Kelly Clarkson first captivated the hearts of America when she won the title of the very first season of American Idol back in 2002. And since, her talent as a singer and spunky Southern belle charisma has made a last imprint on the entertainment industry and fans alike. She is known for her amazing voice and memorable personality, and has been able to take her platform as the first winner of American Idol and actually extend her career to a lasting legacy like many of her Idol cohorts. As her career has changed and evolved, so has her brand as an artist, as well as her personal life. Here are some of the many changes that Kelly Clarkson has undergone and endured.
Style as a musical artist
Since the beginning of her career in 2002, Kelly Clarkson has managed to churn out several top-charting hits, like “Since U Been Gone,” “Breakaway,” “Because of You,” “Heartbeat Song,” and “Miss Independent.” She has been known to dominate in any genre she chooses, easily flowing between pop and rock-n-roll to country. This might be one element that fans love about her the most, and proves why she has been able to sustain an almost 20-year career.
She cites her inspiration to become a singer as Reba McEntire, specifically her song, “Read My Mind.” She said, “When I was a kid, for whatever reason, [McEntire’s] voice sounded like home.” So, despite her ability to transition between genres, Kelly Clarkson’s love for country music runs deep.
Her transition to superstardom
Even though she is now recognized wherever she goes, Kelly Clarkson had a very humble upbringing. She was born in 1982 in Fort Worth, Texas, and was brought up in church. She went from being known pretty much only by those in her small town community to being a household name. She says that her roots and her faith are what helped her deal with the unreal reality of fame. “[I’m] from a small town… where everybody knows you and you can’t keep anything secret,” she said. “I think [that has] helped me wrap my head around [fame]. I’ve always grown up pretty close to church and with God. He’s the only One I can lean on.”
She also revealed that she had a great childhood, but that it was hard for her and her mom, who was a single mother. This struggle, but being able to find the beauty in it, could be another reason why Kelly Clarkson has stayed so humble and grounded amongst her superstardom. She did not have her father in her life, and opened up about that experience. “I think If you don’t grow up with it… it’s hard to miss something you never had,” she said in an interview with Today.
Throughout her career, Kelly Clarkson has gone through several stages of weight loss and gain. She opened up in 2017 about why she was more on the thin side towards the beginning of her career. She revealed that the pressure of fame and Hollywood was behind her slim appearance. “I was miserable, like inside and out, for four years of my life,” she said.
She also shared that while most may think of “skinny” equating happiness, Kelly is quite the opposite. “People think, ‘Oh, there’s something wrong with her. She’s putting on weight,” Clarkson told the magazine. “I’m like, ‘Oh, no! I’m sorry, but that represents happiness in my emotional world. For me, when I’m skinny is usually when I’m not doing well.” And she has been vocal about defending her happiness to whoever tries to tear her down. In response to hecklers on the internet who teased the American Idol singer for being “fat,” she responded, “I’m still f—ing awesome.”