American Idol finalist Corey Clark began his musical career at the age of 12 singing backup for Barry Manilow. Born into a musical family -- both his parents were singers as well -- on July 13, 1980, in San Bernardino, CA, Clark formed his first singing group in high school. Envy, as they were called, won numerous talent contests in the late '90s, providing Clark with his first production contract at the age of 17. The group moved to Los Angeles, eventually folding before a record could be made, despite opening for the likes of Mya, KRS-One, and Destiny's Child. In 2002 the Clark family relocated to Nashville, a move that proved fortuitous for the young Clark, as the producers for American Idol had begun auditions in the area. Clark rose fast through the ranks, eventually landing a spot in the coveted top ten. He was voted off amid the controversy of charges that he assaulted his teenage sister and resisted arrest in an altercation in October of 2002. As the show's contestants became fewer, Clark went public with accusations of an affair with Idol judge Paula Abdul. The show's producers, as well as Abdul, fiercely denied the charges, calling Clark an opportunist who was just trying to stir up interest in his forthcoming book of Idol memoirs. He released his self-titled debut album in the summer of 2005. ~ James Christopher Monger
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