On September 4, 2002, Kelly Clarkson became the first ever singer to be declared the winner of American Idol. Seven months later, Clarkson released her debut album, Thankful, which started to pave her path of artistry. The album blended Clarkson’s pop, rock, country, blues, and soul sounds, proving that America got it right when they picked up the phone and voted for the then twenty-year-old girl from Burleson, Texas.
Today, fifteen years later, Clarkson is still an absolute force in the industry. That first album went double platinum, selling over two million copies (the first million being within months of its release). It also made it clear to the powers that be that Clarkson was worthy of additional records, including her smash hit Breakaway that led to three Grammy Awards in 2005.
If you watched Clarkson on American Idol, you know that she was definitely a country girl with an R&B soul. Before there was talk of a country record, there was overwhelming anticipation of same, and it was only a matter of time before the girl who grew up on the genre’s tunes would successfully dabble.
Ultimately, Clarkson collaborated with Reba McEntire, re-releasing her own track off Breakaway, “Because of You,” as a duet. The two also embarked on a joint tour, which spanned from coast to coast in the United States. Clarkson later went on to team with Jason Aldean on the award-winning “Don’t You Want to Stay.”
Along with those partnerships, Clarkson also released a couple of solo country cuts. Her pop song “Mr. Know It All” was countrified and released to fans, as well as a song she recorded as a message for now husband Brandon Blackstock, “Tie It Up.”
Tonight, Clarkson is expected to perform alongside McEntire at the ACM Awards, as the two perform the first song they ever sang together, “Does He Love You.”
Congratulations to Kelly Clarkson on fifteen years of recording industry success! Join us in listening to “Thankful” today to celebrate this superstar.