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Clay Aiken's An Idol Who's Not Idle

Of the Oakland Press

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It’s been four years and three albums since Clay Aiken’s runner-up turn on “American Idol.” But the North Carolina-born singer says he’s still trying to find his place in the pop world.

“I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I want to be and where I want to go,” says Aiken, 28, who finished behind Ruben Studdard in “Idol’s” second season. “I think the difference between someone like Kelly (Clarkson) and I is she really has found her niche and pushed herself beyond the ‘Idol’ kind of thing.

“But there are so many different things I like.”

For now, Aiken is promoting his latest album, “A Thousand Different Ways,” which features 10 covers — including love songs by Richard Marx, John Waite, Elton John, Bon Jovi and Dolly Parton — and four originals. It’s an outgrowth of Aiken’s 2004 summer show, which focused on his personal favorites from the ’50s through the present day. But Aiken says it’s not necessarily a direction he’ll stay in beyond this album — and he even has designs on doing more than just music.

“I think people like to put (performers) in a box and categorize them somehow — ‘This person is a comedian. This person is an actor. This person is a singer,’ ” Aiken explains. “It’s very rare you’ll find somebody who’s known for more than one thing.

“So right now, I think people see what we do as singing. I’d love to change that a bit to kind of branch out and be known as other things.”

Clay Aiken performs with the Johnny Trudell Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Monday (July 23rd) at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights. Tickets are $39.50-$59.50 pavilion, $14.50 lawn. Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net.

Web Site: www.freedomhill.net

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