In the 10 years since he brightened the world of pop music with his American Idol-winning romantic balladry, Ruben Studdard has warned the hearts of his huge fan base with five albums and touring with the varied likes of Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, CeCe Winans and David Foster.
But with his latest album Unconditional Love, which was helmed by Foster in his role as chairman of Studdard’s new label Verve Records, he has delivered the recording that he himself states is “the record I should have made after I won American Idol.” Unconditional Love brings together timeless classics and new compositions sure to qualify, including “Meant To Be,” the first single, which Studdard introduced on the finale of The Biggest Loser, and co-wrote with Foster.
From the beginning of his stint on American Idol, Ruben made his presence known. The cuddly guy with a winning smile, that even came equipped with dimples, stole the hearts of many. His humble spirit and a voice so smooth that R&B legend Gladys Knight dubbed him “The Velvet Teddy Bear,” won the hearts of many. Each week Ruben was a star that shone brightly. His infectious personality and soulful voice led him to become the winner by over 100,000 votes. His debut single, “Flying Without Wings/Superstar,” quickly achieved gold status. He earned a 2003 Grammy nomination for “Best R&B Male Vocal Performance for “Superstar.” He also received a Billboard Award, BET Image Award, Teen Choice Award and nominations for numerous other music awards.
“Blending Ruben Studdard’s southern-flavored soul and David Foster’s Grammy-Award-winning Midas touch might seem like a bit of a stretch, but from the very beginning the American Idol winner demonstrated skills that could transcend the trends and make songs timeless. Some will yearn for more grit and less gloss, but for Velvet Teddy Bear fans, there’s plenty to marvel at and enjoy about Unconditional Love. “Highly Recommended.” – Melody Charles, soultracks.com