This week, I had the pleasure of flying to New York City to cover Kelly Clarkson and her 8th album titled Meaning of Life. I was there on behalf of Atlantic Records and the Mom It Forward Community, and I was digging the job assignment. Little did I know that I would be having a conversation with someone who could honestly fit in with my family off the bat. Her personality is so welcoming, and warm, AND she’s a talker, just like I am! So all those teachers that gave me checks in “exercises self control” and told me that I would NEVER find a job that encouraged talking, this is for you!
Of course, before even realizing that this opportunity would arise for me, I first heard Kelly’s first single, Love So Soft, while heading north on the Dan Ryan expressway in Chicago. Then, I heard it everywhere else. In the Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium while on my 10th year wedding anniversary trip with Mr. Houseful, and on the radio when I needed to hear something upbeat. The lyrics are exactly what I think describes the type of relationship that Mr. Houseful and I have. We’re still flirtatious and completely under lock and key when it comes to our relationship. Plus, the song just provides for a good body roll and upbeat.
Not to be outdone, there are ballads on there that also speak to relationships whether they are intimate, or empowering. You don’t have to be a new mom or a wife to get it. You just have to be human. Listen to Move You. It speaks to exactly what I want to do with everyone I encounter in my life. One of the statements from her interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson really resonated with me. She stated that she has never felt sexier since becoming a mother. There’s something about that mind shift that let her know she was a force to be reckoned with – and this is all while having the confidence in herself that so many people search for. Did I mention that her personality is completely contagious? I’m a big personality, and it was refreshing to be in the room with another big personality and still fill like we were at home. She was gracious enough to compliment my red lipstick – something I’ve just recently become comfortable with wearing since my lips were a source of contention growing up and who in their right mind would call more attention to them. Me, that’s who, and now Kelly Clarkson thinks that the colors that I pick are kinda cool. Day made. We discussed her appearance on Jimmy Fallon which I’ll talk about in another post, but the fun that she had there was palpable. From her ability to joke about her songs (singing them backwards to boot) and her ‘shimmy for Jimmy’ dress, drew the audience in. At least it did that for me.
This is Kelly’s first album with New York’s Atlantic Records label, and her FIRST album out of her 15 year contract with American Idol. AI started in 2002, and those of you who aren’t new around these parts, know that was the year that I lost my sister. Music is what bonded us on a LOT of things, and music seemed to die a bit when she did. I don’t know about you all, but I do remember watching that first year of American Idol because I NEEDED to feel some happiness. It brought me that. From the auditions and figuring out how people could stand in front of these three judges and sing (or not) to the amazing singing that we were witnessing firsthand. It was game-changing. Now, here we are 15 years later watching what a bit of creative freedom can do for a person. Don’t get me wrong, her songs prior to Meaning of Life are AMAZING, but this album makes you feel something a bit different. It’s so grown-up Kelly, and new mother Kelly and wife Kelly. It’s the “I know what direction I want to head in and y’all need to get with the program” Kelly.
We headed to the YouTube Space in Chelsea Market on a cool Wednesday afternoon, and rode the elevator up with Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, who would be interviewing Kelly later that day. I may have introduced myself AND Ryder the Aviator Bear to him. I also decided to sneak a picture of the both of us in front of the YouTube elevator – because come ON, I was living my best life.
Anyway, we got settled in the space that we were going to watch Kelly and Neil, and set up shop. We videoed, we shared socially, we laughed, we body rolled, and we even got to INTERVIEW Kelly Clarkson. She had been questioned so much about the music side of this album, that I decided to go the wife, parent and woman route. And y’all – she’s a WHOLE LOTTA WOMAN for sure. She talks about how much she loves just being who she is. Her love for Texas even though she lives in Tennessee, and she does it with SOUTHERN FOOD REFERENCES! I LOVED spending time on the couch with her, and talking being moms of FOUR children, and creativity. I could have talked to her the entire afternoon, but we know that her schedule was grueling and didn’t want to add to an already long day. Maybe she’ll take me up on my offer to come and visit me in Chicago.
You can buy her new album HERE and you’re going to want to go ahead and do that now. Trust me. I may not be a music critic, but I know good music. I know music that makes me feel, and I know music that makes me think about the Meaning of Life. Clarkson hits the nail on the head, and she does it all while staying warm, approachable, and unapologetically herself. I can dig it.