After 'Idol', Aiken takes time for son, himself

For Raleigh native Clay Aiken, his days competing on "American Idol" seem so long ago.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — For Raleigh native Clay Aiken, his days competing on “American Idol” seem so long ago.

“For a lot of people, I’m frozen at 24 years old and for me, I’m not,” Aiken said during a recent interview. “I do find that if I spike my hair, I get recognized everywhere I go.”

Aiken described his run on the second season of “American Idol” in 2003 as the most fun he's ever had, but he doesn’t miss the results shows.

When he was on tour with season one “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson, Aiken said he watched an episode of the show. When it was time for someone to be voted out, Aiken said his hands started sweating.

“I don’t need that stress,” he said of watching the show. 

“I’ve always said if I could go back, do the group songs, sing the songs without ever having to worry if I would get cut, I would do it every week forever,” he said.

Aiken finished second to Ruben Studdard. He said the two still stay in touch, and even toured together last year.

Since his Idol days, Aiken has recorded five albums, which sold millions of copies. He has also acted in Monty Python’s “Spamalot” on Broadway and made TV appearances.

Now, Aiken is taking some time off.

“Before I did Idol, music was always a hobby for me. It was something I liked to do for a hobby and it turned into my job. It turned into a job that allowed me, now, to take a year and do it as a hobby again," he said. 

Aiken said he also wants to spend more time with his 2-year-old son, Parker Foster Aiken.

“Now that he’s talking and having real conversations with you, I don’t want to miss some of that,” he said. “It’s the most humbling part of being a father, but when I look back on it in 20 years, I believe it will probably be the thing that I appreciate the most…and unconditional love doesn’t hurt, right?”


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