From the beginning of his stint on American Idol, Ruben Studdard 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. His first full CD, "Soulful" was released December 2003 and still holds the record as the highest debut of any American Idol Winner with over 400,000 copies sold during its first week. "Soulful" would go on to sell approximately 1.8 million copies. The single "Sorry 2004" from this album reached #9 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.
Born in Germany, Christopher Ruben Studdard would later grow up in his beloved Birmingham, Alabama and begin an amazing journey. The journey would lead him from a young boy who expressed his love for music through singing at Rising Sun Baptist Church to later having to choose between his love for music and his love for football. His love for music would eventually prevail and would lead him to what was perhaps his hardest challenge, which was convincing his mother that he should forego his music major at Alabama A&M to pursue his dream of singing. They reached a compromise; if he did not make strides in music within five years, he would go back to college.