LOS ANGELES – Theres a reason Kelly Clarkson has performed duets with country superstars like Reba McEntire, Jason Aldean and Vince Gill but never with one of her Top 40 colleagues in the 10 years since she became the first American Idol. Theyve turned her down – eight times.
I have, like, 5,000 duets in country music, Clarkson says, flashing a smile. I dont have one in pop. Thats legitimately because everyone turns me down. Im not even kidding. Ive asked sooo many artists to sing with me. Everyone legitimately turns me down! The only one that hasnt was Chris Daughtry.
The sugary sweet pop star whos called Nashville, Tenn., home for the past six years isnt naming names (and much to the dismay of fans, her collaborations with fellow Idol alum Daughtry were never released). While she hasnt been able to hook up with the perfect pop ally, Clarkson has found a partner outside the recording studio.
When asked whats impacted her life most over the past 10 years, other than winning the Idol prize, Clarkson doesnt hesitate to say its falling in love with current boyfriend Brandon Blackstock, a Nashville-based talent manager whose father is Clarksons own manager and stepmother is McEntire.
Clarkson was originally apprehensive about releasing a Greatest Hits album. Shes only 30, after all. Her label convinced her that it would be a celebration of her music career since winning the first season of Idol in 2002. And she could record some new tunes, including Dont Rush, her soulful throwback country duet with Gill.
Another duet, her Dont You Wanna Stay collaboration with Aldean, helped her score a nomination for female vocalist of the year at the Country Music Association Awards.
Despite the camaraderie she feels from the Nashville music scene, she isnt fully committed to making a leap from pop diva to country star.
Im not ever going to be one thing, she says. I want great music. I dont care what it is. Im not going to record a country song just to be on country radio. I want it to be something Id legitimately have on my album, if Im having a pop, R&B, whatever album. I guess its hard for people to wrap their heads around. I dont want to be pigeonholed.