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Kelly Clarkson

                   
Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson leaving the ITV studio in London on June 8, 2012
Background information
Birth name Kelly Brianne Clarkson
Born (1982-04-24) April 24, 1982 (age 30)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Origin Burleson, Texas
Genres Pop rock, pop, soft rock, R&B, soul, pop punk, power pop, adult contemporary, funk rock, dance-pop, dance rock, electro, country pop, synthpop
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2001–present[1]
Labels RCA, 19
Associated acts Reba McEntire, Clay Aiken, Jason Aldean, The Fray
Website kellyclarkson.com

Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter and occasional actress. Clarkson came into prominence after becoming the winner of the inaugural season of the television series American Idol in 2002 and later was the runner-up in the television special World Idol in 2003.

Two weeks after Clarkson was crowed the American Idol, her coronation single, "A Moment Like This" (2002), was released and broke The Beatles' record for the biggest leap to number one, from 52, in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2003, Clarkson released her debut album, Thankful, which entered the Billboard 200 at number one. Its first single, "Miss Independent", received a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the 46th Grammy Awards. The album was a commercial success and has sold 4.5 million copies worldwide. After the Independent Tour, Clarkson developed a more rock-oriented sound with the release of her critically acclaimed sophomore album, Breakaway (2004), which sold more than 12 million copies worldwide[2] which garnered Clarkson further global recognition as a pop rock artist. The album's fourth single, "Because of You" (2005), became the best-selling single by an Idol contestant worldwide. In 2006, Clarkson received a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album and another for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for its hit single "Since U Been Gone" at the 48th Grammy Awards. After parting with her management, Clarkson took full creative control and executively produced her third album My December (2007) alongside Jeff Kwatinetz, which was met with controversy within her label. In spite of little promotion, My December has been certified platinium in the United States and Canada, and has sold 3 million copies worldwide. Clarkson later returned to a more pop-oriented sound with All I Ever Wanted (2009) while co-writing half the record, which became a commercial and critical success. The album's lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You" (2009), topped the charts in the United Kingdom and the United States by surpassing A Moment Like This' record for the biggest leap to number one on a single week in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, a record it still holds today. Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger, was released in 2011, containing elements from dance-pop, synthpop, R&B and country-pop. The album's lead single, "Mr. Know It All" is widely regarded as a sleeper hit, which eventually became her ninth top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It's second single, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (2012), became her most commercially successful single in over twenty countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Aside from being renowned for her title as the "Original American Idol",[3][4][5] Clarkson is also widely known for her powerhouse performances, vocal versatility and heroine image. Her music has mainly dealt with themes of heartbreak, independence, and self-empowerment for women and young teens. Apart for her work in music, Clarkson also ventured to television and film. Clarkson's film debut in the romantic musical From Justin to Kelly (2003) met with mediocre success. She appeared in various television series such as American Dreams and Reba, and became a guest mentor on The Voice. In a career spanning a decade, Clarkson has become the most successful Idol contestant internationally with album sales of over 23 million and singles sales of over 36 million worldwide,[6] according to Billboard[7] and Nielsen SoundScan.[8][9][10] Clarkson's music work also gained her numerous accolades, including two Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards and a Women's World Award. Billboard also ranked Clarkson as the 14th best-selling artist of the 2000s, as well as also being ranked on the top 200 album sellers of the Nielsen SoundScan era at number 187.[11][12] Clarkson is currently a mentor and judge on Duets.

Contents

Early life and career beginnings

Clarkson was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in the small town of Burleson, a suburb of Fort Worth. She is the third and youngest child of Jeanne Rose, a first grade English teacher of Greek descent and Stephen Michael Clarkson, a former engineer of English descent.[citation needed] Clarkson's siblings include her older brother and sister, Jason and Alyssa. When Clarkson was six years old, her parents divorced after seventeen years of marriage. The family settled in Burleson, where Clarkson's mother married her second husband, Jimmy Taylor.[13] Clarkson's family struggled financially, and after her parents divorced, music became her refuge. Clarkson attended Pauline G Hughes Middle School and Burleson High School. She wanted to become a marine biologist but changed her mind after seeing the movie Jaws.[14] In seventh grade, a teacher (Mrs. Cynthia Glenn) overheard her singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir; Clarkson told the teacher that she had never received professional vocal training. In high school, Clarkson performed in musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Brigadoon. She sang at her high school talent show, after which an audience member shared some inspiring words with her: "God has given you this gift. You've got to sing. You're destined to sing." Clarkson continued singing and soon started classical training, hoping that music would be her ticket to a college scholarship.[15] Upon high school graduation, Clarkson was offered full scholarships to The University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas, and Berklee, but decided against college because she had "already written so much music and wanted to try it on her own," and she figured "you're never too old to go to college."[15]

Clarkson later turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records in the late 1990s, stating "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act. I was confident enough that something better would come along."[16] She went to Los Angeles in late 2001 to pursue a career in music, but worked as a waitress and appeared as an extra in such shows as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Dharma & Greg to support herself.[17] She worked with songwriters such as Gerry Goffin and recorded five tracks between January and March 2002 to try to get a record deal, but returned to Texas after four months in Los Angeles.[1]

Music career

2002–03: American Idol and World Idol

Clarkson auditioned for the first season of American Idol (under the full title American Idol: The Search for a Superstar) in May 2002. She subsequently won the competition on September 4, 2002, earning 58% of the vote against runner-up Justin Guarini.[18] Clarkson performed the ballad "A Moment Like This", the song written for the winner of American Idol, which subsequently appeared on her debut album, Thankful. When released as a single in October 2002, it set a record on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart when it rose from number 52 to number one.[19] The CD single sold 297,000 copies in its first week of sales in the U.S.[20] and spent five weeks at number one in Canada. [21]

American Idol season 1 performances and results

Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Dallas "Express Yourself"
"At Last"
Madonna
Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
N/A Advanced
Top 121 Hollywood round 1 "Respect" Otis Redding
Top 65 Hollywood round 2 "I Say a Little Prayer" Dionne Warwick
Top 45 Hollywood round 3 "Save The Best For Last" Vanessa L. Williams
Top 30 Semifinal/Group 2 "Respect" Otis Redding 9
Top 10 Motown "You're All I Need to Get By" Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell 8 Safe
Top 8 1960s "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Aretha Franklin 5
Top 7 1970s "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" Ben E. King
Top 6 Big Band "Stuff Like That There" Betty Hutton 6
Top 5 Burt Bacharach Love Songs "Walk On By" Dionne Warwick 1
Top 4 1980s
1990s
"It's Raining Men"
"I Surrender"
The Weather Girls
Celine Dion
3
7
Top 3 Judges' Choice
Idol's Choice
"Without You"
"Think Twice"
Badfinger
Celine Dion
3
6
Top 2 Finale "A Moment Like This"
"Respect"
"Before Your Love"
Kelly Clarkson
Otis Redding
Kelly Clarkson
2
4
6
Winner

World Idol performance and results

Song choice GER AUS GCC CAN NLD SA POL US BE UK NOR Total Result
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" 9 9 5 9 9 8 8 12 9 9 10 97 Runner-up
  Clarkson performed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2002, following her win on American Idol.

In December 2003, a competition titled World Idol was held at the Pop Idol stage in London, gathering the winners of the first seasons of Idol series around the world. Clarkson was contractually obligated to participate, and placed second behind Norwegian Idol Kurt Nilsen. She performed Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". She left immediately after the competition, later explaining to fans that she was not feeling well.[22]

2003–04: Thankful

Shortly after the completion of the first season of American Idol, Clarkson was signed to RCA Records by Clive Davis and Simon Fuller. In 2003, Clarkson was later accused of working with a record company prior to winning American Idol. American Idol's rules stated that a contestant was not allowed to compete on the program if they had been linked to a record company. However, she was cleared of all allegations, as she only had a contract in order to conduct demonstration work.[23]

Following the release of "A Moment Like This", Clarkson's full-length debut album Thankful was released in North America by RCA Records on April 15, 2003 with several singers and songwriters including Christina Aguilera, Diane Warren and Babyface contributing on the tracks.[24] It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. To promote the album, Clarkson appeared on various episodes of American Idol in 2003. In October that year she performed in Australia at the 2003 NRL grand final.[25] "A Moment Like This" was certified double platinum by the RIAA for sales of two million copies on December 8, 2003[26] and platinum by the CRIA for sales of 100,000 copies on February 10, 2004.[27] Thankful peaked at number 41 on the UK albums chart and at number 33 on the Australian albums chart.

Reviews for the album were generally favorable. However, several critics noted that her early achievement was established due to her performances on American Idol. Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the album for its vocal ability: "throughout this record, [Clarkson] makes it seem effortless and charming. She can croon, she can belt out a song, she can be sexy and sassy while still being graceful and as wholesome as the girl next door".[28] Rachel Kipp of JS Online criticized Clarkson for not having the same personality on Thankful that she had on American Idol, and wrote: "on American Idol, Clarkson showcased a great voice and an endearing, 'aw-shucks' personality. That personality is missing on Thankful, and there lies the album's greatest fault". Kipp blamed the producers behind the album for not allowing Clarkson to be herself.[29] Clarkson covered Danielle Brisebois' "Just Missed the Train" on the album.

"Miss Independent" was released as the second single from Thankful. It reached the top ten of the U.S. and Canadian singles charts, and earned Clarkson a 2004 Grammy Award nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance".[30] When the single was released in the United Kingdom and Australia, it reached the top ten of the charts. "Low", the third single from Thankful, reached number two in Canada, but it was unable to make the top 40 of the US chart. The final single, "The Trouble with Love Is", was released as a promotional single for the British romantic film Love Actually and failed to chart in the United States, she then promoted the song on Pop Idol in 2003.

Soon after the first season of American Idol ended, Clarkson starred with Idol runner-up Justin Guarini in the movie From Justin to Kelly (2003). The film was poorly received by critics[31] and grossed only $5 million at the North American box office, less than half its reported budget.[32] Clarkson has mentioned in interviews that she is shocked when people send her scripts after From Justin to Kelly, often citing contractual obligation as her sole reason for involvement in the film.[33] Clarkson was quoted telling People, "I knew when I read the script it was going to be real, real bad, but when I won, I signed that piece of paper and I could not get out of it."[34] The script was written by Kim Fuller, Simon Fuller's brother.[35]

She played Brenda Lee in the television drama American Dreams and appeared in the sitcom Reba. She also participated in sketch comedy on MADtv (2002) and Saturday Night Live (2005).[36]

2004–06: Breakaway

Distancing herself from her American Idol image, Clarkson parted ways with 19 Entertainment and took more creative control with her second studio album Breakaway, to develop a more rock-oriented image.[37] Clarkson co-wrote six of the songs with songwriters such as former Evanescence band members Ben Moody, David Hodges and producer Max Martin; the title track was co-written by pop-rock singer Avril Lavigne.

Breakaway was released by RCA Records on November 30, 2004.[38] The album debuted within the U.S. top five and Canadian top ten, but sales were initially low in comparison to Thankful.[39] The singles from Breakaway were very successful, and the album became only the fourth album in history to stay in the Billboard 200 top 20 for a consecutive year, as well as being certified six times platinum in the U.S. in late 2007[40] and five times platinum in Canada in May 2006.[41] With worldwide sales of over 12 million copies, Breakaway is the most successful album by an Idol.

Breakaway received different responses from critics; Rolling Stone commented that "on Kelly Clarkson's second album, ... she embraces her rock side rather than the pop pageantry that put her on top of the American Idol heap".[42] TeenInk noted the strength of her vocals on Breakaway, and praised the change from pop music to contemporary rock: "[Clarkson] retains the incredible power and beauty of her voice while switching to rock".[43] Stylus magazine also enjoyed Clarkson's foray into rock music, however, she was called out because of her American Idol image, which reviewer Charles Merwin believed she had yet to lose. He praised the non-singles and wrote that they "maintain a quality high".[44] Allmusic called the album "a nice, low-key relief".[45]

  Clarkson performing her Hazel Eyes concert tour on November 10, 2005, Geelong, Australia

"Breakaway" served as the original song for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) and achieved considerable success across the world; it became Clarkson's third top-ten single in the U.S. and fourth top-ten single in Canada. It reached number ten in Australia, and number 22 in the UK. The second single, "Since U Been Gone", which was produced by Max Martin, became the most successful release from the album. It reached number two in the U.S. and the top five across the world. It also earned Clarkson her first Grammy Award for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance"; she won a second award for "Best Pop Vocal Album".[46]

The third and fourth single releases, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Because of You", also followed with chart success. The video for "Because of You" won the 2006 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, her second consecutive win in that category (following "Since U Been Gone"). Clarkson was the most-played artist of 2006 on American radio, despite releasing only one single in the entire year, "Walk Away" (the fifth single from Breakaway).[47] She was also the most radio-broadcasted artist of 2006 in Australia and "Because of You" was the third most broadcast song of the same year, despite being released in 2005.[48]

  Clarkson at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Texas, Joint Reserve Base in 2006

In 2005, Clarkson made a performance during the 2005 NBA All-Star Weekend as part of the festivities leading up to the All-Star Game.[49] Later that year, she performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons She also performed that spring as part of the 2005 NCAA Final Four festivities in St. Louis, Missouri.[50]

Clarkson performed during the festivities of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.[51] In mid 2006, Clarkson lent Ford Motor Co. a song titled "Go", written by Clarkson and Rhett Lawrence ("Miss Independent"). The song was used in the company's advertising campaign in 2006, "Bold Moves" and the song, along with its music video, was made available free at Ford's AddictedtoKelly.com website (now defunct).[52]

2006–08: My December

  Clarkson in April 6, 2008 during her My December Tour

During her tour in Europe in 2006, Clarkson began writing songs for her third album, My December.[53] The first single from My December was "Never Again", which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number eight. Clarkson released "Sober" as the second single. She returned to American Idol for the season 6 finale, performing "Never Again" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry during a Beatles medley.[54]

Clarkson parted with her management, The Firm, in June 2007, amid low radio airplay for "Never Again" and low ticket sales for her then-upcoming tour.[55] Clarkson then signed with Starstruck Entertainment, run by Narvel Blackstock – the husband of Reba McEntire – on July 2, 2007.[56] The same month, Live Nation announced that the tour – her first nationwide arena tour – had been canceled due to underwhelming ticket sales, to be rescheduled after the release of the My December album at smaller, more intimate concert environments.[57] Clarkson reinstated plans to tour the U.S. during 2007, with a much smaller tour than the one she canceled in June. She began her My December Tour in October 2007 in venues significantly smaller than those previously booked.[58] The August 2007 issue of Blender included a feature on Clarkson and her new album, as well as her music label woes.[59]

My December was released in the U.S. on June 26, 2007. The album debuted at number two in the U.S. with 291,000 albums sold,[60] a slightly higher debut than Clarkson's previous album, Breakaway, which debuted at number three.[61] In Canada, the album was awarded a platinum certification for shipments of more than 100,000 copies.[62] My December was certified platinum in December 2007 by the RIAA.[63] It has sold more than three million copies worldwide.[64]

In April 2007, Clarkson appeared on the American Idol Idol Gives Back charity show aimed at raising money for tackling poverty, hunger and AIDS in Africa, as well as the Hurricane Katrina appeal. Clarkson noted that she was in a dispute with her record label bosses and executives as to which song to perform for the event. Clarkson refused to perform her new single "Never Again" viewing it as simple self-promotion through a charitable event. She is quoted as saying,

My label wanted me to sing 'Never Again,' and I was like, to promote yourself on a charity event is beyond crass. People are starving and dying and I'm up there singing some bitter pop song? And believe me, everyone wanted me to sing it. Because they are jaded and they have no soul. Imagine sitting in a room full of people totally against you. Can't they hear themselves speaking? Capitalize on AIDS? Are you kidding? Insulting an entire nation of people? I just refused."[65]

She opted to perform Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain". After the performance, the audience who watched Clarkson perform live gave her a standing ovation. American Idol judge Simon Cowell described her as "incredible", saying, "When you let her [Clarkson] come back on the show it makes everybody else look like an amateur."[66] Clarkson later sang "Never Again" in the American Idol grand finale on May 23, 2007. On July 7, 2007, Clarkson performed on the American leg of Live Earth.[67] Clarkson was invited to be a celebrity mentor for Canadian Idol during its Top 5 week of the fifth season, aired on the CTV network on August 20, and she performed on the results show the next night. Clarkson also performed the grand finale of Swedish Idol in December 2007.[68] Clarkson also performed at the 2007 NFL opening kickoff where she sang the national anthem and songs from My December.[69] Clarkson also performed in the halftime show for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets game on Thanksgiving Day.[70][71]

  Clarkson performing at the Live Earth concert
  Clarkson and Reba McEntire performing during 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour

In addition to her roles as spokeswoman for the acne treatment Proactiv as well as Vitaminwater, Clarkson partnered with NASCAR for the 2007 season. She appeared in televised advertising spots, performed at pre-race concerts, promoted NASCAR Day, and appeared at the Champions' Banquet in December.[72] In April 2008, Clarkson participated in a Papal Youth Rally at the campus of St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie in Yonkers, New York performing a mini-concert for those in attendance. This was the Papal Visit of Pope Benedict XVI. She performed Schubert's "Ave Maria" for the Pope later in the day following the Pope's speech.[73]

Clarkson performed "What Hurts the Most" with Rascal Flatts at the ACM Awards in 2006 and returned again to sing a duet with Reba McEntire in 2007. This was her second performance on a country music award show, even though she is in the pop/rock genre. Along with her performance with Rascal Flatts, Clarkson also performed "Cigarettes", with the country duo The Wreckers during one of their shows in Texas.[74]

Building on her country music status, Clarkson and Reba McEntire, who first met after Clarkson won the first season of American Idol,[75] recorded an hour-long CMT Crossroads special at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium on February 22, 2007. It aired on CMT and Palladia (then known as MHD) on June 24, 2007. Previously, Clarkson was a performer on CMT's Giants: Reba McEntire. where she sang McEntire's hit song "Why Haven't I Heard From You", introduced Dolly Parton, and later also sang McEntire's hit "Does He Love You" with Martina McBride. Clarkson also appeared on an episode of McEntire's sitcom Reba, that aired on January 14, 2007.[76]

At the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16, 2007, Clarkson and McEntire sang a duet of Clarkson's own 2005 single, "Because of You", which also became the lead single from McEntire's album of all-star duets.[77] The music video for this version of the song later debuted on June 20, 2007. This collaboration with McEntire earned Clarkson a CMA Award nomination for "Musical Event of the Year" in 2007 and a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Country Collaboration With Vocal" in 2008. Additionally, the song was featured on Now That's What I Call Country, which was released in August 2008.

Clarkson was a surprise guest at the 2007 CMA Music Festival in Nashville on June 7, 2007, where she performed "Does He Love You" and "Because of You" with Reba McEntire during the internationally renowned annual event. The performance of "Because of You" was taped and aired as part of the "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock" television special that aired on ABC on July 23, 2007.[78]

On January 17, 2008, Clarkson embarked on the 2 Worlds, 2 Voices Tour 2008, a co-headlining tour with Reba McEntire. Reba and Clarkson have since stayed in touch and Clarkson is now managed by McEntire's husband Narvel Blackstock.[79]

On May 18, 2008, Clarkson performed on stage at the Academy of Country Music Awards All-Star Jam with Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn.[80] The All-Star jam is the final event of the week taking place immediately after the awards show. Clarkson was not announced ahead of time for an appearance.

2008–10: All I Ever Wanted

  Clarkson at red carpet 2009 VH1 Divas

Clarkson's fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, was released on March 10, 2009. During recording of the album, Clarkson worked closely with producer-songwriters Ryan Tedder, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Howard Benson, among others. In its first week of sales, it sold 255,000 copies in the U.S., debuting at number one on the Billboard 200; it stayed at number one for two weeks.[81] All I Ever Wanted received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Pop Vocal Album".[82] Clarkson was placed eighth on Billboard's Top Female Artists of 2009 and ninth on Billboard's Top Hot Artists of 2000s.[83] She was ranked second on Billboard's Best of 2000s: Pop Song Artist, behind Pink.[84]

  Clarkson in 2010 during her All I Ever Wanted World

The first single from All I Ever Wanted, "My Life Would Suck Without You", entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 97 and rose to number one the following week; this broke the record for the largest leap to the top spot, formerly held by Britney Spears' "Womanizer".This was the second time Clarkson broke this record. Moreover, "My Life Would Suck Without You" was Clarkson's first number one in the United Kingdom and it made her the first American Idol winner to achieve a number one single in the UK. The album's second single, "I Do Not Hook Up", peaked at number 20 in the U.S. "I Do Not Hook Up" did not fare very well overseas and the believed reason for this is due to a lack of radio support because a previous version had been recorded by Katy Perry. The third single, "Already Gone", reached number 13 in the USA and number 15 in Canada, but had mixed results internationally. "Already Gone" sparked another conflict between Clarkson and her label. There was a widely reported scandal with the album's third single, which Clarkson wrote with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Many critics had noticed that the backing track and style of the song sounded similar to Beyoncé's "Halo". After becoming aware of the comparisons, Clarkson did not want to release the song out of respect for Beyoncé, instead requesting release for a self-penned song, "Cry", which later hailed extremely positive reviews, most notably from the BBC.[85] However, her record company refused, publishing "Already Gone" against Clarkson's wishes. In response to the entire fiasco, Clarkson penned a song called "Wash Rinse Repeat" in which she states her view on the lack of creativity record labels give their artists; it is widely believed the song is an attack on Ryan Tedder.

The fourth single was "All I Ever Wanted". Clarkson performed as one of many guests for the return of VH1 Divas in September 2009.[86] Clarkson also became a guest mentor on the Dutch television series X Factor in November 2009.

Clarkson was announced as one of the VH1 Save the Music Foundation ambassadors for 2009–2010.[87] She began her 32-date All I Ever Wanted tour in October, following a string of summer concerts around the United States. Clarkson toured all over the world with the album, reaching territories such as Europe, South Africa, Oceania and Asia. The fall tour shows were performed in arena/theater type venues, with the summer tour being performed in outdoor amphitheatres. Her Indonesia show was initially sponsored by tobacco company Djarum, but after complaints from some fans and anti-tobacco groups, the promoter removed the sponsor.[88] The tour ended in May 2010 in China.[89]

2010–12: Stronger

On August 23, 2010, it was announced that Clarkson had recorded a duet called "Don't You Wanna Stay" with country star Jason Aldean for Aldean's upcoming album, My Kinda Party.[90] They performed the song at the 2010 CMA Awards on November 10, 2010[91] and again on April 14, 2011 during the elimination show of American Idol season ten. On the week ending February 27, 2011, the song moved to number one on Billboard Hot Country Songs, giving Clarkson her first number one hit on the chart.[92] As of July 21, 2011, "Don't You Wanna Stay" has sold nearly 2 million digital singles, becoming the most downloaded country music collaboration of all time.[93] "Don't You Wanna Stay" was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for "Best Country Duo/Group Performance".[94]

Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger, was released on October 24, 2011.[95] Clarkson began writing the material on November 2009 and was originally intended for a late 2010 release.[96] Clarkson collaborated with several producers including Greg Kurstin, Ester Dean, Darkchild, Toby Gad, Steve Jordan and Howard Benson.[97][98] Clarkson completed recording on February 28, 2011, and stated that it "was influenced by Prince, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, Radiohead and there's a little bit of a country vibe/influence on a couple of songs."[97] On March 15, 2011, she announced that the album had been pushed back to at least September 2011. Rodney Jerkins told The Hollywood Reporter that it was a "smart decision",[99] while Claude Kelly, said to MTV News that the move could work in her favor.[100] Associated Content also reported that the delay was caused by the company restructuring at Sony Music with the former Universal Music Group chairman Doug Morris entering as its new CEO.[99][101] The release of the album was accompanied by a limited release of Clarkson's first extended play, The Smoakstack Sessions, which featured alternate versions of Stronger and All I Ever Wanted songs.[102]

  Clarkson performing at Sudbury, Canada, in 2011

The first single, "Mr. Know It All", premiered via a live webcast on on August 30, 2011 and was commercially released on September 5, 2011. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 18, becoming her second highest debut since "Never Again" (2007); On November 3, the song ascended to number 10, earning Clarkson her ninth top ten single. On October 2, 2011, Clarkson performed the song at the 2011 NRL Grand Final in Sydney, Australia, marking Clarkson's first appearance at the event since the 2003 NRL Grand Final.[103][104][105] The following week, "Mr. Know It All" hit #1 on the Australian charts, the first single of her career to top the charts in that country.[106] 'Mr Know It All charted at number 4 in the UK and 8 in New Zealand. The song received double platinum certification in Australia and gold certification in New Zealand.

The album's second single, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)", was released to mainstream radio on January 17, 2012.[107] The song climbed to number one on the Hot 100 in its seventh week, becoming Clarkson's career's third number-one single, after "A Moment Like This" and "My Life Would Suck Without You".[108]. According to Clarkson, the song was inspired by a Friedrich Nietzsche quote, translated to "That which does not kill us makes us stronger", and its lyrics contain the theme of empowerment. The song is considered as an anthem for recovery after the end of a bad relationship. Stronger has been compared to Since U Been Gone, and received generally positive reviews from critics. The song also peaked at number one in Poland, Belgium, and Denmark. In addition, it peaked in the top 10 in over 15 countries and achieved 2x Platinum in Australia as well as Platinum in New Zealand, Canada and Denmark, which has made it one of Clarkson's most successful singles. Moreover, the music video is her most watched on YouTube, with over 40,000,000 views. [109][110][111] When Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) reached number one in the Billboard's Dance/Club Play Songs chart, Clarkson became the first artist to top the Billboard Hot 100, Country Songs, Adult Contemporary, Adult Pop Songs and Dance/Club Play Songs charts, albeit it not at the same time.[112] Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) was also released as an Extended Play called Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - The Remixes which consists of 8 remixes of the song.

The song "Tell Me A Lie" on the debut album by the boy band One Direction was co-written by Clarkson, which was originally intended for Stronger. The song was leaked onto the internet a few months before.[113] Clarkson's second extended play, iTunes Session, was announced on November 23, 2011,[114] and was released on December 27, 2011.[115] On December 2 Clarkson released her first Christmas single, a cover of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" which is included on iTunes Session EP. Her rendition of the holiday classic debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 93 for the chart dated December 24, 2011 with 24,000 copies sold and also charted at number 16 on Holiday Songs.[citation needed]

Clarkson was a mentor to Blake Shelton's contestants on season two of The Voice in 2012. With this, Clarkson becomes the only former television singing-competition contestant to appear on American Idol, The X Factor and The Voice.[116]

Clarkson sang the U.S. national anthem at Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012.[117] She received widespread acclaim for this performance from numerous publications and fellow celebrities.[118] Clarkson performed at the 54th Grammy Awards on February 12, 2012. She and Jason Aldean sang their hit "Don't You Wanna Stay".[119] On April 1, 2012, "Don't You Wanna Stay" won the Academy of Country Music awards for Vocal Event of the Year and Single of the Year.[120] On May 20, 2012 Clarkson debuted her new single "Dark Side" at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards.[121] In 2012, Clarkson became a mentor on a new singing, reality show called Duets on ABC.[122]

2012-present: Sixth studio album

In March 2012, managers of production duo Stargate announced that Clarkson is on the hunt for new songs.[123]. ln May 2012, Clarkson told US Magazine about how her boyfriend is affecting the sound of her upcoming album: "I'm too happy! He's ruining my creativity!. I'm writing all this happy sh--! It's killing me". She added: "I try to write a tough song and it comes out like butterflies and rainbows. People are going to be like, 'What the hell happened to you?' It's difficult. But awesome! I'm not complaining. It's an awesome problem to have".[124]. In June 2012, Clarkson stated that she is working with Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins on "an amazing song that I cannot wait for people to hear".[125]

Artistry

Voice

Clarkson possesses a vocal range of that of a soprano;[126][127] which has been described as dynamic and robust.[128] On an interview with Good Morning America, Simon Cowell was asked of the then six American Idol winners, who he thought had the best voice. Cowell immediately answered that Clarkson did "by a mile", noting that she was "up there" with other great singers such as Celine Dion.[129] Arion Berger of Rolling Stone has said of Clarkson that "her high notes are sweet and pillowy, her growl is bone-shaking and sexy, and her midrange is amazingly confident for a pop posy whose career is tied for eternity to the whims of her American Idol overlords."[130] Dr. Luke, a songwriter and producer of some of Clarkson's hits stated that "She has powerful lungs. She's like the Lance Armstrong of vocal cords."[131] Jon Caramanica, music critic of The New York Times, stated that Clarkson's voice is "too huge, too violent" for warmer and sweeter vocal stylings, stating "she’s on a par with Taylor Swift when it comes to vengeance, and she’ll do it louder and with more brutality in comparison to her contemporary."[132]

Esquire wrote that Clarkson has “the best voice in the history of pop music".[133]

Influences

Clarkson has often cited soul musicians such as Aretha Franklin,[134] Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey[135] and Etta James[136] as well as rock musicians Radiohead, Garbage,[134] Aerosmith, and Jimi Hendrix[137] as her influences. Her audition performance of James' song "At Last" and her final performance of Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" on American Idol garnered critical praise from both the judges of the program as well as from the public. Clarkson also said that she has been influenced by Tina Turner and Annie Lennox. At age eight, Clarkson was first inspired to venture into music during visit to an African-American church in Fort Worth. She recalled: "I was like, 'Wow, whatever they're feeling, I want to feel it too'."[138]

Personal life

Since early 2012 Clarkson has been dating Reba McEntire's stepson, talent manager Brandon Blackstock. Clarkson told the Daily Mail (UK) "Brandon is my manager's son. I've known him for six years but he was married. Then, suddenly, there he was at the Super Bowl and he was single". [139]

Political views

On December 29, 2011, Clarkson posted on Twitter that she would vote for US Congressman Ron Paul as a 2012 presidential candidate, saying, "I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last Republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican Party in 2012 he's got my vote. Too bad he probably won't."[140] After stating her support for Paul, she came under fire on Twitter, due to her pro gay rights views.[141] She later apologized for the Tweet saying she did not intend to offend anyone.[141] In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine Clarkson was asked about her comments in support of Paul and she replied with, "All I did was tweet what I thought, and people went crazy! All of a sudden, people were like, 'You hate gay people' – what? I didn't even endorse him. All I said was that I like him. I voted for Barack, so it's not even like I'm a hardcore Republican."[142]

Charity

On April 2007, Kelly Clarkson took part on the "Idol Gives Back", a fundraiser for people in poverty in both Africa and the United States, performing "Up to the Mountain" along with Jeff Beck.[143] According to her statings she wanted to perform that song rather to her new single "Never Again" which seemed to her inappropriate for the event, and didn't want to promote herself, despite the label's pressures. She would also perform a five-song set later that year on the American leg of Live Earth concerts opting for environmental awareness about climate change. She is currently an ambassador of "March of Dimes", raising money regularly and assisting in volunteer service, having walked for "March for Babies" as well, for the cause of improvement of the health of mothers and babies.[144] Clarkson, additionally, got involved in the organization "Houses of Hope" who take care and build orphanages for children in South Africa who have been affected by HIV/AIDS, abuse and poverty.[145] She has visited those kids and also participated in the "A Night for Hope" fundraiser concert (held by Clarkson's background vocal singers, Jill and Kate) where she performed a song she wrote after her trip to South Africa, "You Still Won't Know What It's Like". Clarkson is also supporting organizations "Save the Children", "UNICEF", "Do Something" and "STOMP Out Bullying" amongst others as well as music causes like "Save the Music Foundation".[146][147] She has a ranch in Texas for unwanted animals, which includes amputee goats, blind dogs, and horses with colic; there are more than 80 animals at the sanctuary. She helps provide veterinary care for them and finds them an adoptive family.[148]

Filmography

Source: IMDb[36]

Year Title Role Episode
2002 Sabrina the Teenage Witch An extra (uncredited) "The Whole Ball of Wax"
That '80s Show "Valentine's Day" (season 1, episode 2)
Issues 101 Crystal (an extra) Theatrical film
MADtv Herself (skits) Season 8, episode 1
2003 From Justin to Kelly Kelly Taylor Theatrical film
American Dreams Brenda Lee "And Promises To Keep"
2004 "Tidings of Comfort and Joy"
King of the Hill Herself / Dawn "Stressed For Success"
2005 Saturday Night Live Musical guest / skits Host – Jason Bateman
Damage Control Herself Season 1, episode 1
Canadian Idol Guest Mentor Season 5
2007 Reba Kelly "As We Forgive Those"
2009 Saturday Night Live Musical guest Host – Tracy Morgan
X Factor Guest mentor Season 2
2010 Superstar K Guest judge Superstar K2
2011 Phineas and Ferb Herself "A Phineas and Ferb Family Christmas"
2012 Saturday Night Live Musical guest Host – Charles Barkley
The Voice Guest mentor Season 2
Duets Mentor/Judge Season 1

Discography

Tours

Awards

See also

References

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Further reading

External links

Preceded by
N/A
American Idol winner
2002
Succeeded by
Ruben Studdard
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Norah Jones
for "Sunrise"
Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
2006
for "Since U Been Gone"
Succeeded by
Christina Aguilera
for "Ain't No Other Man"

   
               

 

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