Who She Is
On September 4, 2002 Kelly Clarkson won the inaugural season of an experimental new show called American Idol. Over a decade later she remains one of the finest singers in contemporary pop music. Raised in Burleson, Texas, her original life goal was to pursue Marine Biology. A viewing of the movie Jaws changed her plans and when the choir teacher at her school noticed her singing in the hallway and encouraged her to audition, she began to find her true calling and passion. Kelly has found success in pop, country, R&B, classical, rock and seemingly any musical genre she chooses to apply her malleable voice to, selling over 25 million albums worldwide and having eleven platinum-selling singles. Clarkson is the rare relatable pop star; the kind of girl who people want to hang out and sing karaoke with but also sells out arenas.
What Are Her Messages
Part of Kelly's appeal is her transparency in her songwriting. Where many of her contemporaries look to shock appeal or trendiness to sell records, she writes about her own experiences, setting a template followed by superstars like Adele and Taylor Swift. Songs like "Since U Been Gone" or "My Life Would Suck Without You" are fun, fist-pumping odes to female empowerment and the endearing sloppiness of real-life relationships but there is plenty of real depth in Clarkson's catalogue. Her worldwide smash, "Because Of You", first hinted at her willingness to be vulnerable, citing her father's abandonment as a reason for many of her emotional issues. The title track of her album, Piece By Piece, revisits this idea, but in a full circle moment, explains that her husband will not repeat her father's mistakes and loves her and her daughter sacrificially. "Sober" speaks to the necessary pain of pruning toxic people and behaviors from our lives while "Standing In Front Of You" encourages those who have lived through emotional or physical trauma not to build walls to keep people out. Most of her music centers around the themes of empowerment, getting through hard times and the importance of emotional resolution.
What Does A Youthworker Need2Know
Many people don't know this but Kelly Clarkson actually grew up in church and even led her church's youth group before American Idol. She revealed, in an interview with CCM Magazine, "I've always grown up pretty close to church and with God. But I think I've just gotten a lot closer just because He's the only One I can lean on." She has managed to keep a level head and keep herself out of controversies for over a decade. Students familiar with her, either from American Idol or her myriad of radio hits, likely see her as a human being first and a pop star second. She is a woman who has endured difficulties and made it through emotional trauma, emerging on the other side while still retaining a sunny disposition. Though unlikely to grab the popularity induced by constant tabloid headlines, she remains a fantastic role model, especially for young girls trying to sort out various emotions and heartaches. Her music offers numerous opportunities to explore emotional health and the power of perseverance.
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