The So-So Showdown Between Kelly Clarkson And Clive Davis Rages On

May 30th, 2007 // 15 Comments

kcpicture.jpgToday’s Page Six has an update on the Kelly Clarkson-Clive Davis feud, or–as it’s called in the biz–”The Brawl Between Y’all.” For those of you without scorecards, Davis (who oversees Sony BMG), has been none too happy with Clarkson’s upcoming My December album, giving it the thumbs-down at a company meeting in April, and refusing to plug it during the American Idol finale; and now, somebody in Clarkson’s camp has decided to shoot back:

Our insider said, “She wrote all of the second album herself – including the hits ‘Because of You,’ ‘Behind These Hazel Eyes’ and ‘Walk Away.’ Clive hated ‘Because of You’ so much, he would routinely mock it in meetings. It was one of her most successful singles…”

Clarkson is not only one of Sony BMG’s most profitable artists, having sold close to 15 million albums – she is also not a diva.

She hasn’t demanded to renegotiate her deal with the label, our source said, even though “she only gets like $250,000 an album when she could get millions. She refuses to take more money because she wants artistic control. And she has always turned out to be right. If Clive had had his way, she wouldn’t have sold nearly as many albums as she did.

As with all such anonymously sourced gossip-page tirades, this is all to be taken with a grain of salt. But could that $250,000-per-album rate be correct? We know those Idol contracts are cheap, but dang–that guy who used to get up and skank with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones was pulling down at least that much back in 1993!


  1. Nicolars

    I thought the AI kids had somewhat constrictive contracts, but that’s close to indentured servitude.

    Clive has probably spent more than that just on Whitney’s rehab.

  2. Ned Raggett

    Maybe she figures she’d make more on touring. And she’s probably right!

  3. The HZA. [member of the zombie nation]

    I am beginning to think that Kelly, much like Wu Tang Clan, ain’t nothing to fuck with.

  4. Chris Molanphy

    There are a couple of fair points in Clive’s column – “Since U Been Gone” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes” were indeed bigger hits than “Because of You” (although the latter became an A/C radio staple). And yeah, some artists think they can write better songs than they actually can.

    But Davis’s speech on American Idol, with the celebration of the songwriter and the implied, thinly veiled attack on artists who write their own songs, was petty and – as has been typical for Clive for decades – bordering on insane.

    Anyone who wants to fully appreciate what a nutjob Davis is should read Fredric Dannen’s Hit Men – nearly two decades after Dannen wrote it, it’s still the best book on the music industry and its dysfunction, ever.

  5. Kate Richardson

    I choose to believe any and all positive rumors about Kelly Clarkson. This whole thing is making her look like a hardass, even if her own songs are slightly less infectious than the songwriters’.

  6. Aleb

    Well, what to say? Kelly’s the real Idol.

    @dennisobell: that Dannen’s book is amazing, but I guess no executive has been reading it lately. Or in the last few years, for that matter.

  7. Dan Gibson

    Is it possible that even this feud is a little fabricated? Clive’s nearly certifiable, sure, but I can’t imagine in these music biz times that even he would try to tinker with Clarkson’s sales.

  8. zaky

    Uh, I’m also another “insider”, though not directly involved in this at all. Since when did Clarkson write “all of the second album herself”? I bet she added a few words and they threw her name in so she’d receive a publishing royalty—she’d be much happier with it. Apparently Britney “wrote” some of her songs as well. And didn’t Paris “write” some of the songs on HER album too? Seriously. Lame. She didn’t even write “Since U Been Gone”.

  9. The Mozfather

    Yeah, she definitely didn’t write the whole album herself – “Breakaway” was supposed to be an Avril Lavigne hit! Max Martin and Dr Luke did most of the writing on that album.

    I love Kelly, but I think this whole “feud” is a bit ludicrous.

  10. parrotrunner

    Yes, we all know women can’t write songs

  11. Audif Jackson Winters III

    How is this any different than Avril Lavigne dumping The Matrix after her first album? Have any of her songs been at least catchy ever since?
    Have any of her subsequent albums sold nearly as much as her first album?

    The Kelly Clarkson countdown-to-obscurity has begun.

  12. MJ

    I’m strangely proud of Kelly Clarkson. First that EW piece, and now this.

  13. The Mozfather

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: I heartily argue that her new album is the best album she’s ever done.

  14. Lax Danja House

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: Her new album is probably her catchiest yet. As far as The Matrix goes, she traded them in for better songwriters – I’d take Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk, Butch Walker and Evan Taubenfield over The Matrix and Cliff Magness any day.

    As for Kelly, it’s probably part wishful thinking on my part that she’s a significant part of her own writing process, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt anyway.

  15. Chris Molanphy

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: Sorry, last rebuttal to your question: Lavigne’s best single, bar none, was the second album’s “My Happy Ending” – catchier even than “Complicated,” a much more incisive lyric, and no Matrix.

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