Nancy Mills, USA TODAY Modern Woman Magazine
Published 8:00 AM EST Nov 17, 2018
When Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson is enjoying a day off, she is just another mother of four kids completing chores in her free time. While she could easily hire someone to handle her errands, she chooses to do them herself: No personal shoppers are working on her behalf. No public relations team is shooing away fans.
Since 2002, when Clarkson won the first season of American Idol at age 20, she has tried to lead a normal life. It’s not easy considering she has sold more than 25 million albums and 36 million singles. Two of her albums — Breakaway and Stronger — won Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2005 and 2012, respectively. She also won the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance trophy in 2005 for Since U Been Gone.
Now, the 36-year-old Texas native is busy expanding her career. In addition to singing, Clarkson writes children’s books, inspired by her 4-year-old daughter, River Rose. River Rose and the Magical Lullaby came out in 2016, followed by River Rose and the Magical Christmas in 2017. She is working on a third volume, as well as a book for young adults.
She recently voiced Moxy, a character in the 2019 animated film UglyDolls, based on a line of toys. “It couldn’t have been more perfect for my personality, which is good because I’m not a good actress,” she says.” It’s one thing I never wanted to do.”
Unscripted Clarkson seems to be a huge hit. She received rave reviews as host of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, where she promised viewers her authentic self. “You’re just getting me,” she said at the event. “I’m just going to be who I am.”
Fans are expecting the same when she hosts The Kelly Clarkson Show, a daytime talk series, described as a “weekday brunch party,” debuting in fall 2019.
“I love connecting with people, playing games, music and finding ways to help or give back,” she says about the upcoming show.
Then there’s The Voice. Given her initial claim to fame, it’s little wonder that Clarkson is serving as a coach and mentor on a singing competition show. She joined season 14 of the popular NBC series earlier this year and returned for season 15 in September. When persuading contestants to join her team, Clarkson reminds them that she knows exactly what the singers are going through. “I was the first winner on a show like this, and the pressure is indescribable,” she recalls. “Taking a coaching role seemed like a natural next step.”
On season 15, Clarkson works with fellow Idol alumna and returning Voice coach, Jennifer Hudson, and mainstays Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, to help one rising star reach the top.
“When Kelly came on (season 14), she really wanted to make her mark, and she did,” says Voice executive producer Audrey Morrissey, who notes that Clarkson’s tutelage helped secure the win for contestant Brynn Cartelli.
“Kelly is like a straight-A student. She does her homework. She does everything at 1,000 percent. It’s all about the material and understanding it, finding songs that will show different sides of the artist and keep the audience interested,” Morrissey adds.
According to Clarkson, her candor and transparency have only endeared her to fans. “I don’t see that it gets me in trouble. People are learning that’s just how I am,” says Clarkson, who openly shares with her 15 million social media followers. “A lot of artists are introverts; I’m not.”
While a lot can be said for her bubbly, warm personality, what music lovers really appreciate is Clarkson’s talent. She’s often ranked among the greatest female voices, appearing on lists with such legends as Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, and peers, such as Pink, who once joked, “If I did a song with Kelly Clarkson, I would get outsung.”
The Voice is a welcome addition to the singer’s already busy schedule. “I’ll shift to The Voice, and then I’ll shift to writing (books),” says Clarkson, who is currently working with her label to determine the direction of her next album.
“I am exhausted, but it’s good exhausted,” she admits. “I’m just getting to the part of my life when if it’s not fun, I don’t exhaust myself. I have less time for bull.”
With multiple projects — including her Meaning of Life Tour, launching in January — pulling her in various directions and requiring her time, the one constant in Clarkson’s life is family, especially during the holidays. That’s when everyone usually gathers at the Nashville, Tenn., home she shares with husband Brandon Blackstock. “We have a blended family,” she says. River Rose and Remington Alexander, 2, are her children with Blackstock. Two older children, Savannah, 17, and Seth, 11, are from Blackstock’s first marriage and spend every other Christmas with the family.
“People come from Texas, North Carolina and around the state,” to visit for the holidays, she explains. This year might be different as Clarkson recently purchased an $8.5 million mansion in Los Angeles to serve as the family’s homebase while she tapes The Voice.
Christmas with Clarkson usually involves full-on pajamas; big decorations courtesy of her mother-in-law, who is an interior designer; playing games, such as Monopoly and Scrabble; roasting marshmallows over a bonfire; and family dinner.
“My sister is actually the cook in our family, but we all pitch in,” she says. “We also dig watching movies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf. We have a little theater in our house, so everyone goes down there and gets cocoa.”
Clarkson jokes that when it comes to the holidays, her husband reminds her of Christmas Vacation’s Clark Griswold. “I married the movie version of Chevy Chase,” she says. “We have the most lights.”
Meaning of Life
Clarkson and Blackstock, 41, met in 2006 at the Country Music Awards Fest. She was performing a song with Rascal Flatts, and Blackstock was the group’s tour manager. They met again six years later at the Super Bowl, where Clarkson was singing the national anthem. One thing led to another, and they married a year later.
“My husband manages me, and we definitely disagree sometimes,” Clarkson says about their working relationship. “I’m not really good at time management, and I’m always putting everybody before me. He’s good at helping me with that. I’m good at helping him see outside what a manager sees.”
And when they disagree? “If it comes down to art, not our marriage, obviously I have the last say,” Clarkson says. “But I was raised to think two heads are better than one. Whenever I think I’m completely right, usually it’s just an opinion.”
One year after they married, River Rose was born. The responsibilities of motherhood changed Clarkson’s life. “I’ve always been confident, now I’m more so,” she says. “I’m a tough mom. I love fiercely, but I discipline just as much.”
Clarkson makes sure she spends time each day with her children. “When I’m working, I’m pretty adamant that I either wake up with my kids and have breakfast with them, or I put them to bed at night and follow our routine. I need to do this for them but also for me. I suffer from abandonment issues,” she says.
More: ‘UglyDolls’ first trailer: Watch Kelly Clarkson’s wonderfully weird Moxy in animated movie
More: Kelly Clarkson officially launching a daytime talk show
Clarkson’s parents divorced when she was 6. The youngest of three, she grew up with her mother; her older sister, Alyssa, was raised by an aunt, and her brother, Jason, lived with their father. Clarkson never really reconnected with her father and wrote about the estrangement in two songs, Piece by Piece and Because of You.
Her fractured early life taught her the importance of being there for her children. “I have a great job, but family comes first,” she says. “I used to feel the ‘guilties,’ especially with my first child. If I missed something and my nanny was there, I’d say to myself, ‘Oh, I’m a bad mom.’”
After reflecting on her upbringing, Clarkson’s perspective started to change, and she eased up on herself. Although her mother was rarely home as she worked hard to provide for her daughter, Clarkson says she learned a lot from her mom and “turned out great.”
“She taught me to work my ass off. You’ve got to be willing to be tired and work for it. I want to instill that in my kids. Also, I’ve learned to let go and to allow people to help.”
“When I started singing as a kid, she would say, ‘You won’t be able to sing at events if you don’t do this.’ My room was always clean then. She had something on me because it was a dream of mine.”
That’s a parenting strategy Clarkson uses today with her teenage daughter. “She’s an equestrian. She has a very expensive dream and if she messes up, that goes away.”
With 15 years in the music industry, Clarkson is aware that popularity ebbs and flows, but she’s not focused on staying in the limelight. “I’m so not that kind of planner,” she says. “You’ve got to just enjoy yourself and quit worrying if you’re on top and people are digging you. Today you might be cool, but tomorrow it will be somebody else.”
With her role on The Voice, Clarkson may be helping train and mentor the next big star. That prospect might affect some celebrities’ egos, but Clarkson approaches any changes with gratitude.
“I was just talking to Gwen Stefani (who served as a Voice coach for three seasons) about this the other night. We had dinner at her house,” Clarkson says. “It doesn’t bother either one of us. We’re like, ‘We’re so lucky, and we’ve done so many cool things and are still getting to do them right now.’”
In the meantime, she’s busy strengthening her brand, exploring new career opportunities and raising her kids.
“One of these days I’ll peace out and retire to my family and my chickens,” she says. “I’ll be good.”
- EXCLUSIVE: 'Do a better job!' ABC's Tamron Hall 'blew a gasket' backstage after Kelly Clarkson's talk show was renewed before hers, as ratings slip and producers complain she's too controlling
- Streaming: the BFI’s blockbuster musicals season
- Venice film festival: Hollywood looks to Italy for Oscars launchpad
- Toronto International Film Festival 2019's Oscars buzz, award-winners and critics' picks
- 'Star Trek 4' to be directed by a woman for the first time, S.J. Clarkson
- AMC Confirms ‘Talking Bad’ After Show; Sets ‘Breaking Bad’ Return Date; Renews ‘Talking Dead’ & ‘Comic Book Men’; Unveils Development Slate, Rolin Jones Overall Deal
- 'Like Bach in music': Alfred Hitchcock's towering influence
- 8 Things Today’s Movie Musicals Can Learn From
- The 10 Best Comedy Books of 2019
- Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights: do we need new film versions?
- 'Big Bang Theory': What the Cast Has Been Doing Since the Show Ended
- Reality star Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio takes a page out of Kanye West's book and JUMPS ON STAGE at the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards
- The Chers meet! Alicia Silverstone poses backstage with Dove Cameron who plays her iconic character in Clueless: The Musical
- Disney's Mulan live-action remake - UK release date, trailer, cast, plot, music and Li Shang controversy
- From Animal Kingdom to The Babadook: the best Australian films of the decade
- 'SNL' Musical Guest DaBaby: Everything to Know
- New film based on famous epic poem has contemporary twist
- LEAKED! The secret audition tape from Robert Downey Jnr's epic new film that he never thought we'd see (and you won't believe who the co-stars are)
- Clint Eastwood turns The Mule premiere into family night as he celebrates new film alongside children Scott, Kyle, and Alison
- A Complete Ranking of ESPN’s ‘30 for 30’ Films
Kelly Clarkson preps for big music, book, TV and film projects. have 2000 words, post on eu.usatoday.com at September 19, 2018. This is cached page on Health Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.