Kelly Clarkson On New Soul Album: I’ve Wanted To Make This Since Junior High


Get ready for a new era in Clarkson’s career.

During promotion for her new children’s book, “River Rose & the Magical Lullaby,” Kelly Clarkson is being asked the obvious: What’s going on with your next album? Throughout her almost two-decade-long career, the original “American Idol” champ has offered us a string of pop/rock and R&B-lite hits, but she’s changing her tune for the first release via her new contract with Atlantic Records.

Alongside some familiar KC collaborators like Greg Kirstin (“Stronger,” “Piece By Piece”) and Jesse Shatkin (“Take You High,” “Invincible”), the 34-year-old singer/songwriter has been working on a collection that speaks to her soul rather than Top 40 programmers.

“I’ve just wanted to make this particular record since I was in junior high, she told Entertainment Weekly in a lengthy Q&A about the forthcoming LP, which is due in 2017. Check out some additional highlights from the interview below.

On her decision to make a soul record: 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.

On her signing with Atlantic Records:
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.

On Liane Moriarty’s novel, “Big Little Lies,” inspiring her sessions: 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].

On her best studio session for the LP: 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.

Are you eager to hear Kelly take on soul on her new record? Sound off in Exhale!