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Kelly Clarkson


Women's World Awards
Johannes Simon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Birth and Early Career of Kelly Clarkson:

Kelly Clarkson was born April 24, 1982 in Burleson, Texas. At age 13 she was singing in the halls of her middle school when the choir teacher heard her and asked her to audition for the choir. Clarkson was successful as a singer in school and moved to Los Angeles after high school graduation to pursue a career in music. She appeared as an extra on the TV show Sabrina, Teenage Witch but her career went no further.

Top Kelly Clarkson Pop Singles:

American Idol:

After her apartment was destroyed in a fire, Kelly Clarkson returned to Burleson, Texas. After urging by one of her closest friends, she decided to enter the first American Idol talent search with 10,000 other hopefuls. Her strong, confident voice and friendly, disarming personality helped propel Clarkson to victory and a $1,000,000 recording contract with RCA Records.


With the enormous publicity from her American Idol victory at her back, Kelly Clarkson's first single "A Moment Like This" reached the top of the pop chart in its first week of release. Remaining true to her "girl next door" personality, she chose to remain living in Texas instead of moving to either coast. In the spring of 2003, Kelly Clarkson followed up on her hit single by releasing Thankful, a full-length album. The album was an impressively varied pop collection that endeared the star to a young audience. "Miss Independent," the first single from the album, was another top 10 hit.

Breakaway and Breakthrough to Stardom:

For her second album Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson asserted more artistic control and introduced a rock edge to many of the songs. The results turned her into a pop superstar. Released in November, 2004, the album sold over 6 million copies in the US and the single "Since U Been Gone" went to the top of the pop singles chart garnering accolades from a wide range of pop and rock critics and fans. The single "Because of You" touched many listeners with its themes of family dysfunction.

Kelly Clarkson's December:

Kelly Clarkson began work on her third album, My December, while still on tour. With critics and fans alike eagerly awaited the new project, she took a turn in an even more intense rock direction and laid bare difficult and disturbing emotions and experiences. A lack of radio-friendly pop singles created discord with Clarkson's record company, and, despite strong critical praise, the album's sales were anemic when it hit stores in June 2007. My December only produced one top 10 pop hit, the lead single "Never Again."

A Little Bit Country:

In the wake of controversy and disappointment surrounding My December, Kelly Clarkson turned in the direction of country music and collaboration with country superstar Reba McEntire. The pair went on a major national tour together and Clarkson signed with Starstruck Entertainment, a company run by McEntire's husband, for management. By June 2008 Kelly Clarkson confirmed online that she was working on material for a 4th album.

All I Ever Wanted and a Return to Pop-Rock:

Many of those closely watching Kelly Clarkson's career expected her fourth album may indeed be country music. However, she is instead turning back to something more like her smash pop breakthrough album Breakaway. The first single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," entered pop radio on January 16, 2009, and the album All I Ever Wanted followed with a March release. "My Life Would Suck Without You" became Kelly Clarkson's second #1 hit single and All I Ever Wanted topped the album chart. Two additional top 40 pop hits followed from the collection, "I Do Not Hook Up" and "Already Gone." In September 2011 Kelly Clarkson released "Mr. Know It All," the first single from her fifth studio album Stronger.

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