Unconditional Love is Studdard's sixth studio album and first with his new label, Verve Records. Foster, who has won 16 Grammy Awards, was the executive producer of the disc, which primarily consists of covers of love songs along with two originals, including \"Meant to Be\". Studdard has called it \"the album that everybody expected from me when I won American Idol.\" The album features collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway, and Eric Benet, and includes covers of songs originally performed by artists such as Paul McCartney, Donny Hathaway, Bonnie Raitt, Marvin Gaye, and Peabo Bryson. Since its release, the album has received some of Studdard's best reviews of his career. According to critics, the album \"finds Studdard at the top of his game vocally\" and he hits his stride, \"exuding grace, confidence and class\" as he successfully positions himself as a \"stylish crooner\". Unconditional Love debuted at #46 on the Billboard 200 and #7 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
Both the album and tour received strong reviews, with Variety noting that \"Studdard truly took wing and made the music of Vandross his own\" on tour and The Philadelphia Inquirer calling the album a \"full-on lush-and-funky tribute\".
Ruben Studdard won the second American Idol competition in 2003, but by the time he released his debut album, Soulful, in December of that year, it seemed like he was the runner-up to Clay Aiken, the competition's second-place contestant. Clay captured the heart of the preteen girls at the core of AmIdol's audience, since he was the perfect make-believe boyfriend: kinda cute, skinny and nonthreatening, singing songs of puppy love. Ruben was kinda cute, gigantic and nonthreatening, singing songs styled after his idol Luther Vandross -- soulful late-night grooves that didn't quite fit the old-fashioned pop sensibilities of American Idol. Studdard's consistently satisfying, easygoing performances and taste for material slightly older than the AmIdol demographic made him a favorite of the judges, and a favorite of an audience wanting to prove that the show wasn't just churning out prefabricated pop stars. Throughout the season, Ruben was favored to win -- sometimes even singing as if the outcome was a foregone conclusion -- but Clay had a serious surge of support that threatened to knock Studdard out of the catbird's seat. Aiken's popularity continued to grow even after he lost the competition, causing the label to scrap plans for the pair to release competing albums on the same day, since when the duo simultaneously released singles -- both crawling, undistinguished adult contemporary ballads -- Clay bested Ruben. Since it would be poor form for the winner to lose on a large scale, the dueling discs were pushed aside and Studdard was given extra time to work on his debut, making it less MOR, well, more Soulful. This was a smart move, since it drew a clear distinction between him and Aiken while appealing to the urban audience that always loved Ruben's Luther-isms. Also, by targeting the album at urban audiences, the producers gave Ruben a set of tracks heavy on slow grooves and sensual feel, not songs that would require him to stretch his vocal limits. In other words, most of Soulful consists of cuts that are about the feel of the production, from the shiny surfaces to the languid late-night beats, and not on songs that have strong, memorable verses and choruses. This works to the album's favor, at least as a piece of cohesive product, since it maintains a steady groove and feel from beginning to end. However, it does so by drawing attention away from Ruben's voice.
It's just another way that Tried and True feels like a king of homecoming, seven years after launching his career journey on American Idol. After winning over millions of viewers with his phenomenal voice and down-home charm, Aiken parlayed his success into full-fledged stardom. He has sold more than six million copies worldwide of his four albums: the double-platinum Measure of A Man (featuring the hits \"Invisible\" and \"This is the Night\"), 2004's platinum holiday CD Merry Christmas With Love, 2006's gold-certified A Thousand Different Ways, and 2008's On My Way Here - all of which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard chart. In addition, Aiken has launched nine live tours, made the New York Times best-seller list by co-authoring the inspirational memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life, executive produced and starred in his first TV special, A Clay Aiken Christmas, and won several American Music and Billboard Music Awards - all while donating a significant amount of his time to such charities as his own foundation, National Inclusion Project and acting as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. In January 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin in the Tony Award-winning musical Monty Python's Spamalot.
American Idol's Ruben Studdard pays tribute to the legendary Luther Vandross in Ruben Sings Luther - Always & Forever at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on Valentine's Eve Sunday, February 13 at 7pm. Lobby and bar concessions open at 6pm.Tickets range from $35 - $65 plus fees and can be purchased online anytime at PatchogueTheatre.org or at the Box Office, (631) 207-1313, 71 East Main Street in Patchogue. Advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended.Patchogue Theatre currently requires patrons to show either proof of a negative COVID-19 test OR proof of full vaccination status to attend events. Effective December 13, 2021, NYS Guidelines require that all patrons must wear an appropriate face covering/mask, regardless of vaccination status, while in any indoor public place, unless unable to medically tolerate a face covering/mask. This requirement shall be in effect until February 1, 2022 and is subject to change at any notice. View our COVID-19 Policy for details.Christopher Ruben Studdard is an American R&B, pop and gospel singer. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol and received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for \"Superstar.\" In the years following Idol, Studdard has released six studio albums, including his platinum-selling debut, Soulful, and the top-selling gospel follow-up, I Need an Angel. He is most well known for his recording career, which has produced hits including \"Flying Without Wings\", \"Sorry 2004\", and \"Change Me\", but he has also segued into television and stage work. Most notably, he toured with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama I Need a Hug and in 2008 starred as Fats Waller in a national tour revival of Ain't Misbehavin, which spawned a Grammy-nominated soundtrack. 1e1e36bf2d