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Will “Idol” Winner Be a Star?

Kelly Clarkson plans tour and album, but will it be a hit?

Weeks before Kelly Clarkson walked off American Idol a
winner, a SWAT team of producers, songwriters, video directors,
stylists, A&R men, photographers and image makers gathered to
map out her future. RCA, the label that was guaranteed a record
deal with whichever artist won the television contest, recruited
big-name tunesmiths such as Diane Warren, Desmond Child, Dallas
Austin and Walter Afanasieff to come up with original songs for the
winner. And before the final episode aired, RCA sent the three
remaining finalists into a studio to record a two-sided single:
“Before Your Love” and “A Moment Like This.” The plan was to have
the winner’s disc in stores by September 17th.

But can RCA turn Clarkson’s television celebrity into recording
success? Label execs admit they will be feeling their way as they
go along. “She will be a pop artist, but whether it will be rock,
country, urban, Top Forty hasn’t been decided,” says general
manager Richard Sanders. “I’ve been told she writes songs, but
everybody says they can write. We’ll have to record a lot of
material to see what works.” The one sure thing is that Clarkson’s
stage image will be “girl next door” or “a little older than a
Britney Spears look, but accessible,” Sanders says. “Every girl’s
dream.”

In the next several weeks, Clarkson will appear on countless TV
talk shows, film a pair of videos as well as an MTV documentary,
and launch a twenty-eight-city tour also featuring nine other
Idol finalists. Somewhere along the way, she’ll record her
album, due early next year.

“The hardest thing is going to be keeping the momentum going
until the record comes out,” says David Wolter, an A&R
executive at Virgin Records. “It’s definitely a here-today,
gone-later-today phenomenon, but people are so hot on the
Cinderella-story aspect. All RCA has to do is get the record into
stores. People will buy it.”

In This Article: Kelly Clarkson

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