Clay Aiken is an American pop singer who began his rise to fame on the second season of the television program American Idol in 2003, placing second behind Ruben Studdard.
Based on album sales surpassed only by Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Aiken became the most successful male and the most successful second-place finisher in that show's history.
He has sold more than six million copies worldwide of his 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.
Aiken has never sounded more at home than he does singing the lushly arranged classics on his fifth studio album Tried and True, the international pop phenomenon's first album for Decca Records.
The bulk of the album, which showcases Aiken's powerful tenor voice and considerable interpretive gifts, is made up of songs from the '50s and '60s that Aiken grew up listening to as a child in Raleigh, North Carolina. For Aiken, Tried and True was about getting back to himself after a career performing more pop-oriented material.
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. While admitting Broadway is a challenge he'd love to tackle again, Aiken considers the small screen his second home and has made numerous television appearances as both guest and host.
He was a correspondent for The Insider for the 2005 Emmy Awards, co-hosted The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and Live with Regis and Kelly, both in 2006, appeared on the sitcom Ed (2004) and legendary soaps All My Children (2005) and Days of Our Lives (2006). He also made guest appearances on Scrubs (2006) and 30 Rock (2009).
Aiken's whole world changed in 2008 when he became a father for the first time with the birth of his son, Parker.
He was also a contestant on the fifth season (the 12th overall) of the reality competition The Celebrity Apprentice, in 2012.