Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is an American pop rock singer, songwriter, and occasional actress. Clarkson made her debut under RCA Records after she won the highly-publicized first season of the television series American Idol in 2002. She was originally marketed as a pop musician with her debut album Thankful (2002). With the release of her multi-platinum second album Breakaway (2004), Clarkson moved to a more pop rock-oriented style of music.[1] Clarkson's third album, entitled My December, was released on June 26, 2007. Clarkson has sold over 19 million albums worldwide.[2][3] Clarkson is the most successful American Idol alumna, with eight of her singles becoming Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2008, she joined VH1's list of 10 sexiest women of the new millennium at #8. She also hit #28 on Vh1's Top 30 Hottest Rock Front women. As of 2008 she is one of the 10 most played artists on Adult Contemporary Radio. [4]

Contents [hide]
1 Biography
1.1 Early life
1.2 American Idol 2002
1.2.1 Song performances on American Idol
1.2.2 After Idol
1.2.3 World Idol
1.3 Post-Idol career
1.3.1 2003–2004: Thankful
1.3.2 2004–2006: Breakaway
1.3.3 2007–2008: My December
1.3.4 2008-present: Kelly Clarkson's fourth studio album
2 Tours
3 Country music
4 Vocal ability
5 Discography
5.1 Albums
5.2 Number-one singles
6 Awards
7 Filmography
8 Other appearances
9 References in popular culture
10 References
11 External links

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life
Kelly Clarkson was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up in the small town of Burleson, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. She is the third and youngest child of a first grade teacher and a former engineer. Clarkson's siblings include her brother Jason, and her sister Alyssa. When Clarkson was six years old, her parents split up after seventeen years of marriage. As a result, her brother went to live with her father, her sister went to live with an aunt, and Clarkson remained with her mother. Clarkson frequently moved around Texas while her mother managed several professions in order to support the family. The family settled in Burleson, where Clarkson's mother married her second husband, Jimmy Taylor.

While growing up, Clarkson's family had a hard time financially and often argued about money. From this experience, Clarkson learned to be financially responsible and independent at an early age. Music became her refuge after the first divorce, but she didn't embrace it as her salvation until her teens. Clarkson attended Pauline G Hughes Middle School and Burleson High School. She originally wanted to become a marine biologist. 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. Around this time, Clarkson decided to pursue singing. She sang at her high school talent show, after which a gentleman shared some inspiring words with her: "God has given you this gift. You've got to sing. You're destined to sing." Clarkson did continue to sing and soon started classical training, since her family didn't have much money and she hoped that music would offer college scholarships.[5]

Clarkson worked numerous odd jobs during and after high school, such as mowing lawns, helping her contractor stepfather build porches, and working in a movie theater starting at age 16 and until she moved to Los Angeles. She also worked for Papa John's, Subway, Six Flags Over Texas, Starbucks, and sold vacuums door to door (her latter experience which she described with a well-intended pun: "It sucked.").[5]

Upon high school graduation, Clarkson was offered full scholarships to the University of Texas, University of North Texas, and Berklee, but decided against college because she had "already written so much music and wanted to try on [her] own. And [she] figured you're never too old to go to college."[5]

[edit] American Idol 2002
Main article: American Idol (season 1)
Clarkson won the first season competition of American Idol on September 4, 2002, earning 58% of the audience vote over Justin Guarini.[6] Choking back tears, Clarkson performed the ballad "A Moment Like This", the song written for the winner of American Idol, which would subsequently appear on her debut album Thankful. The song's music video was filmed at Pantages Theater in Hollywood, and incorporated short scenes of Clarkson performing on Idol. When released as a single in October 2002, it set a then record on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart when it rose from number fifty-two to number one.[7] This achievement was largely due to the impact from Idol as the CD single managed to sell 236,000 copies in its first week of sales in the U.S.;[8] it spent five weeks at number one in Canada.

[edit] Song performances on American Idol
Original audition: "Express Yourself" (Madonna) and "At Last" (Etta James)

Round Song Choice Original Artist Theme (if any) Result
Top 121 "Respect" Aretha Franklin Hollywood round 1 Safe
Top 65 "I Say a Little Prayer" Dionne Warwick Hollywood round 2 Safe
Top 45 "Save The Best For Last" Vanessa L. Williams Hollywood round 3 Safe
Top 30 "Respect" Aretha Franklin Semi-final group 2 Safe
Top 10 "You're All I Need to Get By" Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell Motown Safe
Top 8 "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Aretha Franklin 1960s week Safe
Top 7 "Don't Play That Song" Aretha Franklin 1970s week Safe
Top 6 "Stuff Like That There" Betty Hutton Big Band week Safe
Top 5 "Walk on By" Dionne Warwick Burt Bacharach week Safe
Top 4 "It's Raining Men"
"I Surrender" Weather Girls
Céline Dion 1980s week
1990s week Safe
Top 3 "Think Twice"
"Without You" Céline Dion
Badfinger Judge's Week Safe
Top 2 "Respect"
"Before Your Love"
"A Moment Like This" Aretha Franklin
Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson Singer's Choice Week Safe
Finale "A Moment Like This" Kelly Clarkson Winner's single Winner

[edit] After Idol
Shortly following the completion of the first season of American Idol, Clarkson was accused of working with a record company. 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 had only had a contract in order to conduct demonstration work.[9]

Kelly Clarkson performed at the Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial on September 11, 2002 following her win on American Idol.Soon after winning American Idol, Clarkson starred with Idol runner-up Justin Guarini in the movie From Justin to Kelly. The film was poorly received by critics[10] and grossed only $5 million at the North American box office, less than half its reported budget.[11] 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.[12]

[edit] World Idol
In December 2003, a competition titled World Idol was held in London, UK, gathering the winners of the first seasons of Idol from across the globe. 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". Because she left immediately after the competition, she was chided by some in the media for what they saw as poor sportsmanship. Clarkson later explained to fans that she was suffering from an illness.[13]

[edit] Post-Idol career

[edit] 2003–2004: Thankful
Following the successful 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.[14] It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Eventually, the album was certified double platinum by the RIAA for sales of two million copies on December 8, 2003[15] and platinum by the CRIA for sales of 100,000 copies on February 10, 2004.[16] 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".[17] 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.[18]

"Miss Independent" became a success when 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".[19] When the single was released in the United Kingdom and Australia, it reached the top ten of the charts; however, Thankful received less attention. It peaked at number forty-one on the UK albums chart and at number 33 on the Australian albums chart. Further singles released outside North America would appear even less successful.

"Low", the third single from Thankful, reached number two in Canada, but it was unable to make the Top 40 of the U.S. chart. The final single, "The Trouble with Love Is", was not released in Canada, and it peaked at #101 on the U.S. Charts. Clarkson attributed the under performance of both releases to poor management and relieved her manager Simon Fuller, who she felt was not completely focused on her career.

As of 2008, Thankful has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.[20]

[edit] 2004–2006: Breakaway
"Because of You" (2005)

At the age of sixteen, Clarkson wrote the lyrics and melody to this song to cope with her emotions. The later composition would result in the use of the piano and a full orchestral arrangement.


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Distancing herself from her American Idol image, Clarkson took more creative control with her second studio album Breakaway, and through considerable experimentation, developed a rock-oriented image. Her second album (2004), yielded five U.S. top ten singles and won two Grammy Awards. The album was released by RCA Records on November 30, 2004.[21] Unlike her previous effort, it debuted within the U.S. top five and Canadian top ten, and sales were initially low in comparison to Thankful.[22] However, the single releases from Breakaway proved very successful, and allowed it to become only the fourth album in history to stay in the Billboard 200 Top 20 for a consecutive year, as well as, being certified 6x platinum in the U.S. in late 2007[23] and 5x platinum in Canada in May, 2006.[24] With Clarkson's wins at the American Music Awards, RCA announced Breakaway was certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA.[25] In Australia, the album reached number two and spent 52 weeks in the top 10 and was certified 6x Platinum; however, it experienced a delayed release in the UK. Clarkson co-wrote six of the songs with several songwriters, such as former Evanescence band members Ben Moody, David Hodges and producer Max Martin; the title track was co written by pop singer Avril Lavigne. 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".[26] 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".[27] 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".[28] Allmusic called the album "a nice, low-key relief".[29]

Clarkson at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Texas, Joint Reserve Base in 2006.Clarkson appeared on numerous television programs during the promotional tour for Breakaway, some of which included Saturday Night Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The View; she performed the first two singles "Breakaway" and "Since U Been Gone" on Saturday Night Live, which became her first major telecast appearance in order to support the album. "Breakaway", co-written by Avril Lavigne, 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 song's contemporary pop-rock ambiance was one of the several tracks including a stronger rock-influenced sound that had not been heard on Thankful. The second single "Since U Been Gone", which was 'produced' by Max Martin, became the most successful release from the album. Its music video presented Clarkson singing to an underground audience with a full band; cut scenes of Clarkson destroying a former boyfriend's apartment were incorporated. The song's strong rock ambiance allowed it to reach 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".[30]

The third and fourth single releases, "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Because of You", also followed with chart success. The video for "Behind These Hazel Eyes" broke the record for days at #1 for a female artist with 33 out of 50 days #1 on TRL. "Because Of You" became Clarkson's biggest worldwide hit, her first to reach the number one position on the world chart show, where it held for two consecutive weeks in 2006. The video for "Because of You" won the 2006 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, her second consecutive win in that category (The first being from "Since U Been Gone"). The fifth single from Breakaway, "Walk Away", was a top 10 hit in the U.S. and a top five hit in Canada. Breakaway spent 103 weeks on the Billboard 200. It fell out of the Billboard 200 in late November and was moved to Billboard's Pop Catalog. Breakaway was the tenth best selling album of 2006 in the US, adding nearly 2 million additional sales to the 2005 and 2004 sales. As a testament to Clarkson's continuing popularity, she was the most-played artist of 2006 on American radio, despite releasing only one single in the entire year, "Walk Away".[31] On December 23, 2006, American Top 40 radio show host Ryan Seacrest announced during a countdown of 2006's most popular songs that Clarkson had had a song in the American Top 40 for 111 weeks, making her "the most successful female artist in AT40 history". 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.[32]

In the summer of 2006, Clarkson lent Ford Motor Co. a song titled "Go", written by Clarkson and Rhett Lawrence ("Miss Independent"). The song is being used in the company's new advertising campaign, "Bold Moves".

As of 2008, Breakaway has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.[33]

[edit] 2007–2008: My December
While on tour in Europe in 2006, Clarkson began writing and composing songs for her third album, My December.[34] During the Addicted Tour, Clarkson debuted two of her songs: "Maybe" and "Yeah". Recording commenced on the album in the summer of 2006. The first single from My December was "Never Again", which made its radio debut on April 13, 2007. The song was released on iTunes on April 20, 2007, but was taken down and replaced with a notice that said that the song was not available until April 23, 2007. The single peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #8 and on the Pop 100 at #5. Following "Never Again", Clarkson released "Sober" as her next single from My December on June 6, 2007. The singles were promoted with appearances on Good Morning America and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Clarkson also returned to American Idol on the May 23, 2007 season 6 finale for the first time since its third season, performing "Never Again" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry during a Beatles medley.[35]

The song "Chivas" is a hidden track which can be found after the song "Irvine." Clarkson wrote the song on bar napkins before going to a concert by Los Angeles based cover band Metal Skool where she was famously seen drinking a bottle of Chivas Regal in a popular YouTube video when she was brought on stage to sing with the band.

Clarkson parted with her management, The Firm, on June 11, 2007, after the controversy surrounding My December.[36] Clarkson would then sign with Starstruck Entertainment, run by Narvel Blackstock - the husband of Reba McEntire - on July 2, 2007.[37] On June 14, 2007, Live Nation announced that Clarkson's summer 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.[38]

Clarkson reinstated plans to tour the US during 2007 - with a much smaller tour than the one she canceled in June. Clarkson began her My December Tour on October 10 in Verona, New York in venues significantly smaller than those previously booked.[39]

My December was officially released in the U.S. on June 26, 2007. On the date of the album's release, Clarkson appeared on Good Morning America to promote her new album. Clarkson performed songs from this new album, including the single "Never Again".[40] Despite the controversy surrounding My December, the album debuted at #2 in the U.S. with 291,000 albums sold.[41] This is a slightly higher debut than Clarkson's previous album, Breakaway, which debuted at #3.[42]

On July 7, 2007, Clarkson performed on the American leg of Live Earth. Her five-set performance list included: "Walk Away", "How I Feel", "Never Again", "Sober", and "Since U Been Gone".[43] In a July edition of USA Weekend Magazine, Clarkson reported that she tried a marijuana cookie while in Amsterdam. "It is legal there", she said, saying that she's never done "anything illegal here [in the U.S.]".[44]

Music Choice deemed Clarkson as their "Artist of the Month" for the month of August.[45] Justin Prager, Director of Rock and Pop Programming, issued a public statement: "Kelly's relatively short career has already produced so much exciting music and she has reached millions of viewers through her vast catalog of music videos available on Music Choice. We are looking forward to helping Kelly continue to connect with her fans with this huge campaign." In light of this, Music Choice released programming detailing Clarkson's career, including a catalog of her favorite moments on screen and in production, a question and answer session with her fans, as well as Clarkson's thoughts on her career.[46]

Clarkson was the celebrity coach 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.[47] She was also awarded a Platinum Certification for shipments of more than 100,000 copies of My December in Canada.[citation needed] Clarkson also performed at the 2007 NFL opening kickoff where she sang the national anthem and performed songs from My December including "Never Again", "Maybe" and "Don't Waste Your Time".[48] Clarkson also performed in the halftime show for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets game on Thanksgiving day.[49]

My December was certified both gold (500,000 copies shipped) and platinum (1,000,000 copies shipped) on December 12, 2007, by the RIAA.[50][51] It has sold over 2,000,000 copies worldwide.[33]

[edit] 2008-present:
Several demos for songs were stolen and leaked to the internet in April 2008. Aben Eubanks, the co-writer of the songs as well as Clarkson's guitarist, stated on several blogs and fansites that the songs were stolen from him when the security on his personal webspace was breached. The names of the stolen songs are as follows: "Close Your Eyes", "One Day", "Ready", and "With A Little Bit Of Luck." In response to the demos, Clarkson later said, "The fact that people have heard music that's not ready yet sucks, but I hope they like it." She also sang a preview of "Close Your Eyes" on her My December Tour.

On April 19, 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. Clarkson, raised Baptist, was said to be honored by the invitation and appreciative of the rosary given to her and her band by the Pope, who were invited over by the Pope immediately following the performance for the rosary honor.[52]

[edit] Kelly Clarkson's fourth studio album
This article contains information about a scheduled or expected future album.
The content may change as the album release approaches and more information becomes available.

Clarkson has said she is working on a new album due for the last quarter of 2008, and is working with producer and OneRepublic front man, Ryan Tedder. Tedder has confirmed that he is working on new material with Clarkson for her fourth studio album. Tedder told Digital Spy that Clarkson's new songs will feature big choruses" and "heavy drum programming, and he mentioned that the songs are influenced by the band Garbage, while one song will feature an experimental bridge that was inspired by Mozart,[53] and stated in an interview that Clarkson's fourth album was "the best album yet". Also in an interview she stated that she had written a song called "Cry" with Jason Halbert.

Clarkson has stated in radio interviews that she has a sequel song for "Irvine" called "I Finally Got It Right" that she plans to have on the next album.[citation needed]

EOnline mentioned in an article that included statements by Clarkson that the new album will be entitled "True You", however, this was stated by the article writer and not by Clarkson herself and has never been confirmed or officially stated by her label, management, or spokespeople.[54]

On June 3, 2008, Clarkson confirmed on her official fan club website that she has been recording more songs for her fourth album, this time with Sam Watters and Louis Biancaniello. Sam and Louis also wrote and produced the song "Anytime" which appeared on Clarkson's debut album Thankful in 2003.

Clarkson has since confirmed a name of a track recorded with Tedder, called "If I Can't Have You". [55] She has not stated that the track would appear on the album.

On October 24, Clarkson posted in her blog entry news about the album, writing: "I finished recording my record yesterday....".Clarkson also wrote that she is waiting for the songs to get mixed and mastered.No release date is given.[56]

Clarkson's first single, will be called "My Life Would Suck Without You", with the album's confirmed release date being March 17, 2009. [57]

[edit] Tours
Main article: Kelly Clarkson concert tours
2002: American Idol Tour
2003: U.S. Mini-Tour
2004: Independent Tour
2005: Breakaway tour
2005: Hazel Eyes Summer Tour
2006: Breakaway World Tour
2006: Addicted Tour
2007: My December Tour
2008: 2 Worlds, 2 Voices Tour 2008
2008: My December World Tour

[edit] Country music
Clarkson performed "What Hurts the Most", with Rascal Flatts, at 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.

Building on her country music status, Clarkson and Reba McEntire 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 Reba'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.

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.[58] 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.

On January 17, 2008, Clarkson embarked on the 2 Worlds, 2 Voices Tour 2008, a co-headlining tour with Reba McEntire, which is scheduled to resume in Fall 2008.[59]

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. 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. Images of the performance can be found on various news outlets and fan sites.

[edit] Vocal ability
On an interview with Good Morning America, Simon Cowell was asked which of the then six American Idol winners 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 Céline Dion.[60]

Reflecting back on Clarkson's performance during the Idol Gives Back special, Jeff Beck described Clarkson's voice as a "soul voice" that "demands attention".[61]

After attending a rehearsal for American Idol's season six finale (in which Clarkson was scheduled to perform), Blender magazine described Clarkson's voice as such:[62]

“ The Texas native has one of the great voices in pop music, a powerful and versatile instrument that's steeped in the rhythm and blues and country music she grew up with in the South. If Mariah Carey's five-octave voice is the equivalent of an expensively bred poodle, then Clarkson's is a bloodhound: friendly, earthy, but fierce just the same.