Kelly Clarkson is hard at work recording her 7th studio album. After 14 years with RCA, she signed with Atlantic Records earlier this year, and her next album is going to be soulful pop rather than the pop rock we’re used to hearing from her. She shared plenty of studio updates in July, August, and September. But the last few weeks, Kelly’s focus has been on her new children’s book, River Rose And The Magical Lullaby.
She appeared in numerous interviews this month, and in addition to taking about her book, she’s also given some insight into her new album. Here’s a recap of everything she said about her upcoming soulful music in October so far:
On October 4th, AOL Build interviewed Kelly about her new children’s book, River Rose And The Magical Lullaby, which came out the same day. Besides talking about the book, Kelly also described how recording this album is different from her previous records.
It’s gonna be so great. We’re already recording it, and this is the first time I ever got to pick my label. I came straight from Idol and for 14 years I worked with who I had to work with. The hard thing about that was there were four different executives that I worked with, and it’s like starting over each time even though it’s the same label. It’s very hard. It was nice to just pick a label that already had the same desires as I did for where I was going to go artistically. And for them to open for me to make a country record one day if I want to. It was really cool to bring art back into the game, because I think sometimes we lose that in the music industry.
It’s very soulful, it’s very urban, kinda edgy. It’s definitely not pop rock, but there’s anthems. But it’s a different kind of anthem… it’s like anthems with some stank. So I can sing. This is why I’m making this album. Well, this is one reason why. I sang a the inauguration and at the inaugural ball. My husband and I were walking around, and Steve Harvey came up to me and was like, “Oh my gosh! I didn’t know you could, like, sang.” And I was like, “What the hell…? What have I been doing for 14 years?” And he goes, “No no no no. I like your stuff, but you should make a record like that. Where’s that record?” And I was like, “It’s coming! You’re gonna know it!”
But it’s true. I don’t feel like I’ve done a record that’s really shown my potential.
The interviewer asked, “So you feel like you have total creative control this time?”
Yeah! And what’s awesome is that I don’t have to have all the creative control. Craig, who runs the A&R side of the label – we agree on almost everything. And we’re very bold with each other. I’m like, “Eh, I don’t like that.” And he’s like, “Eh, I don’t like that.” It’s very respectful and it’s a team effort, which is awesome, when you have someone on the team who wants you to have an opinion.
Watch the full interview below. Kelly talks about the new album around the 13 minute mark.
In an interview with WGN-TV on October 7th, Kelly revealed her plan to release the album’s lead single around her birthday in April 2017! Based on that plan, her album would most likely follow in late spring or early summer. During the interview, she also clarified the comment she’d previously made about Steve Harvey inspiring the new album.
It was kind of a joke, because I ran into him and – I was already planning on making this album. But he definitely cemented the idea when we ran into each other at the inaugural ball and he was like, “Man, I didn’t know you could sing!” And I was like, “What?” He was like, “No no no, I knew you could sing. I didn’t know you could sang!” And I was like, “I can sang!” He said, “You need to make a record where people hear that kind of singing.”
Watch more at around 3:26 below:
In a written interview for Entertainment Weekly, Kelly mentioned the song she wrote inspired by the book Big Little Lies. She also brought up her old unreleased song “Empty As I Am,” which she’d submitted for the Twilight soundtrack.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I actually wrote a song that might go on this next record about one of the characters. I’m very inspired by characters in movies and books. This is going to sound funny and “tween,” but I read the Twilight books far before the movies came out, and I wrote a song, “Empty As I Am,” from Edward’s perspective. It’s about loving somebody so much that you know what’s better for them, and you’re not that. I took all the vampire crap out though.
The last album she’d listened to?
A lot of my own work. Sorry–that’s so egocentric! But a lot of demos and songs I’m working on for the new album, because it’s a new sound. It’s very soulful, kinda urban and edgy. I really get to sing. I love all my anthems, but these songs are soulful, want-to-rip-your-heart-out vocals. So that’s what we’ve been listening to–even my daughter. There’s this one song she sings along to already, and I’m like “you’re going to be so tired of this song by the time Mom tours with it!” I feel like this is the record I’ve been wanting to make for so long. The sound is just so innate in me it’s like, God I should have been making records like this all along!
In a Buzzfeed article, Kelly stated that if she were to audition for American Idol today, she’s probably sing Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain.” She points out that she’s recording songs like that for her new album now.
Kelly also spoke to People about her new songs. The interview confirmed that she’s working with Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin again as well.
It’s definitely not like the pop-rock anthems people are used to, but they’re different kind of anthems. They’re still [about] empowerment and big, huge songs, but they’re delivered in a different way. It’s just more soulful — like R&B-soul-urban-pop. It encompasses a lot. I just get to really sing on it.
It’s a better suit for my personality. It’s a record I’ve been dying to make since I was a kid. Now’s the time.
I’ve never made a record like this. Because we’re changing gears, we’ve been talking to a lot of writers. I just came from L.A. and met a ton of writers to be like, “Hey, just in case you want to know where we’re going with this album — do not send, like, Stronger 2.0, you know?” We played them stuff and talked about where the album’s going. It’s a new, fresh thing for me.
ABC News Radio caught up with Kelly, too. She told them that soul and blues music is “not as strict and formulaic as pop can be.” She continued:
Pop music is actually harder to sing. The more soulful, bluesy stuff is just natural in me, so I don’t have to think about anything. I think it’s just how I naturally sang as a child, like, the things I…kinda learned how to sing on. So it’s just so effortless and I love that.
She also talked about how much she’s writing on this album:
I’ve definitely written a bit [but] I have four kids and that takes priority for me. I have actually done something very unique to me. I just met with a ton of writers in L.A. and talked them through [what kinds of songs I want them to give me], because a lot of people that are sending songs…they’re not really getting where we’re going.
It’s a very different process. And it’s definitely a growing thing for me to have to sit there in a room with people and be so vulnerable! But it’s good. It’s all good.
That’s about it for Kelly music news so far this month! She’s been out of the studio, but the interviews have given us plenty of insights into the new record. We can expect to hear the first single in April, with the album likely ready in late spring or summer.
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.