How much is Ruben Studdard worth?
|Net Worth:||$3 Million|
|Date of Birth:||September 12, 1978|
“I was the number one New Edition fan and in middle school I switched over to Boyz II Men. My father bought a lot of records, and that’s how I heard John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I became a big jazz fan.” — Ruben Studdard, from his official bio.
Who Is Ruben Studdard
Ruben’s father was in the military and Ruben was born on a U.S. Army base in Germany. But the family moved to Birmingham, Alabama when Ruben was just nine months old. He was a three-year-old pre-schooler when he started singing with the choir at the Rising Star Baptist Church. By the age of seven he was singing at school functions, in various churches and at banquets and local events. His mother was a fan of Donny Hathaway, Luther Vandross and the O’Jays and Ruben learned to sing their songs.
In high school, Ruben joined the football team as an offensive tackle and went back and forth between singing and sports. Eventually, he became more serious about singing and sang in a male quartet called Eternal Harmony that performed in a lot of talent shows around Birmingham. He eventually moved on to Alabama A&M; University, where he majored in music. During his sophomore year, he dropped out of school to pursue a music career.
Real name: Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard. Born: Sept. 12, 1978 on a U.S. Army base in Frankfurt, Germany. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama; currently lives in Alabama.
Ruben married Surata McCants during a private ceremony on June 28, 2008. In November 2011, his attorney announced that the couple was going through a divorce. In January 2012, he released a song about the breakup called “June 28th (I’m Single).”
In March 2005, Ruben sued his godfather and business advisor Ronald Edwards, alleging that Edwards ran up $156,000 on Ruben’s credit cards and stole $90,000 from his checking account. In June 2006, a judge awarded Ruben $500,000 for personal losses and $1.5 million in punitive damages.
When a friend who wanted to audition for “American Idol” in Nashville asked Ruben to go with her, he went for emotional support, and also auditioned. Although she didn’t make it through to the second round of auditions, Ruben did, and kept making it through round after round on the show. He eventually survived every elimination, becoming a household name in the process and earning the nickname The Velvet Teddy Bear. And on May 21, 2003, he was crowned the winner of the second season of “American Idol.” The show’s runner-up was Clay Aiken, whom Ruben had become good friends with during the five months they spent together on the show.
Success on “American Idol” helped Ruben’s recording career tremendously. His first single, “Flying Without Wings,” debut at No. 2 on the Billboard charts when it was released in June 2003, and his debut album, Soulful, was released in December 2003. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart, selling over 400,000 copies during its first week in stores. This proved to be the highest point of his career, as his subsequent R&B; and Gospel albums haven’t come close to being as successful. However, he is still active as a recording artist, and has also branched out to acting. He’s most known for having big roles in the musicals “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Heaven I Need a Hug.”
Of all the previous “American Idol” winners, Ruben Studdard is probably second lowest on the popularity scale, ahead of only Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks. Ruben, who won the second season of the show in 2003, is a quality vocalist but his career thus far has been hindered by a few factors, including poor song choices, occasionally bland singing and a perceived lack of personality and charisma. And on his fourth album, Love Is, released in the U.S. on May 19, 2009, isn’t disappointing as his last album, 2007’s The Return, but once again, Ruben fails to truly live up to his potential as a top-tier R&B-pop; singer.
Past vs. Present
At the outset of his professional career, many R&B; fans thought that Ruben might evolve into the next Luther Vandross or Teddy Pendergrass; on “Amrerican Idol,” Ruben even earned the nickname “the Velvet Teddy Bear” after Pendergrass, whose nickname is Teddy Bear. But over the past six years, Ruben hasn’t quite yet shown that he belongs in the same category as those legends. However, Love Is is a collection of love songs and ballads, is a small step in that direction.
Half the album’s 12 songs are remakes, including the album’s first single, “Together,” produced by the Stargate duo. Unlike most of the remakes here, which are older songs, “Together” was previously recorded in just the past couple of years by two singers: Ne-Yo and Lee Carr. So to release it as a single instead of a new song seems odd. Especially since Ruben’s version isn’t any better than the other two. Other remakes include Ruben’s versions of “The Long & Winding Road” (originally by the Beatles); Al Green‘s “For the Good Times;” and interestingly, a Country version of More Than Words,” a song originally by rock band Extreme. To put it bluntly, all the remakes are unnecessary. But the original material is actually quite good. “A Song For Her,” which Ruben co-wrote for his wife is a fairly tender, moving song, and “Footprints in the Sand,” which was inspired by Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign, is spiritual and uplifting. The album’s highlights are all within the album’s six new songs: it’s on these tracks that Ruben sounds most alive and energetic and like a true American Idol.
Despite a successful and lucrative career, Ruben Studdard, the 2003 winner of the “American Idol” singing competition, has yet to release a 5-star R&B; album, despite seemingly having more talent than many contemporary R&B; singers. But despite his talent, the title of his newest release, The Return, is indicative of the album itself – in other words, it’s unimaginative and a little boring.
A “Return” to the Bland
Out of all the “American Idol” winners, Season 2 champion Ruben Studdard may by the one who’s most failed to live up to his potential.
At the time of his victory on the show, Ruben seemed to be one of the most talented contestants ever, with his golden voice and hefty frame evoking memories of a young Luther Vandross (coincidentally, Vandross had a stroke a month before Studdard was crowned American Idol).
And Ruben’s gone on to achieve major success as an artist, selling over a million records of his 2003 debut album, Soulful and half a million of his second LP, 2004’s Gospel release I Need An Angel.
But despite his success, to many R&B; fans something’s always seemed missing with Ruben. Not only has he not lived up to his potential as a Luther Vandross successor, he has yet to deliver the classic R&B; album many were expecting. And The Return is no exception.
The album’s filled with plush, pop-ish mid-tempo R&B; melodies that seem geared toward pleasing a wide audience and gaining as mainstream acceptance as possible.
The biggest flaw with the album is how Ruben’s vocals are so watered down. His powerful voice has no potency much of the time and almost sounds as generic as the vocals that accompany elevator music.
If there’s one word to adequately describe The Return, dull is it. The opening track, “The Return (of the Velvet Teddy Bear),” exemplifies this fact with it’s dumbed-down lyrics, simplistic chorus and cheap-sounding computerized beat.
Things do get better on subsequent tracks, but not significantly. The album’s next song (and first single) is the Underdogs-produced “Change Me,” is one of the few tracks with very good lyrics, but is run-of-the-mill. And the song after that, “Beautiful,” is a solid ballad, but lyrically generic.
What’s funny is that although the album’s clearly aimed at an audience of older, mainstream music (i.e. pop) fans, many the album’s songs have hip-hop titles, like ‘Get U Loose,” “To Da Crib” and “Blow Ya Mind.”
Don’t be fooled by the titles, though – almost all the album’s 14 songs are sugary, mid-tempo Quiet Storm-type numbers that are good mainly as late-night mood-setting music.
The album’s highlight is Ruben’s cover of Luther Vandross’ “If Only For One Night.” It’s on this one song that Ruben reminds everybody why he won “American Idol” in the first place.
His flawless rendition of the song is the only track on the album that matches up favorably with Luther’s own music.