In June, Kelly Clarkson announce that, after 14 years with RCA, she has signed to a Atlantic Records. Furthermore, her upcoming 7th album will move in a decidedly more soulful direction. Instead of the pop rock anthems she’s known for, Kelly will take it back to her soulful roots this time around. The “soul pop” album will be out sometime in 2017.
In July, Kelly started sharing some studio updates as she works on the new album. In early August, Kelly shared even more from the studio – including videos and song snippets! She was quiet through the end of the month and the first half of this month, in mid-September we started getting some more studio news.
On September 16th, audio engineer and producer Darren Schneider revealed that he’s “getting two new songs ready for Kelly Clarkson.” Notice that he also labeled the mix “SoulGod.”
— Andrew Jackson (@andrewjacksson) September 20, 2016
The following day, Kelly herself shared a 360 degree photo of her recording vocals. Move around the picture to see typed lyrics, a piano, a video camera, and more.
Songwriter J.R. Rotem also worked with Kelly:
On September 22nd, Publishers Weekly interviewed Kelly about her new children’s book, River Rose & The Magical Lullaby, which comes out next week. At the end of it, Kelly talked a bit about the new album:
I’m making my new record and it’s got a soulful, urban pop sound. It’s very different from the world of River Rose! But being able to hop back and forth between the two is good for me creatively.
I’m just kind of letting life take its course right now. The new record is a new sound for me. I was able to pick my label for the first time, after my Idol contract, and Atlantic is really into doing stuff that’s fresh and new. It’s so exciting.
Once you’re a mom, your priorities change. It’s family first. What is great is that music is now more of a fun hobby, something that I do on the side. It’s different – it’s not about me. I don’t feel that same pressure. It’s hard being a mom and still work. But to have both worlds come together, to be present as a mom and be present as an artist, is amazing. I’m very happy with this creative adventure.
At the end of September, Kelly talked about the new album extensively with Entertainment Weekly. She explained one new song she wrote, which was inspired by the novel, Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty.
I actually wrote a song that might go on this next record about one of the characters, Celeste. I know this is going to sound horrible, but I’ve just never understood domestic violence. And Liane did such a great job at depicting the emotional state, what exactly is going through peoples’ heads, why they make the decisions they do, what traps them, what they’re holding on to. So I wrote the song from the character’s perspective. I have more empathy for that situation [now].
Explaining her decision to record a soulful album, Kelly said:
I’ve actually always wanted to make this album and I just haven’t been able to. While it is still pop, it’s way more soulful. Even the producers that have worked with with me before, Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin, [are amazed]. I literally just got a long email from Jesse going, “Oh my gosh! Why have you not made this record yet?” Because the sound is so innate in me. It’s just so natural. It’s like, “God! You should have been making records like this the whole time.” And I love making all different kinds of records, so it’s not like I’m mad about it or anything. I’ve just wanted to make this particular record since I was in junior high.
She chose to sign with Atlantic because:
They just had this stellar, soulful, more urban vibe, and that’s really what I was looking for. And they’re down with me making a country record one day. Because basically country and R&B are cousins. [Atlantic] is just really into me being an artist and doing different things. We don’t need to hear “Stronger” again, or “Since You’ve Been Gone.” It’s time for something else. We’re about to go to L.A. to do a big recording-writing session. It’s so much fun, because it’s like I’m a brand new artist again.
Almost like what everyone heard me sing on Idol. That’s what’s so funny. Whenever I was talking to Atlantic, we were talking about maybe working together, I was like, “Look, this isn’t different. This is what people voted for.” And Craig Kallman at Atlantic is dying to make this record with me. We were both definitely on the same page. That’s where he wanted me to go anyway. He just loves soulful stuff. So it just happened to work out. It was a universe thing. Everybody kind of had the same vision. I just feel like this is the record that I’ve been really wanting to make for so long now. My mom is so happy! My mom is like, “I like your music, but I love this!”
Kelly also talked about being in the studio after giving birth. (Her son, Remington, was born in April.)
Girlfriend, coming back from being pregnant (Clarkson’s son, Remington Alexander, arrived in April) is a weird thing for your diaphragm — even how you breathe normally. Apply that to singing, which you need a ton of breath for. It’s just a different thing to build back up. Two weeks ago, I was doing lead vocal on this song that I am just in love with in this studio in my house, and the producer was here, and I flipped out. It’s funny because it’s on camera. We’re filming all of it. It’s the day my voice came full-on back, like exactly what I wanted. I sounded amazing. I was so excited. My producer was laughing so hard because I was freaking out.
Notice that Kelly mentioned that they’re filming the whole recording process. We may get some studio footage once the album is ready!
Catch up on all we know about Kelly’s upcoming album, and keep checking back here for all the latest Kelly Clarkson music news, too. We’re sure to get more studio updates and interviews as Kelly continues recording the new album.
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