Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter and children's book author. She rose to fame in 2002 after winning the first season of American Idol, and has since been established as "The Original American Idol". Clarkson was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Jeanne Ann (née Rose), a first-grade English teacher, and Stephen Michael Clarkson, a former engineer. Clarkson is the youngest of three children with a brother, Jason, who appeared in one of her music videos, and a sister, Alyssa.

Apart from her work in music, Clarkson has also ventured into television and film, beginning with her leading role in the romantic musical From Justin to Kelly (2003). She is known for her vocal versatility and range. Her music has mainly dealt with themes of heartbreak, independence, and self-empowerment for women and young teens. Her musical work has also gained her numerous accolades, including three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. In a career spanning over a decade, Clarkson has accumulated 100 Billboard number-one hits and sold over 25 million albums worldwide.In 2012, Clarkson was ranked nineteenth on VH1's list of "100 Greatest Women in Music." Billboard also ranked Clarkson as the 14th-best-selling artist of the 2000s.

Early Life & Beginnings

Clarkson also has two younger half brothers from her father's second marriage. Clarkson's parents divorced when she was six years old, following which her brother lived with their father, she stayed with their mother, and her sister went to live with an aunt. Clarkson's mother later remarried, to Jimmy Taylor.

After graduation, Clarkson worked several jobs to finance a demo, recording material and trying to market it to record labels, but received little response. Clarkson turned down two recording contracts from Jive Records and Interscope Records, stating "They would have completely pigeonholed me as a bubblegum act. I was confident enough that something better would come along." In 2001, she traveled to Los Angeles, trying to pursue a career in music. She appeared as an extra in a few television series such as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Dharma & Greg and briefly worked with musician Gerry Goffin to record five demo tracks in trying to secure a record deal. According to Clarkson, her early attempts to launch her music career floundered when she was turned down by almost every US record label for sounding 'too black'. Lack of other career opportunities and a fire incident in her apartment forced Clarkson to return to Burleson, where she worked at a movie theater, promoted Red Bull energy drinks, and worked as a telemarketer and as a cocktail waitress in a comedy club.


2002–04: American Idol & Thankful

Since winning the inaugural season of American Idol, Kelly has went on to have major success in the music industry. Clarkson's debut studio album, Thankful (2003), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) while selling over 4.5 million copies worldwide. Its lead single, "Miss Independent," became an international top-ten hit.

2004–06: Breakaway

Trying to reinvent her own image, Clarkson decided to part ways with American Idol management and developed a

rock-oriented sound for her second album, Breakaway (2004). It sold over 15 million copies worldwide and earned Clarkson two Grammy Awards.


Kelly at the 48th GRAMMY Awards in 2006 where she took home two GRAMMYs.

2006–08: My December

Taking creative control of her third album, My December (2007), Clarkson served as the executive producer and co-wrote the entire album's material. However, she fought with her label, in particular Clive Davis, who was dissatisfied with her musical direction. The feud resulted the reluctance of her label to promote the album.

2008–10: All I Ever Wanted

Clarkson's fourth album, All I Ever Wanted (2009), became her second album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Its lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", holds the record for the biggest jump to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Clarkson's duet with Jason Aldean on the 2010 single "Don't You Wanna Stay" became her first number-one hit on the US Hot Country Songs chart.

2011–12: Stronger


Kelly performing at the 2012 CapitalFM Summertime Ball.

Her fifth studio album, Stronger(2011), won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album, making her the only act to receive the award twice. The album scored her third number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)".

2012–13: Greatest Hits – Chapter One & Wrapped in Red

Clarkson's first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits – Chapter One, was released on November 19, 2012. As with the release of Stronger, Chapter One was accompanied by a limited release of her third extended play, The Smoakstack Sessions Vol. 2. Three songs recorded for the compilation: "Catch My Breath", "Don't Rush", and "People Like Us", were all released as singles.

On November 7, Wrapped in Red debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Holiday Albums and at number 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. On December 5, 2013, Wrapped in Red was certified platinum by the RIAA, eventually becoming the best-selling Christmas album of the year and making her the first American female artist to achieve this feat.

2015–present: Phoenix & Eighth Studio Album

In 2015, Clarkson released her seventh studio album, Phoenix (2015), which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and spawned three top ten singles. Clarkson called the album her, "most personal yet." The album was a reflection of her struggle with postpartum depression after having her daughter River Rose. Moving from the pop-rock sound of 2011's Stronger, Kelly definitely took a step forward with Phoenix. She teamed up with Greg Kurstin once again, who produced half of Stronger as well as it's smash-hit title track. Together, the two worked to achieve a record full of dark and emotional electronic-infused songs. Clarkson's main goal was to make the album relatable to, "anyone who has faced, or is facing, any sort of struggle in their life." Overall, the album received positive reviews with a meta-critic rating of 72/100 and was praised by critics for it's progression musically and it's personal lyrics.


Kelly performing "Bad Habits" on the Voice.

The album's lead single, "Bad Habits", was a huge commercial success. The song peaked out at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become a multi-platinum-selling single, making it Clarkson's tenth top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit in her career. The album's second single, "War Paint", while peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, failed to achieve any longevity and sold just short of a million copies due to lack of promotion and massive lack of radio support. The album's final single, "What I've Been Waiting For (feat. Ellie Goulding)", saw more success than its predecessor, even though it peaked out lower at just #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single went on to sell over a million copies. Clarkson closed the era out with "The Phoenix Tour" - a tour that consisted of 13 tour dates across the United States. While the tour saw large figures at the beginning of its run, it ended with modest sales, but nonetheless secured her touring position even more.

While promoting Phoenix, Clarkson was already working on her next album. "We'd been sitting on Phoenix for awhile, so by the time it was out, I was already working on the next record." Clarkson expressed specifically during "The Phoenix Tour" that she'd be going even more in-depth into the process of creating her eighth studio album. After the tour concluded, weeks of silence followed as Clarkson immersed herself fully into the creative process, only tweeting and showing up to a party of two was all fans got from Kelly for some time.

Eventually, the silence broke as a teaser trailer was aired immediately after Kelly's interview on Le Grand Journal. The teaser featured a snippet of the song, "Masquerade", as lyrics flashed on a black screen. At the end of the teaser, Kelly's name appeared on screen above a small masquerade mask with a release date - 2.28.16. Questions and speculation arose once the teaser was released. It was later revealed that on the mysterious date a dual-lead-single release would be premiered for Clarkson's upcoming eighth studio album. The dual-lead single release included the song, "Masquerade" and "Scarlet Letter (feat. Lindsay Lohan)". The songs skyrocketed up the Billboard Hot 100 and are looking to score big hits for Clarkson as they are still in their run commercially.

Information about Clarkson's next album is very skim. In recent interviews, she has stated that the album, "is a mix of the light and dark. It's a progression away from Phoenix in many ways musically and lyrically." Kelly has revealed that the album is near-completion and hopes for it to be released soon.



  • Breakaway World Tour (2005–06)
  • Hazel Eyes Tour (2005)
  • Addicted Tour (2006)
  • My December Tour (2007–08)
  • All I Ever Wanted Tour (2009–10)
  • Stronger Tour (2012)
  • The Phoenix Tour (2016)


  • American Idols LIVE! Tour 2002 (2002) (with the American Idol season one finalists)
  • Independent Tour (2004) (with Clay Aiken)
  • 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour (2008) (with Reba McEntire)
  • Kelly Clarkson / The Fray Tour (2012) (with The Fray)
  • 12th Annual Honda Civic Tour (2013) (with Maroon 5)


  • Kelly Clarkson in Concert (2003)
  • Kelly Clarkson: Live in Concert (2009)


Studio Albums

  • Thankful (2003)
  • Breakaway (2004)
  • My December (2007)
  • All I Ever Wanted (2009)
  • Stronger (2011)
  • Wrapped in Red (2013)
  • Phoenix (2015)


  • The Smoakstack Sessions Vol. 1 (2011)
  • The Smoakstack Sessions Vol. 2 (2012)
  • Bad Habits - The Remix EP (2015)
  • The Spotify Sessions (2015)