Random Reality – Josh Clinton Interviews 2003 American Idol Ruben Studdard

The seventh season of American Idol is just around the corner, but if you can’t wait another month there is another way you can get your American Idol fix. On a nationally syndicated cable channel near you, there is a show called American Idol Rewind. This show goes back to when American Idol all began as it relives past seasons of the show.

Currently airing, American Idol Rewind is highlighting Season Two. This is the season that really got the ball rolling for the show. We all remember the final battle between Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. Who would become the next American Idol? It was a close vote, but we all know that Ruben eventually won. Now you can relive the exciting journey that Ruben and Clay took to the finals. You will also get to chance to catch up with all the “Top 12” contestants from that year as there are over 30 exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage from the second season of American Idol presented on American Idol Rewind.

The other day I got the opportunity to speak to the winner of the second season American Idol. I talked to Ruben about what he has been up to since his days on American Idol, what this whole American Idol Rewind show is all about, and about American Idol in general.

Josh Clinton: Hey Ruben.

Ruben Studdard: Hey, how you doing?

JC: I’m doing alright. How about yourself?

RS: I’m doing good.

JC: Great. So it seems like you have been quite busy since American Idol.

RS: Yeah, I try to stay as busy as I can brother.

JC: Yeah, no doubt. So I heard that you recently just went on a vegetarian diet?

RS: Yeah, I’m a vegetarian now.

JC: How much weight have you lost?

RS: Since American Idol, I’ve probably lost about 100 pounds.

JC: Wow, that’s great. Was there any reason why you wanted to be a vegetarian?

RS: No, I just wanted to change my lifestyle and I figured that would be one way to live a cleaner life.

JC: That’s cool. Do you still have plans to open your own club in Birmingham, Alabama?

RS: Yeah, we plan to break ground next year and it should be open by 2009.

JC: What kind of club will this be?

RS: It will be kinda like the “House of Blues”.

JC: Cool. So it will be in downtown Birmingham then?

RS: Yeah, in the new entertainment district downtown.

JC: Very nice. So you have released three albums so far since winning American Idol.

RS: Yes.

JC: It seems like all three feature a different genre of music. How would you compare the three albums?

RS: I think the first one for me was more of a souvenir project for the American Idol fans. The inspirational album, “I Need An Angel”, for me growing up in church was something that I always wanted to do. It gave me the opportunity to pay tribute to some people that I grew up listening to and loving all of my life. So when the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to do. Then on the third album I think it just shows my growth as an artist and Clive really gave me the opportunity to be myself and that’s what came out.

JC: Right. So you like doing both Gospel and R&B music then?

RS: I love it!

JC: Cool. Do you feel any pressure to live up to your early success with these later albums?

RS: Um, I always measure success by still being viable in the industry. A lot of times people measure success by the number of albums you sell, but there are a lot of great artists that don’t sell 100 million albums. But as long as I stay current and people still enjoy listening to my music, I think I will be fine.

JC: Yeah. How would you compare the pressure of before you got on American Idol and became successful to now after winning American Idol?

RS: There is no comparison. I didn’t have a record period before I was on the show. Just being able to have three albums out is a blessing. To be able to do a job that I love every day is awesome.

JC: Yeah. But would you say that you have worked equally hard trying to maintain your success since winning American Idol as you did before when you were trying to get your “big break”?

RS: I think it’s actually more work because as an artist you always want to try and reinvent yourself. So you have to keep coming up with new ideas and do different things, you know what I mean?

JC: Yeah, I understand. Explain to me what this whole American Idol Rewind show is all about?

RS: Well it’s basically exactly what it says. It’s the rewind of my season. You get the chance to hear a lot of different interviews that you didn’t get to hear while you were watching second season the first time. A lot of different viewpoints from other people. It’s a lot more auditions. You get to see the show from basically the contestant’s point-of-view.

JC: Oh, okay. So are the interviews from back then or are they new interviews from today?

RS: There is a lot of stuff that was shot back then, but there are also a lot of new interviews with the contestants that were on the show. It shows their growth now and all of that. It was cool for me to see, because I haven’t seen a lot of those people in awhile.

JC: Yeah, definitely. That’s cool. Every year on American Idol there seems to be contestants that make albums and do well that don’t necessarily win the entire thing. Everyone that makes the “Final 12” are all obviously great singers. What do you think separates the eventually winner from all the other great singers each year?

RS: I don’t know man. I guess it’s how you connect with the camera, because after that point the fans decide who wins. So it’s not really a judge’s decision. Once you make the “Top 30”, it’s pretty much not up to them anymore. Because there were a lot of people who were awesome singers that made it to the “Top 30”, but didn’t make it to the “Top 10”. It takes a lot more to win that competition than just having a great voice. You have to have a certain personality that people look for and want to watch for all of those weeks.

JC: Right. If you had to give advice to any of the contestants that made it this year or someone that wants try out next year, what would you say?

RS: I would say to them “be about your business”. Have a good time, but stay focused and know that you are there for a reason. Get better, because one thing that I will say about the show is that it’s a crash course into the entertainment industry. They teach you and you have to become an instant professional. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it, they expect you to mind your p’s and q’s from the time you step into their place. So just be about your business, be focused, and always do your best.

JC: Yeah, exactly. When can we expect the next album from you?

RS: Probably in the second quarter of next year.

JC: Cool. What kind of album is it going to be?

RS: It’s probably going to be a soul album. I think everyone is going to love it. I actually start work on it next month.

JC: Very cool. Well thanks for your time man and good luck with everything.

RS: Thank you.

Be sure to check your local listings for times and stations where you can watch the second season of American Idol Rewind. You can also visit www.tvguide.com/listings for more information…

While you are at it, be sure to check out Ruben’s website, www.RubenStuddard.com for the most current information on what he is doing…

Sir Linksalot: American Idol

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