Sunday, April 26, 2009

Aiken's Q&A Session Thrills Fans

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE -- Graphic by Amazing_CA, photo by lisajluvsclaya.

On Wide Range of Topics

Clay Aiken Talks with His Fans

This weekend Clay Aiken instigated a line of communication with his fans in a question-answer thread on his official message board that has already proved very popular, informative, and a leading reason for supporters to keep their membership up to date.

After a few ground rules and a promise to drop by from time to time to continue answering queries, the place to be for the next several hours was the "Ask Clay a Question" Thread. Topics ranged from the very serious (bullying, autism, the Miss USA controversy) to important information about how he harmonizes a song and the secret behind his Jukebox Tour piano technique.

There was even an "orange crocs" moment!

By no means does this blog cover all that was discussed, but it does provide an overview for fans who are not yet OFC members. As always, Clay was articulate, personable, and candid. The accompanying images are clickable.

Clay in Los Angeles
Graphic by Amazing_CA

Like the OFC thread, I hope this is a fun and informative read ...

I've gotten bullied my whole life even at times as a adult. I try to ignore people such as co workers and such but its not easy at all. How were you able to develop such a thick skin? Any advice?

As unbelievably hard as it is to do, I just learned to ignore. I don't think that the term "thick-skin" really applies to me. If I pay attention to negativity, it still hurts my feelings. I don't think anyone is impervious to that type of pain. Therefore, I found the best way to deal with it is to ignore it.

There has NEVER been a case that I have EVER seen where bullying is not a DIRECT result of the insecurities of the bully themselves.

People who are happy with themselves don't have any reason to spend their time cutting down other people. In almost EVERY situation, I have found that when someone is mean to someone else because of a trait they don't care for it is because they have insecurities about themselves and want to make other feel bad for the rush of superiority it gives them.

Clay on Dr. Phil Show
Topic: Bullying

When you let that person affect your attitude in anyway, it gives them dominion over you, which is exactly what they want. Ignoring is hard, really hard; but one of three things will happen as a result of ignoring those who are nasty to you.

1) They will see that they no longer affect you and they will stop.

2) Others will see that the bully no longer affects you, and they will stop encouraging the bullying or ... and most powerfully ...

3) Your ignoring will allow you to spend your time focusing on things that make you happy and make you feel good about yourself, and you honestly won't even notice the haters anymore.

Trust me ... it works.

Just for the record, Clay, do you own a pair of orange crocs??!!


Spamalot graphic by Amazing_CA

You seriously NEVER got excited seeing your face go by on the side of a bus? Not even the first time? What about your huge billboard in Times Square?

No, not really. But I did get tickled when I was in NYC last week and there was STILL an ad on the side of a bus saying I was in Spamalot. LAST WEEK!!!

Clay, what's your favorite TV show lately? Any new favorites?
I have started liking '30 Rock' a lot. Not just because I did it, but because it is funny, Spamalot-type funny; and I think Tina Fey is a genius.

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE 'The Closer'! Best show on TV!

Where did you learn to harmonize? Did it come naturally, or did you really have to work at it?

I was just blessed. I could always hear one harmony (usually just a third). As I got older I started to be able to pick out a third part and sometimes a fourth. I can usually pull out a fourth part if i try really hard.

Angela, is AMAZING. If there is a fifth part to be heard, she hears it automatically. She recorded and laid the tracks for all he harmony parts on "All Is Well" while Quiana and I were still stuck in traffic on the way to the studio. We just sang what she instructed when we got there. She's unreal.

BOTW graphic by cindilu2

What is a song that sticks out in your head as one you remember learning growing up in music class?

The arrangement of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that I did on Idol was an arrangement that Alison Lawrence had us sing in ninth grade.. so I would say that one is pretty significant.

As was "Merry Christmas With Love," also a song Alison taught us in ninth grade.

Do you miss doing Spamalot? Do you still remember all your lines and choreography?
I do miss it. I barely remembered them then. God knows If I could do it now!

What is your favorite song from each of your Cd's?

MOAM: I hardly remember it, probably "Run To Me."

MCWL: "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day."

ATDW: Too many to name one ..."Broken Wings," "Every Time You Go Away," "Here You Come Again," "A Thousand Days."

OMWH: "As Long As We're Here"

AIW: "All Is Well" and "Emmanuel"

PHOTO INTERLUDE -- This clickable interlude features graphics by Amazing_CA from 2009 events, as well as one from the very popular Jukebox Tour discussed in the OFC's "Ask Clay" thread. Photographers include dc4clay, 2, and Katy4Clay, 3.

Clay, do you ever come to the OFC and read while in invisible mode?

No, but I would have if I had known how to! Good Lord! You're keeping this very valuable piece of information from me!?!? Someone message me and tell me how!

Did you ever find your passport, the one you lost in Calgary?
I had left it in Vancouver. I got it back after I had to get a temporary one. Which works out in the end, because now I get to keep the passport that has my Afghanistan and Uganda stamps in it!

You auction off so many of your mementos at your Galas. Is there anything that is so special that you've saved it for yourself?

I still have the outfit I auditioned in Atlanta in, and my mom has the red leather jacket from the "Grease" performance which I don't think she will ever part with.

Was your amazing duet with Quiana of "Listen" on the 2007 tour totally impromptu, or had you played around with it with her, like on the tour bus, before that night?

We had NEVER sung it at all. At intermission, Angie mentioned that she was going hoarse. I told Quiana to be ready that she might have to sing it.

That's all the notice she got. Angela literally signaled me RIGHT BEFORE she was supposed to sing it and said she couldn't do it. You saw the rest in real time.

Kids say the funniest things. What is a really funny thing a child has said to you?

When I was working at the YMCA, we used to have the campers say the Pledge Of Allegiance to the flag every morning. One morning I was standing near one camper and he was reciting it, but something sounded a bit off.

So, afterwards, I asked him to stay back and talk to me. When all the other campers had left, I asked him to say the pledge for me. He did: "I led the pigeons to the flag of the United States of America" ...

You did a great job as a judge and mentor on ANTM. Would you consider being a guest judge on another reality type show?

I've always loved America's Got Talent. I'd love to be on that.

'Playing piano' at Wolf Trap
Photo by Invisible926

Clay Reveals LMT Piano Secret

Conceivably, the accompaniment for "Love Me Tender" was simple enough for a non-pianist to learn. Even for this piano teacher, the next answer was quite a revelation. However, the plan makes sense for a live show in which anything can happen; and apparently, it did one night in Ohio, LOL!

How long did it take you to learn to play "Love Me Tender" on the piano for the Jukebox Tour?

It amazes me that you all think I played that on the piano! I know hundreds of you will say you knew all along.. but I've yet to meet ONE person who wasn't floored when I told them that I was "lip-syncing" that.

S'von recorded it before we hit the road, and I pretended to play it while I was slipping the blue shoes on for the next song. What's funniest is that, on one stop in Ohio, the sound guy accidentally pressed play on the tape before I even came close to the piano, and the song played before I got there. He had to stop it and reset it for me and play it again.

I was SURE that the jig was up then and everyone knew, but I have been asked this very same question over and over for years since that show. So DO NOT tell me that you weren't fooled. We did a lot better than I thought we did.

My daughter started with the Greenspan Method in school. The new teacher is starting to use ABA with her. What do you think about this method? Have you ever used it before when you taught?

Yeah, I learned it. It's got a lot of positive aspects to it. BUT, my LIMITED experience is that it's so one-on-one intensive that often the student has great success with the facilitator, yet does not have the same level of success with others who they don't work with regularly.

Other methods focus a bit more on group instruction and help students interact with various individuals. The progress is often slower, but I always found that the student was able to transfer what they learned and use it in a larger variety of situations and settings.

That said, trust the experts your daughter works with. Definitely don't make any decisions based on my limited experience.

When you sang the "Amen" in Spamalot, did you decide how it would be sung at that moment, or did you know ahead of time how you were going to sing it?

I usually decided right there on stage in the moment.

Clay, do you have any good luck charms that you carry with you at all times?
I have worn the exact same underwear for six years straight! It's worked, don't you think? (ha ha)

What is your take on the controversy surrounding Miss California's answer regarding gay marriage in the Miss USA contest? And do you think Perez Hilton is using it to prolong his 15 minutes or should he just shut up?

I don't think Perez was wrong for asking the question at all. Pageant contestants ALWAYS get politically controversial questions. ALWAYS. I think it was a good question. I think it was an especially appropriate question for the contestant from California.

While I obviously don't agree with her answer, she's entitled to her opinion. And I don't think Perez should be chastised for asking the question.

That said, I don't think we'll ever get anywhere as long as folks have closed-minded views on EITHER side of the argument.

In my opinion, Miss California is shortsighted and closed-minded; but I also think that crucifying her and lambasting her because she doesn't agree with him definitely doesn't make Perez look that great and doesn't help to advance his cause much. Neither one of them should be demonized.

If the label had not chosen "On My Way Here" to be the lead single, what song would you and Jaymes have chosen?

"Where I Draw The Line" was always our preference.

'Just You' Revisited - Montage by Yollie950

Surprise Song Ends First Session

Late Friday night Clay encouraged fans to hang around because he had a surprise and, in his words, planned to end the evening "with a bang." Among the afternoon's questions was whether he would ever record "Just You."

Subsequently, the singer explained in his blog that the "Just You" was one of the first songs recorded for the 2006 album A Thousand Different Ways. The track was laid down prior to the label's decision to go with a love song cover concept, and "Just You" was temporarily shelved.

So, here I have had this song all along that, to my knowledge, I own the only copy of. What to do with it? Well, this evening, with some encouragement from Jaymes, I decided let's just give it to the fans.

We do have plans (which we will tell you about eventually) to be back in the studio and record in the near future, but until then, you might as well get a bit of something you haven't been able to hear in a while. "New" music!

Since Clay didn't write or produce the song, he can't sell it; so he gifted his fans with a link to the Just You recording and encouraged all who download it to make a donation to The Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

I want to give it to you because you deserve it. You've stuck by me and been patient for a long time. We are gonna do this on the "honor system." Download the song. It's yours. Share it with your friends. It's free.

But I want to make it count for someone, so let's make it count for tens of thousands of children in the US with developmental disabilities If you can't afford anything for it, then don't pay; but if you can, I encourage you to make a donation to the Bubel/Aiken Foundation for however much you feel the song is worth.

If you want to give $1 ... great. If you want to give $1,000 ... GREAT. If you can only give $.05 ... that's fine too. It's a tough time we're living through nowadays, and non-profits are hurting more than ever as well.

TBAF (which will soon be known by a different name) has had amazing success in fulfilling it's mission, and is embarking on a long term plan to continue including kids in every aspect of life. But, it will continue to need help from all of us in order to make that possible.

Clay has continued answering questions throughoutout the week at his Official Fan Club. To become a member of the OFC, sign up at Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA's opening graphic:

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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SueReu said...

My gosh that was an amazing night. Clay Aiken is the best!

Great blog Caro, thanks for the memories and for the wonderful pictures/video!

Hope you're having a pleasant Sunday :)

Chardonnay said...

You picked so many of my favorite answers! What a great night it was!!!

Who couldn't just love him???

Ashes said...

What a fun night we had with Clay..and he sure did go out with a bang!
Ha! he sure had me fooled with LMT piano playing. I knew he was singing and was convinced he was playing too. Shows what a great actor he is!

I'm glad you chose his answer on bullying, it's so perfect.

Wonderful blends from AmazingCa, and I must go see Yollie's montage now.

Thank you,
hugs, Ashes

T said...

Wow Caro! I didn't get a chance to be there for the Q & A session with Clay & the fans. So thrilled to see this in your blog. This is so wonderful and enjoyed reading them. As you mentioned, Clay was articulate, candid and personable and I could see that in the way he answered those questions. Hope that he'll have another Q & A session.

Also, I was very impressed with the way you put together the blends, photos, etc. in sequence with the topics of the questions. Terrific!

Many thanks for the great blog. Cheers!

IamMesmerized said...

Well done, Caro. It was an amazing night and so much fun. I still can't believe he stayed with us for over 7 hours. I guess he must have been enjoying it just as much as we were. He was even surprised. LOL

You really have hit on some of the greatest questions and answers...although I think Marie's comment and Clay's answer was the best of the day, evening, night, but definitely one that should be kept on the board for us to enjoy forever.

There has been so much buzz online about Clay's Q & A so it can only help in in his future endeavours.

No wonder we are so proud of OMC!

Thanks again.

jbc4clay said...

I love that song. Hubby and I were out and about today and I was having withdrawals. I could not wait to get home and put it on repeat.
Great blog Caro!

katy said...

I appreciate Clay Aiken even more aftr his Q&A and song gifting. I am believing "The best is yet to come."

CLM said...

Caro......what an amazing 7 hours. I can't believe Clay Aiken spent that long with us answering questions. And the new song.......sigh...........I love Just You. Thank you Clay!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

What an AMAZING evening it was! I was up until wee hours of the morning and loving every second. He sure did leave with a Bang! I Love That Song!! What a sweetie he is!

Thanks again for another AWESOME BLOG!

Have a great week....


zanyforclay said...

Clay always seems to come up with ways to surprise us, and Friday sure did that! How wonderful that he spent so much time entertaining his fans from a distance.

Love your blog and the memories you've brought back for us! It's especially appreciated, I'm sure, by the people who didn't get to participate in the original Q & A. Very well organized and great choice of questions.

Clay's gift to us was the icing on the cake!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting some of the questions and answers on your blog! So much fun to read through them again.
I just love Clay Aiken more and more all the time.

ImGranny said...

Thanks for the blog. Clay Aiken is one of a kind! The other night was so much fun with the questions and answers and the free download of Just You was icing on the cake!

tnmtmama said...

Clay Aiken was on line answering more questions late last night! I think he is enjoying the interaction. What a great weekend it was for ClayNation.

Pat said...

Thanks for sharing part of the wonderful night that fans at the OFC had posting back and forth with Clay Aiken.

His answers go to prove what a wonderfully articulate, intelligent, and, yes, wickedly humorous man he is. I hope he does more of these Q&A's.

Thanks for a great blog!

MissSally said...

Thanks so much for preserving Clay's wit and wisdom in your blog. I really love that he is doing this, and look forward to more to come.

The LMT revelation was a Hoot! I'll just bet Clay was having a grand old time each time he pulled it off.

Thanks again for this most excellent blog.

clayam said...

What a great weekend that was! New pictures of Clay Aiken, then new pictures of Clay and son, the question and answer sessions on OFC(thrilling), and so much nore.

musicfan said...

It really was an amazing time when Clay was on-line for hours ,answering all sorts of questions. He is an amazing man.

You really have a way with words and your blog is another winner.

Thanks for the time you put into creating this blog.

Ashes said...

OOOH MY! The ♥♥thud ♥♥ blend by ACA! Clay Aiken is growing more handsome every still my heart!

Thank you..have a wonderful Monday!!

hugs, Ashes

Barbara said...

Caro, what an eventful and exciting night for Clay fans! Not only did Clay have the Q&A session but put in a blog and offered "Just You" as a gift to us; so thoughtful of him.

Thanks for sharing the video by Yollie! I went to the JBT in Wolftrap but he didn't sing "Just You" at that show, so the first time I heard it is when I downloaded the song the other night. I've really enjoyed listening to it.

How sweet of you to share choose questions that were asked so the fans who are not members of the OFC could read Clay's answers.
You picked some great ones!

We appreciate all you do!

Love and Hugs,


Anonymous said...

Great job! Loved those ? and answers Clay gave Us!! Just made the wait for his next move seem easier to take. Caro~ U do a amazing job!! And I Thank U! for sharing it with Us. I always look for your blogs, for sure! Donna in WI.