Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Recent news stories have reported that several distraught fans of Michael Jackson (mostly overseas) have committed suicide after his death. While I was a big fan of Michael Jackson (before the bizarre years), I can’t imagine taking things to that extreme. Really? Nothing left to live for? Why? He was just a singer.

I can understand feelings of grief. I think I've only felt unusually sad a few times when celebrities have died. Princess Diana, David Bloom, Tim Russert. But it only lasted a day or so.

I remember how I felt in May of 2003, after the AI2 finale had aired. While deep in my heart, I expected the outcome, I still felt defeated, cheated and terribly sad. I remember the next day when I had to attend a conference, I would have rather stayed in bed and grieved. Would I ever see him again? I walked from session to session, feeling like a good friend had died or at least moved far away. I was in a funk, I couldn’t concentrate. And I couldn’t understand it.

He’s just a singer.

A couple of months later, I was at that same venue attending the AI2 concert. I had floor seats and was so excited I hardly slept the night before. I even had a sign (something that would make me roll my eyes now). The sign said “This is the Night for a Platinum Record.” I held up the sign when he stood in front of me. He looked, pointed and laughed with joy. I stood there and all of a sudden, I started to cry. Me. Miss practical, Type A, ESTJ in charge kind of gal. My friend looked at me and said “You’ve got it bad.” I wiped my eyes in disbelief at the emotion that had spontaneously burst forth. What was wrong with me?

He’s just a singer.

I can pick out his voice from another room when my iPod is on shuffle providing background music. I worry when he is far away in dangerous places like Afghanistan or Somalia and I try to educate myself about the horrors of their people after he describes their despair. I pay closer attention to how people treat others with disabilities. I get giddy when he writes a few words of hello. I absorb his writings on serious topics like a sponge, thirsty for more of his well-informed opinions.

I set aside vacation days for when he can entertain me again. I laugh at his comedic timing in concert, television or stage performances. He has become a part of my life, outside of the real bond of family yet closer than a neighbor or an old college friend. I’ve been a fan of many before but this is so different. But why is this so different?

He’s just a singer.

I’ve met friends whom I would trust with my life. Some share different social or political views, yet we can communicate those views in a flurry of noise and emotion that offends no one. One primary common bond draws us together, because to hear the Voice with those friends by your side adds to the vibrations in your soul. We feel the Voice, while a stranger would just hear a song. Because after all,

He’s just a singer.

I’ve learned a lot in the past six years. I’ve learned about the goodness and generosity in people. I've also learned far too much about those that are lost, intolerant, alone or just plain bad, things that I wish I had never learned. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. Think of what I would have missed if I had decided six years ago to turn off the TV that night in May with a shrug and decided, eh

He’s just a singer.

He’s not. He never will be.

Sing for me, Clay.

MJ Photo credit Jae C. Hong/AP

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Anonymous said...

Amazing isn't it that someone who is "just a singer" can evoke such incredible feelings of warmth. I'd recognize that voice from miles away. No other voice has ever reached me in such a profound manner.

SueReu said...

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much *sniff* I do miss him

stpteach said...

Lovely and lovingly put, my friend.

Anonymous said...

This is SOOOO Me!!
Wonderful and heartfelt, because after all he is just a singer,and mighty fine singer with a heart, I keep him in my heart always and listen to him daily.
"sniff", I miss him.

treenuts said...

Very well said. And felt!

Anonymous said...

I understand...
Beautiful blog
I miss him!!!

Anonymous said...

I empathise with all you're feeling. Missing the voice and the man so much. My life is full of good things, I'm happy, but I still miss Clay.

gaymarie said...

Just beautiful Corabeth... thank you. It just says it all.

gaymarie said...

Thank you Corabeth. You said what we ALL feel about Clay.

He's one in a million and he will never be "just a singer" to any of us.

Anonymous said...

You have touched on the mystery of the fascination so well. I share your feelings and your yearnings to hear the VOICE again...soon!

Anonymous said...

Your post is fantastic! It perfectly sums up the reasons that Clay is so very magical. Listening to him sing is positively addictive! I look forward to hearing more songs from him, and I hope it's soon!

JanWhatever said...

"He’s just a singer.

He’s not. He never will be."

Succinct and perfectly stated.
Your blog is eloquent and heartfelt, and I absolutely "get it". Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, Clay is magical. I miss him but listen to his CDs almost every day. This is a great blog and so true.

Anonymous said...

You have expressed yourself beautifully. My feelings exactly only I could never put it on paper as beautifully as you have. And if anyone solves the mystery I would like to be let in on the answer. I still can not understand why my feelings for Clay are so much different than for any other celebrity.

Stephanie said...

Oh, how I agree with you. Just a singer, yet so much more. Never before has someone I've never met changed my life so very, very much.

Thanks for putting it into words so well. :)

Anonymous said...

These last few days re the passing of one more public figure, ie Michael Jackson, before their time, should only reinforce the reasoning why Clay needs to divide himself wisely in his public time, his foundation time, his UNICEP time, and most important of all is his PRIVATE TIME. Once again this tragedy reminds us of other public figures that we lost way before their time -- Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, to name only a few. Take a moment and realize how much Clay gives to us and how much it takes from him to try to give us his all. Compared to some of these others, he has never, thank God, had to resort to having two doctors on his payroll. So before we complain of how much we miss him and want to see him again and again, let us all say a prayer for him and let him know that we do understand, and that we will always be there for him and let us always keep him in our thoughts and prayers.

jbc4clay said...

Wonderful words. Clay Aiken is much more than just a singer. I am so glad he is.
Thank you so much. You have capsuled in one short blog what we all feel.

CCOL4HIM said...

Excellent post!
Take care & God bless.
Love always, Cynthia AKA Crazy4ClaynTN(on the OFC)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anonymous who said to pray for Clay everyday and I do. He is always in my heart and I love him so much. I'm also glad that he is led and not pushed, driven or shoved. I know it gives us such joy and excitement to see him, hear him, or any good thing about him. He's a wonderful man/person as we all know who love him. I try to listen to at least one or two of his songs everyday. He is annointed to sing and I believe that's where the joy comes from.