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Ruben Studdard Releases “Unconditional Love,” Announces Joint Tour with Lalah Hathaway


Verve RecordsWith Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, Ruben Studdard will help set the mood with his newly released album, Unconditional Love. Surprisingly, though, the former American Idol winner revealed that the timing of his release around the most romantic day of the year was a happy coincidence.

“It was not intentional,” Ruben tells ABC News Radio. “But, you know, it’s perfect because I feel like everyday, when you’re in love with somebody, should be a Valentine’s Day.”

The crooner’s disc was executive produced by the legendary producer David Foster, who only agreed to do the album if Ruben stuck to making classic love songs.

“We’ve been talking about doing an album for as long as I can remember and we just never really had the opportunity,” Studddard recalls. “He’s always just said, ‘Ruben you have to do classic love songs.’ He’s like, ‘I won’t produce an album with you unless its classic love songs, like that’s your thing.'”

With that in mind, Ruben decided to cover classic Motown hits like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell‘s “If This World Were Mine,” the Carpenters‘ “Close to You” with Stevie Wonder on harmonica and the Teddy Pendergrass hit, “Close the Door.” Ruben says he hopes the emotional tunes will strike a chord with his fans.

“I hope everybody loves it — not like it, I want you to love this album,” he tells ABC News Radio. “There’s a reason why I named it Unconditional Love, because I want this album to invoke the feeling of true love, not just passing infatuations.  But these songs are about real relationships and real feelings, and I want people to feel that when they listen to me sing.”

This week also seen the release of Toni Braxton and Babyface‘s joint album, Love, Marriage & Divorce, which doesn’t seem to worry Studdard in terms of having competition.

“I’m just glad good music is coming out on the same day,” he says. “I recorded my very first single with Babyface and I literally was just at an event where Babyface was sitting, like, right in the front row, staring at me singing a song and I still don’t know how to take the people that I grew up idolizing being in my presence. It’s still like a weird situation for me. But I’m really happy for them.”

After singing the hook to the duo’s hit song, “Hurt You,” Ruben says, “I’m excited. Please get both albums.”

Ruben explained to ABC News Radio why he’s not too concerned with first-week sales.

“Of course I want to sell as many records as possible, I just want this album to have real legs,” he says. “Especially in the climate of the music industry, I can not really concern myself with what the album does in its first week. But, I am believing that it’s going to be great, whatever it is.” 

In addition to releasing his Unconditional Love LP, the crooner has also announced a mini-tour with Lalah Hathaway, beginning April 5 at Detroit’s Garden Theatre and concluding on April 25 at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In related news, Ruben is scheduled to make several TV appearances this month. He’ll be on Live! With Kelly & Michael on February 10.  He also will make appearances on The Today ShowDr. Phil and BET’s new special, Being. In addition, fans can check out an intimate performance from Studdard on February 10 at 4 p.m. ET on Livestream.

Here are the dates for the Ruben Studdard and Lalah Hathaway Tour:

4/5 — Detroit, MI, The Garden Theatre
4/6 — Minneapolis, MN, Dakota Jazz Club
4/7 — Minneapolis, MN, Dakota Jazz Club
4/8  — Minneapolis, MN, Dakota Jazz Club
4/10 — Seattle, WA, Jazz Alley
4/11 — Seattle, WA, Jazz Alley
4/12 — Seattle, WA, Jazz Alley
4/13 — Seattle, WA, Jazz Alley
4/25 — Chattanooga, TN, Tivoli Theatre

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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