Kelly Brianne Clarkson was born on April 24, 1982, in the small
town of Burleson, Texas. Two factors contributed in setting her
on the path to stardom. First, the movie Jaws deterred her from
her childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist. Second, a
teacher at Pauline Hughes Middle School heard Clarkson singing
in the hallway, recognized her talent, and encouraged her to join
the choir. Thirteen years old at the time, Kelly was a singing
fiend from there on out.
regular in choral activities, Clarkson was also granted a spot
in the Texas All-State Choir. Her talent drew much attention,
and after graduating from high school, she set out to sell herself
to record labels. She had some demos made, but despite all her
efforts she could not land a deal. So, she decided to head west
and try her luck in Los Angeles, after having saved enough money
from odd jobs as a pharmacy assistant, telemarketer, comedy club
cocktail waitress, and at a movie theater and the zoo.
the winner of Fox TV's first American Idol: The Search for a Superstar
competition, during the summer of 2002 Kelly Clarkson went from
an anonymous talent to a nationally known singer performing for
an audience of millions of viewers. One of the show's most naturally
gifted singers, her´s vocal talents were discovered when
she was in seventh grade, when her school's choir teacher heard
her singing and urged Clarkson to join the choir.
high school, Clarkson cultivated her voice and went to Hollywood
to make her name; she appeared as an extra on an episode of Sabrina,
the Teenage Witch but no other opportunities materialized. Upon
returning to Burleson, Clarkson worked at a movie theater, promoted
Red Bull energy drinks and ultimately worked as a cocktail waitress
at a comedy club before entering the American Idol contest.
of 10,000 aspiring singers, Clarkson distinguished herself not
only with her big, surprisingly mature voice, but also with her
down-to-earth charm and sense of humor: at one of her auditions,
she switched places with judge Randy Jackson, who did an impromptu
version of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." Over the
course of the 13-week show, her consistently strong performances
of songs like "Respect," "Natural Woman,"
"Stuff Like That There" and "Without You"
earned Clarkson enough audience votes to claim one of the contest's
two finalist positions.
singing "A Moment Like This" and "Before Your Love,"
both of which were written for the show, Clarkson won the American
Idol contest with 58 percent of the audience's votes. In addition
to the show's prize of a $1 million recording contract with RCA,
Clarkson secured a deal with Creative Artists Agency and several
bookings, including the national American Idol tour and a performance
of the national anthem at the September 11 commemoration at Washington,
DC's Lincoln Memorial. Despite her newfound fame, Clarkson opted
to remain in Texas rather than move to New York or Los Angeles.
first single, A Moment Like This, was released just two weeks
after she won the contest and quickly earned platinum sales. Clarkson's
self-titled full-length album -- which was rumored to include
a duet with the contest's runner-up, curly-haired heartthrob Justin
Guarini -- was released in spring of 2003, just in time to coincide
with the second season of American Idol and right before the American
Idol movie, From Justin to Kelly.