258 pp., 16 pp. glossy color photos. Virtually new, some creasing on rear panel of jacket. Text clean. Aiken recounts his musical and spiritual journeys, his childhood in North Carolina, his work with handicapped children, his American Idol competition and recording career. This autobiography glosses over his social life; it was published four years before he came out as gay.
"My mother prophesied years ago that my voice would take me places. She was certain that there was a reason I was able to sing. I am still discovering what that reason is, what it is that God wants to happen."
-CLAY AIKEN, from "Learning to Sing"
When he was a kid singing in his church choir, Clay Aiken never dreamed of becoming a pop music star. His ambition was to be a teacher, maybe even a high school principal. But Clay's mother was right, and the music that was Clay's joy in life was destined to lead him to unexpected triumphs.
In "Learning to Sing," Clay details what his astonishing success has meant to him. He writes from the heart about his life before and since his instant stardom on American Idol, how he has changed, and how he struggles to adapt to life in the public eye. He speaks candidly about his lonely childhood: the father who abandoned him, the school bullies who tormented him, the mother who taught him to be strong, and the friends and teachers who-more than they ever knew-kept him going. He describes his new high-profile life in Los Angeles- the awards shows, the free clothes, the unfortunate presence of avocado on all the food. More significant, he reveals what he has discovered from diving into the white-hot center of pop culture: what it takes for him to stay true to himself and remember the lessons he learned growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Clay shares his struggle to remain a man his mother can be proud of, and writes about the faith that sustains him today just as it did when he was an awkward, unpopular outsider. "I believe God has a direction for me. He did not give me this life just so I could buy a big house and an SUV. My job is togive back and to be a decent human being no matter how many people cheer my name."
Clay's friends-the old ones from North Carolina and the millions of new ones who love his voice-will hold this inspiring memoir as close to their hearts as they do his music. "Learning to Sing" reminds you that anything is possible. Like a perfect song, it will send your spirit soaring.