Kelly Clarkson had great news for fans when she announced that she would be recording a soulful record under her new recording deal with Atlantic Records, an imprint of Warner Music Group. She gave a hint of that each day of that week via Facebook Live by singing cover songs that were once fan requests while she was on tour. They all had one thing in common, the artists were with the same label and they were all bluesy cover songs. From Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine" and Aretha Franklin's "Something He Can Feel." Many of Clarkson's albums have soulful influence and she's done recordings of covers that are also in that style. AXS is looking at the top 5 soulful songs by the first "American Idol" winner.
Taken from her debut album Thankful in 2003, "What's Up Lonely" was a staple to Clarkson's tours for years with its R&B runs. It was one of several tracks Clarkson was able to get on the album that she penned right off the bat. "What's up lonely/ Seems you're my only friend who wants to share my pain/ Tell me heartache/ What's it gonna take/ For you to leave me alone today/ Just when I think that you're gone/ You're in the mirror staring back at me/ So what's up lonely," she asks. It was a sure sign as to what the young singer-songwriter was feeling before her career was about to take off, becoming the breakup anthem queen.
4. "Be Still"
"Be Still" is a mellow track from her third record My December. While not a tune she's widely known for, it's a sweeter more romantic side of Clarkson in the midst of recording one of her most difficult albums to date. Clarkson beautifully uses her quieter tones and it would easily fit in the middle of a full-on soulful record she will release in 2017.
In March 2011, Kelly Clarkson attended Muhammad Ali's "Celebrity Fight Night" charity event. She performed a new track written by Eric Hutchinson called "Why Don't You Try." Of course, recordings of the song were put out onto the Internet and fans went wild. She ended up recording the track as a bonus track for her 2011 set released later that year, Stronger. Ready to pack up and walk out the door, she's wondering why her love isn't trying to stop her or be a part of making the relationship strong. It's one of the proper soulful songs in her entire catalog with raw vocals, passionate lyrics and working her voice the way she always has. Clarkson also performed it for the iTunes Sessions EP right before the holiday.
Kelly Clarkson has always covered songs. In 2009-2010 during her All I Ever Wanted Tour, she performed a Black Keys track with conviction. Grungy guitars and sliding vocals, "Lies" fit Clarkson from the first performance. With the release of Stronger, she released the Smoakstack Sessions EP Vol. 1 exclusively available from her website. It featured songs she had covered at some point and it was done the old fashioned style, one take with all musicians on hand. It's a highlight to her career.
During the 2009 summer tour before the All I Ever Wanted Tour, Clarkson included one of Patsy Cline's most notable tracks. "Walking After Midnight" was arranged to have that blues feel featuring sultry vocals and a flirtatious vibe in her voice. She also recorded the track for that same EP released in 2011. This type of song arranged in her styling is something that makes her voice standout even more against a pop field lacking the pipes Clarkson was born with.
Going forward, Kelly Clarkson will have even greater control of her career. She's battled with RCA early on but has become confident in the artist she is and Atlantic Records embraces her vision for the future.