Friday, September 15, 2006

The Eve of your 1st CD release – part 2

This was written just before Clay's first CD, Measure of a Man was released in October, 2003. No one knew how he'd sell, if he'd sell, and what kind of career he would have. Three years later, the interest in Clay is still rabid, still intense, and he's still a pop icon. Clay, I hope your new CD, A Thousand Different Ways, is a success beyond your wildest dreams. You deserve it.
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Hey, Clay,

How're you doing? Yes, it's that time again. Here we are, your internet fans, downloading like crazy. One of the Raleigh stations is playing your CD and we got to hear a lot of the songs a little early. The consensus? Wow, your CD is going to be HUGE! What a terrific collection of songs and what a wonderful vehicle for your amazing voice. It seems the background music is just right, not too loud and not too overpowering. We can't wait until October 14th. Of course, everyone has their different points of view on which song they like the most. One of the internet favorites is The Way. We think that will be a hit, it would certainly make a GREAT song for a movie. Actually, I don't want to talk about the songs on the CD until next week, after the official release date. Just be prepared for all of us to let you know what we think. We always do, you know?

We are also gearing up for all your appearances on TV in the next week.
It's kind of like a feeding frenzy on the boards, everyone is so excited.

The CD Release parties are in their final preparation of planning. The venues are secured, the entertainment is your music, the TVs are all set up to see you on Leno and we've been faxing our phone numbers to JoJo in hopes that we can talk to you live during the parties on his radio show. Come on, Clay, talk to us! We hear that Raleigh is going to have over 2,000 people there. Wow!

A quick re-cap of Time magazine and the reaction it got. By now, we all know that Diane Bubel told you about Operation Vanilla. By now, we all read your e-mailed response that you allowed her to share with us. Yes, we love Diane. Our reaction? First, a collective THANK YOU for FINALLY talking to your internet fans. Second, it's about time, Clay, what the heck took you so long (and how much longer will we have to wait for another e-mail from the exalted one?) Third, we all think that Operation Vanilla was the absolute single most brilliant stunt ever pulled by fans of an entertainer. EVER! It was timely, it was subtle, it was snarky, it was a classy way to get our point across. We also understand that the targeted RCA executives LOVED it, they got it. Let's hope that in the future, their remarks are a little more respectful towards you, because if not, I shudder to think of what would be next in store for them We all bow down in gratitude and awe of the PRoC'ers (that's the People's Republic of Clay) who launched and carried out the greatest come-back in the history of Clay fandom.

The PrimeTime Live interview.
Now, you know we all love Diane, we adore Diane, we worship Diane. Why? Because Diane takes care of you. Diane asks the right questions, she does not hesitate to ask the hard questions, but always in a respectful way. You were terrific on PrimeTime Live, just terrific. We learned some things that we never knew about your family life, and while you lived through some tough times, we think you are stronger for it. We are sad about everything that you've gone through but we especially admire how you seem to handle it and put it in perspective. You've stolen our hearts all over again.

Oh, and just a little side note, we do NOT think you are perfect, far from it. We hear you have a temper (and I bet the KFC person could verify that!) and even though you've used the F word, you don't like people cussing. That's cool. Oh, and the hunt is on for the person who told you that Invisible needed work. We think we know who it was and we hope you took it in the spirit it was meant to be, that the recorded version was very different than the live version. We REALLY liked the live version, but we think it's because we could watch you doing all the WMS (Weapons of Mass Seduction) moves, the clutch, the yank and the tug, combined with the hip shakes. Yeah, that's what we liked...the hip shakes. What the heck does Simon know, anyway?

We are thankful that you care enough to share your vulnerability with us. That's one of the reasons we love you so much, you open yourself up to people. That's a rare quality in a person, so thank you for that. We agree with Diane in that we don't think your skin's so thick, either. You wear your emotions on your sleeve, and that's a good thing. Clay, we think you were courageous to go on national television and speak as candidly as you did about things that are so personal to you and your family.

And we're still waiting for our private rendition of Moon River, what happened to it?
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Monday I am leaving for NYC to attend the NYC CD Release party, then head to Virgin Megastore for a listening party, grab a few hours sleep, then go to Good Morning America. What an eventful two days next week will bring. I can't wait!

Come on, Aiken, bring it on!

The second to last picture credit goes to the lovely Galrow.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

On the Eve of your First CD Release

In about ten days, Clay Aiken will release his second mainstream album, 'A Thousand Different Ways'. It is his third album, if you include his Christmas CD, 'Merry Christmas, With Love'. The Clay Nation is gearing up for it by participating in nationwide CD Release parties on the eve of the release, Monday, September 18, 2006. These parties are a grassroots initiative put together soley by the fans of Clay Aiken. Read the press release that was picked up on

So, I thought I'd revisit a journal I wrote in October, 2003, about the excitement the Clay Nation felt on the eve of Clay's first CD release.
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The Eve of your 1st CD release – part 1
Hey, Clay,

How's it going? Boy, in the next week or so, you're doing a slew of media appearances, a lot of interviews, a bunch of print articles, a PrimeTime Live special with the lovely Diane. I imagine your life is pretty crazy right about now. And to top everything off, your first CD release is just around the corner.

Are you scared? Apprehensive? Excited? Nervous? I'm all of the above. I think most of your internet fans are all of the above, too. It's not that we doubt you, far from it. It's that we want so much for you.

We want you to have the most successful debut CD release in the history of the music industry. Not too much pressure, huh?

We saw you on Nickelodeon, heck, we not only saw you, we downloaded your performances and discussed them ad naseum. Actually, Clay, not only did we tape your performances, we also taped the commercials you made promoting the event! We came to the conclusion that you looked great, you sounded great, and we loved your outfit. We loved seeing your debut of 'I Will Carry You'. We watched 'Invisible' and we waited to see if you would do a clutch, tug and yank. Nope, you did a mini clutch, but the chillrun were present so you left off the, shall we say, more mature posings of the concert moves. And that was OK. We loved you anyway.

We are waiting with anticipation for PrimeTime Live. We saw the commercials and we all thudded when you brought the rose for Diane. Heck, even Diane thudded. We love Diane. Diane is probably the most trusted reporter on the internet right about now. Certainly, she is the most beloved. We trust Diane to do right by you, even with the hard questions. We all want a private rendition of 'Moon River'. And no, Clay, you are definitely NOT a mistake.

We all read the Billboard interview. We all love Fred Bronson. We all love the fact that he asks you questions pertaining to your music, instead of the stupid interview questions you usually get. 'Angsty'. We loved that you used the word angsty. Why? Because it's an internet word. Even you know there's no such word as angsty. Have you been peeking on these boards? 'Fess up, now. If you think that is upset with the album title changes, you have no idea of how it affected your internet fans! Measure of a Man, no title, Clay Aiken, TBD, Measure of a Man. Geesh! You could call it "Clay Aiken sings the Phone Book' and we'll buy it.

On a serious note, no, Clay, you do not have to be perfect all the time. I know if feels as if you have to, sometimes, by reading how we dissect every little thing you do, but that's because we love you so much. Please don't alter your behavior for us, that's not what we want. We want you to be you. And, yes, we DO want to know how you are and we want the half-an-hour answer, thank you very much. Just give any one of us a call and we will be happy to hear your half-an-hour answer. Better yet, just put it in a letter to Nicmike.

As for Solitaire not being on the album, yes, the word has gotten out and some of your internet fans were upset. How did you know? 'Fess up, Aiken, you do surf these boards, don't you? We're glad your family is handling your fame well. I know you're worried about them, but if the way your mother raised you is any indication of how she raised your siblings, all of you will be just fine.

Time Magazine just published the interview and we all read it on-line. Of course, we all wanted you on the cover, but real life has to rear its ugly head and interfere with our Clay fix. There are just some things in this world that are more important than you. Yes, it's hard for us to believe, but there it is. We don't think that RCA came off too well in that interview. You, on the other hand, came across as a strong man who stands up for what he believes in. Good for you! It's about time you stand up for yourself. We love that. One RCA executive, who insisted on anonymity, cited Idol as proof that "Americans have no taste". Thank you. Clay, for standing up for Americans with no taste. We think we have taste, good taste, after all, we love you, don't we?

"You can't be paralyzed by what the public expects of you........and if you allow the television audience to program your music, you will not be on radio and you won't make mtv. And then where are you? We have to stay ahead of the curve." . Well, let's see, 'This is the Night' did not get a lot of airplay, you didn't have a video out for MTV and where did you end up? How about with the best-selling single of the last five years that went platinum in 37 days. Who does Clive think did that for you? Your television and internet fans, that's who. Yes, your music will have to evolve, every artists' music has to evolve, this is only your first CD, Geesh, Clive, give him a little time, won't you? By the way, most of us bought our CD's at Walmart. Why? Because we value a buck and we can save some money buying them at Walmart, and that was the closest store to my house, and the money saved can just go to buy even more Clay music, that's why. Duh!

The Time reporter said that pop isn't just music, it's the package. Don't they realize that there can be different kinds of packages? That most of the American public is tired of the nudity, the bad songs, the talentless singers, the down and dirty sexual innuendos that comprise music today? That someone like you is a breath of fresh air in the jaded world of music? Don't they get it? I guess not. But they will, on October 14th. "They had me in this tight little vintage T shirt and jeans and a leather jacket," . Yeah, but we liked you in that tight little vintage T shirt, the jeans and the leather jacket.

'Do not—ugh!—don't pretend that the public are a bunch of idiots! Don't pretend that you know what they want and they don't know what they want.' That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life!" "America has shown them that they don't know what they're talking about." *Sigh* Did I ever tell you you're my hero?

The marketing department now says its strategy is to "let Clay be Clay." I wonder how much the RCA marketing department is being paid to come up with this innovative and unusual strategy, because your internet fans always knew this but did RCA ever ask us? Nooooooo.....oh, I forgot, we're the great unwashed public with no taste.

”They don't understand the reasons that someone as uncool as me is's a revolution." Clay, I'm going to let you go to bed now, it's late and I'm tired, but I will leave you with this one caveat: When you start your own record company, please, oh please, name it Revolution Records

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Clay Aiken's first album reviews

Reviews for Clay Aiken, in the past, have been all over the place, from Billboard's "Clay Aiken's "Measure of a Man" is the best pop album of 2003" to the New York Daily New's "Not since the heyday of Styx's Dennis DeYoung has pop been tormented by such an adenoidal voice. It's a tinny, nasal whine of a thing". What do I say to the New York Daily News?? Bwahahahaha! Aiken's voice tinny? Whatever the freak planet do they live on?

All the fans wanted from reviews was honesty, not over-the-top praise or criticism based on preconceived perceptions of Clay. It looks as if we finally got that review. The review that is based on the voice and the production, not on the critics prejudices.

This is by Bill Lamb from on Clay's single, 'Without You':

If you are unfamiliar with the song "Without You," you have not been listening to pop radio for the past 35 years. The song, written by Badfinger's Pete Ham and Tom Evans, first appeared as a Badfinger album cut on No Dice released in 1970. Idiosyncratic pop singer Harry Nilsson released a version of the song in 1971 featuring the signature piano intro that would be the standard for future recordings of "Without You." The song became a #1 hit for Nilsson and the biggest pop hit of his career. Mariah Carey took the song back into the pop charts in 1994 with a surprisingly plastic sounding interpretation.

Clay Aiken has chosen the instantly familiar tune as the lead-in for his first proper studio album in 3 years. I count myself as one of the skeptics when I first heard this would be the opening single, but "Without You" is a good choice and will tremendously please his many devoted fans while quite possibly gaining a few new converts.

The pure beauty in Aiken's voice is abundantly showcased here, and the arrangement gives a contemporary twist on the song. The mix is pleasantly propulsive and percussive which will sound great on pop radio. Mainstream pop radio should give this track a chance. It's popularity may surprise more than a few radio programmers.

Simply said, Clay Aiken's "Without You" is a triumphant return. While it would be easy to think that Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey had wrung all the possibilities from this pop chestnut, there are some fine elements here and a bravura vocal performance.

The beauty and clarity of Clay Aiken's voice
Very nicely propulsive instrumental arrangement
The emotion is restored to this classic song
Please, enunciate - We can do without "Without 'ooo"

Then there's this review from shipwreckislandstudio, a website run by two guys in their 20's who like to talk about good music. Check them out!

I was privileged to listen to Clay's album today and I have to say he's got a winner on his hands. I was a bit put off by the idea of another covers album but he's pulled it off nicely. A classic track such as Bryan Adams "Everything I Do" which I felt couldn't be redone properly is completely retooled and sounds amazing. I'd say the best reinvented track has to be the Celine Dion song "Because You Love Me." I didn't care for the original version but Clay sped up the song and added his own flavor to it making it his own. Now when I first heard about this disc the one song that stood out to me was the Bad English song "When I See You Smile." I read some pretty harsh comments from some fans that in a nutshell said that Clay couldn't pull off this classic track. While it's not quite was redone as other songs, Clay's vocals fit perfectly and with a violin backing really allows the song to breath a bit more. To me Clay pulled this track off with no issues at all.

Honestly, I'm shocked over how good this disc turned out. 17 days to go until it's release but I'll have an album review up before it's release. Everyone is in for a real treat with this release. - Tony

So, the reviews begin. I'm not naive enough to think that Clay will get these kind of reviews forever, but these reviews are at least honest, especially the one from And honesty is all we ask when reviewers review albums, not sticking their own agenda in where it doesn't belong.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Clay's promotional schedule?

Oh, the joy!

Oh, the angst!

Depending on which board you read, or which poster you read, Clay is either being mentioned all over the place or he has the worst promotion in the world. RCA is either out to destroy him, or out to make money off him.

So which is it? Idle-Wandering and ClaySpots decided to keep track of all the Clay mentions in the media that we could, just for fun. Well, it's a LOT more work than we thought it would be because you see, Clay has been all over the freaking media ever since August 01, 2006. here's list of Clay's media mentions, so far:

Clay's Promotional Schedule

ET: America's Favorite Stars, Clay is #5

OFC: Jaymes Foster confirms album title in blog

Oprah: Wildest Dreams episode repeats

Parade: new look, online poll

07/23/06 ATDW release date will be Sept. 19
picked up in various print and on-line sources

"bad bootleg" surfaces of ATD
OFC: Clay blogs about his photo shoot


OFC: Clay quotes WISYS lyrics in blog

OFC: Clay confirms release date in blog
Promosquad: 'ATD' & 'Suzie duet'
New Music Tipsheet: new release date

Promosquad: 'Without You'
ET: promo for photoshoot exclusive

Amazon and Barnes & Noble: ATDW listed; goes to #2 in music on Barnes & Noble
MySpace: Official Clay Aiken MySpace opens
OFC: announces MySpace
ET exclusive: photoshoot and CD

USA Today: front page of entertainment section with photo
hot library photo appears and is everywhere
PR press release re-done
Amazon and Barnes & Noble: ATDW goes to #1 in music
OFC: video player added

various radio stations mention upcoming CD
25,000 MySpace views
E!News Online
Access Hollywood online

Regis & Kelly: CD
E! Daily10: CD

print and on-line media pick up CD story, including:
Entertainment Weekly Popwatch
Associated Press (Clay-Ruben rematch): this story is picked up by many, many papers and on-line sites

E! News Weekend: CD mention by Ryan Seacrest
Washington Post
The Sun/News-Myrtle Beach Online
St. Louis Dispatch Online
New York Times
Soul Shine magazine
and more...

Promotionus interruptus as publicity stunt by "author" intervenes. Great quote from Clay emerges, however:
As a so-called 'celebrity' I have become used to scurrilous allegations and untruths being made about me and my work. I have always taken the path of not reacting to these matters and have accepted them as, somehow, coming with the 'job.' However, I cannot, and will not, stand by when these attacks are made on my family.

numerous on-line, print, and a few TV mentions of lawsuit, many of which also mention ATDW

Insider: response to lawsuit

OFC: hits to Clay's blog pass the 4,000,000 mark

Insider: poll winner

Insider: poll winner

Clay blogs that he won't be doing a Fall tour, but will be prmoting his new CD through the end of the year.

TV Guide and TV Land Present: The 100 Most Memorable TV Moments (repeat)

TV Guide on-line: Supernova blog snark blog: pans CD concept mention in conjunction with SYTYCD

08/15/06 CD first sighting of the CD cover Clay listed as a SoundCheck participant
InStyle magazine: Clay is sexist singer
American Idol magazine: article about Sandecki's AI5 appearance

'Without You' is confirmed as the first single
'Without You' added to Clay's MySpace

ET Online: Clay is sexiest crooner
The Insider: poll (artist people would most like to have perform at their weddings)

Clay Nation Internet Block Party

Time of Northwest Indiana: CD
Daniel Pearson MySpace: posted a Sept. 15 Tonight Show appearance, subsequently removed now playing 'Without You' snark about SuperNova mention in Kimberley Locke interview
David Foster and Friends: Clay added to performance roster
News & Observer: quotes from LTS & lawsuit filed by J. Holleman

OFC: Clay blogged! The CD is finished, mixed, mastered, and delivered and that he's 'chilling' for a week or so before going back to work.

Winston-Salem Journal: CD
Rueters via CD
Tv Guide: CD

08/22/06 CD cover picture
Sony Music Store: track listing CD mention mention in a Conan interview
Insider: album photoshoot exclusive

Sony Music Store: 30 second snippets of each song on the CD are made available, later removed
Access Hollywood: poll (Clay won)
USA Today: CD release mention
Fanscape: Street Team e-mail sent to the members
Williamsport Community Center: announced Christmas Concert
Buddy interview with Suzie McNeil - 'Without You' mention article about Clay covering Dolly Parton's 'Here You Come Again'
BryanAdams news: paragraph on Clay covering 'Everything I Do'
GameSpot: mention of Clay in conjunction with PS2 game.
West Point Christmas Concert is confirmed
Montreal MIX 96: plays 'Without You' - confirmed by DJ via MySpace message:
(8/26: "....Do you know if your station will played his new song "without you?" "YES!! I can NOT wait! Listen to The MIX for more Clay details!!!")

Chicago Tribune: mention in article about another artist's bookstore appearance
Charlotte Observer: mention in article about famous North Carolina residents mention in Benji Schwimmer interview
Official Fanclub: poster made available for printing for the CD Release parties
Sony Sound Advice: 2 Polls (Clay won both)
Orange County Weekly: mention in article about American Idol
Singapore CD Release: confirmation of the Singapore drop date
KISS FM, Austin, TX: DJs discuss Clay while playing 'Without You' in the background

08/25/06 confirmation of appearance on The Tonight Show, GMA, Kimmel
Official Fanclub: Second poster made available for printing for the CD Release parties
South Brunswick Post: mention of Clay in interview with young performer
Sony Music Store: offers free magnet along with purchase of ATDW poster added to site article on the CD release
Clay's MySpace: announces the Tonight Show, GMA, and Kimmel appearances
Hits Daily Double: publishes Clay's release date
WLNK Charlotte: plays 'Without You'

08/26/06 Article about the CD release
Raleigh Chronicle: article about the CD release and mentions his upcoming TV appearances
Grand Rapids Symphony: announces Christmas Concert with Clay Clay's page updated mention of Clay's drawing power at concerts
E! Clay is Mr. May in snarky calendar piece
TMZ: CD promo; 'Without You' is linked on page

Fanscape: 'Without You' available on Clay's page poll - Young Celebs Still Famous in 20 Years?
Fort Worth Star Telegram: mentions Clay in conjunction with the announcement of AI series 1-4 syndicated repeats

newspaper/online mentions - to be filled in later

Insider: MySpace fan photo turns up - Clay was at Insider performing on the 24th
newspaper/online mentions - to be filled in later

AOL: ATDW in Fall Music Preview
Walmart: price of ATDW reduced to $9.72

radio: Providence RI DJ reports that WY has been received by lite FM sister station (oldies & new mix)
Fred Bronson: confirms that WY has gone out to radio
eBay: promo single shows up on eBay
Star 105.7: plays 1/2 of Without You, CD, and Grand Rapids Christmas appearance
Singapore: DJ says that Without You will go for adds next week
WSRS Worchester: plays Without You - 5:45 pm today - mentions CD release parties
Mediabase: Without You is listed - ready for spins
AllAccess: Clay listed under cool new music - Hot/Mod/AC
SonyMusicBox: Without You ring tone available buddy icons available

Variety: singles out ATDW as one of the fall albums that could go #1 - describes Aiken v.s. Timberlake as a "superstar mano-a-mano battle"

more newspaper/online mentions - to be filled in later

Insider: poll winner
David Foster Star Search: biography and picture on web pages for gala and finale
UNICEF: Clay's page is updated to include recent fund-raising drive
more newspaper/online mentions - to be filled in later

radio: 'Without You' enters Mediabase combined A/C chart at #474
radio: WSRS becomes the first format starter for 'Without You'
radio: "Coast" 101.3 WHLG in Fort Pierce, Florida plays 'Without You'


Insider: Clay performs (the hair sings at last)

David Foster's Gala: performing

David Foster Star Search finale: judging

fan club renewal date


CD release parties: 81 parties scheduled - purchase CDs at midnight - RCA provides posters, prizes, and PR support


The View


date unknown
Walmart Soundcheck and Spotlight

guest appearances with symphonies:
12/09/06: Williamsport Pa, Community Arts Center
12/14/06: Long Island, NY, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts
12/15/06: West Point, NY, Eisenhower Hall (9/8 - tickets go on sale)
12/16/06: Red Bank, NJ, Count Basie Theater
12/19/06: Grand Rapids, MI, Devos Performance Hall

Thanks to ClayNationNews, Ms Marmalade, notacanuck, CinPA, and any others I may have missed who are keeping track of Clay's media mentions.

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