"Clay Aiken" (born "Clayton Holmes Grissom" on November 30, 1978) is an American popular music singer who rose to fame on the ''American Idol'' television program, and who has become the most successful second-place finisher in that show's history.
Clay Aiken, who changed his last name from Grissom to his mother's maiden name, was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. As a young boy he trained with the Raleigh Boychoir, and later performed with a local Raleigh band, "Just By Chance".
He attended Raleigh's Leesville Road High School before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Although his ''American Idol'' activities temporarily delayed his academic pursuits, Aiken graduated with a bachelor's degree in special education in December of 2003. He found his interest in special education while directing YMCA children's camps as a teenager; at age 19 he served as a substitute teacher for a classroom of students with autism at Brentwood Elementary School. While attending college in Charlotte he took a part-time job as an assistant to a boy with autism, and it was this child's mother, Diane Bubel, who urged him to audition for ''American Idol''.
|Born||November 30, 1978|
|Years active||2003 - present|
|Notable albums|| Measure of a Man|
Merry Christmas With Love
|Notable songs|| "Invisible"|
"This is the Night"
"I Will Carry You