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Kelly Clarkson
When Kelly Clarkson puts out an album all, you can do is move aside and say: ĎGet ready, sheís coming!í On her third release, Kelly has her rocker hat on and sheís ready to show listeners just how lucky number three can get.

If youíre surprised by the heavier, rock-tinged direction of Kelly Clarksonís new album, youíve probably missed a few cues along the way. Through her run on American Idol, she made the most of the genre-hopping weekly format and displayed the versatility of her voice to the max. Her debut album Thankful was an efficient pop effort, but her follow-up release Breakaway hinted at a future that would be low on the saccharine and high on the energy of a crunchy guitar. And thatís exactly what the new release My December offers up. The title (shares a name with a Linkin Park song but itís not a cover) hints at a darker, harder sensibility, but donít be scared away. This is Clarkson-dark not Manson-dark, so if you are a fan you can be safe in the knowledge that this is still the Kelly that you know and love, sheís just exploring a different side of her personality like all artists do.
At the helm is respected producer David Kahne (The Bangles, Sugar Ray, The Strokes) who brought to life songs written by Kelly and her band. Also featured on the album is legendary punk bassist Mike Watt. While the songs are more hard-edged, Kelly actually doesnít think they are too rock at all. Whatever the exact genre description, the record allows Kelly to explore and push the boundaries of her songwriting and singing abilities and that is exactly what has earned her the title of most successful American Idol ever.

Kelly Clarkson is living the dream of every girl that sings into her hairbrush in front of the mirror at home. She started out singing in her hometown, made it to television with American Idol, and has since gone on to release massively successful albums and collaborated with the musical heroes that she admired growing up. When her debut album released and broke successfully, she said, ďIím not materialistic, but I am ambitious. Iíd love to break globally and canít wait to go to England. There is so much ahead of me and Iím really grateful for that. It all seems to be happening so quickly that itís hard to stop and think. For now, Iím just glad to be in this position and to be able to have a job where I use my singing voice every day.Ē

The journey to where she is today began in the state of Texas. Growing up, Kelly was studying at school, working towards the dream of becoming a marine biologist. Her musical talent was noticed while she was singing to herself in the hallway at school. Overhearing her, a teacher encouraged Kelly to audition for the choir. Encouraged by the possibilities her voice could bring, Kelly began to take music more seriously. She performed in musicals whenever she could and then, after graduating, decided to move to Hollywood to pursue a career. The music business is tough at the best of times, and with so many hopefuls trying to make it, the competition is cut-throat. Kelly took on several odd jobs to make ends meet and it looked like she was doing alright until she returned home one night to find that a fire had burned down her apartment. Her musical dreams still hadnít taken off and it all seemed too difficult. Kelly almost gave up. Her friends however, had enough faith in her to keep pushing. They had seen an ad for a televised singing contest and they encouraged Kelly to take part. At this point, the singer recalls, that she had nothing to lose so she decided to enter for fun. The show was called American Idol and it would change her life forever.

The success of Breakaway continued well into 2006, but Kelly also spent the time writing new material. She performed a few of the new tracks live while on tour and even debuted the song One Minute at the Daytona 500 race. On a personal note, Kelly got the once in a lifetime chance to perform live with her idol, country legend Reba McEntire this February when they recorded an hour-long special for television. Also dispelling rumours that she had distanced herself from the show that made her a star, Kelly appeared on the American Idol season six finale performing her new single Never Again and the Beatles song Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Hearts Club Band with legendary Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry.

Since then, her focus has been the new album My December. The single Never Again leads the way for this chapter of her career and the song is said to have been inspired by rock goddesses like Alanis Morissette and Pat Benatar. With the new release, it is clear that Kelly hopes to put her own stamp on the pop-rock genre and we will be standing by to bring you the latest. Keep watching this space for more!

You can read the rest of our feature on Kelly Clarkson in the June 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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