Apollo: Ruben’s “Return�

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(Ruben “Returns.�)

Don’t call it a comeback—call it “The Return.�

The Apollo New Legends Series presents the return of the Velvet Teddy Bear- Ruben Studdard. After taking some time to explore his Gospel aspirations, the Grammy nominated multi platinum recording artist is back in the R&B world with a brand new album aptly titled The Return and his first ever concert at the world famous Apollo Theater on Saturday, November 4 at 8pm.

Tickets are $45 and are available through the Apollo Theater Box Office, 125th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, 212/531-5305 and Ticketmaster, (212) 307-7171, www.ticketmaster.com. Ruben Studdard’s concert at the Apollo Theater will celebrate the release of his long awaited sophomore R&B/soul album, The Return set for release on Tuesday, October 17 on J Records. The Return is the follow-up to his heralded debut album, Soulful (2003). 

The Return features the intimate and powerfully sung lead single, "Change Me" and includes additional production by The Underdogs, Scott Storch, Ne-Yo, Brian-Michael Cox, Dre & Vidal, among others. Studdard produced the track "If Only For One Night" a remake of the Brenda Russell song popularized by Luther Vandross. He also co-wrote "I'm Not Happy," "Blow Ya Mind," and "To Tha Crib�.  Studdard says the album title "signifies my return to the mainstream after doing the gospel album in 2004 and the growth I've been through as a person -- and a singer.�

Studdard’s concert is part of the Apollo’s New Legends Series, which recognizes contemporary artists in a variety of musical genres whose undeniable talent and impact represent the best of today’s music and indicates lasting staying power.
“Ruben Studdard was just such a natural choice for an Apollo New Legend. He has the personality, the connection with his audience and of course the voice. He is one of the first people that come to mind when you think of young artists who have what it takes to sustain a successful career in this industry. We are happy to present his first show at the Apollo as he celebrates the release of his new album,� says Jonelle Procope, CEO and President of the Apollo Theater Foundation.

The son of two teachers, Ruben Studdard was born in Birmingham, Alabama on July 14, 1978. As a child, he sang at his parents' church, but it wasn't until college that he became serious about music, even abandoning a promising career in football and switching his major to study voice instead. He started his professional career as a singer for Just a Few Cats, a Birmingham-based jazz and soul band. In 2002, Studdard joined one of the group's backup singers at an audition for the second American Idol cycle. He made the first round of cuts at his local audition, going on to win a slot on the national television program. From the beginning, Studdard made a big impression and stood out from his peers, impressing audiences and judges alike with his large voice and easy confidence. Partway through the season, guest judge Gladys Knight (Apollo Hall of Fame Inductee, 2006) christened him the "Velvet Teddy Bear". The name stuck and Ruben soon forged ahead of the competition and unexpectedly to become the front-runner.

After going on to win the American Idol title, becoming the first African-American to do so, Studdard released his first single with the hit song "Flying Without Wings", produced by the Underdogs and Babyface. In December 2003, advance orders for his debut Soulful topped the 1 million mark before it was even released into stores. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart that month, selling over 400,000 copies in its first week. His follow-up single "Sorry 2004" from this album reached #9 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.

In December 2003, Studdard received a Grammy Award nomination for best R&B male vocal performance for "Superstar", nominated with Luther Vandross. In March 2004, he won the NAACP Best New Artist award. Soulful has sold nearly 2 million copies to date and was also recognized with many coveted awards and nominations from the American Music Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Awards, Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Awards, and Teen Choice Awards.

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