Kelly Clarkson on Boyfriends and Backlash - Rolling Stone
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Kelly Clarkson on Boyfriends and Backlash

The pop star reveals the real inspiration behind “Cry” and her most embarrassing YouTube moment

In the current Rolling Stone, Kelly Clarkson reveals why she hates Auto-Tune and whether she ever kissed Katy Perry. But the chatty Texan also shared her reaction to the My December backlash, what it was like watching herself strip on YouTube and why she won’t put out a country album. Here’s Clarkson in her own words:

On criticism that 2007’s My December was too dark and “rock”:
“It’s like people did not listen to it and it was so upsetting. I’m not Metallica. It’s not Slipknot or Marilyn Manson. It’s not even, like, Nickelback. It’s nowhere near rock. The only thing I got was [when people said] ‘Never Again’ and ‘Hole’ [were rock]. Other than that, there were dance songs like ‘Judas’ and ‘Yeah,’ which is almost like Sly and the Family Stone. And then there was ‘How I Feel,’ which is probably the most pop song I’ve ever written. That’s why I was like, ‘What is happening?’ That’s like finding out how things can spin out of control and it’s nothing like it actually seems.”

On finding a boyfriend even though she’s famous and lives in rural Texas:
“I’m not that girl who’s really concerned with it. I’ve dated a bit and it’s just draining to me. If it’s not going to happen natural, obviously it’s going to be someone in the industry because that’s the only time people ever really see me. I don’t ever worry about it. I really love being single. I like having that freedom. I’m only 26 years old so I’m not in any kind of rush. I’m not really that girl that’s looking for it, but I’m also not not looking for it.”

On hopping onstage with Metal Skool to sing Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” — and discovering the video on the Internet:

“I get this call from my mom and she’s like, ‘I heard you were stripping on some stage last night at some thing in L.A.’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, what?’ So I’m looking it up on YouTube. I’m not that girl usually. I’m like ripping off [some guy’s] sweater vest and I’m so not the bad girl, but whatever. It was fun. I like doing stuff like that. I like incorporating one or two of those kinds of songs in my show. I’ll be wailing on something one minute and I’ll be singing some singer-songwriter thing the next. I love that. I think we think the consumer is stupid. I think most people who buy music want different stuff. And at my shows I’m not drunk like I was in that video [laughs]. They should tell you that they’re video taping you!”

Up Next: Clarkson on “I Do Not Hook Up,” mining her personal life for lyrics and more

On her new video for “I Do Not Hook Up”:
“It’s not gonna promote abstinence. OK, I guess it’s not not promoting it. Everyone kept sending me these treatments that were obvious, like [nonchalant voice] ‘I do not hook up,’ pushing guys away, and I’m like, ‘Seriously?’ So I wrote this whole treatment about how the girl is a good girl, but inside her head, every time she turns around, she’s fantasizing. So she’s hooking up in her fantasies, but never in real life, just to put a twist on it. The girl’s not really a bad girl, but in her head, she’s like this freak. And it’s absolutely hilarious. I mean, to see me crawling across a table, it’s pretty much comedy at its finest.”

On mining her personal life for lyrics:
“A lot of people think I’m straightforward with my writing. I’m really not. Most of the time [it seems like] I’m writing about a relationship and it’s not really about that. It’s about something else that’s going on in my life and I’m kind of relaying it this way. ‘Cry’ was about a friendship that went really wrong and I just wrote it in the form of a relationship because usually people relate to those songs. With that song, I went through a really shitty thing with someone who betrayed me. When I started writing the song I was like, ‘I’m gonna write this like it’s a guy and a relationship.’ “

On why she’s not — contrary to rumors — abandoning pop and going country:
“Obviously I grew up in Texas and most of my favorite singers are country artists, but I love pop music because it means ‘popular’ so you can incorporate [different influences]. My writing is sometimes similar to the way country artists write because I grew up around it a lot — on this record, if you listen to ‘Cry,’ it’s a total waltz written like a country song, and so is ‘Because of You’ — but I also write pop songs like ‘How I Feel’ or ‘Never Again’ or ‘Walk Away’ or ‘Miss Independent.’ That’s the cool thing about being in pop music; you don’t have to make just one record. You can make a record with so many different sounds on it. I probably won’t ever just do one thing.”

On kicking off her career on American Idol:
“Over the past seven years, I’ve worked with people that say, ‘We need to package you and you’re gonna have this image and you need to do this…’ And the one thing that I love is my leverage. On Idol, I was the total girl that was just totally comfortable in my skin, and that’s who I am and people liked it, so I don’t know why I would try to stray from the formula there. Usually, most artists are packaged from a label coming out of a box. It’s not just like someone comes out and they just happen to be that dramatic. I like the fact that I didn’t have to go through that. I’m very lucky.”

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