Call it the Kelly Clarkson vs. Clive Davis rematch. And once again, I'm totally Team Kelly on this one.
Some context: Back in 2007, the Original Idol famously feuded with BMG Records honcho Clive over her "controversial" and largely self-penned third album, My December (aka The Album Clive Davis Didn't Want You To Hear), and its supposed lack of commercial appeal. Along with Kelly's poorly timed decisions to fire her management firm (um, called The Firm) and cancel her summer tour just two weeks before My December's street date, there were those distressing rumors about Clive "I Don't Hear A Single" Davis humiliating her in record-label board meetings. And that gossip about him dangling a $10 million carrot in front of her face, in an attempt to persuade her to excise five tracks from the album that apparently didn't sound enough like "Since U Been Gone Part 2: Electric Boogaloo." And so on.
While My December failed to sell as well Kelly’s first two albums (no doubt partially thanks to Clive's smear campaign and a lack of overall label support), it performed respectably, and her career eventually rebounded. But this battle isn’t over, apparently. This Tuesday, Kelly took to Twitter to blast her old mentor/nemesis over his recollection of their stormy professional relationship in his new autobiography, The Soundtrack Of My Life--and the virtual vitriol she spewed was actually reminiscent of My December’s ferocious first single, "Never Again."
"So I just heard Clive Davis is releasing a memoir and spreading false information about me and my music," Kelly began. "I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans. It feels like a violation. Growing up is awesome because you learn you don't have to cower to anyone--even Clive Davis."
Regarding the My December debacle, Kelly tweeted: "[Clive says] My December wasn't successful because I co-penned the album and it didn't have ‘pop hits.’ 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. ‘Never Again,’ the ONLY single they released in the U.S. from that record was a Top 10 hit. I am very proud of that and I have my fans to thank. But, again, what's most interesting about his story is what he leaves out: He doesn't mention how he stood up in front of his company at a convention and belittled me and my music and completely sabotaged the entire project. It never had a chance to reach its full potential. My December was an album I needed to make for myself for many reasons and the fact that I was so completely disregarded and disrespected was so disheartening, there really aren't words to explain..."
Kelly also addressed portions of Clive’s book detailing troubles surrounding her second and most successful release, Breakaway, including a claim that she burst into "hysterical sobbing" when Clive demanded that her biggest hit to date, "Since U Been Gone," be included on that album. "Not true at all," she posted. "His stories and songs are mixed up. I did want more guitars added to the original demo and Clive did not. [Producers] Max [Martin], [Dr.] Luke and I still fought for the bigger sound and we prevailed and I couldn't be more proud of the life of that song. I resent [Clive] dampening that song in any way."
However, Kelly confessed that Clive did once drive her to tears, revealing: "I cried after I played him a song I had written about my life called ‘Because Of You.’ I cried because he hated it and told me verbatim that I was a ‘sh***y writer who should be grateful for the gifts that he bestows upon me.’ He continued on about how the song didn't rhyme and how I should just shut up and sing. This was devastating coming from a man who I, as a young girl, considered a musical hero and was so honored to work with. But I continued to fight for the song and the label relented. And it became a worldwide hit. He didn't include that in the book."
Kelly wrapped up her lengthy WhoSay post on a positive note, saying: "Anyway, I love my job. I love my music. I love my fans. I love my label and all of my professional relationships...now. And I am grateful for Clive for teaching me to know the difference."
Clive later responded to Kelly's remarks on his own Twitter page, emphatically asserting: "As anyone who has read The Soundtrack Of My Life knows, I think Kelly Clarkson is a tremendous vocal talent and performer. In the book, I provide an in-depth look at our years together during which we shared major multi-platinum success, as well as a few creative differences. I am truly very sorry that she has decided to take issue with what I know to be an accurate depiction of our time together. Before the book was published, I had every fact checked with five independent individuals who were present on a daily basis throughout it all. The chapter as it is written was thoroughly verified by each and every one of them. I stand by the chapter as written in my book. At the same time I wish, and will always wish, Kelly's talent and her career to soar to ever new heights."
Despite Clive's diplomatically worded statement, I still find myself siding with...TEAM KELLY. Unlike the Incredible Hulk, Kelly is someone I really like when she's angry. Her refusal to be intimidated, even by one of the most powerful moguls in show business, is admirable, and her unfiltered honesty is exactly why so many fans adore her (besides her amazing voice, of course). I personally can’t wait until Kelly writes her own autobiography one day, so I can read even more of her side of the story.
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