Once again, Kelly Clarkson would like to say something to Clive Davis: “Growing up is awesome because you learn you don’t have to cower to anyone — even Clive Davis.”
In it, the record executive discusses his tumultuous working relationship with the Idol winner, which began immediately after her victory. He says things like, “Kelly obviously is very talented and has a big, powerful voice,” and that he helped delay the release of From Justin to Kelly in order to help her debut release, Thankful.
But he also claims that Clarkson hated “Since U Been Gone” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “really” wanted both songs off her album.
(The “very tough conversation” was further delayed “when Kelly burst into hysterical sobbing,” Davis writes. “We all just sat there as she cried for several minutes.”)
“Not true at all,” Clarkson writes. “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.”
She goes on, saying that yes she did cry, but only after playing the song “Because of You,” which she co-wrote, and then being told that he hated it.
Davis refutes this in the book: “Both Steve Ferrara and I loved the song and the record from the first listen.” What’s more, he writes, it “delivered on the promise that Kelly could indeed write hits.”
The rest of the space that Davis devotes to Clarkson — in a chapter entitled “American Idol and Kelly Clarkson” — follows the same basic pattern: Davis provides invaluable support, Clarkson resists and succeeds anyway.
Or, as Davis puts it at one point, “It became a David-and-Goliath battle between an all-powerful music mogul and a solitary young woman fighting bravely for the right to self-expression.” (Also: “the rock press, of course, ate it up.”)
Clarkson spends far less space refuting everything that Davis claims about their relationship. In addition to Davis’ “misinformation” about Breakaway, Clarkson explains some of the behind-the-scenes of her follow-up: “My December went platinum (It sold 20,000 less than All I Ever Wanted which followed My December.) Hardly a huge failure.”
In his book, Davis writes about his worries over the album’s potential pop appeal. “But, again, what’s most interesting about his story is what he leaves out,” Clarkson writes. “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.”
The back-and-forth (and back-and-forth) continues. Read the full text of Clarkson’s post via her WhoSay page below. Whose side are you on?
February 19, 2013Hey y’all,
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!