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Clay Aiken CD certified double platinum, while Clay prepares for graduation day


By Wade Paulsen, 11/21/2003 

Not many graduating collegians can claim to have two platinum records. But then again, not many graduating collegians are Clay AIken.

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Clay's debut RCA CD, Measure of a Man, was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") this week. Double platinum means that, in the judgment of the RIAA, the CD has shipped sufficient copies to sell over 2 million units. Clay was presented with a commemorative disk by RCA Music Group head Clive Davis during Clay's appearance this week on ABC's Good Morning America

As we noted last week, the CD had already sold over 1,000,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, and so its platinum certification was a mere formality -- but double platinum was a mild surprise. Measure of a Man joins Clay's debut single, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" b/w "This Is The Night", in the RIAA's platinum certiifcation records, giving Clay the rare distinction of going platinum with both his debut single and debut album.

Meanwhile, on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Album Sales chart for the week ended November 16, Clay's CD dropped to 13th place in its fifth week, as the charts were deluged with new disks released for the Christmas season. Clay did, at least, beat out the debut of The Essential Bruce Springsteen, which placed 14th with sales of 90,000 units.

Clay's next chance to extend his platinum streak comes with the upcoming (if belated) release of his second single, "Invisible" b/w "Solitaire." Clay will also act as master of ceremonies for the upcoming American Idol Christmas special, set to air on November 25 on Fox in the U.S. and CTV in Canada. Quite a reversal of fortune for someone who only managed to get the runner-up slot on American Idol, as he now has top billing over Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, who also appear.

Clay's accomplishments are even more incredible when you consider that the artist will just be graduating from university this December. Niner Online, the paper of the University of North Carolina - Charlotte, reports that Clay's presence at the upcoming December 2003 graduation ceremonies has forced the school to issue graduation tickets for only the second time in its history. Clay, who will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in special education, has expressed his desire to participate in the ceremonies as just another student.

According to the Associated Press, a UNCC spokesperson confirmed Clay's expected attendance at the December 20 ceremony and noted that Clay did not want to perform at the ceremony or to be seated on the stage. Nevertheless, the university is trying to figure out how to deal with the many requests from media for access to provide coverage -- something that UNCC hasn't had a lot of since Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell took the school's basketball team to the NCAA Final Four in 1977.

Maxwell later became an NBA star with the Boston Celtics and eventually one of the team's announcers. Notable achievements ... but still not as rare as having your debut album certified double platinum.


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