RUBEN STUDDARD Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Christopher Ruben Studdard                                                         
Born: 12 September 1978 Frankfurt, Germany                                               
Christopher Ruben Studdard (born September 12, 1978), better known as Ruben               
Studdard, is an American Idol, an American pop, R&B, and gospel singer who rose           
to fame as winner of the second season of the American Idol television program.           
Studdard, a Birmingham, Alabama native, was born in Frankfurt, Germany while his         
father was stationed there with the U.S. Army. The youngest son of two                   
teachers, at the age of three he sang for the first time at the Rising Star               
Baptist Church in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. He continued singing               
gospel in church, performing solos as a child while his mother sang in the local         
choir. While at Huffman High School, he played football and received a                   
scholarship in that sport to Alabama A&M University. He also is a Brother of Phi         
Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity.                                                             
After growing up listening to his mother's Donny Hathaway albums, Fred Hammond,           
and gospel music, Studdard began to pursue a career in the music industry,               
majoring in voice studies at Alabama A&M, graduating in 2000. He sang with Just           
a Few Cats, a popular local Birmingham jazz and R&B band founded by members of           
Ray Reach's UAB Jazz Ensemble, along with other local musicians. "A lot of               
people don't realize how hard I was trying to get into the business before               
American Idol," Studdard related several years later. "I was making demos and             
just working so hard." A back-up singer from Just a Few Cats asked him to                 
accompany her to Nashville, Tennessee for an audition on the 2003 second season           
of American Idol.                                                                         
When auditioning, Studdard sang Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon in the Sky." This guided         
him to being one of the local finalists. On American Idol, he impressed viewers           
with his performances of the Leon Russell/Bonnie Bramlett song "Superstar" (originally   
a hit for The Carpenters and Luther Vandross) and the Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle           
duet "A Whole New World"; during his time on the show, Studdard received praise           
from music legends such as Lionel Richie, Neil Sedaka, Robin Gibb of the Bee             
Gees, Luther Vandross, and Gladys Knight.                                                 
During the televised competition, Studdard gained the nickname "Velvet Teddy             
Bear" and was noted for his shirts printed with "205", the telephone area code           
of his hometown of Birmingham. Studdard also did a cover version of "For All We           
Know", originally recorded by Donny Hathaway, whose music he grew up with.               
He won the contest over runner-up Clay Aiken by only 134,000 votes out of 24,000,000     
cast in the May 2003 finale, becoming the second American Idol winner and the             
first and only male to hold that title until 2006, when fellow Birmingham native         
Taylor Hicks won Idol's season five.                                                     
Alabama Governor Bob Riley declared 11 March 2003 as "Ruben Studdard Day".               
Studdard released his first single, a cover of Westlife's "Flying Without Wings"         
(which he had sung on the show's finale), produced by the Underdogs and Face, a           
month later in June 2003. Fueled largely by sales, it debuted at #2 on the               
Billboard Hot 100. In December 2003, advance orders for his album Soulful topped         
the 1 million mark before it was released into stores. The album debuted at               
number one on the Billboard 200 album chart that month, selling over 400,000             
copies in its first week and attaining the highest first-week sales of any               
American Idol winner. The single "Sorry 2004" from this album found substantial           
airplay, reaching #9 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard R&B                 
singles chart. Studdard received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for           
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Superstar", nominated with his idol Luther           
Vandross (Vandross won that category). In March 2004, Ruben won the NAACP                 
Outstanding New Artist award.                                                             
Studdard released the gospel album I Need an Angel on November 23, 2004. The             
title track and first single "I Need an Angel" was a cover of a 2002 single               
performed by R&B singer Daniel DeBourg and written by R. Kelly. The album sold           
over 96,000 copies in its first week, it also entered the Gospel charts at #1,           
opened at #20 on the Billboard 200 chart, it since has sold over 500,000 copies.         
It was also #1 on the 2005 Billboard Year-End Gospel Albums Chart. As of June             
2007, Studdard is the fifth-best selling American Idol performer with more than           
2.4 million albums sold in the U.S.                                                       
In March 2005, Studdard filed a lawsuit against his godfather and business               
advisor Ronald Edwards. The suit alleges that Edwards ran up $156,000 on                 
Studdard's credit cards and stole $90,000 from his checking account. Edwards             
filed a countersuit. On June 15, 2006, Studdard was awarded $500,000 for                 
personal losses and another $1.5 million in punitive damages.                             
Studdard has worked as an actor in several, mostly minor, roles, including               
single-episode appearances on the television series 8 Simple Rules, Life on a             
Stick, All of Us, and Eve, as well as a cameo appearance in the film Scooby Doo           
2: Monsters Unleashed. He has also appeared on a television commercial for a             
Birmingham-area Kia dealer.                                                               
Between his second and third albums, Studdard began a diet and fitness program           
to deal with his weight, out of concern for a family history of diabetes and             
hypertension. Studdard lost over 70 pounds on a vegetarian diet.                         
Studdard's third album, The Return was released in October 2006; it goes back to         
his R&B roots, but is different from his previous efforts. Studdard is                   
collaborating with the artist Ne-Yo on this album, along with a variety of               
producers. The single "Change Me" was released ahead of the album. The Return             
sold 71,000 copies in its first week to open at #8 on the Billboard 200 album             
chart, but sales declined rapidly after that, not approaching those of his               
earlier albums. However, Studdard did have good success on the Urban                     
Contemporary chart with "Change Me" (which reached #1) and its successor "Make           
Ya Feel Beautiful". Studdard continued to tour saying he would play a variety of         
music: "Coming out to my show is like coming to my house. I'll play the songs I           
love. It's like a party. For me, a party has all different types of music                 
Studdard appeared on the finale of American Idol season 6 in May 2007. He spent           
a few weeks touring with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama Heaven I Need a Hug             
and prepared to take on the role of Fats Waller in a national tour of Ain't               
Misbehavin' in 2008. In December 2007, it was announced that Studdard had                 
been dropped from his record company, J Records, due to poor sales of The Return         
and "[falling] short of expectations." He is, however, still under contract               
with 19 Recordings.                                                                       
Studdard will be singing the farewell song on American Idol, starting with the           
Top 12 episode. The song will be a cover of Kenny Loggins' "Celebrate Me Home,"           
in a new version produced by Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam.