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Ruben Studdard ‘Always and Forever’ tour hits Pasadena, April 11

Ruben Studdard's 25-city “Always and Forever” tour stops at The Rose, 245 E. Green St. in Pasadena on April 11, 2018.  Doors open at 6 p.m.

Compton Herald | Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard. Photo: The Davenport Design Studio

Ruben Studdard drops Luther Vandross tribute album, ‘Ruben Sings Luther’; American Idol winner visits The Rose entertainment venue at the Paseo Colorado

HOLLYWOOD  — Award-winning and Grammy-nominated R&B, gospel and pop singer Ruben Studdard has released Ruben Sings Luther, his first album in four years. Studdard, known as the “Velvet Teddy Bear” and American Idol Season 2 winner, pays homage to the multiple Grammy award-winning singer, writer, and producer Luther Vandross, who passed in 2005.

Studdard is well known for skillfully covering popular songs recorded by music legends. It comes as no surprise that Studdard would return to the music world after a four-year recording hiatus with a solid release of nostalgic songs made famous by Vandross.

25-city “Always and Forever” tour

“In my young teens, I would perform a Luther song or two at weddings and people would keep requesting more of his hits,” said Studdard. “I recorded ‘Superstar’ awhile back which was Grammy nominated and sang different Luther songs during my live shows.”

In conjunction with the new music, Studdard embarks on a 25-city “Always and Forever” tour with a stop at The Rose, 245 E. Green St. in Pasadena [MAP] on April 11, 2018.  Doors open at 6 p.m. with opening sets by H’Atina G and The Millen Sisters at 7 p.m. Studdard’s approximately 90-minute set begins at 9 p.m.

“I am excited and proud of my latest project Ruben Sings Luther, which dropped on March 16, 2018,” said Studdard.  “For years, people have asked me when I would record Luther’s songs.”

Studdard finally answers his fans’ persistent requests and delivers a 10-song album dedicated to Vandross’ legacy of timeless music.  “My goal was to not only to pay tribute to Luther but to add my own passion on top of Luther’s brilliant songs,” he said.  “I picked the songs that I thought I sounded good singing. I felt that the “House is Not a Home,” which is a Burt Bacharach song, not a Luther original, to be my best.”

A sampling of Ruben Sings Luther playlist includes, “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” “Here and Now,” “A House Is Not a Home,” and “Power of Love.”

Studdard said there is no bigger fan of Luther than his mother, Emily.  “I grew up listening to Luther,” he said.  “My mother collected all his records and still has them.”

He recalls her playing “Don’t You Know That,” while doing household chores. “That song became one of my favorites,” he said. “My mother wouldn’t hesitate to hire a babysitter so she could attend Luther’s concerts.” Studdard is the youngest of his siblings.

“I guess I was always a fan from a distance,” he said.  “I never saw Luther perform live or met him but got to know him through my mother’s love for his music, eventually he became my favorite too.”

As a teen, Studdard said he really learned to appreciate Vandross when he became serious about singing.  The carefully selected songs prove that Studdard has musically filled the shoes of Vandross and has nailed down other details to bring the fans a “Luther-ese” experience down to the stylish wardrobe and choreography.

Next for Ruben Studdard

“I have been planning to go on tour for a while and my live shows give fans a chance to reminisce about Luther,” said Studdard. “My album offers fans the opportunity to take me home and listen to my interpretation of the songs they love.”

“My heart and soul will be in every note I sing as I honor one of the greatest vocalists we’ve ever had,” he said.

“I’m working on a new album to be released before my birthday in September,” he says. “I also have a Christmas album yet to the titled but hope to have out by this Christmas. To date, Studdard recorded seven studio albums, appears frequently on TV, and has sold more than two million albums worldwide.

Ironically, the “Always and Forever” tour, as of this date, does not include his hometown, Birmingham, Ala.  “I hope to bring it home for my mom and fans soon,” said Studdard.

Marie Y. Lemelle is founder and owner of Platinum Star Public Relations, an award-winning, global marketing and communications firm. Platinum Star’s clientele includes the sports, film, music and health & wellness industries, as well as corporations and nonprofit organizations.

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