Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Clay frequently expressed admiration for the ideals of Mister Rogers, revealing “You know who I idolized? Mr. Rogers. Is there a market for the next Mr. Rogers? Because I'd love to do that. I'd much rather be quiet and important like him than live large and be some useless celebrity.”
Mister Rogers, of course, was a celebrity, best known for his TV show “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” his sweaters, and his advocacy for children. Clay Aiken is also a celebrity, famous for a different kind of TV show and his advocacy for children and he has been known to wear a sweater from time to time. While they have these things in common, it’s even more remarkable to realize how closely aligned their philosophies of life are.
From the forward of The World According to Mister Rogers written by his wife:
He worked so hard at being other-oriented (not self-centered) that he’d often express himself by using the first person plural. He’d say, “We’re doing this or that.” It was almost always “we.” People might sometimes have wondered who else he was including. Perhaps he was simply making an effort to ensure that his colleagues and coworkers were equally recognized and valued for the work in which they all were so invested. That would’ve been Fred’s wish.
Saying “we” rather than “I” is a habit Clay Aiken has had since he appeared on American Idol in 2003. It’s his way of acknowledging the work of others in presenting a concert or releasing a CD.
Mister Rogers on success:
The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing . . . and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.
Anyone who has ever seen Clay Aiken perform in concert knows how much he loves performing. He commands the stage, interacts with the audience, sometimes stopping the concert to talk to audience members. His delight in his “job” is obvious.
Mister Rogers on gifts and disappointments:
The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.
How great it is when we come to know that times of disappointment can be followed by times of fulfillment; that sorrow can be followed by joy; that guilt over falling short of our ideals can be replaced by pride in doing all that we can; and that anger can be channeled into creative achievements . . . and into dreams that we can make come true!
Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak.
In Clay Aiken’s inspirational memoir Learning to Sing, Hearing the Music in Your Life, he was very open and honest about his life, his disappointments, his challenges, and the lessons he learned from them. His graciousness in the face of his defeat on American Idol served him well in setting the tone for his successful career.
Mister Rogers on Disabilities:
Part of the problem with the word disabilities is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other tings that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and if in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.
In every neighborhood, all across our country, there are good people insisting on a good start for the young, and doing something about it.
Clay Aiken has worked with and for children with disabilities for more than a decade. He has personally worked with children and with organizations to include special needs children in summer camps and other learning opportunities. His degree is in Special Education and he began the Bubel/Aiken Foundation to benefit special needs children. It is his heart and his personal calling and he has proven that joy can come from providing opportunities for children. While he has spent much time and effort on this endeavor, others in the world have chosen to denigrate him. Who has the real disability?
Mister Rogers on children:
Please think of the children first. If you ever have anything to do with their entertainment, their food, their toys, their custody, their day or night care, their health care, their education – listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.
In 2004, Clay Aiken was appointed UNICEF Ambassador for the Education of Children Worldwide. In that capacity, he has visited children in Indonesia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda to ensure that children have schools and opportunities for learning. This is a responsibility he cares about deeply and he has personally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for this UNICEF endeavor.
Mister Rogers on families:
I believe it’s a fact of life that what we have is less important than what we make out of what we have. The same holds true for families: It’s not how many people there are in a family that counts, but rather the feelings among the people who are there.
This is a philosophy that Clay holds dear to his heart. He considers his touring company his “touring family.” His fellow cast mates on Spamalot are his “Broadway family.” He makes all those around him into his family. In his personal life, he now has his own little family. Though slightly unconventional, Jaymes Foster and their son, Parker, are his family.
Mister Rogers on Choices:
You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefuly your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.
Clay Aiken has always made his own choices based on what he feels is best for himself. I hope he continues to make choices for himself.
Although this book does not even contain 200 pages, it is filled with sensible advice. The most important message is:
If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.
Clay never had a chance to meet Fred Rogers but Mister Rogers' advice lives on in Clay Aiken.
Clay Aiken, Mister Rogers, Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers, disabilities, UNICEF, Bubel/Aiken Foundation
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Even with all these entertainment appearances, Clay has not neglected his charitable pursuits. After completing his degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte while touring the country in the fall of 2003, he founded the Bubel/Aiken Foundation to benefit special needs children. The foundation has awarded grants to numerous organizations to establish summer camps for the inclusion of special needs children with typically developing children. Clay has performed in numerous Galas to benefit the Foundation.
In the midst of all these activities, Clay has recorded and released four full length CDs, Measure of a Man, Merry Christmas with Love, A Thousand Different Ways, and On My Way Here, two singles This is the Night and Solitaire, and a Christmas extended play All is Well, breaking music industry records with sales. His inspirational book, Learning to Sing, Hearing the Music in Your Life, written while on tour, reached number two on the New York Times Bestseller List in 2004.
Clay Aiken will rejoin the cast of Broadway's Spamalot on September 19, 2008 for another round as Sir Robin through January 4, 2009. Clay, Jaymes (sister of Grammy winning composer David Foster), and their son Parker live in California, North Carolina, and New York City.
Technorati Tags:Clay Aiken, Jaymes Foster, David Foster, American Idol, Unicef
Friday, August 22, 2008
Sony BMG and MBC have released a new music compilation CD entitled "Super Hero" to honor Korean Olympic players. Along with such artists as John Mayer, Backstreet Boys, Donna Summer, Daughtry, and Sara Bareilles, Clay Aiken's new single, On My Way Here from the CD of the same name, is featured. It has already been used in the promo for MBC Olympics broadcasting, being heard on Korean TV as Korean winners are presented their medals.
Sony/BMG executives said, "In order to find appropriate songs for the Olympics, we have gotten recommendations for songs from online users who love pop and executives from major label under Sony/BMG around the world for a long time. In that process,19 famous artists allowed their songs to be featured in this album. . . .There are many excellent pieces in the album so I dare say that this is the best compilation album yet."
Fans in North America can order the CD through http://www.yesasia.com/us/super-hero/1011417857-0-0-0-en/info.html
The cost is $17.99 and shipping to the United States is $3.99.
Check out Clay Aiken as Sir Robin in Broadway's Spamalot beginning September 19, 2008. Tickets may be purchased at http://www.telecharge.com/
Clay Aiken, Korea, Olympics, Spamalot
John Mayer, Backstreet Boys, Donna Summer, Daughtry, Sara Bareilles
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Clay Aiken, Jaymes Foster, Parker Foster Aiken, Spamalot, Broadway
Saturday, August 16, 2008
As most of the world knows by now, on August 8, 2008, Clay Aiken announced the birth of a son on his blog at his fan club website:
I know it's been a while. I'm sure you know, it's been a full full
summer. Sorry we haven't spoken in so long. But, I'm sure you know... I hate putting the cart before the horse. Not my way to tempt fate. But I wanted to stop by, if only for a second, so you could be the first folks I tell....
My dear friend, Jaymes, and I are so excited to announce the
birth of Parker Foster Aiken (No hyphens. One first name. One middle name. One last name.)
Parker was born at a hospital in North Carolina just
this morning at 8:08 AM. Wow... 8:08 ..08/08/08
Weighed in at 6 lbs 2 oz and measured 19 inches
The little man is healthy, happy, and as loud as his daddy.
Mama Jaymes is doing quite well also. The Aiken family, the Foster family, and the Parker family are all thrilled. We'll share more at some
point in the future. Love to you all!
Clay, Jaymes and Parker leaving Durham Regional Hospital three days after the birth.
The mother is Jaymes Foster (not James Foster) and, as Clay revealed in a concert a couple of years ago, “Jaymes is a girl.”
Along with being Clay’s “dear friend” and the mother of his son, Jaymes served as the Executive Producer of Clay’s “A Thousand Different Ways” CD released in 2006, his Christmas EP “All is Well” released for the 2006 Christmas season, and his latest CD “On My Way Here” released in May 2008. It is believed that she has been his “dear friend” for a number of years. In his liner notes for “A Thousand Different Ways,” Clay dedicated these words to Jaymes:
How we ended up on the same page in each others lives at the same time I may
never understand. What I do know is that I am thankful daily that God saw fit to
introduce me to someone as talented, wise and genuine as you. That you believed in me enough to take on this project with me and stick with it through so much has been one of the biggest blessings I've been given...But not as big as the blessing of having you as a trusted and indispensable friend.
Clay, Jaymes and David Foster, Jaymes's brother and Grammy winning composer and arranger rehearsing for Clay's October 2007 performance at the Neil Sedaka Tribute in New York City.
Clay and Jaymes at the David Foster Gala in Vancouver, 2006
in Charlotte, NC, December 2006.
Clay, Jaymes and Parker will be moving to New York City in September for Clay to reprise his role as Sir Robin in Spamalot on Broadway. They will be there until January 4, 2009.
Clay Aiken, Jaymes Foster, James Foster, Parker Foster Aiken
Friday, August 8, 2008
Aiken's mother, Faye, told Raleigh TV station WRAL the child was born in North Carolina.
Aiken was a favorite of fans during the second season of "American Idol," where he finished a close second to Ruben Studdard. His album "Measure of a Man" went double platinum in 2003, and he made his Broadway debut this spring in "Monty Python's Spamalot."
The baby's mother is Jaymes Foster, Aiken's friend of many years and record producer. Their son was born at 8:08 a.m. Friday, and weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19 inches long, according to the statement on the Web site.
"The little man is healthy, happy, and as loud as his daddy," Aiken wrote. "Mama Jaymes is doing quite well also."
Aiken and Foster live together in California and North Carolina.
Clay Aiken, Jaymes Foster