Kelly Clarkson on the soundtrack of her life: Read her exclusive EW interview here


Image Credit: Scott Kirkland/

With a new album, Stronger, due Oct. 24, and its first single “Mr. Know It All” freshly released just yesterday, Kelly Clarkson is officially ready for her 2011 closeup.

That wasn’t quite the case earlier this summer, when a number of songs—many of them old, written for other artists, and not at all intended for the final tracklist of Stronger—leaked online without her knowledge or permission.

Clarkson recently described the feeling to EW, saying, ““Oh my God, have you ever been robbed? I have. I’ve been physically robbed a couple of times, but this is much worse.”

Thankfully, she’s now got happier things on her mind. Among them? Talking to EW about some of the songs that shaped her as a woman and as an artist.

You can find some of her favorite picks in the issue of EW on stands until this Friday, and read on below to learn even more about the soundtrack of Kelly Clarkson’s life:

The song that made me want to get into music: “Read My Mind” by Reba McEntire

“Growing up, my mom is a single parent; it was just a really hard life. It was really great, but really hard. When I was a kid, for whatever reason, her voice sounded like home. It sounds super cheesy, but it was one of those things that for some reason it was kind of my safe place. I started writing after that and singing in front of people.  I have a very hard time communicating sometimes, especially if it’s something to do with relationships, whether it’s friends or boyfriends or whatever. I think that that song was just everything that I’ve ever felt if you like someone.”

The song that reminds me of my first boyfriend: “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden

“My friends are going to laugh when I tell you this. The guy that I was dating knew that I was into music, and his whole thing to get me to like him more. He sang that to me over the phone. I was dying laughing. I was so happy that he did it over the phone and not in person because I am the a–hole that laughed the entire way through it, pulling my hand over the phone so he couldn’t hear me. I was like, “What are you doing?” I’m so not that girl. It just made me feel so uncomfortable. If you’re going to call and sing me a song, sing me [Aerosmith’s] ‘Love in an Elevator.'”

Song that reminds me of American Idol: “Stuff Like That There”
“That’s my favorite [performance]. Everyone always asks, ‘How did it feel to win American Idol?’ That moment doesn’t even compare to what it felt like to live the dream of singing that song in front of the people. Ever since I saw For the Boys with Bette Midler, I loved big band music. You don‚t get that now—music is very beat-driven.”

Song that makes me want to turn up the radio: Anything from Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette
“I come from a conservative family. My family was highly conservative; I had to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday. I was not allowed to listen to Alanis Morissette; I did anyway. It was kind of that forbidden fruit for me as a kid. I love Joan Jett, but Alanis took it way past the line of what women talk about in songs, how you sing a song. It was so dirty and raw! It made me a better writer. It made me a better singer. I hate whenever you hear someone who is as vanilla as all get-out singing. I just want to punch them. If you’re going to make me listen to you, at least sell it!”

Song of mine I never want to perform again: “A Moment Like This”
“Here’s the thing: I get it. It was a moment thing for whoever won [American Idol], but that song wasn’t written for me. I loved singing it for the finale. That’s what it was for, but you ain’t going to catch me anytime soon or ever singing that song again. Someone would have to be dying in front of me, saying, ‘My last wish is for you to sing that song!’ for me to sing that song.”

Favorite song off my first four albums: “Walk Away”

“That song is just so sassy!”

My karaoke jam: Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”
“I can’t stand when people get up and do karaoke for real. In fact, it’s highly embarrassing. Let the dream go, it’s not going to happen! This is supposed to be fun. I love doing things people would not expect me to get up in sing. I look hella bad doing i,t by the way. I look like completely ridiculous. There’s a reason I’m single.”

Song I wish I had written “Top of the World” by Patty Griffin
“That song is so fricking awesome. It’s so sad, which is why I like it because I’m weird.”

Favorite country song right now: “Hell on Heels” by Pistol Annies
“There hasn’t been a girl group in country, sounding like that in a while, and I love it. It’s almost like a throwback to the Judds. It’s dirtier, which I like. I like them!”

Song I‚d like to be remembered for: “Because of You”
“I think because I worked so damn hard to get it on an album and just everyone was against it. There was some blood, sweat and tears going on there. I think I’m most proud of that song—just getting it on an album because no one liked it until it hit no. 1 worldwide and everybody was on board.”
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Comments (55 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3
  • negatory

    yikes…she needs to buy a few records that’re older than the 90s. no wonder her stuff sounds so shmaltzy and sterile.

    • Matt

      Umm what? Have you ever seen Kelly tweet about music? She’s always plugging artists like Ellie Goulding, Lykke Li, Adele and Florence and the Machine. They asked her about her childhood, aka the 80s/90s.

    • Captain

      Is there a rule or something that every song before 2005 is irrelevant or something? Some people have older taste in music. What’s wrong with that? If someone doesn’t like Nicki Minaj, they’re not current?

      • levelheaded

        I don’t think it’s a rule.

        But to be a good musician I think you have to be exposed to lots of music, the more the better, and across history. As a listener for enjoyment it doesn’t hurt either, of course.

        It’s like being a great writer usually means you have to read many things. Learning from others helps you do better.

        That being said, they did ask her questions that would lend to answering out of a specific generation of music, mainly her adolescence, which is the 90s.

      • Rob

        wow she has some really generic taste in music

      • alejitha

        So eeihtr Lee Dewyze DO-IT-WISELY or cyrstal to be CRYSTAL-CLEAR-TO-STAND-TALL to win..the mania is now oonnnnn..

    • Funny

      I absolutely HATE the song “Because Of You.” Talk about sappy, maudlin dreck.

      • GinaBallerina

        Sappy? That song isn’t sappy at all – did you actually ever listen to the lyrics or did you only hear the pretty melody? It’s about dysfunction in a family. I would hardly call it sappy. It’s not dreck either – she wrote it at the age of 16 and that’s pretty impressive.

      • LOL

        It’s crap.

      • Bob

        This is as sappy as a maple tree in Spring.

    • I still remember

      the performance of “Stuff Like That There” on AI. She basically won the contest that night.

      • Sally

        “I done things yesterday” was even better.

  • Psac

    “Things that are awesome” is the right category. She will always fall into that. As much as it is schmaltzy, though, I wish she didn’t abandom “A Moment Like This.” It was me and my wife’s wedding song. It has some value left in it as a decent song, and though I wouldn’t put it at the top of her songbook, it still belongs there.

    • Of course it was

      your wedding song. I bet you also took still shots of your wife’s wedding dress too, Mr. Cliché.

      • GinaBallerina

        You don’t know anything about Psac’s life just because he told us his wedding song. Get over yourself.


    Didn’t I already read this in EW a couple of weeks ago?

    • Mike


      • Sally

        How can you stand her so annoying voice?

      • cg

        Kelly’s voice is far from annoying. Kelly is one of the best vocalists ever and she has mad vocals.

      • blurb

        “I need to use the bathroom coach.”

  • Anda

    “Top of the World” made me cry the first time I heard it. Patty Griffin just has such a hauntingly beautiful voice.

  • UGH

    Somebody throw a football uniform on her.


      best comment thus far.

    • davey

      Somebody throw a muzzle over UGH’s face! Seriously…you came to EW to write that about Kelly Clarkson? Get a life mate!
      Great article – will always be a fan of Kelly…no matter what she sings / she’s got a killer voice!

      • UGH

        Your mom doesn’t seem to mind, “davey”.

      • Imowright

        Thank you well said. Nothing more needed, Kelly will be the Best because she just is!

  • Teeets

    I don’t really like her. I like The Carpenters.

  • Wendy

    I thought wearing black and spanx was supposed to be slimming.

    • bezza

      …says the person typing anonymously behind her computer.

    • Kerry

      What does her weight have to with her singing ability? Do you like Heart? Ann got fat and she can still sing. It’s so stupid to criticize a singer over their weight

  • ali427

    “Stuff Like That There” remains my favorite performance on Idol to this day. Kelly embodies what Idol used to be all about–undiscovered, raw talent combined with a sense of genuine gratitude and respect for music. Keep it up, Kelly!

  • PN

    I like A Moment Like This, but it sounds so saccharine to 2011 standards. So Disney like and every coronation song followed that same kind of I’ve made it format. This is the first time that Kelly has said that she doesn’t want to sing it again.

  • PN

    I am so pleased that she said that Because of You is a song she wants to be remembered for! It’s a great pop rock ballad for her and I have heard it twice in the Triangle area of North Carolina in the fall of 2005, once in Durham and another time near the RDU Airport on Morrisville Carpenter Road outside of Durham. It actually sounds the best in those areas, the feel of the song matching perfectly to those urban rural landscapes.

  • Iggy

    I find it ironic bout her karaoke comment; considering she kinda won the ultimate karaoke contest!!!

    • Ruben

      I thought the exact same thing!

  • Ashley

    Love Kelly Clarkson. She has a great voice, is a great lyricist and seems like such a fun gal.

    Can’t wait for the new album!

  • kaf

    Loved this article, thank you!

  • Ruben Avendano

    I love Kelly Clarkson but telling people to “let the dream go! It’s not going to happen” if they take karaoke seriously is pretty hypocritical. I mean she basically has everything because she won the world’s biggest serious karaoke competition!

  • mike

    She may not ever want to sing “A Momment Like This” again, but she sang it so well that it made me overlook the fact that it’s an Idol song. As a matter of fact, she turned it into the best Idol song ever.

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