In 2002, Kelly Clarkson became Americas sweetheart when she beat out big-haired Justin Guarini to win the first American Idol. She is now following up her double-platinum debut album, Thankful, with Breakaway, which features the #1 title single. We caught up with the sassy southerner to talk about the new disc, her love of the gays, and what she was thinking when she made that movie musical.
So I hear youre moving. What did you get?
I am moving to a new house in LA. Im moving to the beach. Im done with Beverly Hills. [Laughing] Its over! And in Texas, I just bought a house. Its got 12 acres of land. Its amazing. Its weird to say that at 22 years old. Im going there for Christmas.
Excellent! So the new album rocks!
Thank you so much.
I have to admit, Im a big fan of Breakaway.
Thank Avril [Lavigne] for that. She cowrote it. You know whats funny? I had two friends call me and say, I just heard a song on the radio and I am not sure its you. They said it was you, but it just didnt sound like you! I love keeping people entertained with the versatility. I dont like when you can tell its an artist right off the bat. Thats boring.
In the first go-round, a lot of interviews focused more on American Idol than they do now. Clearly the show launched you, but do you feel like people are looking at you more like an artist now than with the first album?
I dont know. I guess there are always going to be people who focus on the American Idol thing. There are going to be people who look at it positively and negatively. I love my first CD. Im even more in love with this CD. Im working with a lot of talented people. Im having fun, and I think thats what counts. I hate people who say, You dont write all your music, so youre not an artist or If you dont play your own instrument, youre not an artist. Its like a list someone made. There are musicians, singers, writers, entertainers And some of them do all of it. I love to sing and write. Thats my thing. I liked playing guitar on tour. In no way am I a guitarist, but I want to get better. Its hard because Im having to pick it up by myself. I have to take lessons. But you have to schedule lessons, and thats not even a possibility right now. Im trying to do it on my own.
In 2002, you pretty much became a superstar overnight. Are you used to the fame?
To be honest, everything happened so fast and I was so busy, I didnt ever have a chance to go out. I think I skipped all of itthe surreal thing and the fame thing. Im not really fazed by it. On my last tour, right after a showI dont remember the citybut we were starving. We stopped in a diner. I was having a conversation with a couple guys from my band. Two grown men were sitting there staring at me. I finally leaned over and asked, Would you like to be a part of the conversation? They were flat out staring. I had forgotten they might know me because of TV or their daughters or whatever. My whole band started cracking up: Yall wanna get in the conversation? I was really inviting them over! I forget sometimes. Ill be somewhere and the paparazzi will be taking pictures when Im shopping. Ill be like, What are they doing? Who are they taking a picture of? It doesnt dawn on me. My friends crack up on me.
I actually met you backstage at the Fox Press Tour in Pasadena back when American Idol was first airing, and I told you that the gays are rooting for you! Have you always felt that?
My hair and makeup guy, Steve, is all about me. Hes my best friend. Come to think of italmost everyone I work with I think is gay! I dont see a big difference in fan bases. As long as they like the record, thats all I care about. Steve is my favorite guy Ive met in my whole life.
Have you always had gay friends?
Yeah. I grew up around gay people. So I dont notice it. And now I live in LA, so obviously, its everywhere. I grew up in Ft. Worth, [Tex.,] where there were gay people and people of every ethnicity, and then when I moved to Burleson, [Tex.,]this small, small town in the middle of nowhereI dont think there was one gay person there. It was odd to people. But I grew up around everything. Love who you can love, and love where you can get it. Im 0 for 3. And you know what ticks me off? Yall have taken the good ones! Its not fair. I always have fights with Steve: Youre takin all my men!
What has been the best rumor you have heard about yourself?
That I got married. One of the tabloids said that. But they didnt give me a proper wedding. They said I had a Texas hoedown. People, if youre gonna marry me off, at least give me a cool wedding. Just because Im from Texas, I dont want to get married in boots.
Thats genius. Any others?
It happened when I was on the set of the movie [From Justin to Kelly]. They would take pictures of Justin and I and say, They were on a romantic date. People, do you think I have time to date? I was filming a movie and making the album at the same time. If this all goes sour, Im going to work for a tabloid. I could make up crap all day.
Speaking of, I have to ask: From Justin to Kelly. What word comes to your mind when you think of that movie?
Jesus. Aw, Jesus.
We did a movie musical in 28 daysthats all I can say. That was the most ridiculous thing ever. I had to do it because of American Idol. But it was cool. I have a lot of friends out here because of it. But I never was really into it. To be honest, little kids adore it. Its cute when you meet them and theyre singing the songs. But Im first and foremost a singer. Id do Broadway. Maybe movies in the long-term future.
Wow, a singer with no aspirations to act!
Youd think after someone saw that movie, they wouldnt send me scripts. But I get movie and TV stuff all the time. I go, What are you people thinking?! Im not saying Im horrible, Im just no Sissy Spacek.
But if I remember correctly, you told me you did a spot on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
Wow, you have a good memory! When I lived out here before, I was a back-up singer and demo girl, and that only pays so many of the bills. My friend was an actress and she said, If you do extra roles youll get $50 or $75 a day. So I did that. I did Sabrina. I did Bernie Mac. I did a bunch of stuff. It was just extra work. But I didnt have the desire to be an actress.
Whats up next?
Im going to Asia and doing my stuff over there, and after I come back, Ill be touring. Were going to be touring from the end of March through May. Im going to be doing theater. And then over the summer Id like to do another co-headlining tour.
Too bad youre not busy. Well, thanks so much, and congrats on everything!
Thank you, and Merry Christmas!