The Kelly Clarkson Debacle

 The first, and biggest American Idol just fell off her throne. What did we learn here?

1. That the music business has been fucked since the early nineties, when it became about the track, not the act. First the radio stations showed no loyalty, then the labels gave up on loyalty too. I mean if you’re an act, NEVER FORGET that radio is a bigger friend to the label than you are. You’re gonna come and go, but the station, the station REMAINS! And frequently, the same PLAYERS, albeit at different outlets. So, if you want to play the fame game, go for it. But know there are sharks in the water and you’re going to get bit.

IN OTHER WORDS, there are no Kelly Clarkson fans. Just fans of "Since U Been Gone". And that was a hit YEARS ago. In the entertainment business, it’s what have you done for me lately. "Since U Been Gone" can’t support a tour.

2. In the seventies, the acts sat atop the label, now that paradigm is gone, the execs are in control, just how they LIKE IT! Clive Davis failing to support Kelly Clarkson is akin to a Mafia Don chopping off the hand of someone who owes him money. It’s not so much about getting money out of THIS guy as it is letting everybody know who’s boss.

Kelly Clarkson could be the biggest asset Clive’s got. You’d think he’d want to protect her. Go on the road, meet the press and say how wonderful she is, how her album is the best shit he’s ever heard. But no, Clive stayed silent, and only emerged from the wings when the Net hubbub reached a gargantuan level. And then his support? It was meek and weak.

That’s our Clive, friend to the artist.

3. The Net’s rumor mill supersedes anything seen previously.

The story of Kelly Clarkson’s troubled album has been brewing online for MONTHS! And the story was only enhanced by Kelly’s label holding the record back. It’s like a movie, miss your targeted release date and everybody thinks you’ve got a turkey.

The only way to combat the Net buzz is to speak the truth. Something’s that’s anathema in this business.

Isn’t it funny that the ONLY person to speak truth in this fiasco has been Kelly herself. Talk about protecting the artist… No wonder she fired the Firm, isn’t this the MANAGER’S JOB? To protect the artist?

Kelly had to go out and tell her story, after the bad buzz was DEAFENING!

Then again, the track was not a hit. Kelly seemed to believe it was, but most artists are clueless when it comes to picking impact tracks. They think EVERYTHING is great. Or the NON-COMMERCIAL track is the hit. But I don’t blame Kelly here, she was like a battered wife. When NO ONE comes to your support, when NO ONE on your team is in your corner, you LISTEN TO NO ONE! Sure, she was wrong, but if there was someone in her camp she trusted, maybe she could have been shown that the track wasn’t a hit, and made an informed decision whether to release it anyway.

4. If you’re reliant on radio, you’re fucked. Radio is capricious, radio is ever-narrowing in what it plays. Radio has no commitment. Radio thinks you owe THEM! Come play my SHOW!

But how can we blame 25 year old Kelly Clarkson. It was NEVER good in her era. She didn’t live through AOR, never mind free form rock. When she came of age, it was MTV, all hype, all the time. Throw it down and become a star. I mean how much sympathy can we have. She went on a TV show to BEGIN WITH! And that’s the MTV paradigm. We can rocket you into space, but the quickness with which you ascend? That’s just how fast you’re gonna fall back to earth. Can you say not only A Flock Of Seagulls and Vanilla Ice but the Spice Girls and Jimmy Ray and..? If you wanted a career Kelly, if you wanted to be taken seriously, you had to develop a bit more organically. And, if you were hungry for a hit, you should have called Max Martin. Or, if you wanted a bit of credibility with your hit, you should have called Mutt Lange, this is the type of project that APPEALS to him. But no, you decided to go it alone. You were out of your league. But, as stated above, you didn’t trust anybody telling you this. So, you dug your own hole.

5. The seventies model rules. You’ve got to build the band, not the song. People have to BELIEVE IN THE BAND!

If Kelly wants people to believe in her, then she has to become three-dimensional. I mean at least she’s now coming out and saying she can’t find a man, but even the spin isn’t good. I’m a STAR! Why can’t I find love? She looks desperate as opposed to being akin to her audience. And, other than this seriousness about never being in love, she appears to be an airhead. What does Kelly Clarkson stand for, what does she believe in, other than FUN? That’s what we see all over the Net, Kelly Clarkson on vacation in a bikini. That paradigm didn’t work for Paris Hilton, and it won’t work for Kelly Clarkson. You’ve got to have SUBSTANCE if you want people to believe in you.

The fact that Kelly isn’t model beautiful, and struggles with her weight, these are endearing qualities. But who the fuck IS SHE?

6. Gig size. This killed Norah Jones’ career. You’re supposed to UNDERPLAY! But in a business where there are no new superstars, the infrastructure, the promoters, they want arena acts. And, the competition will deliver those dollars.

Kelly Clarkson should be playing theatres. You shouldn’t be able to get a ticket. Assuming the act wants to have cred and a career. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t go for every last dollar on a cleanup tour early in your career and then tell the audience you’re in it for the long haul. The aforementioned Spice Girls played arenas once.

7. For touring longevity, you’ve got to play rock. I don’t know if it’s the sound, or the culture built around the acts and their material, but no one singing pop other than Madonna can tour arenas on a regular basis. It’s evanescent music. So, you have an evanescent career. In order to last, your material must have meat on its bones. Believe me, Justin Timberlake is just one stiff away from being unable to fill arenas. He’s not a star, he’s a man of the MOMENT! Sure, he’s humble (good act Justin!) But the music he plays…it has no MEANING!

If you’re dependent on hits and spectacular staging then you’re fucked. If it’s not about the music first, you’re not gonna have a long career. I mean what are you gonna do next time, with no hits. Blow up the building?

8. Kelly Clarkson now has a choice. She can either be a popster or try to be a credible artist. If she wants immediate sales, both CD/iTunes and tickets, then she should play it Clive’s way, write guaranteed hits. If she wants cred, she needs an acoustic album in the fall. She has to leave this debacle behind. In any event, she needs a new hit album, SOON! Just like Mariah came back on IDJ.

Then again, don’t use Mariah as a model, Kelly. That’s all manipulated. And the babe is loony-tunes. Your way out is through honesty. Get on the cover of "People" and "Us". Tell your story first. Do some damage control. Maybe hire Michael Sitrick. This story is out of control, you need big time PR, not the hack at the label or your management company. You’ve got to be portrayed as the victim. Otherwise, they’re gonna bury you.

As for this album… The press has already buried it, even though most people have never heard it. Maybe there’s a hit on it. But if so, why didn’t you release it FIRST! Maybe you can work your way back into the public consciousness with this album, but I doubt it.

9. Sell the tickets when the act is hot. When the record is on the chart, even if it’s months before the tour. If the act is cold, don’t sell the tickets until it HEATS UP! Otherwise, you’re heading for a bruising.

10. What Kelly Clarkson has got working for her is her likability. She’s got to play this through the crisis. Then, she needs quality material. It all comes down to the songs.

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