Was it really almost 10 years ago that the big-voiced, big-boned singer that Gladys Knight dubbed “the velvet teddy bear” won “American Idol?” Yes, Birmingham’s own Ruben Studdard took that coveted prize in 2003, and he’s still going strong.
His latest album, “Letters From Birmingham,” is a concept album inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letters from a Birmingham Jail.” We think King would be proud of the association, as Studdard is not just a crooner, but an philanthropist who has started a foundation to help kids get scholarships and become a tireless advocate for sickle cell anemia awareness.
Here’s more on today’s “In-Studio Jam” artist.
BORN: Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard in Frankfurt am Maim, Germany.
BIG BREAK: Becoming the “American Idol” of 2003. Studdard actually accompanied a friend to the Nashville auditions. His rendition of “Ribbon in the Sky” made him a local finalist, and then he went on to win the show.
EDUCATION: Alabama A&M, where he went not on a music scholarship but a football scholarship.
BACK STORY: Although he went to Alabama A&M on a football scholarship, he was a voice major. He was already singing in a local Birmingham, Alabama jazz band and making demos when he was called to the “Idol” stage.
Source: Black America Web | Tonya Pendleton