Kelly Clarkson

In mid-July, Kelly Clarkson returned from a vacation in Tahiti to discover that almost an album’s worth of her songs had leaked onto the Internet. Naturally, she was none too pleased. “Oh my God, have you ever been robbed? I have. I’ve been physically robbed a couple of times, but this is much worse,” Clarkson tells EW exclusively in her first public remarks about the incident.

Clarkson says she has no clue how songs including “Let Me Down,” “Dumb + Dumb = U,” “Cleopatra,” “Don’t Be a Girl About It” ended up online. But once they did, fans, eager for new material from the singer, quickly snatched them up.

Sure, the tunes were well-received, but there was a problem: They were old, and most of them weren’t even meant for her. “There are songs out there that are from eight or 10 years ago [from when Clarkson was recording her first album, Thankful.] … People are always asking me to write for other artists. They’re awesome songs, [but] they’re just not songs I would normally sing.”

The singer was also concerned for her fans — and her image. “Those songs came out and people are like, “Oh my God, what direction is Kelly going?” she says. “I think what made me mad was that: 1) People stole from me, and 2): Everybody had no idea what my next album was going to sound like. That really caused a lot of confusion.”

A couple of the leaked tunes (Clarkson won’t say which ones) will make it on to her fifth studio album, Stronger, which is schedule to drop Oct. 25. (Her lead single, “Mr. Know It All,” is scheduled to be released in early September.) “Here’s the best part though,” she promises fans. “Nothing that’s leaked is the final version. Those are all demos.”

So while she’s excited for her next album, she admits that even she hasn’t heard the final version of the release. “I don’t even have it, by the way, because I’m so freaked out to put it on my computer,” she says.

For more from Clarkson, including some scoop on Stronger, pick up the Sept. 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly on newsstands Friday.

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Kelly Clarkson announces release dates for new album and a new single, “Mr. Know It All”