Was it really almost 10 years ago that the big-voiced, big-boned singer that Gladys Knight dubbed “the velvet teddy bear” won “American Idol?” Yes, Birmingham’s own Ruben Studdard took that coveted prize in 2003, and he’s still going strong.
His latest album, “Letters From Birmingham,” is a concept album inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letters from a Birmingham Jail.” We think King would be proud of the association, as Studdard is not just a crooner, but an philanthropist who has started a foundation to help kids get scholarships and become a tireless advocate for sickle cell anemia awareness.
Here’s more on today’s “In-Studio Jam” artist.
BORN: Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard in Frankfurt am Maim, Germany.
BIG BREAK: Becoming the “American Idol” of 2003. Studdard actually accompanied a friend to the Nashville auditions. His rendition of “Ribbon in the Sky” made him a local finalist, and then he went on to win the show.
EDUCATION: Alabama A&M, where he went not on a music scholarship but a football scholarship.
BACK STORY: Although he went to Alabama A&M on a football scholarship, he was a voice major. He was already singing in a local Birmingham, Alabama jazz band and making demos when he was called to the “Idol” stage.
RESUME: Studdard has released four CDs since his “Idol” victory, scoring one gold and one platinum CD.
FUN FACTS: A vegan diet helped Studdard lose 80 pounds. Ironically, the crooner’s 2008 video for “What If?” shows him leaving his home due to an IRS seizure, and he’s recently been hit with a tax lien. (Maybe a sign not to keep things too real in your videos?) Studdard is the founder of the Ruben Studdard Foundation for Advancement of Children in the Music Arts, a foundation that gives scholarships to high school students who want to major in the arts in college.
LATEST WORK: “Letters from Birmingham,” out next Tuesday.
ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ruben-Studdard/143133862391661
ON TWITTER: @rubenstuddard
ON MYSPACE: http://www.myspace.com/rubenstuddard
BEST OF RUBEN STUDDARD (Video)
“Sorry (For 2004)”
“You’re All I Need to Get By,” duet with Studdard and Jordin Sparks
“Celebrate Me Home,” on “American Idol” finals
“Superstar” (from “American Idol” in 2003)
“‘Letters from Birmingham’ is the first time I actually got an opportunity to all the way control a project. The title is kind of self explanatory. What I tried to do was make the album play like a movie. There are about four different scenes that are narrated by letters in beginning, and there are subsequently songs that coincide with the theme of the letters. It’s just great music. The songs are amazing. You know what I like to say about the album – it’s a complete relationship progression from the introduction to the courtship to the romantic to the breakup and all of that. To me, every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m inside of a movie. Have you seen the movie ‘The Notebook?’ It’s kind of like that. I enjoy it. I think the fans are going to love it; I think they have been waiting on me to do music like this since I came out. It’s difficult to do exactly what you want to do when you have to listen to the powers that be all of the time.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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