Music Review >> Kelly Clarkson – ‘Stronger’

Multiplatinum artist Kelly Clarkson unleashed her fifth studio album, Stronger, as a special Monday release on October 24. Known for her incredibly powerful and soulful vocal prowess and her unabashedly honest lyrics, Clarkson is showcased on Stronger at her all-time best.

“What separates this album are the vocals,” Clarkson said in a press release. “They sound richer and fuller, and, for the first time, how I sound when I’m performing live. The producers I worked with just let me sing and be me. They didn’t strip away the personality.”

“And it was one of those things where if the people I’m working with have confidence in me, I have more confidence in myself and that changed everything. I can’t wait to perform these songs on tour. I think that’s the best way to get to know an artist, and where you get to see actual personality, because we can’t hide much onstage.”

Clarkson co-wrote five of the 13 tracks on Stronger, which was produced by heavy hitters Rodney Jerkins, Greg Kurstin, Josh Abraham, and Toby Gad.

With the high energy dance-pop title track, “What Only Kills You (Stronger),” Clarkson belts out an empowerment anthem about not allowing the end of a relationship to be the end of her.

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Catching Up With Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze is one busy dude. Since winning season nine of American Idol he has toured the United States with his fellow Idols, as well as writing and recording his new album Live It Up. He is now gearing up for the release of his album on November 16.

Earlier this week, DeWyze was nice enough to talk with me over the phone about his upcoming album. During the first part of our conversation we talked about the recording process, songwriting and the various collaborators he worked with, and his lead single, “Sweet Serendipity.”

You started recording Live It Up this summer while on the tour with American Idol. What was the recording process like while you were on the road and how much of the album did you complete? And what was the recording process like after you completed the tour?

The recording process was pretty amazing actually. On the tour, I’m trying to focus on that, but I’m also trying to write an album and recording it all. For me, it was a very different process, trying to write an album while being on tour and doing other things while you’re doing it. But, it was great. Working with the people I worked with was great. I had a huge hand in the writing process. Being on 10 of the 11 songs writing-wise was a huge accomplishment, and I really have the label and the people around me to thank for allowing me to do that. That’s who I am as an artist. The fact that I got to accomplish that goal of mine was really awesome.

After the tour was over, I really put in 100 percent. I enjoyed the whole process. And always, there’s ups and downs of it, you run into tiny walls, you get through them and keep going.

So, you wrote on the majority of the album, 10 out of the 11 tracks?

Yeah 10 out of the 11, I worked with various writers. I worked with amazing people. Toby Gad, Dave Hodges, Claude Kelly, Lindy Robbins, John Shanks, Zac Maloy, Espionage, David Glass, I mean the list goes on. Just great people that I got to work with. They helped make the album what it is too, I have them to thank for that.

Okay, so when you are working on a song, what comes first, the lyrics,
the melody, or a little bit of both?

I like to start with music sometimes, once I get the beat in place, I can start to write about it. Melodies are important. I always kind of pride myself on my melodies. For me, it was a little bit of everything.

How many songs did you initially start with before narrowing it down to the 11 that are on Live It Up?

We had quite a few. There are definitely going to be some songs that are offered out there separately from the album. I’m really, really proud of what I have done. All the ones that didn’t make the album, it’s not that they weren’t good songs, it was just that we knew the right songs to go on this first album. I’m happy with the single, I’m happy with title of the album, I’m happy with the whole thing.

Very awesome, you sound really excited. How did you decide on what to title the album, and were there any other possible titles for the album that you had in mind?

I ran a couple different titles through my head, you know Live It Up is definitely kind of the theme of the album. I felt that each one of these songs really had a little meaning [tying to the album title]. It’s a cool little album. I love it. It speaks a lot about me, everything in life, relationships, love, a loss, you know different things that everyone goes through in their life.

Alright, let’s talk about your first single, “Sweet Serendipity.” You were planning to originally release the title track of the album and the night before your single was going to debut on the radio, you switched it to “Sweet Serendipity.” What was behind the change of heart about what song to lead off your album with?

Truthfully, I’m sitting there looking at the whole album, there were a lot of songs that I could’ve picked for the single. They’re all really strong songs. I think “Sweet Serendipity” is the right song for the right time. We put it out there, and it’s a great song. I’m really proud of it.

I like the song and it’s really catchy. It’s a lot more pop than I was expecting.

That’s the thing that I like. There’s everything from pop to rock to broken down acoustic. That’s kind of why I like the album so much. There’s different variety on there, and that’s what I’m about.

How would you describe the overall vibe of the album?

I would call it a reflective album. I would definitely say that there’s something for everybody, regardless of what emotion you’re going through, there’s something on there for you. I just wanted it to be fun. When you come to a live show, I want you to dance and have a good time. I want you to be into the music, it’s really what it’s all about.

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