Ruben Studdard recently sat down with The Associated Press to talk about his music, weight loss and why he is looking for love.
Q: How hard has it been to break away from the American Idol typecast?
RUBEN STUDDARD: Honestly, I never want people to forget I won the show but I do want people to take me seriously as an artist outside of American Idol.
Q: Do you look at Kelly Clarkson as a model since she is now a Grammy-winning, multiplatinum star with cred?
STUDDARD: Of course. I think everybody who has left that show looks at her as a model for what we want to do to further our career. It wasn't easy for her to get that American Idol stigma changed. She really had to work hard for it. The hard work paid off.
(For me), on the first album, I really didn't have to go out and do radio promos and in-stores because people already knew who we were. With these sophomore projects in the mainstream, we have to reintroduce ourselves to the market.
Q: Did you anticipate that you would have to work so hard to promote this album?
STUDDARD: Every time an artist comes out they have to reinvent themselves and that is why it was necessary for me to come in and get in shape just to have something different going to promote this album.
Q: You've lost weight; did you do it because the album was coming out?
STUDDARD: I really wanted to get in shape because I have a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure and things of that nature. I felt like it was necessary for me to combat those issues at a young age before it became a bigger issue. I went to this place called Duke Diet & Fitness Center for a month and learned how to change my eating habits. Two weeks after leaving there I turned to a vegetarian diet. It's been wonderful.
Q: The Today show reported that you lost 100 pounds.
STUDDARD: They said 100 pounds. I told them 70. They kept saying, "Ruben's lost 100 pounds." I only lost 70.
Q: What has been the hardest food to give up?
STUDDARD: I think the hardest thing for me to give up was chicken. Right now I am trying my hardest to stay away from french fries.
STUDDARD: The one thing I had to figure out is that there are just as many healthy choices in food as there are bad choices. When I am ordering with a group I just look for the healthy choices. The working out for me (is hard) because our schedule is so hectic.
Q: There are a lot of former Idols and finalists coming out with albums this fall. Do you feel added pressure?
STUDDARD: No. All of us are in totally different genres. Kelly (Clarkson) is in rock. Clay Aiken is in adult contemporary. I'm urban. Even if we were in the same market I still wouldn't feel like that because we are family.
Q: What do you think the state of R&B music is today?
STUDDARD: I think hip-hop has taken over. It's really hard for R&B artists to get records played on the radio. It is not a bad thing because I grew up listening to hip-hop. We've all had to clip up our style a little bit. Back in the day I remember when hip-hop artists used to want to be on R&B songs and now it is the other way around.
Q: Do you ever get tired of being recognized?
STUDDARD: When I first won it was hard for me because I didn't want to be bothered. I understand it is a part of my job. Your fans are always happy to see you. Everything that we have is because of the fans who purchase the albums or the concert tickets. For me it is an honor to have someone ask for my autograph. When they don't want your autograph, then you should be worried.
Q: Most of your album is about love. Are you looking for love?
STUDDARD: Yes. I think everybody is. I don't think there is anyone out there who wants to be by themselves. I don't want to be by myself for the rest of my life.
Q: I am sure you constantly meet women. Why are you still single?
STUDDARD: It is just a choice I made right now because I don't have time to devote to a relationship.