Let's Luther! American Idol Winner Ruben Studdard Sings The Music of Luther Vandross
The Orem performance is among 25 venues across the country this summer that will feature Studdard, an American R&B, pop and gospel singer who won the second season of "American Idol" in 2002. In addition to being nominated for a Grammy Award and releasing seven studio albums-including his platinum "Soulful"-Studdard has often been compared to the legendary Luther Vandross, an eight-time Grammy winner who died in 2005.
Studdard's interest in the late great vocalist began with his childhood. Studdard grew up listening to Vandross and says his mother played the artist continually, especially during Christmas holidays. In his young teens, he often performed a Vandross song or two at weddings-and people frequently requested encores of Vandross favorites.
While it became standard to include some Vandross in his own concerts, Studdard says it was particularly thrilling to select his favorites from various Vandross albums and to put his passion and interpretation on them for his album "Ruben Sings Luther," released in 2018.
After releasing the tribute recording, Studdard decided to pay additional homage to his idol with a tour of Luther's signature classics. Ruben selected the best of Vandross and added his own heart and soul to each song. "I'm so proud of this record," he explains. "I am honoring one of the greatest vocalists we've ever had."
Patrons will see a concert that recreates the production elements that were ever present in a Luther show, including musicians, background singers, wardrobe and lighting. Studdard, whom the legendary Gladys Knight dubbed the velvet teddy bear because of his smooth voice, will provide bountiful charm and award-winning vocals.
Tickets range from $25 to $45 for adults and $20 to $40 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. They are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, in person at the main office at SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 South State, Orem (open 10 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. weekdays) or at the Shell gate prior to the concert. SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre is located at 600 South 400 East, in the middle of SCERA Park, Orem.
As a youth growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Studdard was torn between football and singing, his two loves. He entered Alabama A&M but left to pursue a music career. He promised his mother he would return to college in five years if he had not made significant strides in music. He has yet to return to school.
Studdard appears frequently on television and has performed on Broadway, including a show with Clay Aiken, his Idol runner-up. He began singing with Just a Few Cats as lead singer even before he gained national attention for "American Idol." He has toured extensively for nearly two decades and has sold more than two million albums.
He is a performer who believes in giving back to others who love music and founded the Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts, which focuses on the need for music education in schools.