Kelly in Control

Kelly Clarkson

For months after you delivered this record there was no word as to when, or whether, it was coming out. Did you have any contact with Clive Davis?
I found out he was in L.A. I called him and was like, ''Why are we talking through people, dude? Let's just meet.'' He was like, ''I agree.'' So I went to his bungalow where he stays here and we had a nice talk for a couple hours. I was like, ''You don't like the music; that's cool. You don't have to love it.'' There's no hard feelings. And that's why I don't like [our differences] to get out in public. I don't want to be the Joan of Arc of the music industry.

But he didn't toss your work in the trash, right?
Hell, he still could. That's the beauty of my life.

Are you worried about how your fans will respond to the darker material?
That was one of the label's things; they were like, ''It's just too negative.'' I'm like, ''Well, I'm sorry I've inconvenienced you with my life.'' No, it doesn't say, ''I'm happy, I'm with a boy and having so much fun.'' But it's reality. I know it's not going to do what Breakaway did, 'cause it's not as mainstream. I get that. Some of the songs are not what 10-year-olds are probably going to listen to. But we all go through situations for certain reasons, and I think we should share that. This record is more intense, it's more raw, it's more emotional. But it's not that different. It's not Metallica. Even if it does tank — who cares? It's one album! Out of a whole career of albums I'm going to have, you're worried about one? I'm not worried about it! And I'm obviously not going to want to put out s---. I obviously don't want to fail. I'm not an idiot. Like Nebraska from Bruce Springsteen — that's one of my favorite records, and it's not the most well-known. But it's an artist's record.

When you sit and think about it, are all the struggles you've been through with this record worth it?
My whole mantra is ''It doesn't matter how big I get, there's always the smell of cow s---.'' Because on my first tour, we played all these rodeos, and there literally was cow s--- everywhere. But maybe God puts the cow s--- there to drive me. Maybe it's there to push me.

More on My December: See why Simon Cowell is in Kelly Clarkson's corner and defends her new CD.

Originally posted May 14, 2007 Published in issue #935 May 25, 2007 Order article reprints
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