Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter and occasional actress. Born in Fort Worth and raised in Burleson, Texas, Clarkson came into prominence after becoming the winner of the inaugural season of the television series American Idol in 2002 and later becoming the runner-up in the television special World Idol in 2003.
Clarkson was immediately signed to RCA Records by talent manager Simon Fuller and music mogul Clive Davis after winning American Idol, and released a double A-side single "Before Your Love"/"A Moment Like This" in 2002. Upon its release, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart by breaking the record for the biggest jump to number 1 in the chart's history and eventually became the best-selling single of 2002 in the United States. In 2003, Clarkson released her first album Thankful, which contained elements of a pop and contemporary R&B sound, became a commercial success. Its single, "Miss Independent", became her first international hit. In 2004, Clarkson parted ways with Fuller and became managed by Jeff Kwatinetz and developed a more rock-oriented sound with the release of her second album, Breakaway. The album became a critical and commercial success with its international hit singles "Breakaway", "Since U Been Gone", "Behind These Hazel Eyes", and Because of You", becoming her most successful album to date and garnering her further global prominence as a pop rock artist.
In 2007, Clarkson took full creative direction with the release of her self-produced third album My December. The album's lack of mainstream production input became a subject of a dispute with Davis and Kwatinetz, who both wanted Clarkson to make significant changes and record new material. Its lead single, "Never Again", helped the album to become a moderate success amidst minimal promotion. In 2009, Clarkson returned to a more mainstream-oriented sound with her fourth studio album, All I Ever Wanted, which became a critical and commercial success. Its worldwide hit single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", surpassed "Before Your Love"/"A Moment Like This" for the biggest leap to number one on a single week in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, a record it still holds today. In 2011, Clarkson followed up All I Ever Wanted with the R&B, country-pop and dance-pop-inspired Stronger, which became a critical and commercial success. It generated more international chart-topping singles, including "Mr. Know It All" and "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)", with the latter becoming her most successful single worldwide to date.
Aside from being renowned for her title as the "Original American Idol", Clarkson is also widely known for her voice, vocal versatility and heroine image. Her music has mainly dealt with themes of heartbreak, independence, and self-empowerment for women and young teens. Apart from her work in music, Clarkson also ventured to television and film. Clarkson's film debut in the romantic musical From Justin to Kelly (2003) was met with mediocre success. She appeared in various television series such as American Dreams and Reba, and became a guest mentor on The Voice. In a career spanning a decade, Clarkson has become the most successful Idol contestant internationally with album sales of over 25 million and singles sales of over 36 million worldwide, according to Billboard] and Nielsen SoundScan. Clarkson's musical work has also gained her numerous accolades, including two Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards and a Women's World Award. Billboard also ranked Clarkson as the 14th-best-selling artist of the 2000s, as well as also being ranked on the top 200 album sellers of the Nielsen SoundScan era at number 187. In 2012, she was a mentor and judge on the TV series Duets.