Kelly Clarkson may be one of pop's most down to earth loved superstars, but her diverse styling and vocals have allowed her to cross into other genres. While she's covered many songs from many artists from the pop, country, rock and R&B world, she's recorded and released many country songs while planning on one day releasing a full blown out country effort. Clarkson grew up idolizing Reba McEntire and who would have thought she'd grow up to marry into her family. Clarkson's country road began in 2007 when she and McEntire paired up for CMT's "Crossroads." The two had already recorded "A Lot Like You" for McEntire's Duets album but after she heard Clarkson's own 2005 single "Because of You," she asked to re-cut the song as a country duet. We'll take a look at all of Kelly Clarkson's official country songs released to date.
Originally a pop ballad on Clarkson's 2004 blockbuster Breakaway, Reba McEntire included the song as a country duet on her 2007 album Duets. It served as the lead single and earned the duo a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Country Collaboration and peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs. It was the first time Kelly Clarkson would appear on the chart.
The song was recorded as a duet with country rocker Jason Aldean for his album My Kinda Party and included on the deluxe version of Clarkson's Stronger. The two sang it at the 2010 CMA Awards and was released as the second single due to demands of radio stations the next day. It reached No. 1 on Hot Country Songs and certified double platinum by the RIAA. It became a crossover success to adult contemporary stations as well and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Though included on 2011's pop album Stronger and never released as a country single, "Breaking Your Own Heart" plays heavily on country riffs and vocal styling closing out the album. It became a favorite of many fans due to its likeness to country music. She recently performed the song during the "KC Classic" slot in her Piece by Piece Tour setlist.
Originally the lead pop single from Clarkson's Stronger in 2011, she eventually re-cut the song as a country version. Changing vocals and extended notes, the more raw remix version produced by Dann Huff was Clarkson's first solo entry on Hot Country Songs.
In 2013, Clarkson's friends Ashley Arrison (also assistant and wife to guitarist Aben Eubanks) and Shane McAnally (Kasey Musgraves, Lady Antebellum) wrote a song for Clarkson's engagement to McEntire's stepson Brandon Blackstock. The country rock song was released as a stand-alone single and reached No. 33 on both Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, earning her a headliner slot for the annual summer CMA Fest.
Released on 2012's Greatest Hits: Chapter One, "Don't Rush" was more of a throwback country styling with elements of soft rock featuring Vince Gill on background vocals and guitar. The song earned Clarkson more nominations including another Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. It faired well on radio reaching No. 23 on Hot Country Songs and became Gill's biggest hit since 2006.
Clarkson's contract with RCA was fulfilled when she released the strictly pop Piece by Piece in March 2015. Recording while pregnant in 2013/2014, Clarkson mentioned putting out a full country album as she was recording plenty of material for one. Talk even floated that she would release the album after the final pop album of her contract. With the opportunity to negotiate a contract more tailored to her wants, a country album in the future is all but certain.