Friday, September 29, 2006

What a Week on the Clay Train!

THE MUSIC MAN -- A Beautiful Mind created this stunning graphic of the Clay Nation's favorite music man.

Back on Track with Tech Support

What a Week on the Clay Train!

Bright and early Monday morning, a corrupted file in AOL put me in touch with computerized assistance until the voice on the other end didn't recognize the error number I was attempting to explain. When "she" asked if I would like to speak with Tech Support, I executed a virtual back flip, pumped my fist, and shouted, "YES!" My wait time was supposed to be up to 2.5 minutes; and when Steve started speaking to me within 20 seconds, my first question was "Are you real?"

Under his guidance, we removed AOL and downloaded a new version. I applaud the AOL Tech Support Team -- and especially the "real" Steve -- for saving my blog notes, codes, photographer/graphic artist permission list, and all kinds of important info that I store in "Mail Waiting To Be Sent."

As soon as I was good to go, I hopped back on the Clay Train and the smorgasbord of appearances and events to which fans have been treated this week.

In fact, so much has happened the past few days that turning the retrieved blog notes into an organized entry has been crazy in between teaching lessons and maintaining the temporary Updated Blog List on the OFC message board. Hopefully, the latter situation will be resolved SOON.

If by chance you missed any of this collection of events, this blog is loaded with story/video links, as well as some downloads. Hope you enjoy this overview of the week's highlights!

ATDW Marks Aiken's Third Top 5 Debut

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Clay Aiken's third album, A Thousand Different Ways, sold over 205,000 [later corrected to 211,000] copies in its first week of release, securing a No. 2 debut on the Billboard album chart. It is Clay's third consecutive debut inside the top five. Measure of a Man entered at No. 1 and Merry Christmas With Love bowed at No. 4. Clay is the 4th artist ever to have his first 3 albums debut Top 5 and scan over 200,000 in the first week.

For the whole story, see Third Top 5 Debut.

Top Debut Album on Billboard 200

ATDW came in with lots of good numbers on the various Billboard charts, including #2 and the Top Debut Album on the Billboard 200. Here are the standings:

Billboard 200 - #2 Hot Shot/Top Debut Album

Billboard Comprehensive Albums - #2

Top Digital Albums - #3

Top Internet Albums - #1

Top Canadian Albums - #6

For the complete story, see Top Debut on Billboard 200.

Clay at LA CD Signing -- Photo by John Heller

Clay Signs Autographs at LA Virgin Store

Clay Aiken: A Day in the Life!

This excellent segment with Jann Carl ran on Entertainment Tonight Wednesday and includes video at the ET website and lots of recaps from Tuesday's LA Virgin Megastore CD signing, as well as the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show.

Hundreds of fans stood in line for hours on Tuesday just to get a glimpse of their favorite pop star, CLAY AIKEN, as he made an appearance at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood -- which is just all in a day's work for the popular crooner!

JK, the "Ultimate Claymate" with Clay - AP Photo by Lisa Rose

Jimmy Kimmel donned a Clay Aiken T-shirt and carried a "My Heart Is Aiken" sign into the Virgin Megastore autograph signing in Hollywood. The skit has been shown on the Internet, TV media, as well as Jimmy Kimmel Live where Clay was a guest the same evening.

The Lighter Side of Things

This piece originally appeared on "The Insider Online" Wednesday with a recommendation to watch the show that night. The segment never aired ... but with entertainment shows, you never know.

After his oh-so-serious interview with DIANE SAWYER, CLAY AIKEN is getting back to the lighter side of things with a CD signing this week at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood and an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"!

Once again, the 27-year-old singing sensation was mobbed by Claymates and generally knocked out by the attention.For more of the article, see Clay Causes a Commotion.

Clay and Jimmy -- Cap of Two Friends Interacting on JKL

Aiken-Kimmel Chemistry Still the Best!

From the opening monologue and woven throughout the hour, Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live could easily be dubbed "The Clay Aiken Show."

Among the many highlights were discussions of Clay's fans, the Claymates; "show and tell" items from Clay's official website (boxer shorts, the thong, a fan for small, country churches ... "Lord, Jesus!").

Earlier, during the Virgin Megastore CD signing, Clay complied with an autograph on the shoulders of two Salt Lake City fans, who promptly had his signature permanently tattooed. After their introduction on JKL, Clay pulled up his pants leg and displayed a "tattoo" of JK on his left calf ("I shaved my leg for you!").

When Jimmy asked if Clay thought the Claymates would kill someone for him, he responded, "No, but be mean to me and they will beat you up."

One of the most celebrated exchanges for fans was Clay's answer to Jimmy's opening "How's everything? Clay's answer: "Very, very good."

If you missed this fun evening, these two videos are streaming at ABC:

Ready to Get Clay-zy

JKL: Clay's Tattoos

During the concert portion of the show, Clay & Co. rocked out on A Thousand Days, which you can download HERE.

At one point, JK announced to the audience, "We don't get this kind of response from anyone else on the show." Fans can add an online review of the 9/26 show HERE.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: Featured in today's clickable interlude are graphics by four talented visual artists: Amazing_CA with photo credits to KarenEh (1, 4, 5); Katt45 (2); and ABeautifulMind (3).

The Story Behind Album Reviews

While most reviews of ATDW have been scathing, at least one music critic, Tony of Shipwrecked Island Studios (See 9/5/06 blog) "got it" -- Clay's incredible vocals, the album's exquisite arrangements and extraordinary production. OKclayhoman emailed Tony and asked his opinion about why other reviews have been so brutal. With her permission, here is Tony's reply:

I've read some of the other reviews out there and honestly I am not shocked at all. Most of the main stream reviewers aren't actually listening to the album or albums they're being given. It’s all about pushing a product, which to me is very sad.

In the case of Clay's album I think a lot of reviewers are basing their final thoughts on Clay's past works and the fact that he was on American Idol. I wish more reviewers would actually share their own thoughts on album reviews rather then say what their bosses or companies are telling them to say.

It's all about money these days and that's one of the things I hate about labels and so-called major review chains like Billboard. They're pushing the products that can garner the most cash or cause a stir. Clay to me is a very simple guy who likes simple music and can "WOW" people with his voice. He doesn't need the flashy lights & all the fixings like all these other musicians out there. I think that right there hurts him in the labels and main stream reviewers' minds because it's as if he's trying to stay true to himself rather than sell out and bow to the demand of the money people.

I wish more artists were like him. If that was the case then labels wouldn't be trying to put copy protection and other spyware on CD's. That's why I love late 70's - early 90's music--mostly because it was a simpler time where the music just spoke for itself. (For the most part.)

So in a nutshell, the industry sucks and it's up to real music fans to say what they like and what they don't like. I still love Clay's disc and I think it's one of the best albums of the year to this point. Too bad the industry doesn't see it the same way as his fans do.

Shipwrecked Island Studios is a four-year-old, well-respected web site run by two 20-something guys who enjoy writing about music.

Clay Shines on KTLA -- Screencap by Gerwhisp

Clay Wows Crew at KTLA Morning Show

Delayed a day due to a bout with stomach flu, Clay appeared on the KTLA Morning Show Wednesday and impressed the crew with his charm, wit, integrity, music, and ability to speak knowledgeably about many topics, including current affairs and politics. At one point, he filled in the blank of the potential Democratic presidential ticket when the anchors could not.

What's on Clay's IPod? "Just me," he grinned.

For the two-part KTLA appearance, click on Clay Wows KTLA and scroll to "Celebrity Interviews."

Clay on Larry King Live -- Screencap by Gerwhisp

Clay Spars with Larry King

From the CNN promos for Wednesday night's Larry King Live show -- Clay Aiken Fires Back on Rumors About His Private Life, Panic Attacks, American Idol & More -- you could tell what type interview the host expected to have.

Not on his life! In a nutshell, Clay told LK: My life is my own ... some people want to make it theirs ... but it's not!

The two men covered much territory -- ATDW, moving back to Raleigh, "nerdism," panic attacks, sexual orientation, family, writing "Lover All Alone," the tabloids, Clay's faith, fame, the BAF's new book, Our Mikayla.

If the LKL site is true to form, there should soon be video of the interview that encompassed 3/4 of the hour. The entire transcript is there now. In addition, there is an excellent synopsis of the show at Clay's Daily Double.

Whew, I'm worn out just writing about all this. Don't forget the Clay Aiken Show at Wal-Marts everywhere Friday at 7 p.m., as well as the streaming of the acoustic Soundcheck.

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation! You, too, Clay!


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Sunday, September 24, 2006

ATDW Opens with Media Flurry

Clay performa for fans and TV audience at ABC's Good Morning America.

All Aboard as Clay Train Rolls On!

ATDW Opens with Media Flurry

The opening week of Clay Aiken's new CD, A Thousand Different Ways, has lived up to its name and exploded onto the scene with almost as many twists and turns as the title implies.

At a time when Clay fans expected to be celebrating such an important week with their favorite singer espousing about the music of his second mainstream album, personal issues have claimed many a headline and sound byte of entertainment media.

Kicking off the sophomore CD's premier week were three days of concerts and interviews with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. An overflow throng of fans filled the studio and sidewalks outside, cheering Clay & Co. as they performed WY and ATD on Tuesday, 9/19.

During the interviews of the next two days, Clay made clear what he feels is fair ground for discussion about his private life. Perhaps the line he has drawn will give other entertainers the fortitude to do the same and retain the privacy everyone deserves.

For longtime and new fans alike, two of the many excellent blogs providing in-depth prospective on tabloid speculations and the rumors Clay has previously denied many times are WebWeaver's World (9/24) by Webweaver and Something That Really Happened (9/22) by Roseviolet/Pandarose.

Videos of the GMA performance and interviews are available at ABC News. As Clay sang a line of "Here You Come Again," Sawyer, sitting behind the mixing board of a recording studio, ended their first chat segment with: "I think the kid's got the pipes."

She got that part right!

Having Fun with Fans - Photo by Scrypkym

Cousin Emails CD Alert

My mother's cousin, two decades my senior, emailed me after the program: "This morning I watched GMA and saw Clay Aiken on the program -- and I thought of you. He has changed his hair style and the color of his hair. I thought it was cute and youthful when he wore it straight up! It's now down flat and almost in his eyes. Anyway, he has a new album out. Do you have his latest?"

LOL, I wrote her back that I would be picking up the CD the same afternoon and that she could listen to it online. I sent her the three most important sites; and, hopefully, Josie is helping with the buzz just like the many Clay fans who are streaming via their local Clear Channel radio stations, AOL Music, and the Wal-Mart Soundcheck.

Clickable Graphic by Katt45

Cashier Playing ATDW Nonstop

Later when I purchased my CD at Target, I was almost out the door but turned to ask my twenty-something cashier about sales. After assuring me that ATDW was racing off the shelves, she proclaimed how much she loves the album and that she plays it nonstop. Then she asked if I had heard Clay's first CD.

I grinned and told her I am a CA fan from way back In the process my cashier mentioned how much she likes Clay singing the acoustics, so I gave her the information about Wal-Mart's Soundcheck.

Maybe a return trip is in order so I can tell her about Friday night's special concert when Wal-Marts everywhere will air a 40-minute "Clay Show" beginning at 7 p.m. in each time zone. The show will be seen on all store monitors plus TVs in the home electronics department. The videos will include the intro, songs, and interview currently airing in the online Soundcheck.

Yep, I think I may need another CD -- this weekend!

PHOTO INTERMISSION: The clickable interlude features graphics from screen caps and photos of Clay's performances at GMA and The View. Visual artists include Amazing_CA (1, 4); Ambassador of Love with photo by KarenEh (2) and (4); and A Beautiful Mind (3).

Claymate Hall of Fame

Lara Spencer and Rosie O'Donnell of The Insider and The View, respectively, have practically been voted into the "Claymate Hall of Fame" as they treated Clay with respect and dignity throughout a week of probing interviews. Spencer also was the recipient of a "private concert," which she shared with millions of viewers in the show's New York studios. Clay & Co. performed a show-stopping rendition of Without You for a full studio audience during Friday's airing of "The View."

A variety of topics -- the new CD, fan monikers within the Clay Nation (Claymates, Claynadians, Claysians), the singer's openness in dealing with panic attacks, and his firm stand not to discuss his private life with the press -- were covered in these interviews.

On the Weekend Insider, Spencer cemented her special place as a fan favorite with this reminder: "Clay denied he was gay in the 2003 Rolling Stone cover story. Since then, the press has had a field day, and Clay wants to put an end to it all. "You have to admire his integrity and character, and let's not lose sight about why he's famous. He's an incredible singer!"

People's Hot Clay Centerfold,
Clickable Graphic by Claystruck

People Magazine Features Clay

On stands now, the Oct. 3 issue of People magazine covers lots of ground and was well-received by most fans -- and not just because of the hot centerfold posted as a graphic above, but because Clay's stand on privacy was treated fairly. As he told People, "It doesn't matter what I say. People are going to believe what they want."

Here are double-clickable scans of the cover and article:

CTLover shared this hilarious anecdote at Clayversity: "My 19-year-old son was out on a date and stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up the groceries I had missed earlier. He called and said, "Now listen -- I have a very important question for you. Do you have the new People with Clay on the cover?" I had to admit that I had one copy and then told him to look inside at the double spread picture and warned him that his girlfriend would drool. He said, "She's already seen it and bought the magazine!"

Clay, Justin in Tight Race

This overview concludes with perhaps the most important aspect of all. Besides moving up to #15 on the Lycos50 top searches for the week ending 9/16, Clay has a legitimate chance to enter the Billboard 200 Chart at #1.

With Hits Daily Double predicting Justin Timberlake's second week sales in the 225 - 235k range and Clay's numbers on track for 200k, fans are determined to make this contest a real horse race. Extra CD shopping for Christmas gifts and/or troop donations is the norm throughout this weekend of sales.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: September of Clay Continues

Sep 24: GMA Weekend Show (ABC)
Sep 26: LA Virgin Megastore CD Signing
Sep 26: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Sep 27: KTLA Morning Show
Sep 27: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 27: Larry King Live (CNN)
Sep 29: Wal-Mart Soundcheck Show
Oct 01: Live @ Yahoo Music

All aboard -- the Clay Train is ready to roll for another week!


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

CD Release Royally Celebrated

A WEEK OF CLAY -- ABeautifulMind helps fans celebrate the debut of A Thousand Different Ways with this stunning graphic.

Rollercoaster Clay Aiken Week

CD Release Royally Celebrated

Twas the night before CD Launch and ... Sunday night countless Clay Aiken fans stayed up for the magical midnight moment to watch message board countdown clocks cross to zero days and steadily diminishing hours/minutes/seconds until A Thousand Different Ways would officially drop at the same time the following night.

Monday as these online clocks steadily marched towards single digit hours, excitement around Clay Cyberspace mounted. Message board merry-go-rounds began picking up speed with the Billboard story about an iTunes bonus track co-written by Clay, "Lover All Alone," and suddenly switched into roller coaster gear with activation of the online AOL ATDW Listening Party and Wal-Mart Soundcheck.

By Monday evening, the network of 80+ CD Release Parties in the US, Canada, and Singapore leading toward midnight ATDW purchases found the Clay Nation in full party mode and CA Week off and running.

Clay fans do know how to throw a party. A quick overview found Meadville, PA, fans watching CA videos at a movie theater with free popcorn and drinks followed by CD purchases and a pajama party; a cake in Salem, VA, that showed the progression of Clay through the years; Myrtle Beach, SC, fans blowing bubbles with Flat Clay; Columbus, OH, partygoers lining up for their Wal-Mart purchases while watching the new Soundcheck on store monitors, most for the very first time; Kristy Barnes, Faye Parker, and Aunt Francine singing for 500 revelers in Raleigh; and on and on.

The South Central Pennsylvania party was covered by The York Daily Record in Fans of Singer Clay Aiken Celebrate Release.

Clickable Cap of ATDW Commercial

Besides print media ads, ATDW commercials have been spotted on a variety of TV channels and shows -- Oprah, Oxygen, Lifetime, Bravo, VH1, ABC, GMA, Food Network, CMT, Hallmark, History, among others.

Clickable from Leno Performance

Friday night's Tonight Show performance of "Without You" by Clay & Co. repeats on Good Morning America Tuesday morning with a second selection from ATDW, "A Thousand Ways." [OMG, did he ever rock, too!]

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: September of Clay on TV

Sep 19: Good Morning America (ABC) performance and interview
Sep 19: The Insider
Sep 20: Good Morning America (ABC) Diane Sawyer Interview Part 1
Sep 20: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 21: Good Morning America (ABC) Diane Sawyer Interview Part 2
Sep 21: The Insider, Entertainment Tonight
Sep 22: The View (ABC)
Sep 22: The Insider, Entertainment Tonight
Sep 24: Good Morning America (ABC) Weekend Show - Performance and interview
Sep 26: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)

Clickable of Target Promo Display

ClayGalaxy of Clayversity not only snapped a photo of the Target promo display above, but he also dropped by his local Barnes & Noble store and set all the listening kiosks to ATDW. His explanation: "That way others can hear the new CD right away. How nice of me! HEEE

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable interlude features the beautiful graphics of four talented Clay fans, including Amazing_CA (1, 3); Claystruck (2); Clayquebec1 (4); and Ambassador of Love (5).

Soundcheck Features Acoustic Clay

Clay's Wal-Mart Soundcheck, which can be viewed online as well as on monitors/giant TV screens throughout the chain's stores, features four songs from the new album -- Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word, Everything I Do (I Do It for You), A Thousand Days, Here You Come Again -- plus an interview in which our singer talks about his life, music, charities, and fans.

The text that appears on the Soundcheck page is well worth the read. I especially love the postscript in which the Wal-Mart crew states that CA is "without a doubt one of the nicest artists we've had the pleasure to work with on the show." There are props for his loyal fans, too; so enjoy the script.


THE ARRIVAL: Idol Worship

The Wal-Mart Soundcheck crew made their way back to one of it's favorite locations, Conway Studios in Los Angeles, to meet up with one of America's top young singers - the charismatic Clay Aiken.

New Look, New Songs

We met up with Clay backstage in the green room and discovered a whole new look for the former Idol star. besides the dramatic new appearance, we were briefed on and listened to pieces of the new record. It was a humbling experience to get to hear songs that the legend Clive Davis helped pick out personally for Clay.

THE SET: Electric/Acoustic Combo

The set up for the performance featured the best of both worlds: a touch of acoustic and electric instrumentation, and our star, Mr. Aiken, fronting the band on lead vocals.

Love Songs

The set list, in order, featured "Sorry Seems to Be the hardest Word," Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)," "A Thousand Days" and the Dolly Pardon hit, "Here You Come Again" - a good mix of original cuts and classic covers fans are sure to love.

Clickable ATD on Soundcheck

THE INTERVIEW: The Love of Music

Clay's one of the most laid back, gracious guests we've ever had at Soundcheck and his passion for music is clearly evident. "I like being able to say I do what I love, and not many people can say they love what they do for a living these days," he said. "Everything that's happened to me is because I've been open to opportunities as they presented themselves. So I don't really think about where I'll be in five years, I think more in terms of being happy and letting happiness lead my path."

The Love for His Fans

There's a reason this man has so many 'Claymates.' "It's really all about the fans," Aiken says. "I say thank you a lot, and it's really not a big enough word; so let me say again how much I appreciate their support for allowing me to do what I love to do."

The POST-SCRIPT: A Royal Treat

We weren’t sure what to expect in our first session with Clay. We had heard that he was a nice guy, but one never knows with fame and success. But we’re pleased to say that the Clay Aiken everyone came to love is still the same Clay Aiken of today. He is without a doubt one of the nicest artists we’ve had the pleasure to work with on the show, and can clearly see why his fans are so loyal.

Enjoy the show, Claymates!

-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck

A fitting ending to this brief overview of Clay Aiken Week comes from a recent post by Aikim at Clayversity:

This week is going to be a new beginning for Clay and for us; he will be making new fans; young and old. And so as we look forward to what lies ahead, we should also savor what was and how we got here; because as good as it was, it is only going to get better.

SOON is finally HERE! Have an awesome Clay Aiken Week as the journey continues!


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Friday, September 15, 2006

Email Reveals Aiken Obsession

MULTIPLE CLAYS -- A Beautiful Mind designed this elegant graphic proving to many that four Clays are better than one.

I Am So Outed!

Email Reveals Aiken Obsession

I am so over the moon about Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways that I have outed myself completely. Wednesday I emailed 23 friends, relatives, current and former associates the Clear Channel Sneak Peek link for their city, as well as info about the new CD, Clay's lineup of promo appearances, his Presidential Appointment, et al.

Now, about 1/3 of those folks already knew to a certain extent of my CA fandom membership; but I can just see a couple of band directors, former orchestra students, neighbors, and at least one baffled cousin scratching heads and wondering what in the world has happened to this person they thought they knew.

Personalized Sneak Peek Details

Since my blogs are also published in the public sphere, my mailing list received a link to Carolina On My Mind. Just in case some of the "newbies" haven't seen Clay since American Idol 2, I also included the cover photo for ATDW so they would know exactly which picture to double-click at their radio site.

To those special email recipients who find their way to the Carolina blog, here's a big shout-out, both for the 15 who just learned of my incurable CA obsession and another for the eight friends and relatives who have known for a while what a lost cause I am where Clay is concerned.

Actually, my own little promo campaign has just begun. Besides a couple of awesome CD reviews, liner note leaks, and the verses that intertwine with the lyrics of "Broken Wings," it is Clay Aiken Week! Lift off is here, and we need to tell everybody!

Clickable CD: Ambassador of Love

Music Sites Print Rave Reviews

Shipwreck Island Studios, a four-year-old web site run by two 20-something guys who enjoy writing about music, today followed up a very positive "initial reaction" preview of ATDW (see 9/5 blog) with Tony's complete critique that is everything CA fans could ever want to read -- props for Clay's magnificent vocals and interpretation, the orchestrations, new material (he would like to have seen one more original), the outstanding reinvention of the covers, etc.

Tony's ratings for ATDW:

New Original Songs: 3.95/4 Release Overall: 4.95/5

Despite a strong temptation to quote the whole review, I am only printing a few paragraphs. However, I highly recommend that you follow the above link and enjoy not only this man's current accolades, but also his predictions for Clay's future.

This is a career setting album for Clay but not his best, as his best is still to come. You could hear throughout this release how completely in love he is with the classic material and as a listener it's nice to hear an artist actually appreciate the material being put forth.

Personally I find these songs to be a real breath of fresh air because there's been a ton of cover discs that have been released in the past two years and, frankly, there's only been two or three that have really been done well. This album is in fact one of the better cover discs because of how Clay was able to reinvent the original songs.

Successful Singing Career Predicted

I firmly believe that if he sticks with this soft blend of material and intertwines a few pop tracks, he'll be one of the most successful singers in music history. There are very few mainstream musicians that capture me the way Clay does.

With songs like "Without You" and "A Thousand Days," Clay has opened the door to greatness. This disc is all about not only reliving the past but reviving it. Clay has set a course toward the future and with time I think fans of all genres will notice this release for it's original material as well as the reinvented cover tunes.

Overall this is a brilliantly done album that one can sit back, listen to and just drift away. Clay is much more then just some kid from a realty show, he's a musician in every sense of the word. The best is still to come and what is scary is that this disc is so good how can he possibly top it?

Must Have CD of the Week

Another awesome nod comes from Music Messiah, which names ATDW as the MUST HAVE CD of the WEEK:

A Thousand Different Ways is filled with covers and sprinkled with a few originals. This CD will give you a feeling, that hope and romance are in the air. Like your favorite tasteful dessert, this CD is a guilty pleasure.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: Today's clickable interlude features the graphic designs of four talented artist fans: Redjet, 1; A Beautiful Mind, 2; Cindilu2, 3 and 4; and ClayQuebec1, 5.

Verses Intertwine with BW Lyrics

The poignant verses spoken throughout "Broken Wings" were penned by poet Erin Taylor Clayton Pitner, an eccentric who spiraled deeper and deepr into the psychosis that eventually defined her existence. Her biography, "Wishing for Snow: A Memoir by Minrose Gwin," was written by her daughter, a professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The poetry intertwining with the "Broken Wings" lyrics is beautiful and already a hit with teenagers, as well as adults listening to this week's Clear Channel's Sneak Peek of the ATDW playlist:

We're in this life together
Even when one moves without the other
Different pages from the same story

This aching is familiar
It’s something I remember
We can’t touch without feeling,
Can’t heal without healing

Only the young could fall so hard
I’m so callous from these scars

So we will move out of the way this time
Making room for each other
One without the other
We are broken
But we are moving still

We are in this life together
Even when one moves without the other

We are broken, but we are moving still
A thousand different ways

Clickable by Amazing_CA

Sneak Peek Liner Notes

With the countdown to the CD's drop date winding down, Hawaii42, a music retail manger, shared some interesting aspects of ATDW's liner notes, three of which are printed here.

A simple dedicatory note above the track info for "When I See You Smile" reads: "For Kristy."

Nobody writes thank-you's like Clay, and the words to his executive producer and his fans are very moving:

Jaymes Foster -- 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 indefensible friend.

To My Fans: It's fitting that this album is all about love and the different ways it can be expressed. After so many opportunities I have had to be on the receiving end of such abundant love and support from you all, I am so thankful for the opportunity to try to give something that can express my gratitude and love for you. This album is yours in A Thousand Different Ways.

Clay Aiken Week Indeed!

Members of the the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) were sworn in Thursday.

The appointments to the PCPID are as follows:

Clay Aiken of Raleigh, North Carolina: Recording artist Clay Aiken is also the founder of the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, an organization that promotes and funds educational and recreational programs for children with special needs.

Clickable GMA Promo

UPCOMING TV APEARANCES from the RCA Records site:

Sep 15: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC)
Sep 18: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 19: Good Morning America (ABC) performance and interview
Sep 19: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 20: Good Morning America (ABC) Diane Sawyer Interview Part 1
Sep 21: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 21: Good Morning America (ABC) Diane Sawyer Interview Part 2
Sep 21: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 22: The View (ABC)
Sep 22: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 24: Good Morning America Weekend Show - Performance and interview
Sep 26: Entertainment Tonight
Sep 26: Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)

Enjoy the ride, Clay Nation! SOON is finally NOW!


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Monday, September 11, 2006

Fans Link to Gala Via Cellcerts

REFLECTIONS: Throughout Clay Aiken message boards and blogs, fans are remembering 9/11 in a variety of ways. At the OFC, Galadriel has written about a friend in We Will Never Forget. Featured at Blogspot are "In Memorium: Donna Clarke" at A Southern Girl's Guide to Almost Anything plus "A Tribute to Clay, My Hero" and "The Fifth Anniversary" at Clay's Daily Double. We will never forget.

Amazing_CA's design incorporates "a thousand Clays" in the frame of her beautiful blend.

'Right Here Waiting'

Fans Link to Gala Via Cellcerts

When Clay Aiken finally sang Right Here Waiting at the David Foster and Friends Celebrity Gala 2006 late Sunday night (1:17 a.m. Monday EST), countless fans connected through a labyrinth of cellcerts could certainly relate, for we had been doing just that -- waiting "right here" in front of our computers and praying cell phone batteries would endure long enough for the singer's three tune set.

The cellcert network for Richmond, British Columbia, triumphed; and the River Rock audience, as well as participating CA fans around the globe, listened as Clay performed RHW, the first track from his upcoming CD, A Thousand Different Ways. To standing ovations, he also sang his mother's favorite song, Unchained Melody, and the CD's first single, Without You.

Foster, whose sister Jaymes is the executive producer of ATDW, introduced Clay to the sold-out audience of 900 in Vancouver, Canada, like this:

He's got his own fan base. They're fanatics, with all due respect. The guy put an album out three years ago, and in the first week it sold 600,000 copies. Tonight we were selling a piano; it was at $200,000. I came out and said I'd go with the piano for life, and it went to $205,000. He walks out and says he'll come and sing three songs, and it goes to $500,000. There is only one. What an amazing singer. What an amazing story. He'll tell you some of it. He used to be a school teacher, this kid. Please welcome the FANTASTIC ... CLAY. AIKEN!

Clay Sings at Gala -- Photo by Dee Lippingwell

Sunday night's Charity Gala concluded a two-day event during which Clay also served on a panel of judges for the David Foster Star Search Finals and helped raise $2.9 million to assist families of children in need of organ transplants.

The auction referenced by Foster in his intro of Clay was explained further by Canuck2010, who funneled reports to Clayversity all weekend: When Clay came out and offered to be part of the concert, the piano skyrocketed to $500,000. So they gave two pianos -- one now and one in 18 months after DF gets all the new autographs -- and both bidders get a private concert with DF and Clay! They earned the foundation one million dollars in about 10 minutes! It was fabulous!

In Canuck's OFC blog, you can read summaries of her Star Search Weekend.

Clickable Judge Clay Blend
by Amazing_CA, Galrow Photo

Several CA message boards were represented in British Columbia this past weekend. In this photo taken by Canuck on Saturday, Jaymes Foster proudly -- but briefly -- showed a group of fans Clay's copy of the CD set to be released on 9/19.

Producer Reveals ATDW to Fans -- Photo by Canuck

By most accounts, Monday morning arrived too soon for those who were up late attending or listening to the gala. The sentiment throughout most message board posts, however, is the lack of sleep was well spent!

Sneak Peek Stream Surprises Fans

Another major event in Clay Land this weekend was the discovery minutes before midnight Saturday that Clear Channel Music's Sneak Peek for A Thousand Different Ways had been activated a few days early.

That little news byte sped through CA Cyberspace so fast that in nanoseconds, thousands of fans were streaming the full CD from the CCM site and trying to figure out how to take their computers to bed. This is good because radio and retail determine the popularity of an album or single by the number of hits streaming sites receive.

Streaming ATDW at the Clear Channel site and through hometown CC radio stations is set to run from 9/12 - 9/15. You can search for CC stations at Clear Channel Radio or for all stations in your area through Radio- Locator. Stream away, Clay Nation!

Despite periodic interruptions -- "Sneak Peek; hear it here first" -- in each song, initial reactions to the album can be read just about everywhere in Clay Cyberspace. These Clayversity members are sharing theirs here:

Bamintx: Stunning! Each song has something special about it that grabs me in a different way than the others. There are those power ballads, but there is also an ethereal sound on some of the songs that turns me into absolute mush. The Celtic flavor to "Everything I Do" might be the prettiest thing I've ever heard. This CD is truly special and like nothing else out there. There's really no comparison. Those snippets we've been listening to don't even begin to tell the story of this CD.

Roadnottaken: I don't even know how you pick a single for this album. Each song is an artistic triumph. The arrangements, Clay's voice -- there's something special about each one. And together, Clay has created a masterpiece. This will be an album for the ages.

Jade222: The snippets we've been listening too haven't touched in any way, or come close to any way, the sheer beauty and diversity of this CD. Having listened to every song, this CD will blow away anyone who listens. I see a lot of Clayversions on the horizon. These are not covers; these are Clay songs.

GibbGal: At 2 a.m., I'm still listening to the album and just can't pull myself away. It's gorgeous! I love all of the arrangements; there's a lot of beautiful instrumentation. Some are really different from the originals. And Clay's singing is amazing! He really is an ARTIST. He makes the songs his own. Clay has gained so much control over his voice. He can sing with so much vulnerability in one phrase, and with strength and conviction in the next. This is an album that I will be able to listen to over and over, and hear new, entrancing things to love each time.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable photo interlude includes the creative work of five graphic artists, including Ambassador Of Love (1), Invisible926 (2), ABeautifulMind (3), Clayquebec1 (4), and Amazing_CA (5).

Teens Tab 'Broken Wings'

GibbGal (later in the day): I just played "Broken Wings" for my 14-year old daughter and her friend of the same age. They LOVED it! They got all "swoony" and gasped a couple times. They think that the spoken poem is fantastic, that it really adds to the song. They especially loved hearing "a thousand different ways" at the end of the album. I do think the teens will really like "Broken Wings."

Lolacat: I LOVE the whole CD! The originals don't even cross my mind. To me it's like listening to all new songs!

Cristal Line: With or without radio play, this deserves to be album of the year, the album of the decade. In a sea of sound-alike music featuring collaborations with all the same "hot" producers and songwriters, he's created a project that truly only Clay Aiken could have pulled off with stunning brilliance. This isn't a baby step towards becoming his own artist as I've speculated before. He IS an artist, this is light years beyond MOAM. I was laughing and crying and "OMGing" out loud just from listening to his voice. This is absolutely the work of a true artist with a remarkable, unique talent.

Huuugs: I do believe that there will be a lot of babies born in the last week of May 2007 and the first week of June 2007. Some of these little ones may actually have been conceived with a mate. The others, by a little thing known as natural spontaneous combustion of the female hormones reacting to the VOX! My favorite song is the same as several others have mentioned. It's the one playing at the moment!

EmeraldEyes: The CD is a vocal Tour De Force. It has mega hit written all over it. I wish I were 20 years younger and falling in love for the first time. I can't even decide which song is my favorite. I listened to "Broken Wings" first, and I love the artistry in that song. I have so many favorites, but some of the stand-outs are "Here You Come Again," "Everything I Have," "Lonely No More," "Everything I Have," "Because You Loved Me," and "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word." WOW, just WOW to the whole album. I can't believe I was ever worried about covers. I barely recognize the songs. Clay is a true artist. I'll never doubt that again.

Husband's Approval Nets Gift

Coopersgirl: I can't believe what he can do with a song. I brought my husband in and asked him to listen to Clay. He usually just puts up with me when I play Clay, but he loved it. He said you can play that in the car any time. I told him it's a good thing he likes it. Since his birthday is Wednesday, I am planning to buy him his own CD.

Yaknelle: This CD could replace hormone replacement treatment. Side effects are extreme, of course.

Barnett: This album sounds amazing. The voice is fabulous, which goes without saying; but the arrangements are so innovative and really beautifully done. Clay has taken songs that were already good and made them truly great. I expected to love the album because it is Clay, but the integrity of the songs are monumental in their uniqueness and execution.

Kellykellyk: I have to confess that while I adored the snippet of "Broken Wings" we had heard, I became very skeptical of the song when I read in Clay's bio that it contained a poet I had never heard of reading parts of a poem. However, the end result is just sublime. It's a completely different song, and the spoken ending of the poem is just the perfect way to end both the song and the album.

Calendar Check

Jaymes and Faye Parker broke the news to the Vancouver fans that Clay will soon grace the cover of People magazine; and a camera crew from ABC's Primetime news magazine followed Clay around all weekend, as did his new dog, Durham, when he was available.

TV APPEARANCES: Jay Leno (9/15), Good Morning America (9/19), The View (9/22), Jimmy Kimmel (9/26), Primetime with Diane Sawyer, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dancing with the Stars, Tyra Banks Show

MAGAZINES: People (cover story), TV Guide (cover story), Details (men's magazine)The Clay Train is really on the move. We in Clay Cyberspace can be grateful that when one group of fans experience an event such as this past weekend, CLACK is not far behind -- no matter the distance. Enjoy the ride!


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