Friday, May 11, 2007

Kelly Clarkson vs. Clive Davis, Round 2

Just when everyone thought that the Kelly Clarkson-Clive Davis battle had been overexaggerated, and their publicists said they were kissy-kissy again, comes this story saying that's not quite the case, and that the first Idol champ used her music muscle against record label head Davis -- and won.

Well-connected record company sources told TMZ that Clive likes to exercise "creative control" over artist recordings and wasn't happy at all with Kelly's latest album, "My December." There are unconfirmed reports Clive wanted to shelve the entire album. TMZ confirmed that the 75-year-old music mogul asked for "significant" changes and wanted to put the breaks on the CD.

But Clarkson wasn't having any of it -- especially since she wrote/co-wrote all the tracks on the record. Sources told TMZ that Clarkson stood up to him and flat out refused to give in, and in the end she got her way.

One source told TMZ there is "deep tension" between Clarkson and Davis, adding, "She's definitely upset, but she's not a stupid girl." "My December" drops July 24.

And, in fact, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly posted April 23, after receiving an ASCAP award for songwriting, she was asked the following:

How many of the songs on your upcoming album did you write or cowrite?
I didn't mean to, but I ended up [writing on] actually the whole album. 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.

I heard you tell someone here a little bit earlier that your record company might have preferred another single going out first, something that was a little bit safer.
Oh, no. They just didn't prefer the album, really, at all. They don't like me writing a whole lot, just to be honest with you. Not even after I've written No. 1 [songs]. So, yeah, they're not big into that. But they're coming around, and they like it now, and obviously it's doing well on radio right now, so they're liking it even more. And taking credit!

So you had people trying to force songs or songwriters on you on this album.
Yeah, and I understand what they're saying, because everything — sometimes — with labels is a formula. And they're trying to make money, so they want to come out with Breakaway II. And I don't want to come out with Breakaway II, because I already have that record. It's a little hard for them sometimes to come around, just because taking a different artistic path is a chance. And I get it — they're obviously a record label trying to make money. But now people at the label are really starting to dig it, and it just kind of took a while for them. They didn't like "Breakaway" either, and they didn't like "Thankful" either. So it's the same for every record. But it's turning around; they like it now.

I understand that the song that's being honored as ASCAP's song of the year tonight, ''Because of You,'' was a tough sell.
That's what I'm saying. It happens every time. It's not like, ''Whoo, [that's] different!'' Every time it's a task to get something of mine on the record. But yeah, that song, they didn't like it for the first [album], and I totally got shut down. Second album, I just kept pressing the issue, and finally I just went and found the people I wanted to do it with. I actually went through my lawyer, and ended up writing with Ben Moody and David Hodges from Evanescence. And we did a pretty good job on it, I think. They like it now; obviously, it's successful, so...

What about the new CD's first release, "Never Again."
It's a chick song. You know, you get mad. I wrote it over two years ago — which [makes it] kind of weird singing it now — and it was just about a bad, sour relationship where I was just like, bwahhhh. I wrote it out and sent the melody and lyrics to Jimmy Messer, who I wrote it with. And so he ended up building a track around it. At first I was hesitating about even putting it on the album, because I wrote it so long ago. But it's just such a fun song — such an anthem for any chick who's been done wrong. Or any guy, for that matter; you just change the lyrics up a little bit. It's just one of those songs I think everybody will kind of dig.

So it was inspired by true events, as they say in the world of TV movies?
Yes. All of my songs are, actually.

The album is called My December — is there a title song?
It was a poem I wrote, but I wrote it a couple years ago as well. It kind of wraps up the rough time I was having. It was like, ack. You know the feeling of wanting January to come so you can start over, fresh? It's just like, Okay, cool, I'm ready. I've had a lot of great things happen and I've had a lot of crappy things happen. I'm ready to start over, and whatever your resolutions are, I'm ready to do this better and do this better. This album is kind of getting it all out there, like, ''Okay, now I'm ready to kind of start over.''

Speaking of starting over, with climate of record sales being what it is, everybody's expectations are diminished at least slightly. Are people warning you, ''Listen, Kelly, you may only sell 3 or 4 million this time...''
Oh, yeah, I could do a lot worse than that.

But you're the great hope of this year, at retail.
Well, yeah. They do keep pressing on that issue, and obviously that's why they're trying to get their formula people [as collaborators] on the project. But at the end of the day, I've sold a lot of records, I'm very blessed, I'm lucky. I don't want to ever be that artist that's always in it just to make money. I have enough money. I'm not greedy. I want to make records that I enjoy singing. I want to make records that people like and can relate to. So that's really all that's in my mind. A lot of people don't like to hear that, who I work with. [Laughs] It kind of scares 'em. But I'm not really making the record for them. I just tend to do kind of what I want.

Clarkson performed "Never Again," A bitter Alanis Morissette-like kiss-off to an ex-boyfriend both on "Today" and "Letterman" this week. Watch the official (and nastier original) video.


They may have no sympathy for LaKisha Jones' renditions of Bee Gee songs, but they rallied for poor persecuted Antonella Barba and now for Paris Hilton. Yes, we're talking about those soldiers of justice, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell! reports that even though the criminal court judge dished it harsh to Hilton, the "American Idol" judges have nothing but love for her. Speaking of the heiress' upcoming trip to the pokey -- Cowell told cameras they "feel sorry for her" as Randy said the entire situation is "crazy dude, she's a good girl, she'll get it together." Cowell even said he'd visit the jail-bound heiress when she gets locked up. Watch video.

Way to go, dawgs. Everybody knows drunken and reckless driving is way less important than pitchiness and shouting lyrics.


... remember her BFF Amanda Coluccio who wanted to party instead of practice in Hollywood and ultimately never made it to the semis? TMZ has news on her, as well. It reports that although Antonella made it further up the karaoke ladder, it's her best gurl who's now making her own music. While Barba is still warbling cover versions, but Amanda MySpace music page features an original song by the now also less-dressed songstress entitled "Push N Touch." If you're not afraid of more New Jersey ear damage, give it a listen -- but make it short. Everybody wants to be Beyonce.

We also decided to drop in on Antonella's MySpace to see what was new with her. But when we tried to click on her pictures, we received the message "The user you're trying to view has set all their photos to private." Isn't that what's know as closing the barn door after the pigs, er, horses have escaped?

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