American Idol winner Ruben Studdard will lead a master class at UTC this spring

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – An American Idol winner is coming to UTC this spring to teach.

Ruben Studdard edged out Clay Aiken to win the second season of the singing show in 2003, where he won the nickname the Velvet Teddy Bear from no-less than Gladys Knight.

His debut album was nominated for a grammy.

This spring, he will lead a series of master classes for the Department of Performing Arts.

He will also work with The Singing Mocs.

“This is an opportunity to share all the wisdom that I’ve gained with young people and I’m so looking forward to it,” Studdard said. “I understand the importance of ‘See it, be it,’ and there are a lot of young people that want to be involved in the music industry that are music majors or theater majors or just in the arts, in general, and they really don’t know what that looks like in a real way.”

Education is important to Studdard.

He has a bachelor’s degree in vocal studies from Alabama A&M and his mother is still a teacher in the Birmingham public schools.

“When I was in school, I just wanted information,” he recalled, “and I loved my music history class. That was one of my favorite classes, not because I thought I would learn from Bach’s experience, but I just wanted to know about it. There may be kids that have that same desire to know for the sake of knowing.

“I’m sure these guys will be sponges. They’ll be looking for information that will help guide them if the music industry is something that they want to do.”

The Studdard/UTC connection began in October when he sang the National Anthem at a Mocs football game.

It was a favor for his longtime friend, Stacy Lightfoot, who is now vice chancellor for diversity and engagement at the University.

Categories: Chattanooga, Entertainment, Hamilton County, Local News