Kelly Brianne Clarkson shot to fame as the first winner of American Idol in 2002 and has since established herself as a Platinum selling artist. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1982, Kelly was separated from her brother and sister aged seven when her parents divorced. Growing up with her mother she has said that music became her refuge after her singing talent was discovered in middle school.
After graduating from high school Kelly worked a number of jobs to finance a demo of her work but it wasn’t until she appeared on American Idol that her music career took off. Encouraged to audition by friends, Kelly went on to win the singing competition without ever being voted into the bottom three.
Debut single ‘Before Your Love/ A Moment Like This’ went to US number one and became the best selling single of 2002. Her first album ‘Thankful’ sold 4.5 million copies. Two years later ‘Breakaway’ was released and won Kelly two Grammy awards, one of which was for single ‘Since U Been Gone.’
Follow-up albums, ‘All I Ever Wanted’ in 2009 and ‘Stronger’ in 2011 were also top sellers with ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ from her 2011 album generating four million downloads in the US alone. ‘Greatest Hits: Chapter One’ hit the charts in 2012, featuring lead single ‘Catch My Breath’.
Since her early days, Clarkson’s style has taken on more rock influences, evidenced by her Breakaway album in 2004, which sold over 12 million copies around the world. Her Because Of You single is the biggest-selling single so far from an Idol contestant anywhere in the world. Her other albums are My December, All I Ever Wanted, Stronger, Wrapped in Red and Piece by Piece.
Kelly has earned admiration for her powerful voice and impressive vocal range throughout her career. Her songs often deal with independence and female empowerment which she says stems from her childhood.
She said: “My mom had to do everything on her own, she put herself through school.
“I think watching that molded me into this person who wants to relay a message to women everywhere that they’re capable of doing whatever they set their mind to.”