Kelly Clarkson is using her platform on The Voice to heal the bitterness she held after the inaugural season of American Idol when she was crowned the first winner of the reality singing competition in 2002.
Clarkson explained in a telling interview with USA Today that while she should have been happy to win American Idol, her big victory came with an even bigger price to pay.
“The first three years of my career was me just paying for winning a talent show,” she said in the interview of that point in her life. “I got really bitter. I was just looking for anyone to talk to who knew what I was going through.”
As Clarkson was the first winner of a television singing competition like Idol, she had no one to turn to in an industry who reportedly dismissed her win as a novelty act. While being a part of the series opened doors quickly for the former waitress from Texas, the reported negativity toward her success caused Clarkson to re-evaluate her dedication to her career. At times, she had to dig her heels in and fight for creative control when it seemed others in the industry wanted to take it from her.
The USA Today story also noted that there were many artists who refused to dole out the respect Clarkson had earned after her first songs hit the top 10 and her first two albums were certified platinum by the recording industry. Clarkson revealed with a hint of irony that today, many of these same artists act as coaches or judges on reality competition shows. She did not name any names to USA Today. Instead of focusing on the past, Clarkson now looks with happiness and hope toward the future.
Clarkson now uses her treasure trove of industry know-how, particularly how to navigate celebrity after a reality show win, to help those she mentors as a coach on The Voice from finding themselves in the same tough situations.
“That’s what I like to do that for artists on The Voice. It’s actually healed that bitterness I used to carry, being able to be that for somebody else,” explained the singer and songwriter.
Along with her work on The Voice, Clarkson is also the host of The Kelly Clarkson Show, a talk series where she will speak to celebrities, feature the stories of real people, have fun with her audience, and of course, celebrate music.
The Voice debuts its new season on Monday, September 23 on NBC. The Kelly Clarkson Show debuts in syndication on Monday, September 9. Check your local listings for channels and times in your area.