Music: Building A Better Pop Star

The record industry needs a savior. American Idol runner- up CLAY AIKEN could be it. Now will he play along, or is his style too far off-key?

Ask the employees at Clay Aiken's record label, RCA, if they would listen to Aiken's debut album, Measure of a Man, by choice, and the response is almost uniform: a lengthy pause followed by laughter. RCA was the home of Elvis Presley, and its current roster includes critical favorites like the Strokes and the Foo Fighters. It's a rock label. Aiken, who came in second on the most recent installment of American Idol, is not only not a rocker, but, as he says in his aggressively self-deprecating way, "I'm not an artist. I'm just a guy who was on a reality...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!