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Clay Aiken Biography

Clay Aiken


Date of Birth
30 December 1978, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Birth Name
Clayton Holmes Grissom

6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Biography
Clayton Holmes Grissom was born on November 30, 1978 in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Faye Aiken Parker and Vernon Grissom. When Clay was a teenager, he had a love for teaching and helping young children and later on studied to became a school teacher. When he was about 23 years old, a longtime friend persuaded him to audition for American Idol. When he was 25 years old he released his debut album, "Measure of a Man." (singles from his debut album include: "Invisible," "This Is The Night" and "The Way") His debut album sold over 600,000 copies in the USA in its first week of release. It has sold almost 2.5 million in the US as of 4/16/04.

  • Changed his last name, Grissom, to his mother's maiden name, Aiken.
  • Was a special education major at UNC-Charlotte
  • Worked for the YMCA in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Shortened Clayton to Clay after a suggestion from the producers of American Idol (2002).
  • Recorded two CDs entitled "Redefined" and "Look What Love Has Done" prior to American Idol. These CDs are no longer available.
  • Mother is Faye Aiken Parker; late step-father, Ray Parker; step-brother, Jeff; step-sister, Amy and half-brother, Brett.
  • In the first week of the release of his single, it sold over 393,000 copies, the most since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind".
  • His single, 'This Is The Night', went platinum in the US, and 6 times platinum in Canada.
  • Founded the Bubel/Aiken Foundation to include children with developmental disabilities in activities with typical children. Named the foundation for Mike Bubel, a boy with autism that he worked with in North Carolina. Mike's mother Diane persuaded him to audition for American Idol.
  • His freshman album, Measure of a Man, shipped double platinum.
  • He shared a house in L.A with former "American Idol" contestant, 'Kimberley Locke'.
  • Plans to release one album in 2004, a Christmas album
  • His song, "The Way", was co-written by Enrique Iglesias.
  • His biological father, Vernon Grissom, died February 27, 2004. His stepfather, Ray Parker, died on July 4, 2002.
  • Was the one and only contestant on the 2nd season of American Idol that was never voted in the bottom two or three.
  • As of April 15, 2004, his single, "Solitaire," sold 191,132 copies.
  • His first album went triple platinum.
  • Shares a birthday with the following celebrities: Ben Stiller, 80s punk rocker Billy Idol, 8 Simple Rules (2002) star Kaley Cuoco, 24 (2001) star Elisha Cuthbert and Dick Clark.
  • Was born with a collapsed lung.
  • Christmas album, titled Merry Christmas with Love, came out on November 16th, 2004.
  • First book, titled Learning to Sing, came out on November 19th, 2004.
  • Got his first name (Clayton) from his grandmother's maiden name. He claims it is a Southern Tradition. (Source: "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life," by Clay Aiken)
  • Had three major tours in the year 2004 (The Independent Tour in Spring, the Clay Aiken Solo Tour 2004 in Summer, and the Joyful Noise Tour in Winter)
  • Ranked #18 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (23 January 2005 issue).
  • Has sold more albums and had more #1s then any other "American Idol" contestant behind Kelly Clarkson.
  • 5 September 2006 - President George W. Bush selected him to serve on the President's Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities.
  • He is allergic to many kinds of foods, including all tree nuts. He is not allergic to peanuts, which grow on a vine.
  • Has said that former "Avalon" member Jody McBrayer is one of his favorite singers, and was a big inspiration to him.
  • His first son Parker Foster Aiken weighed in at 6 lbs, 2 oz.
  • Baby son with Jaymes Foster-Levy, Parker Foster Aiken, born on August 8th 2008 at 8:08 AM in North Carolina.
  • Released "The Way" the second single from his album, Measure of a Man. [February 2004]
  • On his Christmas tour, The Joyful Noise Tour [November 2004]
  • New album "A Thousand Different Ways" is in the making, due for release September 19 2006 [August 2006]
  • Released CD album "On My Way Here." [May 2008]
  • Had first child with friend Jaymes Foster-Levy at 8:08 am on August 8, 2008 - a boy, Parker Foster Aiken. [August 2008]
  • JukeBox Tour [August 2005]
  • On Broadway as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot until May 4th [2008]
  • Preparing to release Christmas album. [October 2004]
  • Preparing to release new book, "Learning to Sing". [October 2004]
  • Trademarks:
  • His wink
  • Quotes
  • It doesn't really matter to me how I make a difference, I just wanna make sure that I do.
  • I'm never really comfortable with people cheering for me.
  • I think there's a difference between appearance and image. An image is not how you look. It's what you do. It's what you portray. Your personality, the example you set, and that's huge for me.
  • American celebrities have an amazing amount of influence on the way America thinks, feels, and acts. I think that such an influence should be used in the most positive way possible.
  • I'm religious. I think this is something God had planned for me.
  • I left Raleigh six months ago, and nobody knew who I was. It's very hard to get used to.
  • [on being the Ambassador for the Children's Agency]: The situation in Chiapas and Tabasco has really become a forgotten emergency. Telling the story of these brave people, especially the children, to a U.S. audience is the reason that I am here. Sharing this experience with my family during this time of year makes it even more special.
  • [In 2009]: Every year the models do an acting challenge, and since I had been in Spamalot and was doing the Broadway thing, Tyra Banks, [the show's host] called and wanted me to be a part of it, I did a scene with some of the girls and then later on tried to help judge that scene.
  • [Prior to joining the cast in Spamalot]: I really couldn't have asked for a more wonderful group of people to work with. Let's not lie, the chance to work with legendary creative minds like Mike Nichols and Eric Idle is, on its own, a reason to jump at this opportunity.

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