Here is a highly condensed version of events relating to the release of Kelly Clarkson’s third album, “My December, ” as reported in the press. The majority of these sources have been linked here at mj’s in LisaB’s headlines threads and are still available to read; I have provided only a few pertinent excerpts.
04-13-07: Never Again, the first single from My December, is released to radio.
04-23-07 Entertainment Weekly: I’m not the person who thinks you have to write everything you sing. There are a lot of fabulous, talented writers whose songs I love to sing. But I had a lot to say with this album, so I kind of ended up writing the whole thing.
04-25-07 Billboard: Kelly Clarkson’s Never Again debuts at No. 24 on the CHR/Top 40 chart.
04-30-07 The Velvet Rope: Word out of the SonyBMG Conference is that at the J-Arista Presentation, Clive announced to all attendees that Kelly Clarkson told him she no longer needs his help in finding songs for her as she will write all the tunes for her new album.
05-04-07 World Entertainment News Network: Pop star KELLY CLARKSON has reportedly scrapped her new album after label bosses weren’t impressed with the record.
05-04-07 Hits Daily Double: Despite rumor-mongering from the U.K. Daily Star and other online sources, there is no dispute between Kelly Clarkson and the RCA Music Group. There are absolutely no plans to scrap the LP.
05-06-07 Los Angeles Times: It is very aggressive, Clarkson said. And it might be too much. But I just needed to be able to make this record and not have so many hands in the cookie jar saying, “Pull this string, pull that string.” I was like, “Just give me this one thing, and I will make whatever record you want next time. Now, I need this, for me. ”
05-11-07 RCA Memo: Gentlemen – Early reaction from US radio to the new Kelly Clarkson track would indicate that we have a mid charting single at best. Additionally, we remain concerned about the depth of the record to deliver more reactive cuts for radio. With this in mind…we have been able to get management to agree and move the record up to June 26th.
05-15-07 Associated Press: Kelly Clarkson says the media is exaggerating reports that she and music mogul Clive Davis clashed over her upcoming CD, My December.
You know what it is: This situation is just blown up, the 25-year-old singer told AP Television News last week. This record is no different from my other records. Every record I’ve come out with, people have not liked.
05-15-07 MTV: My label literally sent me a Lindsay Lohan track from her last album and wanted me to record it for my new album.
Clarkson was kind of offended by the whole situation. They were just sending me stuff that was like almost insulting. I’m like, “You can’t even find new songs?”
05-17-07 Entertainment Weekly: I found out he [Clive Davis] was in L.A. I called him and was like, “Why are we talking through people, dude? Let’s just meet. ” He was like, “I agree.” So I went to his bungalow where he stays here and we had a nice talk for a couple hours. I was like, “You don’t like the music; that’s cool. You don’t have to love it. There’s no hard feelings.” And that’s why I don’t like [our differences] to get out in public. I don’t want to be the Joan of Arc of the music industry.”
05-24-07 TMZ: Sources backstage at the finale report that Sony/BMG execs attempted to apologize to Kelly’s team, but their backtracking on behalf of the man with the golden ears fell on deaf ears. A well-placed source told TMZ, “Clive’s actions, both delaying the album, and now this, tell you everything you need to know about how he feels about Kelly.”
05-30-07 Fox 411: This is either some kind of urban myth that started outside the label or a PR stunt from within ‘ maybe designed to show Clarkson is a bit of a rebel, an American Idol with an edge.
05-30-07 The Gossip Girls: She only gets like $250, 000 an album when she could get millions. She refuses to take more money because she wants artistic control. And she has always turned out to be right. If Clive had had his way, she wouldn’t have sold nearly as many albums as she did. We are appalled he is picking apart one of our own acts and one that we all love.
06-01-07 Reality TV World: Davis plugged numerous other former Idol finalists, but when it came time to praise Clarkson, he instead credited the songwriters behind “Since U Been Gone. ”
“Contrary to popular belief, that’s what album sales are really all about. new hit songs, ” said Davis during the finale. Everyone in American Idol must toast [those] much too often under-appreciated professional songwriters, those who have greatly enhanced the American Idol album franchise. Right from the very beginning, by writing No. 1 hit songs for Clay Aiken, through “Since U Been Gone”, “Breakaway, ” for Kelly Clarkson’s huge Breakaway album…
06-05-07 Fox 411: But the real friction may not be between Clarkson and Davis, but between Clarkson’s manager, Jeff Kwatinetz, of The Firm, and the label.
It was only this past weekend that RCA learned Kwatinetz is being listed by Clarkson as executive producer of the album. This indicates a new role for Kwatinetz, who is not the most popular member of the recording industry.
06-06-07: My December’s second single, Sober, is released to radio.
06-07-07 Elle Magazine: My December’s disparity of themes and lack of an obvious hit were not lost on producer Clive Davis, who is said to have offered Clarkson $10 million to ditch five of her songs for more radio-friendly picks of his choosing. “I could give a crap about being a star, ” Clarkson says. “I’ve always just wanted to sing and write. “
06-11-07 BuddyTV: Nothing you are about to read is surprising. A record label wants to control a young, profitable artist. A studio head is only interested in making money. We ‘ve been here before, and it all makes sense, and former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson isn’ t a hero for calling out Clive Davis and RCA in the July issue of Elle magazine (which she has). One way or another, it ‘s all publicity, and controversy in the name of record sales. Clarkson is probably correct in everything word she says, but that doesn’t mean she had to say them.
06-12-07 Entertainment Weekly: Kelly Clarkson fired her management team Monday night (June 11). A SonyBMG source confirms the split between Clarkson and The Firm’s Jeff Kwatinez, and hinted that internal bickering between SonyBMG and Clarkson about the songwriting and direction of My December likely played a role with their parting.
“He exacerbated a thermonuclear situation, ” says one source close to the situation. “Jeff did everything he could to control Kelly and her career suffered. He should have steered her in the right direction.”
06-12-07 Hits Daily Double: Clarkson made a point of telling interviewers she’s either written or co-written the material on the new album, but the first single, “Never Again, ” met with a lackluster radio reception, while ticket sales for her upcoming tour are reportedly lagging as well. With relations increasingly tense between Clarkson and her label, someone had to take the fall, and it turned out to be Kwatinetz.
06-12-07 Us Magazine: A source confirms to Usmagazine.com that Clarkson has fired LA-based Jeff Kwatinetz, of the management company The Firm. It happened last night. They disagreed over the songs and the direction. “Everyone is surprised, ” says the source, who adds that Clarkson has not yet decided on a new manager. Another source adds, “Kelly had enough.”
06-12-07 E! Online News: While the parting appears amicable, it’s rumored that Kwatinetz is the one taking the heat for the lackluster radio reception for Clarkson’s new single, “Never Again, ” which debuted and peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 ‘ as well as for the so-so ticket sales for her latest tour.
06-14-07 New York Post Page Six: Kelly has clearly seen the light, laughed a Davis crony. Clarkson, who’ s sold 11 million records, has insisted on writing all the songs on her third album and spurned the tunes by other composers which Davis, the man with the golden ears, was offering her. “Kwatinetz, a co-producer of Kelly’s upcoming album, led her down the road of recording without the benefit of Clive Davis’ magic and collaboration with hit-making songwriters, ” our source said. Clive was trying to stop her from jumping off a cliff.
06-14-07 ContactMusic: Singer KELLY CLARKSON has been forced to scrap her U.S. tour due to poor ticket sales. The American Idol winner, who fired her manager this week (begs11Jun07), was due to hit the road next month (Jul07). Michael Rapino, boss at ticket company LiveNation, adds, “Ticket sales have not been what we anticipated and we came to the realisation that we had bit off more than we could chew.”
06-15-07 Fresh Intelligence: Radar Online: Earlier this week, ex-Idol Kelly Clarkson decided to break away from her longtime publicist, Jeff Kwatinetz, going all Miss Independent for her impending arena tour and album release. Then just yesterday, she cancelled said tour, due to overblown expectations.
06-15-07 Chicago Sun-Times: “For any artist — especially someone as new as Kelly — to piss off Clive. . . . Well, that’s about the dumbest thing you can do in the music business, ” a top industry executive told me Thursday. “When I heard that, I thought ‘This girl must have a death wish for her career.'”
06-17-07 Herald Sun: Clive and I literally sat in a room and when he finally heard the record he said, “Well I don’t hear hits ” and I said, “Dude, let’s just sit down and talk it through, tell me what you don’t like and let’s see what we can do. ”
“It was quite rational, we are both not yellers. So we just sat down and disagreed. I say that there are great songs on the record and he doesn’t think that. But I said, ‘Well, you didn’t think so on the last two ‘ and they were successful, why should I stop myself now?”
06-20-07 New York Daily News: Kelly Clarkson is suddenly in danger of driving right off the radio, a stunning turn for an artist who, since winning the first American Idol in 2002, has become arguably the biggest mainstream pop star of the decade.
“Never Again, ” the first single from the My December CD due out next Tuesday, has made barely a ripple on local radio compared to her previous hits.
06-22-07 Wall Street Journal: Despite a tour last summer that struggled to fill 21 amphitheaters, they booked her into three dozen even bigger arenas…
Ticket sales for the tour quickly stalled, and some markets saw as few as seven or eight sold a day, according to one person familiar with the situation.
06-24-07 Star-Telegram: Internet message boards are littered with fan reaction to the leaked versions of My December, and it’s overwhelmingly positive. Radio seems to be taking a wait-and-see approach (as of June 16, the album’s lead single, “Never Again” sat at No. 11 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart). The media, which has eagerly followed every twist of the pre-release saga, initially framed the story as a heroic David vs. Goliath struggle, but more recently, some of the coverage devolved into jokes about yet another train-wreck starlet.
Nevertheless, I think everyone really wants Kelly Clarkson to succeed, says Billboard analyst Keith Caulfield. There’ s just so much good will. Yeah, these are kind of large bumps but … it’s not like this spells disaster for her.