LOS ANGELES — Christmas gift suggestions for Kelly Clarkson: notebooks and pens.
"I'm very passionate about writing," the Burleson, Texas, songstress revealed backstage at Friday's KIIS-FM Jingle Ball (see "Steamy Britney Set Brings Holiday Concert To An Anticlimax"). "I even write movies and books and stuff like that. My mom's a literature teacher, for crying out loud!"
Clarkson, who co-wrote four songs on her smash debut, is eager to bring more of that passion to her music. She's already penned several songs for her follow-up and doesn't plan on slowing down.
"You'll hear a lot more passion from my voice, 'cause it's more my stuff," she promised, adding, "Expect a lot of rock, a lot of soul."
The album will likely be recorded in the spring or summer for release in the fall. In the meantime, Clarkson has other endeavors scheduled for early in the year, including her first major North American tour.
"All I know right now is we have like 30 to 40 dates in the States," she said. "I'm going with my band. I'm doing hopefully a great show. I'm playing a guitar, I'm playing a piano on it. So I'm just reaching out to all of my fans, having fun."
After headlining some overseas dates and state fairs in the fall (see "Kelly Clarkson Beats Out Helicopter Rides, Commodores Tunes At State Fair"), Clarkson decided she loved touring even more than performing on TV, her specialty since winning "American Idol."
"I love it 'cause everybody's there to see me, so I feel really comfortable," she said. "I can do everything. I jump around the stage, get goofy. I can just kinda play around and be myself."
To coincide with the outing, Clarkson hopes to drop a fourth single from Thankful, most likely the Tamyra Gray duet "You Thought Wrong," a song she has been anxious to release since the summer (see "Kelly Clarkson's Next Single May Be Reunion With Tamyra Gray").
Before launching the tour, the singer will journey to London to compete Christmas and New Year's days in the "World Idol" competition (see "Kelly Clarkson To Vie For Title Of 'World
"It's not really about winning," Clarkson insisted. "It's like 'American Idol' for me, it's about showcasing myself to the world, you know. Hopefully they'll like what I'm doing. Maybe they'll go get my CD, come to my performance. And it's all about just me having fun."
Clarkson has met some of the other "Idols" and expects some tough competition. "Everybody's guys. There's only three chicks, so more power to us," she added.
A month or so later, Clarkson will vie for another prestigious award — her first Grammy (see "Jay-Z, Beyonce, Outkast, Pharrell Nab Most Grammy Nominations "). She learned of the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance nomination last week during a live radio interview.
"I just started flipping out, screaming at the top of my lungs," she recalled. "These people were like, 'Has she never done this before? What is she doing?' But they started flipping out too. They were excited. They were the first people to hear my reaction."
Clarkson will take the night off from touring to attend the ceremony, and she's already got a date.
"I'm taking my mom," she said. "I used to make her watch them with me every year and she was like, 'Oh, Honey, you'll be on there one day.' And so it's cool she is going to be my date. We're getting her all dressed up and glammed up looking like a star to go down the red carpet with me."
Clarkson will most likely not be attending the Oscars later that month, but she hasn't given up acting after "From Justin to Kelly," she's just put it on hold.
"I've had offers, movies, Broadway, TV, but I'm focusing really hard on the music right now," she said.