Childhood & Early Life
Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born on April 24, 1982, in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, to Jeanne Ann and Stephen Michael Clarkson. Her mother was a first-grade English teacher and her father was an engineer. Her father divorced her mother when she was just six years old.
She has an older brother named Jason and an older sister named Alyssa. She also has two step-brothers from her father's second marriage. She did not grow up with her siblings as her brother went to live with her father, and her sister was raised by an aunt. They later became closer after they grew up.
While she was in the seventh grade, studying at ‘Pauline Hughes Middle School,’ she was encouraged to join the choir by a teacher who heard her singing in the hallway. She later attended ‘Burleson High School’ where she performed in several musicals and participated in a talent show.
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After completing her graduation in 2000, Kelly Clarkson was determined to pursue her musical dreams. Subsequently, she recorded a demo with the money she saved by doing a number of odd jobs. She was so confident of making it big in the music industry that she declined two recording contracts from ‘Jive Records’ and ‘Interscope Records’ during this time.
In 2001, she moved to Los Angeles to look for opportunities, and ended up working as an extra in television series, such as 'Sabrina, the Teenage Witch' and 'Dharma & Greg.' She eventually got to work as a vocalist with songwriter Gerry Goffin, and recorded five demo tracks, hoping to land a record deal.
She suffered a major disappointment when most US recording studios rejected her, stating that her voice sounded 'too black.' Finally, after a fire catastrophe, she returned to Texas heartbroken, and started working as a telemarketer and waitress.
Success Following 'American Idol' Fame
In May 2002, Kelly Clarkson learned about the upcoming talent search show, 'American Idol: The Search for a Superstar,' from her friends, who encouraged her to audition for it. She got a ‘golden ticket,’ a pass to the Hollywood rounds, and was eventually crowned the winner of the inaugural season of the show on September 4, 2002. Her successful stint in the show earned her a million-dollar record deal with ‘RCA Records.’
She started her music career on September 17, 2002, with the double-A-side singles ‘Before Your Love’ and ‘A Moment Like This.’ The former became the best-selling single of 2002 and both singles jumped a record 52 positions to top the 'Billboard Hot 100' chart.
On April 15, 2003, she released her debut album ‘Thankful’ which received positive reviews from critics. The album debuted at number one spot on the 'US Billboard 200,' while its lead single ‘Miss Independent,’ was a top ten hit in the US.
With her second album 'Breakaway,' which was released on November 30, 2004, she decided to break away from her 'American Idol' image and adopted a rock music style. The album surpassed the commercial success of her debut album and also earned her two 'Grammy Awards.'
On June 22, 2007, she released her third studio album 'My December' in which she once again experimented with darker themes and a heavier rock sound. However, it caused a dispute with her producer and music mogul, Clive Davis, who wanted her to record songs with more universal appeal. While the album received positive reviews, its sale numbers suffered for lack of promotion.
Clarkson, who had started co-writing her songs from her third album, continued to do so in her next album 'All I Ever Wanted' which was released on March 10, 2009. For this album, she denounced the darker themes and collaborated with a number of popular artists, which helped it debut at number one on the 'Billboard 200.'
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Following the success of her country duet 'Don't You Wanna Stay' with Jason Aldean in 2010, she decided to adopt country music for her fifth studio album, 'Stronger.' The album, which released on October 21, 2011, was a critical and commercial success and earned her another 'Grammy Award.'
She received critical acclaim for her live performance of 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' at the second inauguration of the U.S. President Barack Obama in January 2013. Her next album 'Wrapped in Red' was a Christmas record which released on October 25, 2013, and contained five original songs that she co-wrote.
Her seventh studio album 'Piece by Piece' tells a single story of heartbreak through its songs. Released on February 27, 2015, it became her third album to debut at number one on the 'Billboard 200' chart.
She released the songs ‘Love So Soft’ and ‘Move You’ in 2017.
In the animated movie ‘The star,’ which is based on the birth of Jesus, she lent her voice alongside Oprah Winfrey, Steven Yeun, and Tyler Perry.
She also appeared as a coach in the show ‘The Voice.’
Kelly released the song ‘Broken and Beautiful’ which is the lead single from the ‘Uglydolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ on March 27, 2019.
Kelly Clarkson's debut album 'Thankful' was a commercial success, selling over 4.5 million copies worldwide. It sold over 2.7 million copies in the USA and received 2x platinum certification.
Her second album 'Breakaway' is her most commercially successful album to date. It received 6x platinum certification in the USA and was also certified multi-platinum in many other countries like Australia, England, Ireland, Canada, and New Zealand.
Awards & Achievements
With her debut single, Kelly Clarkson broke The Beatles' 38-year-old record of the biggest leap to number one on the 'Billboard Hot 100' chart. She later broke Britney Spears' record for the biggest jump to number one in a single week after her single 'My Life Would Suck Without You' reached the top of the chart from 97th position.
She has been nominated for the 'Grammy Award' 13 times so far, winning it three times for her albums, 'Breakaway' and 'Stronger.' She has also received four 'American Music Awards,' three 'MTV Video Music Awards,' and six 'Teen Choice Awards.'