Since being crowned the second winner of the hit reality competition, American Idol
, Ruben Studdard
has established himself well in the music industry. He has released three albums since his participation in the show, with the first, Soulful
, making Platinum and the second, I Need An Angel
, making Gold.
In July, Studdard will begin working on his fourth album. He also has plans of doing a duet with another American Idol
"I really want to do a duet with Fantasia Barrino
on this next album," Studdard said to the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week. "We met while she was on (American Idol
) and have been friends ever since. I'm hoping this next album will be more soulful than all the ones I've ever done."
Studdard, whose musical background includes singing in gospel choirs, said that prior to American Idol
, he experienced much difficulty in launching a professional music career.
"I'm appreciative of everything (American Idol
has) ever done for me, and I will always sing their praises,” the 28-year-old singer said.
His second album was a major success and a testament to his gospel roots.
"The gospel album started off being a Christmas album and (RCA chairman and producer Clive Davis) said, 'You grew up in the church and gospel is something you really love,'" Studdard explained. “Plus, Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway, my favorite singers, have all done gospel albums. I got a chance to pay tribute to some singers that I grew up listening to, and because of it, everyone thought I turned into a gospel artist.”
However, Studdard wanted to prove that such thoughts were “misconceptions,” so he made sure that his next album, The Return
, contained more R&B sounds.
"(With The Return
) I knew I wanted to come out with something everyone would love," he said. “The album took so many directions. I worked on it for two years, so you can imagine how many directions you could go. But it turned out exactly the way I wanted.”
Aside from preparing to work on his fourth album, Studdard is also paying more attention to his health. He decided to become a vegetarian last year, and so far, has lost more than 80 pounds. He also attributes his newfound energy to his healthier eating habits and better exercise routines.
Additionally, Studdard continues to work on his self-titled foundation that gives scholarships to “deserving high school seniors studying music” and grants to schools that are in need of sheet music.
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Photo Courtesy of William Morris Agency)