Kelly Clarkson is opening up about the death of her estranged father. Country Living reports that The Voice coach confirmed that her dad, Stephen Clarkson, passed away “months ago” in a new interview as she spoke candidly about the incredibly emotional song she wrote about their difficult relationship, “Piece by Piece.”
Kelly confirmed her dad’s passing when asked by Forbes about the track that features on her 2015 album of the same name, as she’s been known to become visibly emotional when performing the song during TV appearances and in concert.
As Refinery29 previously revealed, it tells the story of her dad leaving when she was just 6-years-old, as well as her attempt to reconcile with him, only to be turned away. She also shares in the song of how Stephen then reached out to her after her Season 1 American Idol win back in 2002 once he thought she had more to offer due to her blossoming career, as well as how her husband Brandon Blackstock loves their children in the way her father never did.
“That song for me, personally, behind the scenes, it’s evolved mostly for me,” Clarkson told the outlet in the interview posted this week.
Kelly also revealed that she often thinks about her dad when performing the song, which is a part of the set list on her current “Meaning of Life” tour.
“From the moment I wrote it, just being pregnant with my little girl and then you know all the moments that I really did try and make it work with my father and life and just get completely let down to where…,” Kelly then continued of her dad. “You know he passed away months ago. So that’s why.”
“It’s kind of that I think you know I don’t tell everyone that,” Clarkson then continued as she talked about the hit, which she co-wrote alongside songwriter Greg Kurstin.
The star, who will be on TV with her own eponymous talk show later this year, then added that she song now symbolizes many different types of loss for her following her dad’s death.
“The emotional state of that song for me, just for just many different reasons, it’s like a loss on a lot of different levels,” the mom-of-two said. “So I think it’s always when I get to that last part of the song that it really does [get emotional]. Yeah, it sucks to sing but I mean eventually it will be fine.”
She also shared how becoming a mom herself to her two biological children, as well as a stepmom to her husband Brandon Blackstock’s two children from a previous relationship, has changed the way she perceives “Piece by Piece,” as well as having an effect on the way she viewed her father.
“It’s just the sense of loss that I just don’t know if I’ll ever not feel just because I’m a mom,” Kelly explained. “I think that was just a really hard one for me still. But I have to sing it and I get it.”
Clarkson has been extremely candid about her estrangement from her father over the years.
However, in a 2017 interview on the Scandinavian talk show Skavlan, the superstar denied that her non-existent relationship had been very sad for her as she explained that she never really missed having him in her life because he was never really there in the first place.
Kelly also admitted on the talk show that she felt bad for her dad because he was missing out on having a relationship with his grandchildren, 4-year-old River and 2-year-old Remington, as well as herself and her siblings.
One of the most notable performances of the song came when Clarkson – who was then pregnant with River at the time – performed a stripped-back version during American Idol‘s final season on Fox back in 2016, which was 14 years after she won the very first season of the singing competition.
As The Inquisitr reported at the time, the superstar broke down crying as she performed the hit, which drew widespread praise from viewers of the singing competition across the country and beyond. Her performance was so moving that it also brought judges Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez to tears as they watched on.
Next up for Kelly is her return as a coach on Season 16 of The Voice alongside Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and new coach John Legend. The latest installment is set to debut on NBC on February 25.