The American R&B, pop, and gospel singer Ruben Studdard rose to fame in 2003 after winning the second season of American Idol and receiving a Grammy nomination for “Superstar” in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category. In the years following Idol, Studdard has released six studio albums, including his platinum-selling debut, Soulful, and the top-selling gospel follow-up, I Need an Angel. His hit singles include “Flying Without Wings,” “Sorry 2004,” and “Change Me.”

Mr. Studdard has also worked in television and theater. He toured with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama I Need a Hug, and in 2008 starred as Fats Waller in a national touring revival of Ain’t Misbehavin’, the soundtrack for which received a Grammy nomination. Recent recordings include Unconditional Love and Ruben Sings Luther, a tribute to Luther Vandross.

Mr. Studdard was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his father was stationed with the US Army. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and sang for the first time at age three in the Rising Star Baptist Church. He continued singing gospel in church, performing solos while his mother sang in the choir. After graduating from Huffman High School, he received a scholarship to play football for Alabama A&M University. In college he joined the Omicron Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the men’s music fraternity of America, and chose to major in vocal studies. He also sang with Just a Few Cats, a popular local jazz and R&B band. In 2015 he received an honorary master’s degree from his alma mater.


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