Since coming to national attention on the second season of American Idol in 2003, Clay Aiken has evolved into a versatile and beloved popular entertainer. He has released five well-received albums, selling over 6 million units. In October 2003, he launched his first solo album Measure of a Man. The record sold 3 million copies and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. With 613,000 copies sold in the first week, it was the highest selling first album for a solo artist in ten years, going double-platinum and netting Aiken an American Music Award.
In 2004, Aiken released Merry Christmas with Love, the fastest selling Christmas album in Nielsen Soundscan history. He followed that success with A Thousand Different Ways (2006), All is Well (2006), and On My Way Here (2008). His fifth studio album, Tried and True, was released in 2010, receiving positive reviews from critics across the board.
Aiken also penned a best-selling memoir in 2004. Readers and critics alike embraced his style and his message in Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life. The book was an instant New York Times bestseller, holding the prestigious spot for seven weeks.
In addition to taking the stage on nine separate tours, in 2008 Clay Aiken began his critically lauded stint as the inept yet endearing Sir Robin in the Broadway musical Monty Python’s Spamalot. Variety reported that his January 2008 debut benefited the show with a huge uptick in sales. Clay proved to be a tour de force that prompted director Mike Nichols to label Aiken “an excellent comic actor and a master of character.”
Clay has been an ambassador for UNICEF since 2004; the same year he started the National Inclusion Project with co-founder Diane Bubel. NIP supports the integration of children with disabilities into the same environments as their non-disabled peers.
In 2012, Aiken was runner-up to Arsenio Hall on the 5th season of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice to raise funds and awareness for the National Inclusion Project. Beating the likes of Debbie Gibson, Aubrey O’Day and Lisa Lampanelli, he became an audience favorite, and raised over $350,000 for NIP.
He has toured nine times, written a New York Times bestselling memoir, sold more than six million albums, produced and hosted television programs, starred on Broadway, and devoted considerable energy and resources to improving the lives of children all over the world.
Clay is currently focusing his efforts on Washington, running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina.
Aiken currently resides in North Carolina.