In a former role, I covered American Idol and was actually flown by Disney to Orlando to cover the opening of the American Idol Experience attraction at Walt Disney World Resort. During that time, I saw a lot but I’m not going to give away people’s secrets.
I will say, however, that while I was there, Kelly Clarkson was deeply embroiled in a battle with the people around her in the industry. It was so bad, in fact, that she almost didn’t appear alongside the other Idol winners during the main event (and she absolutely ducked out before any of the other festivities went down).
When I read about this interview she gave to Z100 New York yesterday, I immediately went back to that time and I felt so sad for her. She explained that she told her record label, RCA Records, that she would be willing to work with anyone EXCEPT one person – Dr. Luke. She alleges that they essentially blackmailed her into working with him on her 2004 hit, “Since U Been Gone,” and in 2009 on “My Life Would Suck Without You.”
She explains that she was willing to take a hit financially to avoid having her name appear as a co-writing credit alongside his. “I was so frustrated because I literally said, ‘Anyone in the world but this one person. I will work with anyone you want to put in my path,’ like, I love people,” Clarkson explained to Z100’s Mo’ Bounce. “But it was just this one thing and I asked to not work with Dr. Luke, just because I had not a good experience working with him. It was just one thing, and they just wouldn’t even give it to me.”
Some might say that it’s easy for someone like Kelly Clarkson to take a stand and walk away from money because she’s already so comfortable but, at that time, she was still a relatively new artist at a crucial point in her career. The rift between her and RCA Records was a big deal and, admittedly, my much younger self was a lot more critical of how she handled herself during that time. Looking back, I realize that we all should refrain from forming opinions and passing judgment on situations that we really know very little about.
People who follow Clarkson’s career will know that this isn’t the first time she’s spoken out against Dr. Luke. Back in 2016, she told Australia’s KIIS FM that “he’s not a good person to me… Obviously he’s a talented dude, but he’s just lied a lot. I’ve come up on a lot of bad situations. Musically, it’s been really hard for me, because he will just lie to people, and it makes the artist look bad. He’s kind of difficult to work with, kind of demeaning.”
It’s interesting to hear Clarkson repeated refer to Dr. Luke as not being “a good guy” in light of Kesha’s allegations. We can’t, of course, take sides but, hopefully, if something is really going on here, people will begin to support artists who feel victimized, intimidated, or otherwise harmed by working with him.