KELLY CLARKSON FACTS:
Hometown: Burleson, Texas
Albums: Thankful (2003); Breakaway (2004); My December (2007); All I Ever Wanted (2009); Stronger (2011)
Awards: 2 Grammy Awards
Hits: "A Moment Like This," "Breakaway," "Since U Been Gone," "My Life Would Suck Without You"
Other: Winner of the first American Idol.
It may be hard to believe, given how many seasons there have been, but winner Kelly Clarkson has been a force within the music industry ever since she won the inaugural American Idol singing competition in 2002. With a strong voice and a likable personality, it's not surprising that Clarkson has managed to stay relevant while other Idol winners have fallen by the wayside.
Soon after winning the competition, Clarkson released her debut album Thankful in 2003. With the considerable exposure generated from the show, the record was a huge hit. Of course, it also helped that the album was littered with popular singles, including "A Moment Like This" and "Miss Independent," both of which cracked the top 10. The latter earned Clarkson her first Grammy nomination.
Soon after, Clarkson began to distance herself from her American Idol image. Her sophomore album, 2004's Breakaway, managed to do just that. The album eventually went on to be certified six times platinum in the United States and peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 charts. It also includes some of Clarkson's most iconic songs, including "Since U Been Gone" and "Behind These Hazel Eyes." With more than 12 million copies sold, Breakaway remains her best selling album.
Although it was hard to match the success of Breakaway, her 2007 album My December was still popular. In fact, while it may not have enjoyed the significant commercial response as its predecessor, My December was a favorite among critics and appeared on many best-of lists at the end of the year. The record featured a number of more emotional tracks including "Never Again," which cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and "Sober."
After a quiet two years, Clarkson re-emerged in 2009 with the release of All I Ever Wanted. The record signaled a return to form for the singer, who was helped out by the songwriting acumen of Katy Perry on the upbeat "I Do Not Hook Up." The record also featured the hit song "My Life Would Suck Without You," which eventually went on to the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
There really is no substitute for talent, and Kelly Clarkson certainly has plenty of it. She has successfully made the transition from pop starlet to full-fledged songstress and she will be around for quite some time.
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