Kelly Clarkson may be a Grammy-winning, multi-million selling superstar, but it hasn’t always been easy for the original American Idol. In a new interview, she says her new album, Meaning of Life, is the first one she’s made that didn’t make her want to give up on the music biz.
“It’s just the first record I’ve made that I didn’t call my mother, wanting to quit,” Kelly tells Variety. “And I’m not a baby, y’all. I’m strong…I’m a very powerful, confident woman, but at the same time, you just feel beaten down.”
According to Kelly, the beat-down started with her first post-Idol single “Miss Independent,” which she says she had to “cry to get…not only on my record but as the first single.” She says her label objected because it had “too many guitars.” When it did become a hit, Kelly says, she was appalled when the label pretended they’d been on board all along.
“That first single for me was a very damaging time for my psyche,” Kelly says. “It was like, wow. So people just lie.”
Kelly also describes some of her arguments with famed record executive Clive Davis, who she says told her that “Because of You,” one of her signature hits, was a “s****y song because it didn’t rhyme.” According to Kelly, he told her that in a roomful of other executives.
“A group of men thought it was OK to sit around a young woman and bully her. I was told I should shut up and sing,” Kelly remembers.
She adds, “The only victory I see from the last 15 years is honestly just the fact that, even in such an incredibly not-healthy environment, we were very successful.”