‘American Idol’ winner to take stage in Dayton this week

Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard to perform the music of his role model Luther Vandross.

Soulful singers with silky voices and large bands aren’t necessarily considered hip in this modern age of highly processed music. However, there’s still a huge audience demand for quality live R&B as proven by the success of Ruben Studdard’s current “Ruben sings Luther” tour, stopping at Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Thursday, April 4.

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The singer, who was born in Germany but grew up in Birmingham, Ala., won the second season of “American Idol” in 2003. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance later that year. He has released seven studio albums, including his platinum debut, “Soulful” (2003), “Letters from Birmingham” (2012) and “Ruben Sings Luther” (2018).

Studdard recently answered some questions about singing the songs of Luther Vandross, who passed away in 2005.

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Q: What’s it like singing these songs night after?

A: Honestly, I didn't expect to be having as much fun as I am, but it's been really good. I did grow up listening to Luther Vandross. My mother was a big fan so that made it more personal. By the same token, these are Luther's songs, it isn't my material, so I still had to make the connection to the songs. I've had an opportunity to sing these songs for his fans and enjoy myself in the process. It's been cool, man.

Q: Why do think this show remains popular?

A: People were already connected to this material because, of course, Luther had a huge following. Everybody enjoyed his music but the connection also has to be made with me so we had to figure out how to present it so people will feel the spirit of Luther. We do our best to try to replicate a Luther Vandross concert and people have been responding to it really well.

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Q: How big is your band for this tour?

A: We have nine band members and four crew members. I don't carry that many people for a regular Ruben Studdard show, but this show definitely warrants the full experience and people pay for it so when they come see 'Ruben Sings Luther,' we want to give them exactly what they paid for.

Q: What’s up next for you?

A: I'm recording another solo album this coming year. My producer is also my music director so he's on the road with me. We're coming up with some ideas. I don't really know what it's going to be. I just need to lock in. I'm probably going to get away a little while after this and clear my head and then go to work.

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What: Victoria Theatre Association's Universal 1 Credit Union Vic150 Music Series presents Ruben Studdard in "Ruben sings Luther"

Where: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4

Cost: $42.50-$65.50

More info: 937-228-3630 or www.ticketcenterstage.com

Artist info: www.rubenstuddard.com

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