With 98 Billboard number-one hits, three Grammy Awards, and twenty-five million albums sold worldwide, Kelly Clarkson is far from being an unknown name in the music industry. Clarkson won the inaugural season of American Idol, beating Justin Guarini in the finals.
Clarkson was born to parents Stephen Clarkson and Jeanne Ann, in Fort Worth, Texas. She completed her schooling from the Pauline Hughes Middle School, and graduated from the Burleson High School. Right from her school days, Clarkson had a keen interest in music, and was once asked by her school’s choir teacher to audition for the choir, after having overheard Kelly sing in the hallway. During her High school days, she took part in various musicals like Annie Get Your Gun and Brigadoon, and also performed at the annual talent show for which she received immense praise from the audience for her vocals. It was that moment which made Clarkson self-assured about pursuing singing as a career, and she underwent classical training in music, something, she never did before. The University of Texas and Berklee College of Music offered Clarkson a full-time scholarship which she politely declined because she was confident of her ability to build a career in music on her own. Consequently, she also turned down recording contracts from music labels such as Jive Records and Interscope records because she thought they would restrict her work according to their standards, and not let her explore. In the year 2001, Clarkson relocated to Los Angeles, to fulfill her dream of making it as a musician, and worked alongside Greg Goffin, with whom she recorded five demo tracks so as to pocket a recording deal. Unfortunately, Clarkson was turned down by numerous recording studios for different reasons, and she had to return to her home in Burleson. But having hit rock-bottom, it was in the year 2002 that Clarkson was urged to audition for the inaugural season of reality –singing competition American Idol, by her friends. Kelly won the Season-1, by a vote of 58% against co-finalist Justin Guarini. Consequently, she signed record-deals with RCA Records and S Records. Clarkson’s debut single “Before Your Love” made it to the “Billboard Top 100” as number 60, but, in a couple of weeks catapulted to number 1, breaking “The Beatles” 38-year record of such an ascent on the charts. The following year she was contractually bound to participate in World Idol and finished as runner-up to Norwegian Idol Kurt Nilsen. The year 2003 marked the release of her debut album Thankful, which crept to number-one on “Billboard Top 200,” and was certified as double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The track “It’s Independent” from the album, presented Clarkson with her first Grammy Award nomination at the 46th Grammy Awards. In the same year she made her big-screen debut with Justin Guarini in the musical-comedy From Justin to Kelly. In the year 2004, Clarkson co-wrote the songs of her second album “Breakaway” with pop-artist
, and Ben Moody and David Hodges of “Evanescence.” The album pocketed her Grammys for the Best Pop Vocal Album, and the Best Pop Vocal Performance at the 48th Grammy Awards. Clarkson also received critical acclamation for the album, and was lauded by artists and bands such as Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, Ted Leo, and Simple Plan. Clarkson released her third studio album in 2007 titled “My December,” and it took the No. 8 spot in Billboard Hot 100. In the years that followed All I Ever Wanted, Piece By Piece, and Stronger constituted her subsequent albums which garnered Clarkson Grammy Nominations in various categories. Besides all the accolades she has to her name, Kelly Clarkson has collaborated with various artists such as Josh Groban, Jewel, Robbie Williams, and
, just to name a few. She has co-written songs with Ryan Tedder, Ben Moody, Christina Anguilera,
, and Sia.
Besides her personal musical ventures, Kelly Clarkson has also signed a contract with the Harper Collins publications to publish her first children’s book titled “River Rose & the Magical Lullaby,” featuring an original lullaby sung and written by her. She has also signed a deal with American Greetings to create her line of greeting cards. Clarkson married the talent-manager, Brandon Blackstock in 2013. She is also a known philanthropist and is an active member of various UNICEF projects, Save the Music Foundation, Feed America project, and numerous other NGOs.