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'Idol' Studdard: 'I've not changed at all'

"American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard

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(CNN) -- Since taking the title last week in the season finale of "American Idol," Ruben Studdard has been busy promoting himself and his upcoming single, "Flying Without Wings."

He joined Anchor Fredricka Whitfield from CNN's New York studios to talk about what's next for the rising star known as the "Velvet Teddy Bear."

WHITFIELD: Well, what's it like being now a household name? Of course, you've been one for some weeks now, but now as the "American Idol," how has life changed?

STUDDARD: It has been wonderful, man. I've enjoyed every minute of it, and God has truly blessed me, so I can't do anything but be grateful.

WHITFIELD: And I know you've been incredibly busy. You have been, you know, from television station to television station. Have you actually made it into the studio as of yet?

STUDDARD: Yes, I was there for, like, two hours and I finished the single up, and then I went to another interview.

WHITFIELD: Oh, wow. So how impressive was it initially when you walked into that studio and you realized, "Oh, my gosh, I'm going to be recording my first song here, and my first album, right here in a recording studio"?

STUDDARD: I mean, it's great. I've been doing different recordings my whole life, so this was just the culmination of a lot of hard work and I'm just -- I'm excited.

WHITFIELD: Yes. It must be still pretty overwhelming. Do you still kind of feel rather numb, that this really can't be?

STUDDARD: Well, it's different, man. I didn't know it would be this quick. I never knew that the things I wanted to do would come this fast, but this is the route that God took me, and so I'm excited.

WHITFIELD:At the same time, I imagine it has got to be pretty overwhelming and fairly exhausting that so many people are pulling at you, to have so many demands of you. But how does Ruben stay Ruben in all of this?

STUDDARD: Well, I've always believed in just being myself, so it's paid off, and I've not changed at all, so...

WHITFIELD: And how much input will you have on your new album?

STUDDARD: Well, I think I have a lot of input. I think all parties involved want to have a good project that we can all be happy with and that comes with teamwork.

WHITFIELD: Speaking of teamwork, you and Clay have exhibited a real good friendship that you all have had, and you have been touring, so to speak, in the last week, making appearances. Is this kind of strange that while you're enjoying being the "American Idol," you're also kind of sharing the spotlight with the runner-up?

STUDDARD: Yes, me and Clay are really good friends. That's my boy. Hopefully we'll get to do a couple of things for you so you can laugh.

WHITFIELD: Oh, well, that is good, because I know everyone has a really good sense of humor, and you all actually do sound great together.

STUDDARD: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And let's talk about this tour that's going to involve many of the contestants on the "American Idol" show. That's coming up. What is that going to be like?

STUDDARD: The tour starts July 8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I'm excited about it. I have never been on tour before other than with my college choir, so...

WHITFIELD: Oh, wow. This is going to be incredibly overwhelming. Well, I know you really can't wait to bring that tour to your hometown in Alabama.

STUDDARD: Yes. We're coming to Birmingham August 15.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. The dates are out.


WHITFIELD: So now, what about rehearsals? Have you all been having rehearsals together? I mean, how do you fit that in with this busy schedule of yours?

STUDDARD: We don't start rehearsing for a while, but it'll probably be in the next few weeks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ruben Studdard, congratulations and thanks so much for squeezing us into your very busy schedule.

STUDDARD: No, thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right, and good luck to you, and we'll all be looking for that first single, and, of course, the album next.

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