Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson is at the top of her game. It was a long hard road since winning “American Idol” in 2002. In 2007, her true test of strength was pushed as the most popular name in music Clive Davis went head to head with the songwriter.
Clive Davis was the man who stood behind each RCA “Idol” contestant’s record during his time as RCA CEO. Clarkson had it rough from the beginning because they simply didn’t know what to do with her voice. A little known fact, Clarkson’s self-penned “Because of You” was presented to the label for her first record where they told her she could not include it on the record. During the “Breakaway” era, Clarkson really came into her own and knew exactly what she wanted and where she wanted to go.
The follow up to “Breakaway,” “My December,” was plagued with problems from the beginning. As Clive Davis didn’t have his name listed as an executive producer, he stood in front of his colleagues and claimed the efforts Kelly and her backing band made were unsellable. Clive tried to offer her $10 million to replace or rework five songs to be more radio friendly. She declined the offer and eventually the album was released. With one single in the US, both the album and song went platinum. “My December” has sold only 20,000 less than 2009’s “All I Ever Wanted.”
After the dispute in later years, she’s written plenty of songs about her relationships with people she’s worked with, often times coming off as kiss off to boyfriends. As Davis comes out as bisexual in his memoir “The Soundtrack to My Life,” it leaves one to wonder if people knew and respected his privacy. Clarkson wrote an unreleased song about the mogul called “Between the Lines” she performed live at a VIP show in Detroit, MI during her All I Ever Wanted Tour. Lyrics include “If you get this message read between the lines/ If you’re so damn clever tell me/ Why I’m free and why you’re still in hiding/ It’s not about the money or even about my time/ It’s just that I can’t stand for you to think you were right/ And no one likes a bitch to read between the lines.”
In Clive Davis’ memoir, he seems to have said some words about Kelly Clarkson and their spat that she didn’t like. She took to her WhoSay account today to say exactly what she thought of him. This is what she had to say:
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.
First, he says I burst into “hysterical sobbing” in his office when he demanded Since You Been Gone be on my album. Not true at all. His stories and songs are mixed up. I did want more guitars added to the original demo and Clive did not. Max, Luke and I still fought for the bigger sound and we prevailed and I couldn’t be more proud of the life of that song. I resent him dampening that song in any way.
But, yes, I did cry in his office once. 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.
He also goes on to say My December wasn’t successful because I co-penned the album and it didn’t have “pop hits”. Well, first let me say, I’ve co-penned many of my “pop hits.” Secondly, My December went platinum (It sold 20,000 less than All I Ever Wanted which followed My December.) Hardly a huge failure. Never Again, the ONLY single they released in the US from that record was a Top 10 hit. I am very proud of that and I have my fans to thank. But, again, what’s most interesting about his story is what he leaves out: He doesn’t mention how he stood up in front of his company at a convention and belittled me and my music and completely sabotaged the entire project. It never had a chance to reach it’s full potential. My December was an album I needed to make for myself for many reasons and the fact that I was so completely disregarded and disrespected was so disheartening, there really aren’t words to explain….
Anyway, I love my job. I love my music. I love my fans. I love my label and all of my professional relationships… now. And I am grateful for Clive for teaching me to know the difference.
Cheers to another amazing year! And, as always, thanks for listening!
Sources: Kelly Clarkson’s WhoSay Post