BEVERLY HILLS — Clay Aiken feels especially close to "This Is the Night," and not just because the song sold nearly 400,000 copies in a week.
And not just because it trounced Ruben Studdard or pretty much everyone else, for that matter, becoming the second-best selling single of all time (see "Has America Changed Its Mind? Clay Beats Ruben On Singles Chart").
"It's what got me where I am in a way," Aiken said of the power ballad he premiered in the final weeks of "American Idol." "It's the song that tells the story of where I came from and the process that I went through in order to get here."
That said, the 24-year-old former Raleigh, North Carolina, student could not feel any more different about his next single, the up-tempo "Invisible."
"It's not one of those songs where the words necessarily stand out," Aiken said. "I think there are two types of songs. There's the ones that are fun to sing, fun to catch on to, fun to dance to. Then there are the ones that make you emote. A lot of the songs on the album are very emotive, but 'Invisible' is just a fun one, so why not put it out first and have fun with it."
The song, which features the chorus, "If I was invisible/ I would make you mine tonight," was co-written and produced by Desmond Child, who's worked with everyone from Bon Jovi, Cher and Alice Cooper to the Baha Men, Ricky Martin and original "American Idol" Kelly Clarkson.
"We got the demo for it and we played it inside, outside, upside down. I mean, we played it everywhere," Aiken recalled midway through a marathon of interviews in the swanky lobby of his record label. "It's just a really catchy song. We decided to do it on the tour, and it had a lot of success on the tour, so it was without a doubt the one we wanted to make the first single."
Aiken shot the "Invisible" video over the weekend with director Diane Martel, best known for Christina Aguilera's early videos. While the song's title might provoke a high concept, the singer went more straightforward, inviting 800 fans — his Claymates — to a performance at Hollywood & Highland, a major outdoor shopping center and tourist attraction in Hollywood.
"When we did the video for 'This Is the Night' it was very small. The treatment was me alone and no one else," Aiken said of his clip, which was inspired by a photo shoot (see "Clay Aiken's 'Night' Video Says 'This Is The Soul' "). "This is a big crowd, so I'm pumped about doing it. The energy will be really good."
As with the other "American Idol" contestants who have broken into the music business — Clarkson, Studdard and Justin Guarini — Aiken's album will be released just as the new single is hitting radio stations and before the video debuts.
Due Tuesday, Aiken's once self-titled release will now be called Measure of a Man, after one of his favorite songs on the album.
"It's a song that almost didn't make it to the album, because the sound of that song doesn't completely match all the other tracks," Aiken said of the song, which is meant to be sung to a woman. "But the message of the song, it's really powerful. It's about what is important when someone loves you. I mean, do they have to give you all the things? Do you have to be materialistic? Do you need gifts from them? When all of the gifts are gone and when the person's not the best-looking person in the world, them saying they love you, isn't that enough? And that's how you should measure a man."
Aiken will promote Measure of a Man with several high-profile performances, including the American Music Awards, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Billboard Music Awards and a fall "American Idol" special.