UNIVERSAL CITY, California — It’s a good thing Ruben Studdard is so humble, because the latest “American Idol” winner wouldn’t have time to celebrate if he wanted to.
After a few days of publicity appearances, the 24-year-old Birmingham, Alabama, singer will hit the studio to work on his album, due in September. Clive Davis, who has overseen the careers of Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston, is executive-producing the project and will release it on his own J Records through “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller’s 19 Recordings Limited.
Studdard has already recorded his first single, “Flying Without Wings,” with producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. The song, originally recorded by British boy band Westlife in 1999, is due June 3.
“It was cool recording with Babyface,” Studdard said after the finale Wednesday (see ” ’Idol’ Winner Ruben Studdard Says He’s Living Out His Dream” ). “He’s, like, the man, so I was in shock when I met him. He’s really cool.”
Studdard’s album, which he said will include his group from home, Just a Few Cats, will blend elements of R&B, soul and gospel. Davis also hopes to add a hip-hop flavor, including a possible collaboration with Fat Joe, he told the Associated Press. Studdard, who’s been singing since the age of 3 and writing songs since 14, said he’d also like to work with Kelly Price on the album.
As for projects outside of music, the latest “American Idol” is open to acting, even possibly following in the footsteps of last year’s winner and starring with his runner-up. That’s only if Clay Aiken can find the time. Aiken’s also set to begin recording an album for Davis, which he said will be in the vein of his first single, “This Is the Night,” an original he performed on Tuesday’s show.
First, though, he’s got other business to take care of.
“I have 130,000 people to beat up,” the Raleigh, North Carolina, native joked, referring to the number of votes he lost by. “Actually, I’m probably going to lay down on a couch somewhere and watch TV, or just do something and vegetate, ’cause I haven’t had a chance [to relax].”
Aiken is also open to acting, including trying Broadway — something Cowell repeatedly said he would be perfect for. “It was never anything that I necessarily considered initially, but whatever doors open up I may explore,” Aiken said.
Ruben and Clay are busy bees, but they’re not the only “American Idol” stars hard at work. Here’s a rundown of what some other finalists (click for photos ), from this year and last, are up to: