Kelly Clarkson signs a new record deal with Atlantic Records and releases four new songs.
Kelly Clarkson signs a new record deal with Atlantic Records and releases four new songs.

Christmas time has come early in Kelly Clarkson land! Following a week-long Facebook live series of soul/R&B covers, the original "American Idol" has unleashed a string of bombshells today (June 24). Not only has the pop star inked a new worldwide deal with Atlantic Records, but she already has a long-awaited soulful album in the works - to drop 2017. "It's an exciting time for me," she said during today's chat, before grabbing some champagne for a much-deserved toast. She also covered Ben E. King's "Stand by You."

"After winning 'American Idol' there was an arranged marriage that occurred that sometimes worked out and sometimes resulted in the hardest experiences of my life. As an artist, [the show] gave me something that was incredible, an audience and a platform before even releasing music," she continues. "Although I am extremely thankful to the amazing people that I've had the chance to work with, I cannot describe the excitement of working with Julie Greenwald, Craig Kallman, and their team at Atlantic Records. The loyalty, innovation, and creativeness that Atlantic Records has been consistently bringing to the music industry is incredibly exciting for any artist to be a part of! We have already started creating a record that I have been wanting to make since I was a little girl, and a record that fans have been asking me to make for years."

This ends Clarkson's 14-year relationship with RCA Records, which she signed in 2002 upon winning the FOX singing competition.

Earlier this week, Clarkson covered Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine," Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," Aretha Franklin's "Something He Can Feel" and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." At the outset, she teased all artists would have one thing in common. As the week progressed, it was clear either a new Atlantic deal or a live album would be coming. Well, speculation was mostly correct.

Clarkson also revealed to fans that on the final Friday of each month, she will drop new free music -- primarily cover songs from her concert fan requests. In the first batch, she has released her versions of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind," Radiohead's "Creep," Coldplay's "Fix You" and India Arie's "Ready for Love." She also treats fans with a live performance of her cover of Janelle Monae's smash "Tightrope."

Go to for all the details and download/stream the new tracks.

"What's cool [about the label] is they love all the colors of my voice," she says of signing with Atlantic. "They are down to make whatever record I'm down with."

For country fans who have been itching for a country album, don't fret. She teases, "I promise you I'm going to make one."

Here we go, @atlanticrecords! Cheers!

A photo posted by Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) on