experience before he became famous has made him a better singer --- and a better teacher in the larger classroom that God has afforded him. Finally, he talks about the mission and goals of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which works to include children with disabilities into the same environments as their typical peers.

This is the fourth of five podcasts available for free download on iTunes.

(Excerpt: Clay Aiken,“Every Time You Go Away” from "A Thousand Different Ways")

I think one of the things that I like most about singing and being able to do this, and something Idol has afforded me the opportunity to do, is to kind of meld my life now as a singer with my life before Idol where I was a teacher and something that I was really passionate about doing.

I can kind of trace each thing that I’ve done in my life --- whether it be singing in high school or working with the YMCA, going to school for special education, working with the Bubel family --- I can kind of see why God put me in each one of those situations. I never thought I was going to sing --- I’m sorry, I never thought I was going to be a teacher, I always thought I’d be a singer, and then changed my mind and thought that would not be a good idea, it would be too risky.

So I decided to become a teacher, and I feel like the reason that I took time off from school and didn’t go straight to college was so that I would have that opportunity to know that I was not going to be a singer right away, and God wanted me to learn about other things first, wanted me to become passionate about something else. ‘Cause I honestly believe that if I left high school and gone straight into singing, come to New York, gone to L.A., Nashville, wherever to sing before I had some world experience, I would have done this all for me.


I’m really happy and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to learn about other things, to learn about individuals with special needs and their needs and have a passion for that. I got to meet the Bubel family and, with them, started the foundation that we have now, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation. People, since they’re on their computers anyway right now, can go to bubelaiken.org and find out about what we do.

We include kids with disabilities into programs with kids without disabilities, kids at summer camps, and… I worked at summer camps at the YMCA and saw kids with disabilities excluded from programs and it always upset me to the point that I threatened to quit a few times if they didn’t include a kid with a disability, {laughs} and it kind of became a contention at the Y. I was an activist even before I did this. (laughs)

I have the opportunity now to have a different platform, and you know I could have talked about it at the Y about it, and fought them and told them I was going to quit, but it would’ve only helped one kid get into camp one summer. I think the reason that God let me do that, let me meet the Bubel family, let me get passionate about that was so that because He knew He was going to put me on this stage and He knew that I was going to have the chance to talk about all of this stuff, and that’s something that I’m really passionate about.

We include kids in summer camps, we have summer camps that we’ve started throughout the country, we work with Youth Service America, we have service learning projects for kids so that they can work with individuals with disabilities instead of for individuals with disabilities.

We’re writing a curriculum right now with the help of State Farm and the Department of Education to teach teachers how to include kids with disabilities in service projects in their classrooms. Also, we’re working on a curriculum to teach YMCA or extracurricular directors how to include kids into their programs, so that it’s not bringing it down to the kids’ level with disabilities but it’s not making it unattainable for the kids with disabilities, but making it accessible and fun for every child.

(End with excerpt from “Every Time You Go Away”)


Tomorrow: Part Five: Clay Travels for UNICEF


"Lover All Alone", written by Clay Aiken and David Foster, is available exclusively on the iTunes version of "A Thousand Different Ways". The CD, minus that track, is also available at Amazon.com.

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UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken Issues Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Afghanistan's Children














Clay visiting a school in Afghanistan
















BREAKING NEWS:
$100,000 in 10 Days for Afghanistan


Click HERE to Support UNICEF's Programs In Afghanistan


A Message From Clay Aiken, UNICEF Ambassador:

"I've just returned from Afghanistan and see that the need is urgent. Let's aim high and work together to raise $100,000 in 10 days. Join me in standing with UNICEF to help these kids."


In his role as UNICEF Ambassador, Clay, a former teacher, is focused on education. He witnessed Afghanistan's new education initiatives, including the rebuilding of schools and training of teachers. Here is an overview of Clay's trip:

From PR Newswire

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken Draws Attention to the Critical Needs of Children in Afghanistan

NEW YORK and KABUL, Afghanistan, April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Clay Aiken concluded a recent trip to Afghanistan today by heralding the progress being made in children's education.

"As a former teacher I recognize that spark of hope and excitement all children possess when given the opportunity to learn," said Aiken, who spent five days traveling between Kabul and Bamyan in the central region of Afghanistan. "Rebuilding schools, training teachers, providing essential supplies and teaching materials are just some of the advances UNICEF and its partners have made to keep that hope flourishing."

Last month marked a significant moment in the country's recent history when more than six million children headed back to school to resume their education. Education in Afghanistan has witnessed a tremendous boost over the past few years.

While in the capital city of Kabul, Aiken, who was appointed a UNICEF Ambassador in 2004, visited schools that have implemented programs meant to ensure all children regardless of gender receive an education. While in Bamyan, Aiken visited a health clinic and women's literacy center where many women learn how to read and write and experience formal education for the first time. The literacy program is one UNICEF's priority projects for the empowerment of women in Afghanistan.

Aiken also visited water and sanitation programs as well as a program that reintegrates former child soldiers into mainstream society.

"UNICEF is committed to reach out to all the children in Afghanistan and provide quality education," said Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. "While there has been progress, there are still over one million children, particularly girls who are not going to school-we have to do more in order to change that."


Some of the recent UNICEF supported initiatives for education in the country include:

-- distribution of teaching and learning materials to 2.71 million children and 61,780 teachers
-- enrollment of 195,878 out-of school children mainly girls who now have
access to primary education through community-based schools in 29 provinces
-- supporting mobile school protection teams in 34 provinces
-- training of 614 teacher trainers as well as 8,110 newly recruited female teachers
-- over 48,009 women enrolled in 1,782 adult literacy centers in 17 provinces

About UNICEF:
Founded in 1946, UNICEF helps save, protect and improve the lives of children in 156 countries through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority.

For more information about UNICEF please visit http://www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4UNICEF.

SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF


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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Clay Aiken iTunes Podcasts, Part Three: Selecting the Original Songs for “A Thousand Different Ways”

BREAKING NEWS:

UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken Visits Afghanistan. Details from today's press conference HERE.


















Performing "A Thousand Days" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live", September 26, 2006.

Today's blog features Clay Aiken talking about the process of selecting the four original songs for his album “A Thousand Different Ways”, which also includes ten classic songs as reinterpreted by Clay for this project. This interview is the third of five podcasts available for free download on iTunes.

If you are interested in hearing Clay’s work as a songwriter and perhaps gaining a glimpse into his future direction, I recommend buying the iTunes exclusive version of "A Thousand Different Ways" featuring "Lover All Alone", Clay’s fantastic collaboration with his friend, Grammy-winning producer and composer David Foster. The CD, minus that track, is also available at Amazon.com.

Songwriters for “A Thousand Days” are Christian Leuzzi, Aldo Nova and Emanuel Olsson. It was produced by John Fields.

Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child wrote “These Open Arms”, which was also produced by John Fields.

“Lonely No More” was written by Andreas Carlsson (also producer), Samuel Waermo (also producer), Mimmi Waermo and Clay Aiken.

Jeremy Bose and Paul Robert Evans were songwriters for “Everything I Have”, which was produced by Humberto Gatica. This was the song Clay performed live for the characters of Steve and Kayla (actors Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans) when he appeared as a guest star on “Days of Our Lives" in December 2006.

A final note before the transcript: there are five podcast interviews with Clay available on iTunes, but each of them is labeled “one of six”. That could be nothing more than a clerical error, but if not… I wonder if there is an interview out there somewhere where Clay discusses the writing of “Lover All Alone”? This is what Clay said about the song in a November 2006 press pool interview:
We chose not to include that song on the album because it didn't fit the concept of the album. We wanted to maintain the ‘love’ theme, and so a song about being lonely and alone wouldn't really fit. I am not sure what any future plans for the song might be. It is an exclusive for iTunes now. I'm not sure how long that lasts, or if anything can be done with it afterwards.

David Foster wrote the music for the song in early May and gave it to me with the instruction that I should write some lyrics for it. I had never really written before, and Jaymes [Foster, Executive Producer for A Thousand Different Ways] had been trying for a while to get me to write. I sat on the music for three months before I had any idea about what to write about. Then when it came it came. I finished the lyrics to the whole song in about three hours. Eman [Kiriakou] made some significant changes in the music when he produced it, so David and I both felt that he should get credit for writing on the song. I'm not sure what my songwriting future holds. Again, I like to be open to what comes my way, and not force anything.


Since the beginning of the singer/songwriter era, there has been significant debate about what it takes to be called an artist. At this point, Clay is mainly known as an interpreter of songs, and I think he has one of the finest voices of his generation. The tradition of great pop vocalists goes back to Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand, and it could be that Clay will become a modern master of that art.

But with “Lover All Alone”, Clay created a significant, profound and beautiful lyric, far ahead of his known experience as a lyricist. It is a work of great promise. I hope it will be first of many “Clay Aiken songs.”


(Excerpt: Clay Aiken,“A Thousand Days” from "A Thousand Different Ways")

We came along “A Thousand Days” last year when we were considering doing an album of all new songs. We recorded it and finished it and I sang it on tour, and when we changed the concept we decided to just shelve it and not come back to it, and find other new songs that we thought really stood up to these covers, and stood up the potential greatness of these covers, and that one kind of fell in the background.

And we found “These Open Arms”, which was to me is one of my --- is probably my favorite original song on the album. I love that song, so I signed up for it right away.

“Lonely No More” I actually helped to write on and so Jaymes [Foster, the album’s Executive Producer] was pretty adamant that we put that on the album, (laughs) and it’s some of my friends’ favorite song because it’s really got a modern kind of vibe to it and it’s kind of a pop radio friendly, I guess.

“Everything I Have” was a song that Jaymes found and Jaymes loved and really just pushed for it and pushed for it and pushed for it. I always liked it but I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted to make it one of our four, we only got four, to make it one of the four I wasn’t completely sure. But every time I played three or four songs for friends, every single time a girl was sitting in the room, if she didn’t cry during the demo --- just to the demo of the song --- she would say "I want that song at my wedding" or "That’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard" or "That’s the best song ever, I want that song, you’ve got to do that one.”

It got to the point every single female in my life, or not in my life, has said this is the song to sing, and I said, “Well, so we will put it on.” I’ve always needed help with the ladies so might as well just put it on, too. (laughs) So “Everything I Have” got on in that way.

“A Thousand Days”, after we got those three songs chosen, we probably actually had a fourth that was potentially going to be on the album. We were trying to go through some of these blank CD's that were sitting in the car or sitting around and figure out what was on them so we’d know what to throw away or whatnot --- and “A Thousand Days” popped in. We listened to it, and we listened to it again, and we listened to it again, and we could not get away from the fact that no matter what, no matter how long it had been, that song had really, really stuck with us… a song that we remembered back then, and we just still loved and it was just, in our opinion, great. So we put it on, and it actually turned out to be a favorite at the label, so it’s going to be the next single, I believe, and we’re hoping to have that heard at the beginning of next year.

(End with excerpt from “A Thousand Days”)


Tomorrow: Part Four: The Bubel/Aiken Foundation --- A Passion for Inclusion

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Clay Aiken iTunes Podcasts, Part Two: Creating a New Sound for “Broken Wings”









Recording "Broken Wings"





The final track on the CD-version of Clay Aiken’s “A Thousand Different Ways” is an update of “Broken Wings,” originally recorded by Mr. Mister for their 1985 album, Welcome to the Real World.

In this interview, the second of five podcasts available on iTunes, Clay talks about his history with the song in an amusing anecdote from his childhood. Moving forward to his latest album, he discusses how he conceived the unique sound for the track, which was produced by Emanuel Kiriakou, also known as Eman.

Credits also include Morgan Grace on the “ethereal high parts” and Erin Taylor, who wrote and recorded the poem for the spoken word section of the song.

A Thousand Different Ways is available at Amazon.com but for the complete CD, buy the iTunes exclusive version, featuring "Lover All Alone," songwriter Clay Aiken's magnificent collaboration with his friend, Grammy-winning producer and composer David Foster.

(Excerpt: Clay Aiken, “Broken Wings” from A Thousand Different Ways)

Some of the other songs… actually, “Broken Wings” has a little bit of a similar memory to it, because when I was a kid there was this show called “Star Search,” and I’m sure everyone remembers “Star Search” with Ed McMahon and (booming voice) '4 1/2 stars'. When people got to go on, it was kind of the original “American Idol.”

My mother had this dream that, as a child, when I was 10 or 11 --- now I don’t know if I necessarily sang well at 10 or 11, but I would sing, and most kids wouldn’t just jump up and sing at 10 or 11.



I remember my mom got me a tape with karaoke tracks on it, and I don’t remember all of the songs, but one was “Footloose” and one was “Broken Wings,” and it was our plan that we would at some point record “Broken Wings” with me singing it and send it in to “Star Search” and see if I could get on “Star Search” singing “Broken Wings.” We never did, we never turned it in. I don’t know what happened, I probably just --- I've never been that type of ambitious person who wanted to be a singer so badly that I would risk rejection… I never did ‘Broken Wings,’ but that’s the song that was gonna make me a star 17 years ago and so… (laughs) It’s kind of neat that now we got to do it again and, again, that song is really special to me because we did change it up so much.

I was listening to the radio and heard, I guess, an Evanescence song and just that ethereal, whole different vibe to it, and I called Jaymes [Foster, the CD’s Executive Producer] up, I said “You think there’s a song on the album that we can do this with, and maybe have something whispered in the background?” and she said, “I think ‘Broken Wings’ could work like that.”

We sent it to Emanuel Kiriakou, the producer, and said "This is kind of what we want to do, make it eerie, make it haunting,” and he came back with what he came back with.

We went into the studio and I recorded my part, and we hired a young girl to sing the ethereal high parts, and we were sitting in the studio, and --- I’m going to make fun of myself a little bit. My voice probably never changed from elementary school, I don’t think, I was an alto when I was in middle school. Still am. (laughs) We were sitting in the studio and she was trying to find her (sings high note) 'Ahhhh' and all that stuff, and I was singing the high notes for her, saying "okay, do this, do this".

We found that there were gaps again for a place, maybe to put in a poem. We called a friend of mine who kinda had written stuff before, and initially thought we'll have her just say the lyrics to the song in the background. And instead she wrote a poem that kind of went along with the song’s title and the song’s message and put it in and she read it and got completely finished with it and at the very end, I said "You know what, say your last line again ‘we are broken, but we are moving still’ after I’m finished singing and let that be the last line of the song, ‘we are broken, but we are moving still’.

She did it, and we all just got these chills, and I went (really excited) “Now say ‘a thousand different ways’ the same way!”

‘A thousand different ways’ was not in her poem initially, but I just thought, “Well, this is gonna be the last song on the album, so we’re gonna have the last words on the entire album to be ‘A Thousand Different Ways.’

(End with excerpt from “Broken Wings”)



Tomorrow: Part Three: Clay on Selecting Original Songs

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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Clay Aiken iTunes Podcasts, Part One: Re-inventing "Here You Come Again"
















Photograph by Miranda Penn Turin




iTunes can be a treasure trove, but I wonder if it’s supposed to be a scavenger hunt?

A week or so ago, a music lover found the prize when, on a casual search of iTunes content, she came across podcasts of interviews with four singers who are former American Idol contestants, including at least five interviews done by Clay Aiken. (Five are available, but each of Clay’s interviews is labeled as one of six.)

The other podcasts feature Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Chris Daughtry.

Clay’s podcasts, each described as an “Exclusive Interview with Clay Aiken,” are free and can be downloaded HERE.

[Or click on “Podcasts” at the iTunes STORE, then use the Quick Link for Power Search in the right hand column. Search for “Your Idols,” then click on the icon with the CD covers. It is not necessary to subscribe to the podcast series in order to download these interviews.]

Credits for the podcasts are as follows: “Interviewed, recorded, and produced by Jared Covington for Sony BMG/RCA.”

Three of the five available podcasts deal with the concept, creation, arrangement and production of songs from Clay's latest album, A Thousand Different Ways. (Buy the iTunes exclusive version, featuring "Lover All Alone," songwriter Clay Aiken's magnificent collaboration with his friend, Grammy-winning producer and composer David Foster.)

With a Release Date of 12/11/06, it’s interesting to speculate about when these interviews were recorded --- or why they were not publicized. In any event, with no filter and in his own words, they offer valuable insight into Clay Aiken, artist and activist. Clay talks about the album making process, the steps it took to reinvent a popular song, his input into the concept and creation of an innovative new arrangement, what he feels about the four original songs on the CD and, in the last two parts, his background as a teacher, his dedication to the inclusion of children with special needs into all aspects of everyday life, and his trip to Indonesia as an ambassador for UNICEF.

First, the music.

There is a perception and, sometimes, a criticism, that Clay doesn’t talk much about music. It’s true that no one has published a long and detailed discussion about Clay's process of producing an album since he spoke to Billboard’s Fred Bronson about each of the songs on his debut, Measure of a Man, but Clay has been quoted a number of times about his influences, his work as an interpreter of songs (or a “song stylist,” as he has called himself) and about what music means to his life.

Clay is a bit of a fast talker (the Raleigh, NC native puts a lie to the stereotype of the slow Southern drawl), so here is a transcript of Part One:



(Excerpt: Clay Aiken,“Here You Come Again” from A Thousand Different Ways)

Well, a lot of people attach these songs to, uh, memories of a prom or first kiss and since I didn’t get kissed for the first time ’til I was like 26, I think, I um (laughs)... I’m just joking.

Some of the songs on the album are favorites of mine just because we changed them up so much. I remember when I was a kid growing up, my mom was a huge Dolly Parton fan. And so one of the songs that obviously I heard a lot of was "Here You Come Again" and it had that whole (sings a bit) the whole bouncy thing to it.

I remember being on “American Idol” and we did a week --- a theme week the [year] that I was on. It was country week and we had to pick country songs. I actually picked “Here You Come Again” ‘cause I just remembered it so much. The musical director at the time, the person who was working with me, Debra Byrd and Michael Orland, both said 'You know, I think you’ll sing that song wonderfully but, it’s just… You’ve already got Simon thinking you belong on Broadway and if you sing that song you need to go out and wear a top hat and carry a cane, because its just so (sings peppy, upbeat version) --- “Here ya come again”--- and so we actually went away from that song.

I always kind of regretted that I didn’t sing it --- not because I expected that Simon wouldn’t have said something bad to me, because that’s what he liked to do most --- but I regretted that I didn’t sing it just because I’ve always liked it. So when we were putting this album together of cover songs, I was talking to [Executive Producer for “A Thousand Different Ways”] Jaymes Foster, and she said, "Why don’t we do… What’s one of the songs that you wanted to do on ‘Idol’ that you never got to do?" and I said… “Here You Come Again” first came to my mind, but I said I don’t want to do that because of the whole bouncy tempo and that’s not going to fit with the album and it’s gonna be hard to modernize it.

She said, “What if you did it as a ballad?" and I said, “Well, I don’t think it’s possible, because no matter what happens it’s gonna have that (sings slower version, emphasizing the beat at the end of the phrase) --- 'Here ya come again' --- it’s not going to be able to be turned into a ballad."

So she actually asked her brother David Foster, who had played the piano, actually, on the Dolly Parton version, if he thought it was possible, and he said "Well, maybe, but it’s kind of got that clip." So she sent it off to a producer, Adam Anders , just for curiosity’s sake, to see if he could do anything to it. And he sent it back to us and I remember we were sitting in her car and we almost ran off the road, because his track for that song was just absolutely amazing. He changed it so much and just made it so different that it’s easily become my favorite song because it’s so chill and laid back.

And it’s just kind of funny to me to think that, ya know, here I am 28 years old and I’ve had the opportunity to sing a song that I remember growing up with that was one of my mother’s favorites, and a song that apparently must have been one of mine, because it stuck with me for so many years.

And I not only got a chance to record it, but now I’m friends with the person who played piano on the original album and I got to do it in a way that kind of makes the song different and makes there be a Clay Aiken version, so I attach those memories to that song.

(Ends with another excerpt of “Here You Come Again”)


Tomorrow: Part Two: Clay Discusses the Concept for "Broken Wings"

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