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Friday, June 20, 2008

A Clay Aiken Interview I Missed!  

I missed this interview. Looks like it took place around the first of May.

I am glad Clay was able to talk about what is really close to his heart, UNICEF and The Bubel/Aiken Foundation.

Very informative. He talked about why he does not revisit countries that he has already been to and the strict criteria with regards to BAF Grants.

Gather's Interview With Clay Aiken
by Music Editor

May 06, 2008 03:03 PM EDT (Updated: May 13, 2008 02:23 PM EDT) views: 1990 rating: 10/10

Last week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Clay Aiken, who's new album On My Way Here is in stores now. We asked him as many member questions that time allowed. Enjoy!

Gather: Robin Noack asked, "I was just wondering what made you start this foundation. Was it because of a personal experience or someone you know?

Keep up the good work!"

Clay: Well it was a kind of a combination of both. I taught special ed for a couple of years and worked with kids with disabilities. At the same time I also ran a summer camp in Raleigh for several years as well, and the powers that be at that camp who had more control than me found it difficult to include kids with disabilities into the camp programs because they didn't have the resources. We didn't have the training staff or the ratio to allow kids with disabilities in and so that was always a sticking point for me.

One of the intersections of my special ed career and entertainment career came from a lady whose son I was working with and she was the person who convinced me to try out for American Idol. When I did that the YMCA became something that I would talk about on Idol and in a very short amount of time the YMCA had $50,000 worth of donations and I said WOW - if I can do this just based on that than lets start talking about things that are really important to me. And that's how the Bubel Aiken foundation started where I could take on problems that were important to me.

Gather: Karen M. asked "As for UNICEF I would be interested to know of the locations that you have visited; which is the first one that you would you like to return to for a follow-up visit? Why?"

Clay: I've been to Indonesia, went there after the tsunami, I've been to Uganda in the same year to see the effects of the war and that was one of the most devastating things I've ever seen in my life. I went to Afghanistan last year for what UNICEF was doing there, and spent this past Christmas in Mexico.

Gather: "Any that you would like to do a follow up visit to?"

Clay: Well it's hard to know. They don't send people for fun and it's not an easy trip. It's to raise money or awareness and if I have done that then great. But if I went and wasn't able to raise money than there would be no reason to go back. In Afghanistan, if we were able to raise money then they would not send me back to do a follow up. UNICEF likes to really spend their time and resources where it is needed the most. I do plan on doing a trip next month to another country.

Gather: Jean A. asked, "You have recently mentioned that you may be going on a UNICEF trip this summer...can you talk anymore about that? Your trips to Banda Aceh, Uganda, Afghanistan, and Mexico brought so much awareness about the plights of others around the world. I'm looking forward to your next trip!"

Clay: We usually don't talk about trips before I take them for security reasons. While we don't say where we're going, but of course when we talked about Mexico, its ok, but typically they like to send me places where they are scared that they could lose me so we don't usually don't talk about where I'm going before I go for those reasons.

Gather: Dawn C. asked, "Clay, I recently read some success stories about service dogs helping children with autism. With your love for dogs, do you think the BAF might do work in the future with organizations like 4pawsforability? Did Mike Bubel have a dog? Congratulations on your new album!"

Clay: First of all BAF does not focus on just autism, we try to be as universal as possible and work with all different disabilities and disability levels and get them into as many fitting programs as possible. We take a hard look at every single grant and have a strict rubric for grant applications to make sure that they all fit into our criteria. It's not enough to work with specific disabilities. It's all based on the characteristic of the need and the grant application and to make sure that we fit everything together as best as possible.

Gather: Sandy P. asked, "Do you get to go to any of the camps and participate with the kids. I hope so, I know how much you love and care about them. I hope you get to enjoy their joy at times."

Clay: I have done that a few years ago and we tried doing them last summer but I was on tour. We want to try to do some more of that this summer. I miss that part of my life. At the same time it can tend to be a distraction and that's not what I want to cause. It's not beneficial to disrupt the routine, but participating and interacting is something I love to do.

Gather: Chae M. asked, "Clay, you say that as a UNICEF Ambassador, your biggest focus is helping raise awareness of what's going on in the world. When you went to Uganda in 2005, you said "I'm thinking of composing a song about the plight of (Internally Displaced Persons) in northern Uganda. We should think of creative ways of sensitizing the international community about the crisis. It's unfortunate that such a tragic situation is not adequately publicized.

"My faith...my belief... God places a person to do things in a certain way. Each person has certain responsibilities, which they can fulfill in a way they choose."

What way have you chosen as a musician to help raise awareness? Have you found a song that speaks to your UNICEF experiences?

Thanks for your service."

Clay: I actually have, one that's on the next album that I actually found when traveling to Indonesia and found the lyrics to be very universal but they speak to that theme without question. The name of the song is As Long As We're Here.

Gather: Peggy B. asked, "We all how difficult it is for a relatively new foundation to raise sufficient funds, and you know your fan base tries to support BAF as much as possible, but have you been able to sign on any corporate sponsors? If so, can you tell us what some of them are. I would like to give my support to them, as much as possible, as I am sure many others would.

Thank you for your time."

Clay: A lot of corporations have philanthropies that are already built into their corporate entity. We found a few just recently but we're still in talks with them.

Gather: Debra B. asked, "Hey there Clay--just wondering what book are you reading right now? And do you have a favorite book from your childhood that you would love to read to your own children someday?

Keep up the good work! You have an awesome voice and a good heart. =)"

Clay: I'm actually not reading anything right now, but recently bought my favorite book from when I was a kid which is The Magic Hat of Mortimer Wintergreen by Myron Levoy.

What next?

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1 comments: to “ A Clay Aiken Interview I Missed!

  • LoverAllAlone


    Ha! I bought that book Clay mentioned in the last paragraph just cause I was curious about what kind of kid he was. I just started it last night but it's pretty good so far!