Kelly Clarkson started working on what would be her 6th album not long after Stronger was released in October 2011. Inspiration struck, especially when she started dating a man named Brandon Blackstock in February 2012. Kelly, smitten with her new boyfriend, began writing happy songs instead of her more characteristic breakup anthems.
After Stronger, fans got an onslaught of new Kelly material. A few EPs of covers and acoustic tracks, a greatest hits collection, and an acclaimed Christmas album came in 2011, 2012, and 2013, along with plenty of touring. And it wasn’t just her musical life that was busy: She also became engaged, got married, and now has a baby daughter. After so many successes and changes professionally and personally, her next album is sure to show some changes as well.
Kelly’s 6th album finally came out on March 3, 2015. The full pop album was called Piece By Piece, and featured song written by Sia, a duet with John Legend, and plenty of surprises from Kelly herself. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Early Beginnings: Love, Rainbows, & Butterflies
The first inklings of a new Kelly Clarkson album came only 2 months after Stronger came out. On December 10, 2011, Kelly Clarkson was performing at the Y100 Jingle Ball in Florida. While backstage, she talked with Just Jared about wanting a “hot man” for Christmas… and that she’d recorded a duet with Demi Lovato:
It’s a song a friend of mine wrote. It’s killer and I’ve been wanting to sing it for a while. It’s very like urban, pop/rock, and we both like that. It’s my normal anthem, shove it in your face [type of song].
We know Demi is a huge Kelly Clarkson fan, so it’s cool that they actually recorded a song together.
A couple months later, on February 1, 2012, Kelly casually tweeted that she had just written a new song. There weren’t any other details about it. Kelly has often said that she’s always writing, but this new composition was tweet-worthy.
This was just days before she started dating a man named Brandon Blackstock. He happens to work in the industry – he’s Reba McEntire’s step-son and the manager for country singer Blake Shelton. Kelly and Brandon hooked up after she sang the National Anthem at the Superbowl – and they’ve been together ever since.
This new romance had some effect on her creativity though! She spoke to People Magazine in May 2012 about her newfound love:
[This romance] is killing me. I’m trying to write a tough song and it is coming out like butterflies and rainbows. It is ruining my creativity! People are going to be, like, ‘What the hell happened to you?’ It has been really difficult. I love it. It’s an awesome problem to have.
In July, Kelly talked to the Daily Telegraph, and shared more about her new cheerful songs:
I’m too damn happy! I can’t write anything depressing. It’s really hard to write happy songs that don’t make you want to vomit… There is one, but it’s me, so there’s a dark twist on it. It’s kind of a dark twist to being happy. We’ll see if it works.
No word on what that song was, or whether it was or will be released. At the time, Kelly seemed really concerned about writing happy songs instead of her more characteristic boy-bashing anthems love-gone-wrong ballads. But fans will surely embrace her new music, no matter how happy and lovey it is.
Recording New Songs + “Get Up (A Cowboys Anthem)”
In June 2012, Kelly revealed she was officially working on her 6th studio album. In an interview with WAVE 105 in the UK on June 11th, the show host asked about her upcoming music plans. She mentioned that she was already writing and recording, and had teamed up with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins again:
We’re already working. I’m constantly like that because you never know when you’re going to find a song and so we’re always working on the next thing. [Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins] sent me an amazing song that I cannot wait for people to hear – it’s gonna be on the next album.
You can hear the full interview below:
In August, Kelly Clarkson joined as part of Pepsi’s NFL series, in which a few artists contributed songs dedicated to the football team they support. Born and raised in Texas, Kelly is a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. She wrote and recorded a synth pop song called “Get Up (A Cowboys Anthem).” The promotional single was released August 14, 2012.
In September 2012, Kelly sent a tweet to Pink, Lady Gaga, and Jessie J asking for a collaboration. So far we haven’t heard this “Bowie meets U2” tune – unless, of course, it happens to be “People Like Us” from Kelly’s first hits compilation.
Okay so I have a killer song that I want @Pink @ladygaga and @jessiej to sing with me!! Any takers ladies?! It sounds like Bowie meets U2!
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) September 15, 2012
Greatest Hits: Chapter 1
On October 4, 2012, Kelly Clarkson suddenly announced that she was releasing a new album – a greatest hits compilation! The album, called Greatest Hits: Chapter 1, was set for release November 19, 2012, with the first single coming in October. This is the message Kelly posted on her official website:
It’s been a decade now since I won American Idol. Sometimes it feels longer because although it has been exciting that was a lot of pressure to have as a 19 year old girl. To own a company, lead an organization as a business woman, and be able to create music I’m proud of has been tough, but inspiring, for me. To celebrate the strength and longevity that my fans, friends, and family have supported me with I wrote this song “Catch my Breath” with one of my best friends that has seen me through everything. This song represents who I’ve been, what I’ve felt, and where I’m headed as not only an artist but as a 30 year old that is now smart enough to know that it’s time to stop, catch my breath, and be proud of not only what has been accomplished but of all the people that have helped me become the woman I am today. The song will be part of my first ever greatest hits (!!) coming in November. Thank you everyone that has been a part of my career and life. Here’s to another decade of passion and fun! I hope you like the song…its coming next week!
The new album would contain 3 new songs, including the first single “Catch My Breath,” which was co-written by Kelly. The song describes her career since her American Idol beginnings, and the struggles she faced professionally and personally over the decade. It ends on a happy note, with her finally finding love and happiness.
“Catch My Breath” debuted on October 10th, followed by the music video release on November 12th:
Another new song was an old style country song called “Don’t Rush.” The single featured Vince Gill on guitar, and ended up being nominated for a Grammy. You can see a performance of the song here:
The third and final new song included on Greatest Hits: Chapter 1 was a self-empowerment anthem called “People Like Us.” It was released as the compilation’s last single in May 2013. It has an official music video as well:
Going Country: “You Ain’t Gonna Like This”
In the midst of the greatest hits album cycle, Kelly was also still performing. On February 28, 2013, Kelly played at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, TN. Kelly debuted a new, country rock styled song called “Ain’t Gonna Like This,” which she co-wrote with Aben Eubanks. She was backed by the Pistol Annies providing extra vocals, who help with the song’s fun, feisty mood:
Kelly has also recorded a studio version of the song. So far only a tiny snippet has leaked – it can be heard at the end of the video linked here.
Was Kelly going country? She’d dabbled in the genre plenty over her career: duets with big name country stars (“Don’t You Wanna Stay”), re-releasing singles in a more country twanged production (“Because Of You,” “Mr. Know It All”), and even recording new songs to be released as proper, Grammy-nominated singles (“Don’t Rush”). There had been rumors of a country album back in 2007, but Kelly shut them down and said that she would remain in pop, where she can incorporate many different styles.
Going R&B: “Adorn” Remix?
Or maybe Kelly was going into more R&B flavored tunes. In April 2013, R&B singer Miguel talked to Hot97 about wanting to work with Kelly Clarkson on her next album.
I really want to produce something for her. You know, I think it would be really cool to bring her into my world.
He hadn’t worked with her yet, though the desire to work with each other was mutual. Kelly had publicly complimented him while accepting a Grammy award earlier in 2013.
However, he also revealed that he may or may not have worked with Kelly on a remix of his single, “Adorn.” He didn’t directly answer the question, but he did skirt around the topic and end with “I’m not going to address that.” Hopefully fans can hear this rumored remix soon. You can hear what Miguel has to say about Kelly around the 9:38 mark:
New Albums: Christmas Compilation + Eclectic Record
In April 2013, Kelly Clarkson confirmed some important album information.
- She was indeed recording her first Christmas record, set for release at the end of 2013
- She was ALSO recording her next studio album, and that was set for release in early 2014
Regarding her new regular album, she talked about the sound: Basically, it was all over the place. She had everything – Dance, bluesy-ness, singer/songwriter, country, but Kelly said it was “all me.” It was shaping up to be a very eclectic album, and Kelly was very excited about it!
She even already had some singles picked out. The way Kelly described it, they would start by sending one single to country radio and another to pop radio.
You can watch Kelly talk about her new music in the video below from about 31:35 – 32:52
Bring In The Songwriters! “Go On,” “One Note,” & Writing Camps
In May 2013, recording artist and songwriter Sia revealed to fans on Twitter that she had written a song for Kelly. She did not share any more information besides her simple affirmation:
— sia (@Sia) May 10, 2013
Later, in September 2013, Sia said that she thought Kelly had indeed recorded the song she sent:
@lgbtsupportteam @kelly_clarkson yes I think she is doing one @GregKurstin and I wrote!
— sia (@Sia) September 4, 2013
In May 2013, Kelly shared a studio picture via her WhoSay account:
Where Did the Content Go? — WHOSAY
On May 27th, singer/songwriter Shontelle spoke with The Source about writing new songs and working with Kelly Clarkson:
Q: You are also working on Kelly Clarkson’s new album?
Shontelle: Yeah, not only for her album, but also for her Christmas album, so wish me luck! I mean I just don’t want an album cut, I want a single you know what I mean?
Kelly, I haven’t been in the studio with her yet, but they called me in so we’re working on it.
Just a few weeks later in June 2013, a songwriter named Kalisa Ewing spoke with Examiner about writing new songs for different artists, including one for Kelly Clarkson. This is what she had to say about the song:
EX: Kelly Clarkson also cut a song of yours recently. What’s the song?
KE: It’s called “Go On.” I wrote that with Neil Mason and James LeBlanc. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m so excited about it. [To] just think of Kelly Clarkson singing a song I wrote is wow. She can really sing the phonebook, and it would be fine.
EX: What’s “Go On” about?
KE: It’s a song about a girl at a bar and a guy coming up to her and trying play his game and be cool and suave. She’s like ‘dude, I’m just having a drink with my friends. Go on, back where you came from.’ It’s a fun song. It’s very much feel-good, cool, groovy song.
EX: What’s the vibe of the song? Country, pop, rock?
KE: It’s like Country-pop-rock-ish. To be honest, our demo of it, which was our work tape [was stripped down]. Neil Mason does a great work tape, with a drum loop and everything, as you’re writing along. I haven’t heard the production they’ve done on it. To me, it reminds me of her “Miss Independent” record. It could fit very well in with that kind of thing.
You can hear a demo of “Go On” (not sung by Kelly) below:
In late June, Pulse Recordings held a writing camp with hundreds of songwriters. A very long list of songwriters and producers confirmed via social media that they had worked on some new songs for Kelly Clarkson.
You can see the full list below (credit to bixblitz at KCE):
Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein (Hello, Alone, You Love Me, You Can’t Win, Get Up) – Pulse / twitter
Felicia Barton – Pulse / twitter / website (warning, music autoplays)
Mozella – twitter / wiki
Harlan – twitter / website
Rachel Rabin – twitter / website
Rob Kleiner – twitter / website
Barry Dean – Pulse / twitter
Julia Michaels – twitter
Drew Pearson – Pulse / twitter / wiki
Mighty Mike (Catch My Breath) – Pulse / twitter
Josh Moran (lead singer of New York Rivals) – twitter
Dana Parish – twitter / myspace / website
Dan Keyes (main guy of Young Love) – twitter
Sandy Chila –
Chris DeStefano (Let Me Down) – twitter
Anne Preven – Pulse / twitter / wiki
CJ Baran – Pulse / twitter
Kelly Sheehan – twitter / wiki
Neil Mason (drummer of The Cadillac Three (formerly The Cadillac Black)) – Nettwerk / twitter /
Jaden Michaels – Pulse / twitter
Captain Cuts – twitter
Matt Squire – twitter / website
Britt Burton – twitter / bio
Lily Elise – twitter / website
Chris Greatti – twitter
Ryan Williams – Pulse / twitter
Ben Berger – twitter
Ryan McMahon –
Jenna Andrews – twitter / myspace / website
Khris Lorenz – twitter
Matt Rad – Pulse / twitter / wiki
Raja Kumari – Pulse / twitter / tumblr
Elle Vee – twitter / soundcloud
Sam Farrar (bass player for Phantom Planet) – twitter / wiki / website
Ryland Blackinton (guitarist for Cobra Starship)- Pulse / twitter / wiki
Jacques Brautbar (former member of Phantom Planet) – twitter / wiki / bio
Skylar Stonestreet – twitter / website
Dan Rockett – twitter / myspace
Sam James – twitter / website
David Saint Fleur – twitter
Asia Whiteacre – twitter
Trevor Dahl – twitter
Andy Hollander – website / wiki
The Strangerz – twitter / wiki
Shaun Lopez – twitter / website / wiki
Peter Lloyd – twitter
Joleen Belle – twitter
Nick Audino – twitter
Tyler Lyle – Pulse / twitter / website
Marty James – twitter / wiki
Nick Bailey – twitter
Ryan Ogren (guitarist in Runner Runner)- twitter / wiki
Issac Hanson (Hanson) –
Taylor Hanson (Hanson) –
Zac Hanson (Hanson) –
Buffy Hubelbank (A&R Pulse Publishing)
Rob Inadomi (RCA A&R) – twitter
In July, a new song called “One Note” was registered on BMI. It was written by Kelly Clarkson and country singer Blake Shelton. It is likely intended for the country album Kelly had been working on.
Surprise Country Single: “Tie It Up”
A few months after Greatest Hits: Chapter 1 ended with the “People Like Us” single, Kelly decided to treat fans to a new surprise single: An upbeat country song called “Tie It Up.” She didn’t write this one, but her songwriter friends were able to capture her voice and make the song sound exactly like what Kelly would say.
Kelly, engaged and getting ready for a big wedding with her beau Brandon Blackstock, was head over heels in love, and “Tie It Up” makes for the perfect, giddy ode to marriage. The wedding theme plays throughout the lyrics and the video. The song was suddenly released on June 25, 2013, with the music video following in August.
In July 2013, Kelly sat down for another Ask Anything chat and revealed lots of important tidbits of info.
- When asked if she would ever consider doing a covers album, Kelly enthusiastically explained that she had thought of it and had two specific ideas – although she had also kind of accomplished both. She had recorded a bunch of covers in 2011, and released them in two halves between her two Smoakstack EPs. Her other desire was to doing a more big band styled covers album. However, she covered that a lot on her upcoming Christmas album, so that was kind of checked of as well.
- She also mentioned that she would love to do a fan request album some day. During her tour in support of Stronger she had performed dozens of covers that fans had requested via Twitter.
- She talked about her new album and said that one of her main difficulties is making it cohesive – she just loves so many different genres. On the new record she was working on (to be released after the Christmas album), she had songs in all kinds of styles: Real urban, super pop rock, dance, country, and singer/songwriter. As she explained, when she makes an album, she just wants to create and then put everything on the record, but with her versatility and wide interests, it becomes tricky when trying to make the album cohesive.
- The last song she had listened to was a demo that had been sent her way. She then sent it to a producer to see if he would like it and produce it.
- Kelly said that country is not a genre change – rather, it’s more like a “genre add.” She started making country music because she loves it and has friends in country music, and it was just a natural progression for her. But she also makes clear that she’s still making pop music too. Her next record “has both.” Kelly said “I just have a lot of different sides to me,” and so she was excited to be able to make music of all genres.
See the full video below:
The album indeed should have some dancey music on it, if Jason Halbert’s tweet is any indication. In September 2013, he shared a picture of Kelly recording some vocals:
Recording a vocal in the dressing room you wont believe. Sooooo excited about this song! Lets dance! pic.twitter.com/CSyBlTykT3
— Jason Halbert (@jasonhalbert) September 14, 2013
That September, Kelly was also throwing around the idea of recording a full country album with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood. The two country veterans had already recorded “Silent Night” with Kelly for her Christmas record, and they liked harmonizing so much that they wanted to record more music together. Hear Kelly talk about it around the 4:00 mark below:
Kelly talked about her single “Tie It Up” during a concert in fall 2013. She revealed that the country song was the first single from her upcoming 6th album – a full country record!
Kelly talked more about this in an interview with 107.7 GNA in September 2013. She said she’d already recorded almost a whole country record, and that she would be finishing that soon. However, she assured fans that she was not quitting pop music to focus solely on country. Rather, she wanted to continue with both, and maintained that pop is still an important side of her music. She loves both country and pop, and wants to do it all.
Listen to the full audio of her interview – and more info about her two albums – at 107.7 GNA.
Wrapped In Red
On August 19, 2013, Kelly Clarkson took to Twitter to announce her new Christmas album, Wrapped In Red, was coming soon, and shared a picture of the album cover:
Check out the cover of my Christmas album! I can't wait for y'all to hear it. #WrappedInRed pic.twitter.com/tIgmd4KtNJ
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) August 19, 2013
The official press release from RCA confirmed that the album would be out on October 29th, and would contain “brand new instant classics such as the first single, “Underneath The Tree,” and title track, “Wrapped In Red,” as well as Christmas favorites.” The album contained 5 original songs, all co-written by Kelly: the aforementioned “Underneath The Tree” and “Wrapped In Red,” plus songs called “Every Christmas,” “Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song),” and “4 Carats.” In the press release, Kelly said “I’m super excited to put out my first Christmas record. I absolutely love Christmas music and have had a total blast recording and writing for it. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.”
Wrapped In Red was released on October 29, 2013, and ended up being the best selling new Christmas album that holiday season. You can hear it below:
A music video for the lead single, “Underneath The Tree,” was released in December:
Overall, Kelly’s Wrapped In Red Christmas album did very well, both critically and commercially, and was a huge success.
Not One, But TWO New Studio Albums: Pop + Country
During the whole Wrapped In Red era, Kelly did plenty of promo and talked about her other upcoming music projects. In October, there were murmurings of her releasing not just one, but TWO new albums in the coming months: One pop and one country. In an interview with KYMX Mix 96, she talked about how much new music she had:
You know what, we have recorded so many songs for the country stuff that it’s like, I don’t want to give that up. And we’ve recorded so much great pop stuff at the same time. So, we’re probably going to end up making two albums just because of the material we have figuring that out. But we have two records that we’ve made.
She talked about it again in a video interview with 95.5 PLJ – you can hear what she has to say below:
Kelly and her team were still in the early stages of figuring out how to release both a country album and a pop album. It can certainly be tricky trying to release both.
In mid October Kelly was on the cover of Billboard magazine for an in-depth interview about Wrapped In Red. It’s a great interview worth checking out, but one detail in particular sticks out. Towards the end of the article, the writer mentions that Kelly will be releasing not one, not two, but THREE new albums in 2014: Pop, Country, and a potential Broadway album. This is the first – and so far only – mention of a Broadway album we’ve heard about. It is a very curious and intriguing thought though! The more albums the merrier!
Concluding the interview with Billboard, Kelly talked about how her Christmas album (and 2012’s greatest hits collection) served as a break from her past decade of music and a sampler of what would come in her next. She added, “I’m going to clear the air and take stock of the good that’s happened.”
In October, two new songs were registered on ASCAP. The first, called “Only You (Million Reasons),” was co-written by Ali Tamposi, the writer behind “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger).”
The other song is called “Some Love”:
Neither song credits Kelly as a co-writer; rather, these were songs that she simply recorded. Perhaps these will appear on one of her upcoming albums?
A Wedding & A Baby!
During the whirlwind success of Wrapped In Red, Kelly also found some time for her personal life: On October 20, 2013, Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock got married. It was a private ceremony. Despite planning a huge wedding, the pair called it off and secretly eloped instead.
But that wasn’t all! In December 2013, Kelly announced some more exciting news: She was pregnant! It would be her first child, and her husband’s third (he had two children from a previous marriage). She was thrilled!
The pregnancy did have the side effect of preventing Kelly from promoting Wrapped In Red as fully as she had planned; she also ended up pushing back her two albums until after her baby was born. But these were only small trifles. Kelly was going to be a mother, and a great one at that!
“Little Green Apples” & More Country Recordings
In late 2013, Kelly Clarkson teamed up with Robbie Williams to record a cover of the O.C. Smith classic, “Little Green Apples.” It would appear on Robbie’s album, Swings Both Ways. The song came out on November 18, 2013:
On December 26th, Kelly tweeted that she had just recorded a song with country star Martina McBride:
Recorded a soulful song with @martinamcbride and I have to say, it's pretty bad ass 🙂 A nice distraction from being pregnant! Thanks girl!
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) December 26, 2013
The song turned out to be a cover of Etta James’ “In The Basement.” It was released in March 2014. Check it out:
Also around the new year there were rumors that Kelly Clarkson had recorded a cover of “Fade Into You,” featured on the TV show Nashville. She appeared on the show, playing herself, and was originally rumored to perform the song on the show (she didn’t). There were also rumors that she was going to include “Fade Into You” on her upcoming country album. This has not been confirmed.
You can hear the original version (not by Kelly) of “Fade Into You” below:
Looking For A New Direction
In early 2014, Kelly continued working on her new album(s). With her pregnancy, the new music was delayed a bit to the end of 2014, and that gave Kelly more time to write and record. She told a fan on Twitter about her progress:
@rileylange Ha! I am writing now & gonna be recording soon. We're aiming to release my next album at the end of this year 🙂
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 31, 2014
Producer Claude Kelly has been working with Kelly on the new album. He spoke to ABC Radio News about it in February:
I’ve written some stuff [for her] that’s very, very pop, like, straight down the middle pop, and she adds all the bells and whistles to it. Kelly is the kinda person where her voice kinda dictates anything, so it can go anywhere from a little country-leaning to a little dance-leaning, so I think she’s taking a bit of everything and making it her own with her voice.
She has full, complete say in everything that happens. She has power now. She knows what she’s doing.
On February 10, 2014, producers were looking for songs to send to Kelly. They put up a submissions page asking for “Top 40 smashes” and songs that are more soulful:
A producer with many placements in songwriting is working with the team at RCA and looking for songs for Kelly Clarkson.
Songs should be positive, concept-driven top 40 smashes with big melodies and more soulful songs in the vein of Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
In March, pop producer Jesse Shatkin was interviewed by MuuMuse. He had worked on “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” and Wrapped In Red, and was teaming up with Kelly again for her new album. According to Jesse, she’s looking for songs that are “a little left-of-center and cool.” He added, “One of them is kind of an electronic banger, but it has kind of a haunting melody that I think she was attracted to. She’s really open-minded.”
In April 2014, a new song was registered on ASCAP. “Hearbeat Song” was written by Kelly Clarkson, Kara DioGuardi, Audra Mae, and Jason Evigan, and lists Kelly as a performer:
Kelly’s longtime drummer Mile McPherson tweeted in April that he was working on some new Kelly music as well:
Got to use my favoritest, new @meinlcymbals today for my favoritest artist, @kelly_clarkson, at my favoritest studio! pic.twitter.com/9E8KoNPwoQ
— Miles McPherson (@mileskmcpherson) April 16, 2014
He also posted a video on Instrgram – could that drum beat be part of a new Kelly song?
“Always my favorite room. This is what a tracking room should sound like. Oceanway 4 lyfe, bro.”
In May 2014, an artist named Eden said that Kelly had just recorded a new song they wrote:
So @kelly_clarkson finished recording the song we wrote today… #awesome pic.twitter.com/rtvfH6U8DM
— Eden Wilson (@edenxo) May 2, 2014
More recently, there are rumors that Kelly Clarkson has recorded a song called “Take You High,” written by Maureen McDonald and Jesse Shatkin.
Baby River Rose Is Born & Music Is On The Way
On June 12, 2014, Kelly Clarkson’s daughter River Rose was born. Kelly and family will likely take some time to enjoy the new baby and revel in her motherhood.
However, Kelly still had plans to release her new album at the end of this year. Evidently it will only be one album for now – probably the pop record. Kelly has some events coming up in the next few months, and has spoken to Citizen Watch (for which she is an ambassador) about new music:
I am thrilled to be a part of the Better Starts Now campaign for Citizen! Better Starts Now is a powerful phrase to me right now in my life. I have a new baby and I’m working on new music! It only gets better from here!
This new music may have a new sound, based on a Hits Daily Double interview with RCA’s CEO Peter Edge:
When we took over—this is about to be our third year—there hadn’t been a lot of new signings. But we had some amazing established artists that we had to refresh and find some new music and directions for, like Kelly Clarkson, P!nk and people like that. Then we really set about signing new artists; that’s why it’s taken time. It takes a couple of years to sign and make records and get them released and have hits. It’s at least two to three years.
There is also a rumor that producer James Joyce may have produced a country song for Kelly’s upcoming album, according to a Nashville Round-Up from Hits Daily Double:
Ben Vaughan, EVP of Warner/Chappell, is about the pieces as well. But for the longtime EMI Publishing exec, diversity is key. Having just inked a co-venture deal with rock/occasional country producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Amos Lee, Hale Storm, Kelly Clarkson), he also has hard-country writer/artist Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift collaborator Liz Rose, pop-leaning Bretty James and newcomer Nicole Galyon, who just co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s #1 “Automatic.”
In early September 2014, Kelly Clarkson joined country star Trisha Yearwood onstage in Chicago to perform their duet, “Prizefighter.” The song was also recorded for Trisha’s new album, and could appear on Kelly’s own album next year.
Pushed Back: Album Expected in Early 2015
On Friday, September 19th, Kelly tweeted out a mysterious line that looked like it could have been ripped from a song:
Fans started speculating almost immediately, and Kelly – the generous and kind icon that she is – decided to ease our excited minds: She confirmed that, indeed, those words come from a song that will appear on her new album.
Okay haha my last tweet was referring 2 a song that's going on my next album. Things r great n my world! The song is about the high road 🙂
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) September 19, 2014
What was the song is called! Would it be the lead single from the record? It was great to know that, despite just giving birth to an adorable little girl a few months ago, Kelly was still working on her new music.
Her revealing tweets didn’t stop there, either! Kelly responded to a curious fan’s question about this new music, revealing that the album should be out in early 2015! It was even going to feature a guest singer – who could it be?
@CraziChrista Yes.I'm so proud of my next album!Might have a special guest on the album ….maybe 🙂 Doesn't come out until early next year.
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) September 21, 2014
Kelly’s album was originally slated for early 2014, but after becoming pregnant it was pushed back to the end of this year. It’s no surprise that it’s been moved back a bit more.
Still Recording + An Orchestra
On October 4, 2014, composer Joseph Trapanese revealed that he had recorded an orchestra for Kelly’s new album!
“Amazing day recording orchestra for @kellyclarksonwith the brilliant team @satoshimusic@gzmusiccontracting @shakeyzpizza”
“Another shot from yesterday’s orchestral session for@kellyclarkson. Thanks for the photo @susiebench!”
Satoshi Noguchi also shared a behind-the-scenes look at the session:
The pair was joined by Greg Kurstin and Gina Zimmitti; incidentally, all four of them worked on Kelly Clarkson’s 2013 holiday album, Wrapped In Red. This orchestral work is expected to appear on Kelly’s upcoming studio album.
On October 6, Christian Hebel revealed that he’d been recording with Kelly Clarkson as well:
I had a great weekend recording with @kelly_clarkson. She sounds amazing!
— Christian Hebel (@christianhebel) October 6, 2014
Was she doing some new vocals?
The following month, on November 25th, Joseph Trapanese had an interview with HitFix to discuss his upcoming projects. He talked about his recent work with Kelly Clarkson:
I just wrapped on some arrangements and recording for her new album. I know nothing about when it will be released, but I was with [producers] Greg Kurstin and Jason Halbert. It was really fun to work on Kelly’s album again.
HitFix asked, “How many tracks did you work on for Clarkson’s album? What size of orchestra did you work with?” to which he responded:
I did four or five arrangements, I don’t know how many will end up on this record. It was a full orchestra. When we first worked on “Wrapped in Red,” and when we got a chance to work on her Las Vegas run, it was fun to see when a great pop artist who has rarely seen the full force of the musicians. It goes beyond the big bombastic scope of a whole orchestra — the big timpani and cymbals thing — there’s a certain humanity you can’t replicate when you have 50 or 60 members in a room. That’s one thing that led Daft Punk from “Tron Legacy” to [their 2013 album] “Random Access Memories.” Even though I didn’t work on that album, as a fan, you could tell what a lot of what they did was influenced by working with an orchestra. There’s no way to replicate it.
It looks like we can expect to hear full orchestras on up to 5 new Kelly Clarkson songs! This will surely be a treat for everyone.
“Wrapped In Red” + New Holiday Promo
On October 6, 2014, Kelly surprised fans with news that she was filming a new music video for the title track! And the new mother has had adorable daughter River Rose on set with her to prove it:
The new “Wrapped In Red” video premiered in November, ahead of the holiday season.
A week later, Kelly also announced her first annual Christmas benefit concert, Miracle On Broadway. The concert will be held on December 20th, and will feature special guests including Hayley Williams of Paramore, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, and Ronnie Dunn, among others. The latter three country stars were also featured on the Wrapped In Red album.
Here is the full press release:
Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson will perform her first annual benefit concert, Miracle on Broadway, at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Saturday, December 20. Clarkson has tapped a star-studded special guest lineup of artist friends including Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Kacey Musgraves, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Charles Esten, Meghan Trainor and more to sing their versions of classic Christmas favorites, as well as join her in performing original hits from her platinum selling Christmas album, Wrapped In Red. All proceeds will benefit four of Nashville’s finest charities: Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Monroe Harding Children’s Home, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Thistle Farms. For all the up-to-date concert information and artist announcements, stay tuned to www.KellyClarkson.com and @KellyClarkson.
“I love my adopted hometown of Nashville with all of my heart and I am so honored to be able to give back to the community alongside some of my favorite artists and friends for my first annual Miracle on Broadway benefit concert!” says Clarkson. “I thank all of the artists joining me, as well as the people of Nashville for making me feel so welcome over the last 7 years I have called it home!”
Tickets go on sale Saturday, October 18 at 10am via Livenation.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or box office.
It looks like the rest of 2014 will be filled with holiday cheer and promo as Kelly works Wrapped In Red for a second year. By early 2015, she will be free to focus on album #6.
Mystery Duet & The Lead Single Coming in January!
In mid October, Kelly revealed that her new single would be coming in January 2015. That was only 3 more months away!
That’s not all: One of the new album tracks will feature a male artist as well. She wouldn’t reveal who the mystery duet partner is, but she assures that he has an “amazing voiced and everyone loves him.” And this new song may not be what you’re used to hearing from Kelly either. She says that this it is “out of the box” for both of them. This sounds intriguing!
It was not entirely clear whether the lead single has the mystery duet partner, or if that is a separate song.
You can hear the full interview below. She talks about her new single around the 5:45 mark, but also discusses her upcoming Miracle On Broadway benefit concert and the guest stars that will be there.
Album Coming In Spring 2015
On Sunday, October 19th, Kelly played a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of a Microsoft store opening. Some lucky fans had the chance to meet her, and Kelly told a couple of them some exclusive news about her album.
A fan named Mandie met Kelly, and said “either late March/early April or late April/early May.” Kelly will also embark on a tour next summer in support of the new album.
At another Microsoft concert in November, Kelly told fans the album would be out in March or April, suggesting it may have been moved up a bit.
Puzzle Piece Clues
In late October, Kelly revealed that her next album has something to do with puzzles. She gave her first clue about it via Twitter:
@MeheKCazi puzzle 🙂
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) October 22, 2014
Then, on October 25th, Kelly performed a concert in Buffalo, NY to celebrate the opening of another Microsoft store. Some lucky fans got to talk to her during a meet n greet, and Kelly let slip some more puzzling clues:
Kelly said the new album had something to do with puzzles #kellyclarkson #kcr
— Sarah (@legallyblonde29) October 25, 2014
According to a fan known as jtan6pak on the fan site, Kelly Clarkson Express, the new album could be not one discs, but TWO:
Ok time for meet and greet scoop. I think the puzzle clue means that it is going to be a dual/multiple disc album bc a puzzle has multiple pieces. When I asked her about multiple discs she said “I’m not saying yet” which makes me think it is bc shed have said no if it wasn’t lol. The first single is a smasher w a major pop star (so I take her saying that as it ring a solo artist and by her saying a smasher I’m thinking a big pop jam). I told her I want her to bust out some stuff like old man or when I said yes and she said that this album is nothing like that. It is very out if the box but in a great way. She loves the way it is shaping up and she has tons of material. I was actually nervous bc she remembered me and as I walked away after getting two pictures w her she called me back bc she wanted to talk more about her music but the Microsoft people grabbed another girl and shoved her in. Great show babe looks great.
If Kelly’s next album is indeed going to be a dual/multiple disc release, that would make a lot of sense, and would be great for her eager fans. And this could go a few ways.
One possibility is that Kelly’s 6th album may be part pop and part country. In fall 2013, Kelly admitted to recording two new albums – one country and one pop. Her song “Tie It Up” was tentatively meant to be the lead single from the country album. Kelly had wanted to release both albums so that fans could hear all the sides of her. However, after becoming pregnant and putting music on hold, the plans changed. Perhaps the new game plan is to release one disc of original pop songs and the second disc with original country songs as a dual album.
Another way that could go is to release the same songs on both discs, but in different versions. Shania Twain famously released her 2002 album Up! in that way: One disc had all 19 songs in a country music style, and the second disc had the same songs but with a pop music style. Kelly could try a similar strategy with her new music.
A third option is that Kelly’s new album will mix country and pop together (or be primarily pop), and simply be two (or more) discs full of music. She began working on her 6th album back in 2012, and has worked with many songwriters and producers since then. She must have a LOT of new songs ready. Perhaps, instead of scrapping most of them, she decided to generously release 2+ albums worth of songs – whatever the genre or style. Green Day tried a similar plan in 2012. They had written more than 70 songs, and rather than leaving most of them unheard and collecting dust, the punk bank decided to release a trilogy. The three full length albums – ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré! – were released separately between September and December 2012, and were divided by style and theme. It was a great idea, and allowed fans to enjoy a lot more music. Kelly could go that route and release multiple discs or entirely separate albums.
This could also go the way she originally implied in fall 2013: A separate pop album and country album, released at their own times. That would go along the lines of Green Day’s trilogy, releasing separate albums according to theme and style.
These are just a few ideas for how Kelly’s release could go. All of them sound like great options, whether we’re really close or really far off from what will be reality. Only time will tell! Hopefully we’ll uncover some more pieces to this puzzle soon.
Rumor: Kelly Clarkson Teams Up With Bruno Mars on New Single “Shadow”
These are just rumors, but apparently Kelly Clarkson has a new single called “Shadow,” and it features none other than Bruno Mars! He certainly fits her description of amazingly voiced male artist that “everyone loves,” and their voices would sound great together. The rumor started from a random Twitter account, which stated that “Shadow” would be the lead single and see release on January 13th.
This sounds like it could have been made up; the user name is suspicious enough as it is. But apparently some fans have gone straight to Kelly Clarkson herself to find out what they could about it. On November 18th, Kelly was honored at the Musicians On Call 15th Anniversary Celebration for her longtime work with the organization. Some lucky fans attended the event and got a meet n greet with Kelly, and being excited, curious fans, they asked her about “Shadow.”
Two fans that met Kelly last night have said that Kelly confirmed “Shadow,” but it is NOT the first single. Perhaps it will be the second single instead. Furthermore, she did not confirm whether the song features Bruno Mars.
Kelly confirmed Shadow is a thing but not the first single. Also she told us River is the greatest thing ever.
— Jamie Palmatier (@jdpalmatier1016) November 19, 2014
So I met @kelly_clarkson tonight and she told me and my friends #Shadow is NOT the first single!
— TheMrKingAlex 👑 (@THEMRKiNGALEX) November 19, 2014
So it sounds like “Shadow” is a real song. Perhaps it’s the song Kelly tweeted lyrics from two months ago:
This is all just speculation for now, so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
The New Album is “Uplifting”
On December 18, 2014, Kelly had a press conference for her Miracle On Broadway benefit concert (which was held Saturday, December 20th). Kelly was asked about how her album will sound. After cracking a quick joke, she revealed:
It’s an uplifting record. I’ve always been a person about empowerment and doing empowering songs. There’s empowering songs on the record and there’s a lot of positive on there. There’s all kind of genres. I’m obviously affected by the community I live in [Nashville, TN], so there’s a little bit of everything. It’s a great record.
This may come as no surprise to die-hard fans. Though Kelly is known for her empowerment anthems and sad songs about love gone wrong, recent events in Kelly’s personal life may have changed her outlook. When her last studio album, Stronger, was released in October 2011, Kelly had been single for years after some bad breakups. But in the three years since then, Kelly has found love, gotten married, and had a baby girl.
She joked back in 2012 that her newfound love was killing her songwriting. Instead of writing her usual sad songs, everything was “coming out like butterflies and rainbows.” She exclaimed, “I’m too damn happy! I can’t write anything depressing. It’s really hard to write happy songs that don’t make you want to vomit.” Apparently she accomplished just that though, because this new record is going to be uplifting.
It’s also worth noting that her new record will have “all kind of genres.” In fall 2013, Kelly revealed that she’d recorded not one, but two albums. One was a country record (led by the single “Tie It Up”), and the other would be a full pop album. She had planned to release both in 2014, but her pregnancy put those on hold and gave her time to keep recording instead.
It looks like the two albums may have been combined into one. Unless her new album is more than just a single, straightforward album. Kelly did say that her upcoming record has some kind of “puzzle” theme – could that mean multiple albums? Only time will tell, but it’s an intriguing thought!
New Songs Registered
In December, a few new Kelly Clarkson song titles popped up on BMI. Although it’s possible one of these may appear on her upcoming 6th studio album, due out this spring, nothing is confirmed yet.
“I Love You For Trying” is the most promising of the two songs here. The songwriters are best known for composing country songs. Dave Berg has worked with country stars like Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and Blake Shelton, but has also worked in other genres as well. Marty Dodson is also mainly a country writer, and has worked with Carrie Underwood, George Straight, and Rascal Flatts, as well as the pop rock band Plain White T’s. Christina Bell, on the other hand, is more of a pop writer based in Nashville. If this song is for Kelly, it will likely have more of a country sound.
“In Love Alone” is unlikely to be on Kelly’s new album. It was already released by the Dave Harris Project featuring Michael Willet in May 2013. If anything, Kelly probably only recorded a demo of the song.
Neither of these songs was written by Kelly, but of the two, “I Love You For Trying” looks like the more promising track and is more likely to appear on her upcoming album.
Kelly Goes To Twitter To Share New Album Clues
When it rains it pours, and Kelly Clarkson shared a lot of new details about her new single and album in early January! She took to Twitter in the wee hours to set the record straight and to answer some of her fans’ pressing questions.
Perhaps the biggest and most important news came from her last tweet, in which she gave fans some mysterious hints about her upcoming single:
2 clues for the first single ….Proof of life & Dr. Dre #TheNextEpisode
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 3, 2015
This may seem puzzling to most people, but some clever fans have figured it out already. We’re 99% sure that the answer to this puzzle clue is “Heartbeat Song.” If hearts are the proof of life, and Beats by Dre is what Kelly means, this song fits perfectly.
Way back in spring 2014, “Heartbeat Song” was registered on ASCAP. Kelly co-wrote it along with Kara DioGuardi, Audra Mae, and Jason Evigan. It’s great to know the lead single was written by Kelly!
And that’s not all. Kelly mentioned a few months ago that the single will be coming out in January. This plan has not changed, so be ready for a new single within the next few weeks.
@KCAustralia yes 🙂
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 3, 2015
Now to address those pesky rumors: The first single is NOT going to be a duet. The first single will be just Kelly, and we will have to wait a little longer to hear the duet.
And more on the duet: This male artist is someone that Kelly has sang with before. Who could it be? Kelly has sang with John Legend, Adam Levine, Robin Thicke, Chris Daughtry, and at least a dozen country singers. We’re hoping the duet is not with a country artist. Not that we dislike country, but nearly all of Kelly’s duets so far have been in that genre. We’re ready for a proper pop duet this time around. Out of the guys Kelly has sang with before, we’re putting our money on either John Legend or Adam Levine. We could be wrong, but that’s our guess for now.
Oh and people also keep asking about the duet on the record. Here's a hint ….this wasn't our first time to sing together 🙂
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 3, 2015
Note: It is a bit disappointing that the duet partner won’t be Bruno Mars as rumored. Hopefully it can happen in the future.
While we’re on the topic of genres, it looks like the two separate pop and country albums plan is out. Although Kelly promises this record will be pop, it has plenty of influence from other genres.
People keep asking. My next album is pop. But I am always influenced by music I love, which is pop-rock/country/r&b/dance #whoknowswhatsnext
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 3, 2015
As previously reported, Kelly might have worked with Sia on her new record:
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 3, 2015
“Maybe” probably either means “Yes, but it’s a surprise so I’m not telling you yet” or “Yes, but we have to confirm the track list, and I don’t want to promise something that isn’t actually going to happen.” Consider us ready for Kelly’s own “Chandelier.”
@Finnishgirl84 soon 🙂 but really can't wait for y'all to hear the entire album! It's so great! It's gonna be a fun record to tour with!
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 3, 2015
On January 7th, Kelly confirmed that “Heartbeat Song” would be the first song. It was announced for a January 12th release:
Kelly is back… #HeartbeatSong 1.12.15 Visit http://t.co/alixvPeoU3 to learn more! – Team KChttps://t.co/9dG6ITh9f4
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 7, 2015
We first learned about “Heartbeat Song” way back in April 2014 when it was registered on ASCAP. It was written by Kelly Clarkson, Audra Mae, Kara DioGuardi, and Jason Evigan. Some insiders that have been lucky enough to hear the song already have said it’s a different sound for Kelly, with a mid- to uptempo beat.
On January 9th, a 10 second preview of “Heartbeat Song” was unlocked. Kelly’s baby daughter, River, introduces the song in this adorable video clip, and “Heartbeat Song” sounds amazing! Check it out:
It's here…the first official #HeartbeatSong teaser! Share on http://t.co/VQIYiQYKaZ – Team KChttps://t.co/R5twtw8arm
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 9, 2015
On the night of January 11th, “Heartbeat Song” became available for all to hear. It’s happy, lovey, and full of Kelly’s angelic, perfect vocals. Boy bashing? No. Scorned and depressed? Not at all. This is a new version of Kelly, one full of love and happiness. And as it turns out, these themes look (sound?) good on her. Check out “Heartbeat Song” below:
And that’s not all. Kelly also revealed that her upcoming 6th album would be out in March:
@DBelenger it's coming in March!
— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) January 12, 2015
Announcing Piece By Piece
The excitement continued on January 12th with more news about Kelly’s upcoming album. Kelly spoke on the Elvis Duran Show this morning, and in addition to talking about her new song and her rough pregnancy last year, Kelly also had time to reveal some exciting news about her new album.
Kelly’s album is called Piece By Piece, and should be out during the first week of March! Kelly mentioned the album’s name and release date around the 4:40 mark in the below interview:
And for all the eager concert-goers, get ready for some summer shows. Kelly Clarkson will go on tour starting this summer; more details would be announced soon.
On January 26th, we got official confirmation of the March release date:
Piece By Piece was set to be released on March 3, 2015. The album has been described as “uplifting,” and is supposed to mark a new chapter in Kelly’s singing career. There will be a duet with a mystery partner – so far, we only know that he’s a male singer with an amazing voice, and that Kelly has sang with him before. Who could it be? We’re betting on John Legend… or maybe Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
Kelly also released a lyric video for “Heartbeat Song.” The video includes the real heartbeats of three lucky fans from Nashville.
Kelly unveiled a partial track listing as well as some lyrics from 9 of the new songs on January 29th.
In addition to “Heartbeat Song,” we got confirmation that previously known titles “Take You High” and “War Paint” will be on the album. And, like most of Kelly’s albums, Piece By Piece has a title track! We also had 5 totally new confirmed titles: “Someone,” “Invincible,” “Let Your Tears Fall,” “Dance With Me,” and “I Had A Dream.”
This is what Kelly had to say about sharing the lyrics of these 9 songs:
Check out some of the lyrics from these 9 songs! Click through the gallery below to see them all. You can read more of the lyrics on Kelly’s official website.
By January 30th we had the full track listing for her upcoming 6th studio album, Piece By Piece. The first 13 songs appear on the standard edition of the album, while tracks 14-16 are deluxe edition bonus tracks.
- Heartbeat Song
- Take You High
- Piece By Piece
- Run Run Run (featuring John Legend)
- I Had A Dream
- Let Your Tears Fall
- War Paint
- Dance With Me
- Good Goes The Bye
- Bad Reputation
- In The Blue
- Second Wind
Based on the Amazon description, we can now confirm that the hyped duet’s mystery partner is officially John Legend!
But which one is the duet? According to music insider Jeff1317 on Twitter, that would be “Run Run Run.” He also confirmed that it is a ballad!
@chrissmithyyy run run run
— Jeff (@jeff1317) January 31, 2015
We already knew of 9 of the songs. New titles include “Run Run Run,” “Tightrope,” “Nostalgic,” “Good Goes The Bye,” “Bad Reputation,” “In The Blue,” and “Second Wind.” A number of previously revealed song titles are, notably, not included in the track listing.
Hopefully “Bad Reputation” is an original track and not a cover (though we do love Joan Jett’s iconic song). We’ll have to wait and see on that.
Although the Deluxe Edition Box Set of Piece By Piece that’s available for pre-order on Kelly’s official site includes 17 lyrics cards – suggesting 17 separate songs – this track listing from Amazon only has 16 songs. Perhaps an additional bonus track will come with another version of the album? Or perhaps the 17th card doesn’t include lyrics, but rather some other text or image? That also will have to be revealed later.
If that wasn’t enough news for you, you can also hear what seems to be a demo version of Kelly’s new (standard edition) album closer, “Good Goes The Bye.” Just in case you got your hopes up too high, it’s not Kelly singing in this demo. The song was written by Shane McAnally (already a confirmed collaborator for the new album), Natalie Hemby, and Jimmy Robbins. What do you think?
“Heartbeat Song” Music Video
On February 5th, Kelly’s first single finally got a music video. The love theme in the lyrics for “Heartbeat Song” carry into the sweet music video. Though the many characters are first met with disappointment and broken hearts, they all end up finding new love with someone that’s perfect for them. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, “Heartbeat Song” will be an anthem for all the lovebirds out there.
Tons Of Interviews & News About New Songs
Throughout February Kelly had plenty of radio interviews and a few TV appearances in the UK. She had plenty to say about the new songs, talking specifically about her personal “Because Of You” sequel, “Piece By Piece.” Kelly also talked about her John Legend duet “Run Run Run,” her Sia-penned anthem “Invincible,” and tracks like “War Paint,” “Tightrope,” and “I Had A Dream.”
You can read all about those on our special Piece By Pieces songs page.
A Week Of New Songs: Hyping Up Piece By Piece
For the full week before Piece By Piece was released, Kelly’s team unveiled a new song each day. From Monday, February 23rd through Friday the 27th a new song was made available for download on iTunes for fans that pre-ordered the album. From Thursday through Monday, MTV also unveiled some new songs each day.
First up was an anthem written by Sia called “Invincible,” an empowering song about overcoming your fears. It was released on Monday, February 23rd.
The song is ethereal and breathtaking, but it’s grounded with a certain heavy bass tone. If you’ve been hoping to hear Kelly’s vocal range on fully display, “Invincible” is the song for you. Listen for the high notes at the end of the song! The chorus is big, and Kelly moves away from her signature belt for something a little more refined – her 2013 holiday album Wrapped In Red seems to have been a preview of the vocals Kelly’s new album would show.
Tuesday brought “Piece By Piece,” a moving mid-tempo song Kelly wrote about her father. She has already described it as the sequel to her 2004 ballad “Because Of You,” and it closes the chapter perfectly. Whereas “Because Of You” described the pain her parents’ divorce caused her when she was a child, leaving her wary of relationships and doubtful that she’d ever have a family of her own, “Piece By Piece” brings resolution. Kelly sings to her father that he was never there for her, that he left holes in her that took years to fill. But now, Kelly has found a man who loves her and is a good father to their newborn daughter. Despite the neglect and lack of love from her father, Kelly has found love and happiness in her adult life.
Day three of Kelly Clarkson’s literal Piece By Piece release gave us the highly anticipated new duet she’d spent the last few months hyping up. The hype was well deserved, too, because this song is intense, impressive, and tragic.
John Legend joins Kelly on “Run Run Run,” a slow building ballad, backed by a simple piano that puts all the focus on the vocals. Kelly shows off her low, sultry notes before John desolately croons his reply. Their voices blend perfectly. “Run Run Run” is deceptively calm despite its restrained tension, but crescendos into a blaring end of drum beats and orchestral work. It nearly drowns out Kelly and John’s last belted chorus, but their lyrics still shine through.
Thursday’s offering was “Take You High,” the most joyful and pop song we’d heard yet. The music is heavenly and sweet, with strings taking the lead as opposed to the standard guitar and drums. Kelly’s singing matches the music perfectly, her vocals clear and angelic. The atmosphere of the verses is like an epic triumph, whereas the choruses are uplifting and euphoric.
It’s the unexpected breakdown that will surprise you though. The chorus ends with Kelly’s vocal acrobatics chopped up into a kaleidoscope of sound. “Take You High” is one of the first songs we’ve heard from Kelly that’s ready for a dance or rave.
Thursday was also the kickoff of MTV song premieres. First up was “Let Your Tears Fall,” another song co-written by Sia. Whereas Sia’s “Invincible” was the last song Kelly cut for her album, “Let You Tears Fall” was the very first one she recorded. She got it way back in summer 2013 when she was on tour with Maroon 5.
“Let Your Tears Fall” is an encouraging song in which Kelly promises that she’ll be there for you through thick and thin. She’s offering a shoulder to cry on and to help you get through your pain. It’s an uptempo anthem that nearly anyone can relate to. Kelly sings quickly in this song, but the supportive and caring lyrics shine through.
Friday also came with two new songs. “Someone” was the last of the official promo tracks, and like the first four, it showed a completely different side of Kelly. It’s something of a ballad, but it has some strength and energy to it. Kelly sings to an ex-lover, apologizing for how their relationship turned out. Everything between them was wrong, but she doesn’t sound bitter. Instead, the chorus is a wish that he will find the perfect girl for him, “someone whose arms will hold you tight enough to be the reason you breathe.” It’s one of the sweetest breakup songs we’ve heard from Kelly.
Courtesy of MTV was our second Kelly-penned track. Following her personal title track, a mid-tempo sequel to 2004’s “Because Of You,” her latest offering is the gentle “Tightrope.” It’s a slow ballad that pairs Kelly’s soft vocals with a piano and strings. She uses her upper register more in this song, giving it a delicate innocence. The song slowly builds, and by the second verse Kelly’s vocals show more power, but only briefly. She backs down and shows restraint, choosing to return to her fragile vocals for the rest of the song. “Tightrope” doesn’t have Kelly’s signature big ending the way songs like “Sober” or “Cry” do. Instead, it maintains the soft sound that only amplifies the emotion and melancholy mood.
The weekend saw premieres of the songs “War Paint,” “Dance With Me,” and “I Had A Dream.”
Piece By Piece Tops The Billboard Charts
Finally, on Tuesday, March 3rd, Piece By Piece was officially released for all to hear. It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, with sales of just under 100,000. Though most reviews were mixed, we at Hidden Jams think it is one of the best albums Kelly has released in her career. It has the cohesion of My December, combined with the pop diversity and uplifting quality of All I Ever Wanted. But something about it also makes it feel as big as Breakaway. Piece By Piece is a strong album that opens a new chapter in Kelly Clarkson’s career.