It's safe to say that Kelly Clarkson, also known as Kelly Brianne, is more than just a singer. She is a songwriter, actress, television personality, author, designer and a mom. Throughout her career she has proved how much of a pop star she is, selling over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. Clarkson has 11 top 10 singles in the United States and 9 top singles in the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Not only that, but she became the first artist in history to top each of Billboard's pop, adult pop, country, adult contemporary and dance charts. She has received three MTV Video Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, three Daytime Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards. Let's not forget her TV ventures, which include The Voice, The Kelly Clarkson Show and American Song Contest.
Seeing how much she has accomplished in only 39 years proves that if you work hard enough, you can do anything you set your mind to. Here's a look at how Clarkson became the ultimate superstar she is today.
Clarkson made history on Live TV after winning American Idol on September 4, 2002, triumphing over runner-up Justin Guarini. After her win, Clarkson sang "A Moment Like This" during the ceremony, which ultimately became her lead debut single. The big win was a catalyst for her music career, which has now spanned two decades.
Fast forward to a year, the star returned to the Idol stage and was presented with a platinum record for her first album, Thankful. The album became certified 2X platinum and has sold over 4.5 million copies to date worldwide. "A Moment Like This" initially sat at No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, climbing to No. 50 the following week and then going to No. 1.
Fun fact, it broke a 38-year-old record set by The Beatles for the biggest leap to No. 1. The song eventually went on to become the best-selling single of 2002 in the United States. The album is responsible for several hits including, "Miss Independent" which was certified gold by the RIAA. This earned her her first Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
From Justin to Kelly
Clarkson made her film debut with fellow American Idol contestant, Guarini, releasing the musical romantic comedy film, From Justin to Kelly, in 2003. Both of the contestants were actually obligated to star in the movie as part of their contract with American Idol. The film didn't do that well and received negative reviews from critics, but despite the hiccup, this didn't stop Clarkson from making a name for herself.
In 2004, the singer found her niche by bringing out the pop-rock anthems that everyone still belts now. The multi-platinum record included several of her hits, including "Because of You," "Behind These Hazel Eyes, and "Since You've Been Gone." The album would go on to win Best Pop Vocal Grammy and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Since U Been Gone."
"Because of You" became the American singer's biggest single worldwide reaching No. 1 on the European Hot 100 singles chart. In 2006, Clarkson was apparently the most played artist in the United States.
Fast forward to 2007, the singer released her third album, My December, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. This album had a little bit more of a rock edge, but her fans still couldn't get enough of her.
During this time there was some behind-the-scenes drama with her label Arista prior to the release of the album. About the situation, Clarkson told Elle, "I've sold more than 15 million records worldwide, and still nobody listens to what I have to say. I couldn't give a crap about being a star. I've always just wanted to sing and write."
In Comes Reba McEntire
Bringing in the queen herself Reba McEntire, the two collaborated on "Because of You" in 2007. The song ended up receiving several awards, including a nomination for an Academy of Country Music Awards. Both singers went on tour together in 2008.
Throughout the years Clarkson has named McEntire as an inspiration for her career and we can see why. Who would have thought that she would have ended up marrying her stepson, Brandon Blackstock?
All I Ever Wanted
Clarkson's fourth album All I Ever Wanted was released in March 2009 receiving critical acclaim and sold over a million copies in the United States. The album garnered the singer a nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
The first single "My Life Would Suck Without You" hit No. 1 the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Her second single, "Already Gone," which was co-written by Ryan Tedder, jumped to No. 1 on the Adult Pop Songs Chart becoming her longest leading song for a total of 8 weeks.
"Don't You Wanna Stay"
Continuing with the country roots, in 2011 she partnered up with Jason Aldean for his song "Don't You Wanna Stay." The song was so successful that it won an Academy of Country Music Award for Best Musical Event of The Year and Single of The Year and a Country Music Association award for Musical Event of the Year. This year she also collaborated with Vince Gill on his 2013 song "Don't Rush."
"Mr. Know It All"
Clarkson went on to release her fifth studio album Stronger, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. It won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards, quickly becoming the first artist to win the award twice. Its single "Mr. Know It All" became her ninth top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" was the second single and top 16 Billboard charts becoming her third No. 1 on the Hot 100. The song actually remains Clarkson's best-selling single with over 4.9 million copies in the United States alone. The song was nominated for three Grammy Awards Record of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.
Clarkson Goes to the White House
2013 was an exciting year for the Fort Worth, Texas native. She had the opportunity to sing at the second presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. She was joined on stage by the United States Marine band to perform "My Country Tis of Thee."
Clarkston had begun dating Blackstock, who is the son of her former manager Narvel Blackstock and the former stepson of McEntire, in 2012. The couple got married in October 2013 in Walland, Tennessee. Throughout their marriage, Blackstock was actually Clarkson's manager. Together they have a daughter, River Rose, and a son, Remington "Remi" Alexander.
In June 2020, Clarkson filed for divorce siting irreconcilable differences. According to court documents, Clarkson won primary custody of both of her children. The divorce was finalized on August 3, 2021.
The Big 10
Commemorating the tenth anniversary of her music career, Clarkson released her first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits - Chapter One, in November 2012. The album was certified gold in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Wrapped in Red
Clarkson released a holiday album, Wrapped in Red, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The album featured classic songs such as "Run Run Rudolph" and "Blue Christmas" and had two new songs, "Wrapped in Red" and "Underneath the Christmas Tree." The album has been certified platinum by the RIAA and became the best-selling holiday album of the year.
Piece by Piece
Coming in hot with her seventh and final studio album under RCA Records, Clarkson released Piece by Piece in February 2015. It became her third album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.
To promote the album, she appeared in the 14th season of American Idol, where she delivered a beautiful performance of the single of the same name. The album and single "Heartbeat Song" were nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance, respectively.
River Rose and the Magical Lullaby
In 2016 Clarkson signed a book deal with HarperCollins releasing her first children's book, River Rose and the Magical Lullaby. The book features an original lullaby that was performed and written by the singer herself. Her second book was released in 2017, River Rose and the Magical Christmas, including an original song that was sung and written by Clarkson, "Christmas Eve."
After serving as a mentor on The Voice, she officially joined as a coach in 2017 for its 14th season. She's still going strong as a coach and has four historic wins on Team Kelly.
Meaning of Life
Clarkson went on to release her album Meaning of Life in October 2017, signing a long-term worldwide deal with Atlantic Records. Promoting the album, she performed at the 45th American Music Awards with Pink, performing R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts." Later on, she performed "Miss Independent" and "Love So Soft," which was nominated for a Best Pop Solo Performance Grammy Award. This same year she held the record for the most nominations in that category with a total of 4.
The Kelly Clarkson Show
Adding more to her plate, in 2019 it was announced Clarkson was getting her own daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show. The singer was filming the show while being a coach on the 17th season of The Voice. The show is so successful that it has earned six Daytime Emmy Awards including for an Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment. Clarkson also won the award for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host in 2020 and 2021.
In February 2020, Clarkson became a brand ambassador for the website Wayfair, releasing exclusive collections of furniture and decor that were said to be inspired by Clarkson.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Clarkson returned as a coach for the 19th season of The Voice. That same month she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
By May 2021, NBC had announced that the singer's show would take over the time slot of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
When Christmas Comes Around
In September of 2021, the singer released Christmas Isn't Canceled (Just You), the lead single from her ninth studio album, When Christmas Comes Around. She performed at the second annual iHeartRadio holiday special and hosted her own Christmas special, Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around, on NBC.
American Song Contest
Adding on more projects, Clarkson and Snoop Dogg partnered in February 2022 and were named co-hosts of the singing competition series, American Song Contest. The show is an adaptation of the international songwriting competition Eurovision Song Contest and premiered on March 2, 2022. The show has contestants from all 50 states, five territories, and Washington DC who compete for the title of Best Original Song.
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