Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken, two of 2003's best selling new artists, have announced that they are joining forces for their first major nationwide headlining tour set to kick off in Charlotte, NC.

Called the "Independent" tour, the two RCA Music Group stars will perform in thirty cities. In keeping with their status as two of America's most talented young entertainers, Clarkson and Aiken will be alternating as headliners on the tour for which tickets go on sale January 24.

Says Clarkson, who is nominated for a "Best Female Pop Vocal" Grammy this year, "I'm really pumped about touring with Clay and can't wait to get out and see all the fans." Adds Aiken, "Kelly and I are thrilled about sharing a stage for this momentous next step in both of our careers."

Both artists enjoyed phenomenal success in 2003. Spurred on by sales "A Moment Like This/Before Your Love" which earned her a Billboard Music Award for Best Selling single of 2002 and the runaway smash "Miss Independent," Kelly's RCA/19 Entertainment debut album "Thankful" entered The Billboard Top 200 album chart at number 1 last April. Clay's RCA/19 Entertainment debut "Measure Of A Man," spurred on by the success of 2003's biggest selling single "This Is The Night," achieved the same milestone by entering the Billboard Top 200 album chart at number 1 upon it's release in late October.

Raleigh, NC native Aiken, who won the Fan Choice Award at this year's American Music Awards and a Billboard Music Award for Best Selling Single of 2003, was named one of People Magazine's "Sexiest Men" and "Top Entertainers Of The Year." He has earned cover stories in Rolling Stone (who named him one of the magazine's People Of The Year), Entertainment Weekly (who picked Clay as one of the twenty-five "Entertainers Of The Year") and TV Guide (whose readers voted him Favorite Reality Star of 2003). Clay has also been featured in Time Magazine, Elle Magazine, Teen People, and Newsweek.

Burleson, TX born Clarkson has graced the cover of such magazines as Marie Claire, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, YM, and Seventeen. Cosmopolitan Magazine named her one of their "Fun, Fearless Females of 2003" while People magazine named her one of their "25 Most Intriguing People." Clarkson, whose current single is "The Trouble With Love Is" (featured in the hit movie "Love Actually") had her first DVD "Miss Independent" released by RCA/19 Entertainment in November of 2003. The intimate behind the scenes DVD includes never before seen live tour and TV performances and the complete collection of her videos ("A Moment Like This," "Before Your Love," "Miss Independent," and "Low").

Both Aiken and Clarkson have had several major US television appearances including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with David Letterman," "Oprah Winfrey," "Good Morning America," "Live with Regis and Kelly," and "The View." Both "Measure of A Man" and "Thankful" have sold over two million copies each in the US alone, and each album has garnered major critical acclaim and rave reviews throughout the world. Due to their massive, loyal fan bases, the joint nationwide "Independent" tour promises to be one of 2004's most anticipated musical events.


• Tuesday    2-24-04    Charlotte, NC       Charlotte Coliseum

• Wednesday 2-25-04 Duluth, GA The Arena at Gwinnett Center
• Friday 2-27-04 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
• Saturday 2-28-04 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena
• Monday 3-01-04 Raleigh, NC RBC Center
• Tuesday 3-02-04 Philadephia, PA Liacoras Center
• Thursday 3-04-04 Long Island, NY Nassau Coliseum
• Friday 3-05-04 Washington, DC MCI Center
• Sunday 3-07-04 Wilkes Barre, PA Wachovia Arena
• Monday 3-08-04 Worcester, MA Centrum Centre
• Wednesday 3-10-04 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
• Thursday 3-11-04 Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena
• Saturday 3-13-04 Winston-Salem NC LJVM Coliseum
• Tuesday 3-16-04 Houston, TX Rodeo (Kelly Clarkson only)
• Wednesday 3-17-04 Austin, TX Rodeo (Kelly Clarkson only)
• Friday 3-19-04 Grand Prairie, TX NextStage at Grand Prairie
• Sunday 3-21-04 St. Louis, MO Savvis Center
• Monday 3-22-04 Chicago, IL United Center
• Wednesday 3-24-04 Omaha, NE Qwest Center
• Friday 3-26-04 Salt Lake City, UT The "E" Center or Delta Center
• Saturday 3-27-04 Las Vegas, NV Thomas & Mack Center
• Tuesday 3-30-04 San Diego, CA Cox Arena
• Wednesday 3-31-04 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena
• Friday 4-2-04 Glendale, AZ Glendale Arena
• Saturday 4-3-04 Anaheim, CA Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim
• Monday 4-5-04 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
• Tuesday 4-6-04 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion at San Jose
• Thursday 4-8-04 Seattle, WA Key Arena at Seattle Center
• Friday 4-9-04 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena
• Tuesday 4-13-04 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
• Thursday 4-15-04 Kansas City, MO Kemper Arena
• Friday 4-16-04 St. Paul, MN XCEL Energy Center

Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken are both managed by Simon Fuller, creator of American Idol and founder of the 19 Group of Companies. Founded in 1985, the 19 Group of Companies has achieved over 35 No. 1 singles and 14 number 1 albums. Fuller created and managed the Spice Girls who became a global phenomenon under his guidance selling close to 40 million albums worldwide. In 1998, Fuller launched S Club 7 which has sold 10 million CD's worldwide while its three television series consistently topped children's viewing figures in the 104 countries where it aired. In 2001, Fuller's 19TV created and produced the television phenomena "Pop Idol" and "American Idol." "Pop Idol" launched the singing careers of Will Young and Gareth Gates in the UK (both of whom are managed by Fuller) while "American Idol" has done the same thing for Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson. Other clients of Fuller's 19 management include "American Idol 2" winner Ruben Studdard, along with Tamyra Gray, and Annie Lennox.

BMG is the global music division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world's leading media companies. BMG owns more than 200 record labels in 42 countries including Ariola, Arista Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records and RCA Label Group - Nashville. In addition, BMG's music publishing operations are the third largest in the world.