It’s hard to believe that Kelly Clarkson popped up on our radar over a decade ago. Since doing so, she has owned the pop music world and paved new paths for reality talent show winners. Back in 2002, Kelly was the inaugural winner of American Idol before it was known as the show that it is today – fully capable of producing music superstars. She had won the show with her stellar voice (all without a single vocal lesson!) and without ever being sent to the bottom three. It seemed that almost immediately she jumped to super stardom.
Over the years Kelly’s look and sound have waivered a bit but she has managed to remain the same down-to-Earth Texas girl that America fell in love with on TV. After winning Idol, Kelly released her debut album, Thankful in 2003. Thankful included songs “Miss Independent” and her first single “A Moment Like This”. During promotion for this album post-release, both Kelly and ‘Idol’ runner-up Justin Guarini starred in the film From Justin to Kelly, which flopped both at the box office and with critics.
The following year Kelly released her album Breakaway that had a rockier and much more radio-friendly sound than Thankful and featured hits such as “Since U Been Gone”, “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “Beautiful Disaster”. Breakaway is Kelly’s best-selling album to date and helped her gather her first Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2006.
2007 brought on Kelly’s darker period with her album My December that was not entirely supported by her label and producer. They wished for a more mainstream sound with this album that led to Kelly not working with them to deliver the album. The problems between Kelly and RCA led to less promotion for the album and the cancellation of her promotional My December tour. This album gave us the single “Never Again” and through the production drama, Kelly hired Narvel Blackstock – husband of friend Reba McEntire – as her talent manager.
Kelly’s music dramatically changed with her next release, All I Wanted which showcased lighter themes and lyrics than My December. Despite being Clarkson’s worst selling album, All I Wanted gave fans what is arguably one of Kelly’s most popular songs, “My Life Would Suck Without You” and awarded her a nomination for a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal album. Soon after Kelly began to delve into the country music world and recorded a duet with Jason Aldean called “Don’t You Wanna Stay” that the duo performed at the 54th Grammy Awards. With over two million downloads, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” is the best-selling country collaboration in history.
In 2011 the album Stronger was released with lead single “Mr. Know It All” and Kelly’s most successful single to-date, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”. The album sold over five million copies Worldwide and was nominated for three Grammy awards. Just over one year later Kelly’s Greatest Hits – Chapter One album was released that naturally showcased her most popular tracks over the course of her career thus far as well as three new singles, “Catch My Breath”, “Don’t Rush” and “People Like Us”. Shortly after, she announced that she was working on a Christmas album and released Wrapped In Red later in 2013.
In 2012, Kelly began dating Brandon Blackstock (son of her now-manager Narvel) and soon after the couple became engaged and wed. Kelly is currently pregnant with her first child who is due in June. Talk about managing a career and a family!
Kelly Clarkson has shown that she has the chops to be one of music industry’s best of all time and that she is here to stay. From Idol to icon, Kelly is a true talent that will continue to create music that people across many different backgrounds and generations will love. We can’t wait to hear what she’s got coming next!