American Idol Pioneer
"Everyone says I'm like the girl next door. Y'all must have really weird neighbors!" Kelly Clarkson
Winner of Fox's first American Idol (2002), Kelly Clarkson continued to stay on top of the music scene with her double platinum albums, the debut "Thankful" (2003, nominated for a Grammy) and the sophomore "Breakaway" (2004). Also recognized for being in second place for World Idol, Clarkson later received more acclaim with her double platinum singles, "Breakaway" and "Since U Been Gone," as well as her gold certified singles, "A Moment Like This" and "Miss Independent" (also nominated for a Grammy).
"Nothing makes me happier than being out on the road. I can't wait to see the fans and perform the new material." Kelly Clarkson
Of Greek decent, Kelly Clarkson, who stands at 5' 4" inches tall, was listed as one of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World (2005) and selected as Candie's footwear spokeswoman (2003). More recent, she was reportedly beginning her debut solo tour, called Breakaway, on March 30, 2005, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The tour will cover 34 cities including New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and Boston for a total of 35 shows in both the USA and Canada.
Childhood and Family:
"I'm a jeans girl!" Kelly Clarkson
Born on April 24, 1982, in Fort Worth, Texas, Kelly Brianne Clarkson later moved to Burleson, Texas. She is the daughter of Jeanne Clarkson and Jimmy Taylor (stepfather). The youngest child of the family, Kelly has two older siblings, brother Jason (b. 1973) and sister Alyssa (b. 1976).
A fan of the Mickey Mouse t-shirt, Kelly, nicknamed Kellbelle, has shown singing talent since middle school. A teacher noticed her while she was singing in a school corridor and later asked her to join the school choir and band. Kelly graduated from Burleson High School in 2000.
Despite her pop princess status, Kelly decided to stay in Texas rather than shuffle to New York or Los Angeles.
A Moment Like This
"I never said I was a good girl. I'm not a bad girl. I'm just normal and that's what I'm going to be. There's no bad girl with whips and chains that's going to come out. I think people like me because I was myself." Kelly Clarkson
Having sung in public since 7th grade, Kelly Clarkson was granted a spot on a statewide choir. Following her high school graduation, she packed for California and landed on television as an extra for an episode of the popular series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
Also having worked for the famed songwriter Gerry Goffin, Kelly relocated to Texas after her apartment in Los Angeles burned down. In her hometown she did several odd jobs ranging from promo girl for Red Bull energy drink, cocktail waitress at a local comedy club, telemarketer, door-to-door sales agent for Kirby vacuum cleaners and employee for a local theater, bookstore, pharmacy, the Fort Worth Zoo and Chili's.
2002 was Kelly's breakout year. She joined with thousands of contestants in an audition for the prestigious talent search show, Fox's American Idol: The Search for a Superstar. Impressed by her big, surprisingly mature voice and her ordinary charm and sense of humor, the American Idol judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, put Kelly in the next round, the 30 final (received applause for her version of Aretha Franklin's "Respect") and eventually in the 10 final.
Being the only contestant never poled at the bottom three, Kelly amazed both judges and audiences with songs like "Natural Woman," "Stuff Like That There," "Without You" and "Before Your Love." Kelly managed to collect 58% of the audience's vote in the final contest against Justin Guarini. In the final event held on September 4, 2002, Kelly was crowned the first American Idol winner and subsequently sang "A Moment Like This" to celebrate her victory.
With her new status, Kelly consequently was handed the official prize of a $1 million recording contract with RCA. She also nabbed a deal with the Creative Artists Agency and received several tour schedules including the nationwide American Idol tour and singing the National Anthem at the September 11 commemoration at Washington DC's Lincoln Memorial.
On April 15, 2003, Kelly launched her debut album "Thankful" which spawned the first single; the gold certified "A Moment Like This" (2002). She broke the American record after rising from No. 52 to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The second single was the Top 10 gold certified hit single "Miss Independent" (2003, co-written by Christina Aguilera) which earned the 2004 Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Other hit singles included "Low" and "The Trouble With Love Is" (both in 2003). "Thankful" instantly hit both the US and Canada charts at No. 1 and eventually nabbed double platinum certification.
Meanwhile, Kelly stepped on to the silver screen starring as herself with American Idol co-contestant Justin Guarini in Robert Iscove's tale of two American Idols, From Justin to Kelly (2003). Unfortunately the musical romance movie received rare attention and became a box office flop. In the same year, Kelly inked a contract with Candie's footwear to become the company's ambassador (formerly done by Destiny's Child, Ashanti and Kelly Osbourne). She also performed at the 2003 Radio Music Awards.
With the American Idol title behind her name, Kelly competed in the first World Idol competition. She placed second after Norwegian Idol Kurt Nilsen. Kelly also went on board for the 30-city Independent Tour with fellow American Idol contestant Clay Aiken in 2004.
"Breakaway," Kelly's sophomore album, was released in 2004. The first single, the double platinum "Breakaway" (co-written by Avril Lavigne, also became the soundtrack for Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement) and poled at No. 6 in the US, No. 3 in Canada, and topped the Billboard's Adult Contemporary charts for over 7 consecutive weeks as of April 26, 2005. The high airplay also happened for the second single, the double platinum "Since U Been Gone." It reached No. 2 on the US and Canadian charts as well as topped Billboard's Pop 100 Charts for 6 consecutive weeks as of April 26, 2005. The two singles later made Kelly the first artist ever to hold the No. 1 spot at Mainstream Top 40 and AC during the same week in the Billboard Radio Monitor era. However, the third single, "Behind These Hazel Eyes," received lower attention and only stayed at No. 46 in the US. Although "Breakaway" received less airplay than its predecessor and hit the US at No. 3, the album still managed to garner double platinum certification after selling over 2 million copies.
More recent, Kelly's fans could watch her perform on several shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show (January of 2005) and Saturday Night Live (February 2005). She could also be seen in the shows Live with Regis and Kelly, and Last Call with Carson Daly (both in March of 2005).
"If I can wake up everyday before I die and know that I don't have to serve anyone food or drinks, I will be happy!" Kelly Clarkson