I thought Kelly Clarkson had matured and grown up. Obviously, I am wrong. The “American Idol” star nearly tanked her career over a hideous album called “My December” a few years ago. She fought with Clive about putting it out. He did, and it was a dud. Her career could have been stopped cold. But Clarkson was talked down off her ledge and made to come to her senses. Davis and his team–notably Pete Ganbarg, who’s a genius A&R guy– got her a new single, “My Life Would Suck Without You.” It put Kelly back on top. This year, going with the Davis-Ganbarg formula at RCA, Clarkson had “Stronger” and “Mister Know it All.” And a hit greatest hits album. “My December” was her Waterloo.
Clive recalls some of this in “The Soundtrack of My Life.” He also remembers–has told me several times over the years–that Clarkson didn’t want to record what would become her biggest hit, “Since U Been Gone.” Artists are like that. Having a great voice doesn’t make you a genius.
Now Kelly has piped up on her website, going after Clive. Tsk, tsk. She still doesn’t get it. This is what she says:
“So I just heard Clive Davis is releasing a memoir and spreading false information about me and my music. I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans. It feels like a violation. Growing up is awesome because you learn you don’t have to cower to anyone – even Clive Davis.”
She adds: “I cried after I played him a song I had written about my life called “Because Of You.” I cried because he hated it and told me verbatim that I was a “sh*tty writer who should be grateful for the gifts that he bestows upon me.” He continued on about how the song didn’t rhyme and how I should just shut up and sing. This was devastating coming from a man who I, as a young girl, considered a musical hero and was so honored to work with.
But I continued to fight for the song and the label relented. And it became a worldwide hit. He didn’t include that in the book.”
Kelly, I rather doubt it. In 25 years of writing about Clive Davis and his artists, there have been disagreements and certainly disappointments. But no one–and I could tell you stories– has ever accused Davis of acting in such an unprofessional way.
As for “My December” going platinum–these platinum and gold distinctions are based on albums shipped based on previous sales. “My December” shipped platinum based on the huge success that preceded it. I don’t know what the returns were, but I’d wager that they were big. No one even remembers that album except for Clarkson, her family, RCA, Jeff Kwatinetz, and me.
PS “Stronger” has sold 1,023,000 copies since its release last year according to Soundscan. “My December” has sold 836,000 since its release in 2007.