BLACK VOICES
02/11/2014 04:13 pm ET Updated Feb 18, 2014

Ruben Studdard Talks 112 Pound Weight Loss, 'American Idol' Fame

Ten years after becoming the winner of “American Idol’s” second season, Ruben Studdard has released his 6th studio album this month entitled, “Unconditional Love."

The 11-track opus finds the Birmingham, Alabama native collaborating with the likes of Eric Benét, Lalah Hathaway, and world renown producer-musician, David Foster. And though the 35-year-old crooner is celebrating his ten year “American Idol” anniversary in May, he has no qualms about the show being referenced as his claim to fame.

“For a boy from Alabama who had no idea of how to enter the music industry after getting no responses to the demos I was sending in, it was a great blessing,” he said during a recent interview with Billboard. “It's a six-month music industry crash course. But what you learn quickly after leaving the show is that the industry is and isn't ‘American Idol.’ A.I. is a huge pop show, but the urban market is completely different. Still, the show was first class from the time I stepped off the plane.”

In addition to Studdard advancing his music career, he has also been conscious about maintaining a balanced diet by participating as a contestant on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” And while Studdard admitted during a 2012 interview with the Huffington Post that he would never attempt to become a “spokesperson for health and wellness” due to his physical shape, he has since lost 112 pounds and feels “sexy!”

“I most definitely feel better than I did before,” he added to Billboard. “I have much more energy. But I've always felt I was sexy [laughs]. Maybe that's just the conceited side of me.”

“My earlier weight loss in 2008 was for other people. This time it's for me. I was fighting so hard to figure out how to get on top musically that I neglected to take care of myself. It was unfortunate, but the truth. And now I'm finding a way to fix that balance.”

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