Kelly Clarkson’s fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, is sitting at Number One for the second week in a row, but at the moment she’s engaging in behavior unsuitable for a pop star: The original American Idol is driving with her sister on a dusty road in rural Texas, scouting property for an animal rescue she’s starting. “Oh, my God, our GPS is taking us down this, like, Deliverance road,” says Clarkson, who lives on a 60-acre property nearby with her mother, brother and sister, along with seven dogs and 10 horses. “So if we die, this will be my last interview!”
You can really tell that one of your album tracks, “Long Shot,” was written by Katy Perry — you sound like her on it.
Yeah, the way she writes, it’s almost like how Alanis writes her melodies, where you can’t get her sound out of it. It was the last song to make it on the record, and one of my reasons for not wanting it on the album was that it sounded so much like Katy Perry — and obviously the label loved it, because it’s the big thing right now.
When you met her, did she try to make out with you?
No! [Laughs] She’s hilarious, though. When I saw her at Clive Davis’ Grammy party, I said, “Dude, I ended up choosing two of your songs for my album.” The first thing out of her mouth was “Oh, my God. I’m rich!”
As someone who can really sing, what do you think about Auto-Tune?
There are cool effects you can do with it, but when they just use it to correct pitch, that pisses me off, because it takes away the emotion. If it were perfect, you might as well listen to a robot. You don’t have records anymore that are like Aretha or Janis. Even if it was off a little bit, it was great, because it sounded like they were aching.
So have you seen From Justin to Kelly lately?
Honestly, I have never seen that, other than the time I had to sit through it at the premiere. I was contractually obligated to, and I fought that with tears — I did not want to do that movie. I didn’t enter a singing competition to be an actress. I might consider some other acting role, but only if it involves music. And I don’t mean the cheesy-crap in that movie.
What do you sing around the house?
My backup singer and I are usually doing Patty Griffin songs. She’s my favorite artist. It doesn’t get played on the radio, but there’s something about simple singer-songwriter stuff that’s such an attractive sound for me. And I like changing up guys’ songs. I love Rod Stewart, and I change “Some guys have all the luck” to “some girls” — I’ll probably start doing that live. And I’d love to cover something by Springsteen. I want to do this one song he sings in a falsetto: It’s called “Lift Me Up,” and it’s beautiful.
You’ll be 27-years-old soon. Have you thought about what you want your 30s to be like?
I might not be doing music. I love music, but that doesn’t mean I have to sell it. I can just play in my house and do charity work. I don’t care about being famous. That’s not my goal — I just love music.