Ruben Studdard "Aint Misbehavinâ€™"
"I feel honored to play Fats Waller in Ain't Misbehavin," said Studdard. "Each night I get the opportunity to hear more and more music I didn't know Fats wrote. In order to familiarize myself with the character
Ruben Studdard was on a bus heading for Delaware when we talked about his tour of Ain't Misbehavin, a musical depicting the music and life of pianist and songwriter Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller."
A 2003 American Idol winner, Ruben is sharing the stage with two other American Idol contestants Frenchie Davis and Trenyce Cobbins.
The trio will be appearing in the play Ain't Misbehavin at the Lehman Center for Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Blvd West in the Bronx, on Saturday, May 16th at 8:00 p.m., for a One Night Only engagement. The Bronx will be the last city on the tour.
To obtain tickets for the Saturday, May 16th performance of Aint Misbehavin call the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 or visit on line at www.LehmanCenter.org
"I am enjoying performing in "Ain't Misbehavin," and look forward to coming to the Bronx which will be our last city on the tour. I just thank God that I have the opportunity to do something I love," said Ruben as we chatted about the play and his American Idol win.
"You know, I had no idea I was going to win American Idol. I was just thankful to be in the position I was in to even compete. I had set a goal for myself to just get past the top 30. When I did that, my next goal was to get to the top 12.
Clay Aiken and I had both recorded singles and it was clear we were both going to do albums. We had been in LA for 6 months and was at the point where we were just glad to get a chance to go home for a few days. I didn't think I might have a shot to win until we were both in the finals. It was such a great experience.
Just to do something for 6 months that I had dreamed about all my life. I had wanted to do something on that level since I was 3 years old. I was an advent fan of Star Search and dreamed about appearing at the Apollo, so being on American idol was a dream come true," said the Velvet Teddy bear, who was given the moniker by Gladys Knight.
"Like most singers who start out, I did the standard rounds trying to be heard. I was about to enter my senior year in college when I decided to give music my all. I told my mother that I would give music five years and if nothing resulted, I would return to college. I won American Idol in 3 years," remarked the Frankfurt, Germany born, but Alabama raised singer, who has received gold and platinum record status, Grammy and American Music Award nominations and via the 2004 NAACP Image Awards won Outstanding New Artist.
Ruben Studdard has released 4 albums. His album "Soulful" topped the 1 million mark even before it reached the stores. He went on to release the gospel album "I Need an Angel" on November 23, 2004 which sold over 96,000 copies in its first week and entered the Gospel charts at #1. "My second release was an inspirational album. The third "The Return" was released in October 2006 and that took me back to my R&B roots.
I am presently about to release my 4th Album entitled Love Is. I have to say that I do feel very blessed to be in the position to have made my 4th album, especially in such a cut throat business where some folks never make it past their first album," said Ruben who will be returning to California on May 17th to work on the promotion of his latest offering "Love Is," expected to be released this month.
Ruben appeared in the movie Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and appeared with Robin Givens in "Heaven I Need A Hug." "I think most singers are natural entertainers. So acting is part of it. I don't expect anyone to think that I am a world class actor. "Aint Misbehavin," is helping me to improve my acting skills and of course I plan to undergo a course of study. I ask God to keep his hand on me so that I can continue to do what I do," said the American pop, R&B and gospel singer.
"The tour is wrapping up on May 17th. I recently got married, so I try to keep my family unit next to me. I bring my wife and step daughter with me on the tour as often as I can. It's good to have your friends and family there to support and care about you. They help me stay focused and really it’s the love of my family that matters most to me in making sure my career and goals are met" said Ruben about the things that matter to him the most.
Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller was well known for his proficiency on the stride piano having been trained by the stride piano master, James P. Johnson who later became a friend and colleague of Fats. A prolific songwriter, Fats Waller wrote "Honey Suckle Rose," Squeeze Me." "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now," "Ain't Misbehavin," "Blue Turning Grey Over You," and "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling." In 1942, he wrote "Jitterbug Waltz." Waller also composed stride piano display pieces such as "Handful of Keys," "Valentine Stomp" and "Viper's Drag."
Fats Waller died of pneumonia in 1943 at age 39. He was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and have qualitative or historical significance.
"I feel honored to play Fats Waller in Ain't Misbehavin," said Studdard. "Each night I get the opportunity to hear more and more music I didn't know Fats wrote. In order to familiarize myself with the character, I listened to many of Fats' songs and learned as much as I could about him. Waller was someone who enjoyed life and had fun living. I am really proud to be a part of his wonderful legacy."