Kelly Clarkson Signs With Atlantic Records, Planning ‘Soulful’ Album for 2017
After teasing her fans all week with cover songs through Facebook Live, Kelly Clarkson has made a big announcement -- or, rather, a series of big announcements. The Season 1 American Idol winner has revealed that she has signed a new record deal, is planning a new album ... and has something special up her sleeve for her fans.
Since winning Idol in 2002, Clarkson has been with RCA Records -- but now, she's moved to Atlantic Records. During her Facebook Live announcement, Clarkson admits that while she enjoyed working with RCA, it was "kind of an arranged marriage," so her move to Atlantic is "super-exciting for me as an artist," because it's the first time she's gotten to pick her own record label.
"They love every part of my personality as far as, like, all my colors," Clarkson says of her new label home. "I love the country side of me, and I love the Broadway side of me, and I love the pop side of me and the soulful side of me, and they are down to make really whatever record I'm into, which is real rare, so I'm super-excited about it."
As Clarkson pointed out during her announcement, all four of the artists she covered leading up to sharing her big news are Atlantic Records artists: Otis Redding, Foreigner, Gnarls Barkley and En Vogue. While making the announcement, Clarkson shouted out a fan -- whom she says she's met previously -- who connected the dots and guessed the news before Clarkson herself shared it.
Clarkson's first project for Atlantic will be a soul- and R&B-influenced record, due out in 2017.
"Everybody's been asking me to make a soulful record for years," Clarkson says, "and while we've always had soulful influences on my records, we've never actually made a soulful record, so that is what Atlantic Records and I are about to do."
To tide fans over until her new album is ready, Clarkson has launched KellyClarksonLive.com, a site for fans to visit to download and watch free content from the singer. On Friday (June 24), to coincide with her announcement, Clarkson launched the site with four downloadable cover songs and a live video; new content will be uploaded on the last Friday of each month.
"I basically just want to give away stuff because we've done so much stuff ...," Clarkson explains, "and it'd be cool to give y'all something for free."
Clarkson has earned herself a number of fans within country music thanks to her crossover hits and collaborations with artists such as Reba McEntire, but she's never made an "official" country record. However, the artist says, it's likely to happen now that she's on Atlantic.
"They have a great country department," Clarkson says of her new label. "I know a lot of fans have been asking when I'm going to make a country record, and I promise you, I'm gonna make one. I love country music."
In early 2015, Clarkson told Time magazine that while she was working on her latest project, Piece By Piece, she was also working on a country record.
"I had a pop record left on my contract, so we decided to put this one out first," Clarkson said at the time. "But I will have a country album that will come out. I always tell people I might do Broadway one day, I might do an R&B album. I just like music. It doesn’t just stop at just one genre."
Unforgettable Kelly Clarkson Moments
See Kelly Clarkson + More Country Stars' Yearbook Pictures