How Kelly Clarkson Freed Herself From Clive Davis

In a new interview with Variety, the "Miss Independent" singer talks about the tension she experienced with her old producer and why she decided to leave RCA Records

By Elyse Dupre Oct 10, 2017 5:46 PMTags
Kelly Clarkson, VarietyPhoto credit: Art Streiber

Kelly Clarkson is "Miss Independent."

In Variety's Power of Women LA issue, the American Idol winner revealed how she managed to cut ties with her old record producer Clive Davis after a rocky history.

According to Variety, RCA Records signed Clarkson after she won American Idol in 2002. Davis then took over the company in 2004, and the tension between the singer and the producer started to build.

For instance, Clarkson recalled crying after Davis referred to her song "Because Of You" as "sh-ty." Clarkson wrote the song for her 2004 album Breakaway

"I was told that was a sh--ty song because it didn't rhyme," she told Variety. "A group of men thought it was OK to sit around a young woman and bully her. I was told I should shut up and sing."

But this wasn't the last time Davis insulted her music. In a 2013 post on her WhoSay page, the Grammy-winning singer said Davis also denounced her 2007 album My December.

"He also goes on to say My December wasn't successful because I co-penned the album and it didn't have ‘pop hits,'" Clarkson wrote at the time. "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."

The relationship between the two grew even more strained after Davis mentioned Clarkson in his autobiography The Soundtrack of My Life. In her WhoSay post, Clarkson referred to the mentions of her as "misinformation."

"I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans," she stated at the time. "It feels like a violation. Growing up is awesome because you learn you don't have to cower to anyone—even Clive Davis."

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According to Variety, Clarkson signed with a new record company, Atlantic Records, after her contract with RCA Records expired. The mother of two is now releasing a new album, Meaning of Life, on Oct. 27.

"It's just the first record I've made that I didn't call my mother, wanting to quit," Clarkson told the magazine. "And I'm not a baby, y'all. I'm strong. There are songs about it! I'm a very powerful, confident woman, but at the same time, you just feel beaten down."

And while she said it "always sounds like I'm going against Clive Davis," she told Variety there's a reason for it.

"You have no idea how excited I was when I found out he was taking over," she said. "It's like meeting someone you've idolized since you were a kid and being let down. The only victory I see from the last 15 years is honestly just the fact that, even in such an incredibly not-healthy environment, we were very successful." 

To read the rest of the interview, visit Variety.