Kelly Clarkson is no doubt one of this generation's best voices. Her diverse styling from pop to country to rock and her most down to earth like attitude and personality has made her a favourite for almost 13 years. It wasn't an easy ride getting to where she is today, now married with a child after being known as the breakup anthem queen. Her career has been filled with ups and downs and AXS is taking a look at pivotal moments in her career.
Winning "American Idol"
Before 2002, Kelly Clarkson was a hard working girl just to get by. She was actively persuing a music career and worked with "Natural Woman" co-writer Gerry Goffan. When he fell ill, he was no longer able to work with her. When she moved to L.A., the hour she moved into her apartment it burned down. Forced to go back to Texas, a friend let her know about a talent competition. Passing through the judging stages, Clarkson earned a spot on the top 10 on "American Idol." Week after week, the underdog showed off her powerful pipes singing songs by Aretha Franklin, Céline Dion and Mariah Carey. Never being in the bottom two or three, Clarkson would win the competition bolting her to stardom when her inaugural song "A Moment Like This" would smash a Beatles' record for fastest jump to No. 1, a title Clarkson still owns today with 2009 hit "My Life Would Suck Without You."
Clarkson's debut album Thankful was a success and a fair "Idol" souvenir. It showcased the many styles of music she sings. But it wasn't until 2004's Breakaway would Clarkson shed her "Idol" image and amp up the guitars, creating a more rock album that would go on to sell 13 million copies worldwide. The hit "Since U Been Gone" put Clarkson on the map as the it girl in 2005 following up with "Behind These Hazel Eyes," a song she wrote. Clarkson fought with the label to include self-penned "Because of You" she wrote at the age of 16 after being told no for the first album. "Since U Been Gone" earned her a Grammy and the album would win a Grammy as well. Clarkson toured the album four times, wearing herself thin and gearing herself up for the fight of her life in the business.
My December and hiring Reba's husband as manager
In 2006, Kelly Clarkson went on her fourth tour promoting Breakaway but this time she was previewing material she and her band were writing for her third album My December. Turned in in Feb. 2007, producer Dr. Luke took to a popular message board claiming RCA CEO Clive Davis hated the record. It was removed but the damage was done. Davis tried every trick in the book including offering Clarkson $10 million to replace or rework five songs to make them more radio friendly. She refused and stood her ground. They eventually came to an agreement--it's one album out of a whole contract. Clarkson needed to make the record for herself so she and her backing band wrote and recorded the whole album with producer David Kahne ("Manic Monday," "Walk Like An Egyptian"). A week before release, Clarkson fired management The Firm and hired her new friend Reba McEntire's husband Narvel Blackstock, current manager today. Despite the drama, the album would only see one US single as Davis refused to promote any other tracks but would go on to be a platinum selling album. A year later, McEntire and Clarkson would embark on two legs of a tour together, showing her the ropes and mentoring the young superstar.
Since My December, Kelly Clarkson released two more albums including the cohesive, easy to make Grammy winning Stronger whose title track became a Hot 100 No. 1 hit. In 2012, she put together all of her biggest hits with a handful of new songs. For Greatest Hits: Chapter One, she wrote "Catch My Breath," a song about how effortless her life has become now that she realized it's her life, her time while also finding love in her manager's son, Brandon Blackstock. The inspiring tune looked back at what she had accomplished, where she was at and where she would go. It was a departure from the angst and bitterness in previous hits early in her career.
Marriage, a baby and a new chapter
In 2012, Clarkson began dating Brandon Blackstock, son to her manager. On October 20, 2013, the couple were married in a private setting with just his kids from his previous marriage. In Dec. while promoting her long awaited holiday album Wrapped In Red, because of extreme sickness Kelly Clarkson announced that she was expecting. She gave birth to River Rose in June 2014 and Clarkson has been changed. Promoting her newest release Piece by Piece, Clarkson beams every chance she gets to talk about her baby who gave her a horrible pregnancy, even being hospitalized, but came out happy and loving music. Clarkson recorded most of the album while pregnant and the intensity from one song to the next came from what she said "being hormonal." It's put Kelly Clarkson on a new happier path and she, her mother, nor fans would have seen the gypsy at heart songwriter settle down and become a mother.
Piece by Piece is the beginning of a new chapter and her career is bound to last until she decides to quit. Next pivotal moment? When Clarkson releases the country album she's almost finished recording.