Image for Kelly Clarkson is STRONGER (and absolutely adorable)!

Kelly Clarkson is STRONGER(and absolutely adorable)!

Walking into an interview with Kelly Clarkson, Same Same immediately noticed that this southern belle has not been changed by fame one bit. ‘Come in! Take a seat y’all!’ she ushered as we sat down to chat with one of the sweetest stars we’ve ever come across (looking gorgeous, might we add!).

We caught up with her on her recent visit to Australia, to talk about her fifth studio album, Stronger, and what it’s like to be in the business for over ten years…

What is the narrative and inspiration behind Stronger?
I guess I’ve been doing it for ten years now, so I think with that came experience, and it just makes you feel more comfortable when you’re more experienced in anything. Everything ended up kind of being about empowerment and overcoming stuff so I think generally it’s inspiring, so I hope that’s what people get from it.

You’ve mentioned in interviews that Stronger was not the album you started off making. What was the original direction of the album?

It never happens. With every record you always start off thinking it’s gonna be one way, and then it’s like… (boop) all the way over here. Like, we didn’t think it was going to be that soulful honestly; it’s a lot more soulful, even with Mr. Know It All or Let me down. I’ve always had a soulful voice on stuff, but even the rhythmic pop rock thing, that’s kinda new for me, it kinda just happened!

What’s the song on Stronger that you are the most proud of?

You Love Me. Hands down. It was a really crap situation. It was just a really bad day, one of the worst ever; don’t think I’ll have a bad one like that again. I think it’s great that being an artist you can take a bad day like that and almost use it as therapy to get it out and I think a lot of people will relate to this song. The whole idea is when people are like “I love you, but this is what you need to change about yourself and this is what’s not good about you,” and it’s like “Wow I think you’re highly confused about the definition of love.” The whole song is like, “your love is like a punch in the face.” It’s very Prince, Tina Turner, pop which I love.

‘Let Me Down’ which you wrote has a really strong message, much like it has been lifted off My December. What’s the story behind the song?

There’s kind of a little bit of everything of all my previous records, like from Thankful, and then from Breakaway, so yeah it’s kind of a conglomerate of all my previous albums which we did on purpose because those are all very different sides of me. ‘Let Me Down’, I call the cooler older brother of ‘Behind These Hazel Eyes’, because it’s pop-rock but it’s a little soulful as well.

Who’s the bastard that it’s about?

Actually it’s a co-worker, it wasn’t even a relationship, it was someone that I worked with.

(NB: Same Same wouldn’t be surprised if the song’s subject was Ryan Tedder. Kelly was said to be working with Tedder again after the ‘Already Gone’/’Halo’ fiasco but nothing from their recording sessions made the final cut.)

Tell me the story behind ‘You Can’t Win’. What were you feeling when you wrote it?

I wrote it about a year and a half ago when I was touring All I Ever Wanted, and I think I was in Germany and [my makeup artist] was very annoyed with me because I wrote it during hair and make-up, and so she was trying to do stuff and I was like “I need to go to the bathroom and record this in Garageband or I’m gonna forget the melody!” so I had to go and do it; I always do that to her and she gets pissed off, but I can’t help it! You get inspired when you get inspired!

I wrote the song about having a really hard time with not even just people I was working with but just media, and the portrayal of All I Ever Wanted, fans and friends and family… everybody was like, you can’t win. If you’re the girl next door it’s like ‘boring’, or if you’re wild and crazy it’s like ‘oh you need to go to rehab’. Or people will be like ‘Oh, you’re gay, right?’, and I’m like ‘well, no’, but then it’s like ‘if you’re straight, why aren’t you married?’, so it’s like I can’t win either way! It’s that whole thing of I’m never gonna please you, so I’m going to stop trying.

Are you prepared for the can of worms you’re about to open now that you’ve recorded a drag anthem in What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)?

I love that song! I’m not even a drag diva but I love that song! It’s one of my favourite ones I’ve ever recorded. I love that it has the beat, but its also very pop rock with guitars and such a great message. Sometimes when it’s an anthem it’s throw away lyrics, but they’re great lyrics and they’re so inspiring. Sometimes when you’re having a crap day, you just wanna listen to something that makes you feel like you can move a mountain, and I feel like that when I listen to that song.

Second single?

Hopefully! That’s what I’m shooting for. Sometimes we don’t have a say.

Over the years you’ve released some really amazing songs. What’s your favourite and least favourite single that you have released?

You know what, that’s probably the same song. My Life Would Suck Without You. It’s my least favourite because when I first heard it, it did not sound like what it sounds like now, and I really had to fight to make that song better than it was, but when I first heard it, it was nothing I would say, the verses were like “I saw you smoking pot and I thought that was cool” (she sings) and I was like… What? I didn’t even get it, it was trying so hard to be edgy and cool that I wanted to vomit! I didn’t really like it at all. But Luke, Claude and Max (Dr. Luke, Claude Kelly, Max Martin) were cool with me having a hand in that. It ended up being one of my favourites now to perform live because everybody gets up for that song. And it’s a great song now, it’s a fun song.

What track do you wish got a single release from your back catalogue?

The live version of Beautiful Disaster. It’s one of my favourites. I didn’t like the album version on the first record, total crap and I didn’t like it. The producer didn’t either! He wanted to do it how we did it live but we… weren’t allowed. But the live version, Rebecca Jordan wrote that and it’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever gotten to sing so I was really sad that wasn’t a single.

You’ve been working on a side project with your backup singers called Already Famous. Will we see an official release of material?

We did an EP and it’s still being mixed, but it’s just a fun side project, there’s no political crap going on, so it’s just fun.

Looking back over everything you’ve learnt over your career, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give to yourself before you walked into your Idol audition?
Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t want to switch places with.

That’s it. I learnt that from a friend, her mum told her that a long time ago, and she told me two years ago and I could have really used that! Because if you think about it, if you don’t like how someone’s life is and how they’re living it, then you don’t wanna take advice from them.

I’ve decided to start a rumour that you and Adele are working on a disco banger in the vein of I Will Survive. What do I have to do to make sure this rumour becomes a reality?

Do it! Yes! Oh my God, you have no idea, she probably thinks I’m so obsessed with her (which I kind of am), like, since Chasing Pavements , I literally flew to a different city to see her in concert… and she knows that. She probably thinks I’m nuts, but I just love her voice! And there’s something so sexy and confident about a girl that can just walk up on a stage amongst all these other wild acts, and she has a piano and microphone and a mic stand and she just kills everyone. I’m telling you, [Someone Like You] is the best freaking song written in the last decade. Her heartache is our awesome day. I feel sad for her because she writes like me, like all about what’s going on in her life but at the same time it’s like thank you, because it’s one of the best songs ever.

When are you coming back for a tour?

We start in January in the States, then after that we come here and New Zealand and everywhere.

Can you please sing Anytime from Thankful when you come back?

[Screaming] That’s [my make up artist’s] favourite song! She loves a power ballad, it’s my Céline song. It’s getting harder to make set lists though, I have 5 albums now!

Will you play Mardi Gras if you’re here in time?

You know what, we might be here around then!

You’ll have 10,000 screaming gays at your feet…

I was just saying, you’re my favourite fans! Because it’s like, they love anthems, the pop ballads, and those are my favourites too.

What are your three favourite songs at the moment?

Someone Like You, Ellie Goulding’s Under The Sheets, I love her album, Lights, um… I like Set Fire— oh I don’t want to pick her again, she’s gonna think I’m fucking obsessive… and Mary Jane from Jagged Little Pill when I’m trying to do anything but work out.

If I told you Kyle Chandler has left his wife, what would your first reaction be?

Call me! He’s so hot, I would be anything he wanted me to be! He’s so beautiful.

This week Same Same has released a list of the 50 worst pop songs as voted by our readers – but don’t worry, you’re not on it…

Damn! I love to make any list!

(Reading) What! Whip My Hair!? I love that song.

(Continues reading) Paris Hilton has a song?

Yeah, she’s got a whole album.

Oops. I mean, I knew that.

Baby? That made the worst? I think he’s so cute. I haven’t heard a lot of these… what (confused), Just The Way You Are (Drunk At The Bar)? Can I just have this to look them up? Oh my God, Who Let The Dogs Out! I hate that song, I’ve hated that song since junior high, sorry Baha Men!

Stronger is out October 21 through Sony Music. Check out the video for the fantastic first single Mr. Know It All below.

Follow Chris Kostakis on Twitter here.

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Ditto said on the 17th Oct, 2011

Sounds like she was lovely! Jealous :D


glennyfromtheblock said on the 17th Oct, 2011

GREAT interview. One of the best I've seen on here in a while - got some really good responses, really fun and informative read!


Phazz said on the 17th Oct, 2011

I like Kelly, she seems like she would be fun to hang out with.


kozi_kozi_kozi said on the 17th Oct, 2011

Glad you like it guys! She was amazing to interview.


Husky-D said on the 17th Oct, 2011

Already pre-ordered on iTunes! Can't wait!


Gemcourage said on the 21st Oct, 2011

Love love love her! She's always incredible live too, I've seen her 3 times now!


Phazz said on the 23rd Oct, 2011

There are similarities with the chords in these two songs.