Kelly Clarkson posted this on WhoSay yesterday. Guaranteed she didn’t take a long time to write it. Not because it’s bad, or anything like that. On the contrary, it is straightforward and passionate – she maybe had one person read it over and then threw it up, shaking a little with rage but feeling better that she did something about it.
I’ve mostly been obsessed with the timeline of it. Obviously she heard about the “Kelly Clarkson chapter” from someone with an advance review copy – she didn’t read the whole chapter yesterday morning, I’m guessing – and decided she had to respond to Clive Davis’s allegations. Had she written it weeks ago, waiting for publication date to press upload? Overnight the night before it was due to come out? Does Kelly Clarkson get rage insomnia?
I do know she thought she had to strike as soon as the book came out – not waiting for any sit-down interview or magazine profile. And let’s be honest – Kelly Clarkson doesn’t get those calls that often. PEOPLE Mag on “The Dream Ring”, sure, but not the exposé on her career secrets. She’s not mysterious enough. She’s not Michelle Williams. Why would a magazine put her side of the story on the cover when she’s already put it out there on her own steam?
This is the dichotomy of what Kelly Clarkson did. It is damn ballsy to stand up to one of the most influential men in music and say “not only did you not tell this story right, I’m not going to let you get away with it”. Other circumstances and other people have reminded her that she might as well say what she wants to say about the situation now, because this is the world we live in. It’s spectacularly liberating, actually. Not just that she can say what she thinks to the world, as opposed to just a few friends, but that it can get pretty much equal press coverage, and that he has to turn around and make a reply statement (one that’s pretty much what you would expect), saying not much except “nah nah, and I’m sticking to my story”. As you’d expect.
But did Kelly jump the gun? Should she have let it be drawn out of her? Turned it into a May Sweeps 20/20 interview? Played more of a victim so that her story could finally be revealed?
It’s not her style. She’s up front to a fault, and it’s that level of candor that endears her to her fans in the first place, so …there you go. She did it.
But I can’t help but think that maybe this is all a little too black and white. Creative differences happen – they’re like water under the bridge a lot of times. It might have been more gracious for her to point out that between his ideas and hers, they made the song a hit. But she couldn’t, because she felt like she was being maligned, and that trumps everything else. Feeling right is better than anything else – including maybe feeling mature at having let something go. But this has been Kelly for the last number of years – unwilling to turn any more cheeks.
So who’s telling the truth? I mean, they both are, aren’t they? He’s an experienced old man who probably knew exactly what he was talking about when he told her this or that song wouldn’t sell. What he didn’t know, early on, was that she was going to become Kelly Clarkson, the phenomenon who made everyone forget that American Idol was a singing competition TV show above all. He didn’t know she was going to sing for the President. But then, he probably takes credit for that too - she needed his guidance, and how dare she not want it? He didn’t know then that standing up for herself and her ideas was going to become as much of a hallmark for her as the kick-ass love songs.
She, on the other hand, should know. Should know exactly how powerful he is, and whether it will hurt her or not to be not in his favour, even more so than before. Kelly Clarkson performs at almost every major music awards show – is that going away now, after this? And does she care? She implies she doesn’t – I hope it’s true. Lainey and I were talking about this the other day. In theory, anyone can stand up for themselves at any time. In practice, the repercussions of doing so are often too large. Does Kelly Clarkson fall within this range? Or can she be the exception, the untouchable when it comes to speaking her mind?