Don't let Kelly Clarkson fool you. The first winner of "American Idol" may seem like the happy girl next door, but she's also got a dark streak. "I get a bad rap when I'm writing, because most of my songs are about bad relationships," Clarkson said to a cheering audience in New York this week, where she was on tour for her new album, "My December." "But I'm young, so I go through a lot of bad relationships."
Clarkson was in high spirits, despite the fact that she was playing at a venue with only about 3,000 seats. She had to cancel her original summer tour because she wasn't able to sell enough tickets at larger venues. Clarkson's new album, of songs she wrote herself, was in the news earlier this year because RCA Records president Clive Davis had expressed reservations about it. Davis reportedly wanted Clarkson to use the kind of established songwriters that made her last album "Breakaway" a hit (it sold over 5 million copies). So far, "My December" has moved only 673,000 copies.
But Davis and Clarkson's feud seems to be over. Davis attended the concert, and he must have been impressed with the original Idol, who got the audience on its feet by performing songs almost exclusively from the new album. "I always get asked, 'What's your favorite song [on the album]'," Clarkson said. The answer? "Addicted," which represents "My December"'s more angst-ridden tone, with such lyrics as "It's like you're a drug/It's like you're a demon I can't face down/It's like I'm stuck/It's like I'm running from you all the time."
Even though she might have trouble with guys, Clarkson still manages to have a good sense of humor about herself. She referred to a YouTube video that circulated widely last year that showed her wobbling drunk while she attended a heavy metal concert in Los Angeles. "There was one night I happened to have something to drink," she said ruefully. "My mom is super proud of [the video]." And while she was still drunk, she said, she wrote a song on a bar napkin called "Chivas," which appears on the album.
Then Clarkson took a shot onstage. "I'm not promoting this," she said, "if you're underage."