Some say that Kelly Clarkson is finally rising back to the top after some personal problems and a major lull in popularity. Clarkson’s newest full-length album Piece By Piece released this week, along with a long list of tour dates that Kelly plans to hit before the end of the year, according to New York Daily News. But it may come as no surprise that things haven’t always been easy for Kelly Clarkson.
While Clarkson was the first and perhaps most beloved winner of American Idol, her powerful voice wasn’t always enough to get her music made and distributed the way she wanted. Kelly Clarkson spoke with the Guardian about her success and the reason she’s lasted this long in the music industry. Kelly claimed that she knew she wanted to make soulful pop music from the start, but it wasn’t easy to convince her record label to cooperate.
During the interview, Kelly Clarkson confessed that she had to resort to crying in the office of her record label in order to get her song “Miss Independent” released as a single.
“I wanted to do pop, because that means ‘popular’, and anything that was soulful. But it was hard to get that across at first. With ‘Miss Independent’, I had to cry in my label’s office to get it out. They wanted me to sing like the Aretha songs I’d done on the show.”
Kelly also explained that her label didn’t want to use a lot of production on her songs, and instead have her sing piano-accompanied ballads like Adele currently does. In response, Clarkson said “I’m 20 years old, I can do big ballads, but I also love guitars.”
What’s worse, Clarkson had a lot of trouble getting heard in the early days of her career because her soulful voice made record companies believe she was black. When they learned that Kelly was a 20-year-old white girl from Texas, they were often disappointed.
“I didn’t have money for a photo shoot, so I sent my demo out – a soulful demo – without a picture. And a couple of times, [record labels] said to me, ‘Oh, you’re not black’ – they wanted a black-backing-singer look.”
It wasn’t until Kelly Clarkson showed up to audition for American Idol that she finally got her big break, but not before even more hardship.
“I still wasn’t really getting anywhere,” Kelly Clarkson said. “I was living with a girl I barely knew on Croft Avenue [Los Angeles], and the day we moved in we went out to dinner. We came back from dinner and the place was on fire… I lost everything except one box. I had to sleep in my car. And then I heard about a random audition for a talent show…”
Will you be picking up Kelly Clarkson’s new album?
For more on Kelly Clarkson, check out her duet with Jimmy Fallon that’s going viral.