On 21st May 2003, 24 million people called Fox Tv studios during a show to vote for their favorite singer. The winner was a young man from Birmingham. Alabama – one of the USA’s poorest states. Ruben Studdard was the new American Idol.
It was a dream come true for Ruben Studdard. He was born in July 1978. He always wanted to sing: he sang a complete song in the middle of a department store when he was just two years old.
Chris’s parents were both teachers. His mother wanted to be a music teacher. He was always good at school, and he won an anthletic scholarship for university. He changed to singing, but dropped out of college before gettino his degree.
He sang with a local R&B band, and one day a friend in the band in the band asked him to go with her to an American Idol audition because she was lonely. He decided to enter, too – and the judges selected him to go to the final. He told his family. ‘Alabama’s going to Hollywood, baby!’
Ruben was different from the others in the show. He was nothing like a ‘pop star’. He was quiet, friendly, easy-going – and big! People called him ‘Velvet Teddy Bear’ because of his size, voice and personality. But after his win, things weren’t so easy for Ruben. He waited seven months to record his first album. There was no reason to worry – ‘Soulful’ reached Number I in December 2003.