One thing's for sure — Kelly Clarkson isn't afraid of a fight.
Though the singer says she's butted heads with her record label over every album she's done, the friction over her forthcoming My December is the one that's caught the public's attention (see "Kelly Clarkson On Her Revealing New LP: 'I'm Not Even This Open With Boyfriends!' "). Clarkson just sees it as a badge of honor.
"I've never once compromised myself, so I don't think you should," she told MTV News at Southern California radio festival Wango Tango on Saturday (see "Ludacris Owns The Crowd, Kelly Clarkson Tackles Rumors, Will.I.Am Helps Fergie At Wango Tango"). "I think that's when you start to lose fans and credibility."
Reports started surfacing that label head Clive Davis was unhappy with Clarkson's new rock-heavy direction after he spoke at Sony BMG meetings in Las Vegas in April. Posts on music-industry discussion site VelvetRope.com immediately afterward claimed that Davis said Clarkson had told him she no longer needed his help finding songs for her since she would write her own material. When Davis played her first single at the meetings, the posts claimed he asked the crowd, "Does this sound like a #1 single to you?"
Gossip sites then upgraded what would have been just a rumor about Davis' unhappiness with the project by running items that the album would be shelved (which turned out not to be true). What was true, Clarkson confirmed to MTV News, is that there was some conflict over her choice of a first single as well as the album as a whole, but it's since been resolved.
"This time, everybody made a big deal about the label and me disagreeing with the record, but that's happened every record," she said. "This is just the only one people know about, so there's nothing new. It's always the same thing, every song I come out with, every record. Everybody's like 'eh' at first, and after it does well, then they're behind it."
In fact, her single "Never Again" recently debuted in the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100. And on Friday, Clarkson succeeded in getting the label to push up My December's release from July 24 to June 26. According to label rep Lou Robinson, the singer "really wanted" her fans to be familiar with the songs when her tour starts July 11 (see "Kelly Clarkson On Summer Tour, Live Earth: 'I Can't Wait' "). "She wanted it, and we wanted to oblige," Robinson said. So was any of the rescheduling related to the previous squabble with the label? "No, not at all," he said.
"I always stick to my guns," Clarkson said. "I think you definitely need to keep doing what you love, because I'm the one who needs to sing it every night."