- Mar 26, 2005
- Reaction score
... and I'm not ashamed to admit that.
February 28, 2008
If the Idol franchise is more of a hindrance than a help these days, Clarkson remains the best example of what can go right.
Kelly Clarkson knows her numbers.
"Per capita I'm more popular in Australia than anywhere else in the world," the singer declares. There is still a decent taste of small-town Texan drawl in her voice, despite the years she has spent on the road and in the studio since winning the first series of American Idol in 2002.
If the Idol franchise is more of a hindrance than a help to young hopefuls these days, Clarkson remains the best example of what can go right. Her second album, Breakaway, established her as a star.
The album sold 11 million copies worldwide, linking pop song hooks to rock production. Singles such as Since U Been Gone and Because Of You remain staples of commercial radio.
Clarkson's liking for Australia was strengthened because of the comparative success of her most recent album, 2007's My December. Sombre in parts and heavier in tone, it reportedly raised the ire of Clarkson's American label, RCA, which considered it commercially unsound.
Not that Clarkson considers sales her defining motive.
"It wasn't even that big a deal - it got blown up," she says. "It's one of those steps in your career that you have to go through. The press ran with it and made it pretty intense.
"There are different types of success in a career and I had to write those songs. Ten years from now I don't want to look back and go, 'Why did I agree to sing that?' That's my biggest fear."
After the album came out, Clarkson cancelled an arena tour of America that wasn't selling, forfeiting large guarantees for just turning up, and changed management.
She started this year co-headlining a sold-out tour of her homeland with country star Reba McEntire. The pair sang harmonies on each other's songs and mixed their respective styles - the opening number was Patsy Cline's Sweet Dreams, sung by McEntire, that segued into the Eurythmics tune of the same name, sung by Clarkson.
Clarkson's own tour runs until April, finishing in Europe. The 25-year-old admits that after the emotional distress that inspired the material on My December (sample song titles: Judas and Sober) and the difficulties releasing it, 2008 is proving a better year. There's even vindication of a sort for My December in the response of her fans at meet-and-greet functions on tour.
"It is kind of weird because they don't know me on a daily basis but they have some kind of connection with the music that means they'll totally open their heart in a five-minute meet-and-greet," Clarkson says. "They'll tell me things they'll never tell anyone else. It's kind of cool but also weird - there are times when I'm not sure how I should respond. Music is powerful: it's a drug that makes your inhibitions go away and leaves your vulnerabilities exposed."
Recently Clarkson even penned a sequel to My December's closing track, Irvine - a song she describes as a "prayer" for salvation and one she refuses to perform live because of the memories it holds. The new track is called I Finally Got It Right.
"I meet a lot of people in this business who are so worried about being No.1 - they'll write the most vanilla-generic song and go with it because it's safe. In this industry nowadays, where sales aren't what they used to [be] and radio airplay is tough, people lose touch - not just with their fans but with reality. I don't ever want to be like that."