While juggling her role on The Voice, hosting her talk show and rearing four children, the humble, multihyphenate American Idol alum dishes on her journey and first residency.
Kelly Clarkson, who recently needed to postpone her residency to begin in July instead of April, is among the most popular artists of this era with total worldwide sales of more than 25 million albums and 36 million singles.
“People go big in Vegas in different ways, and my way is to create a space that feels like I can have a conversation with someone.”
Back when you won the first season of American Idol, did you ever think it would lead to where you are now?
Oh gosh, no. My dream was always to be a background singer. I’ve always loved singing different genres in music, and I know that’s not very normal for an artist to get to do. If you’re a backup singer, you get to work with so many different kinds of artists. That was literally what I was aiming for.
What happened next?
Afterward, they asked me what kind of record I’d like to make, and I thought, ‘Well, this is probably going to tank.’ It’s rare when people really hit, so I didn’t think I was anything special. I thought I’d probably just make a record and get to sing backup for people. Obviously, it turned out different.
As you prepare to tackle 11 performances at Zappos Theater beginning this July, what do you like most about playing a residency versus one-off shows?
In Vegas, you have one place that you come where your stuff is at. You get to have the orchestra, the choir and tons of musicians if you want, to really create a musical experience. The coolest thing for us as a band is to get all the things that we’ve desired for the last 17 years.
While you are here, what is on your bucket list?
Girl! Wheel of Fortune slot machines and Nobu sushi. That’s my jam. If you’re looking for me in Vegas, that’s usually where you will find me if I’m not onstage.
When it comes to your Vegas style, do you prefer to wear stilettos or wedges?
I prefer Nikes! If I had to pick between those two, it is definitely not stilettos.
Diamonds or pearls?
It’s actually funny, I always get jewelry with diamonds and pearls because those are the birthstones for my two young ones. My birthday is a diamond, so I guess I would choose diamonds above pearls.
What do you like to do in your time off work?
I come home and play with my kids. We play games or do puzzles, and we are really big VR people. I love Oculus Quest. Our 13-year-old turned me on to it, and I’m obsessed.
What do you splurge on the most?
Vacations, because I generally like for people to have a good time. I know not all of my friends and family can always afford to do what we do, so it’s nice to be able to pay. That’s a really cool thing for me, because I was the girl that would show up to Chili’s and only be able to eat chips and salsa. We used to get trash bags full of clothes from church, and I lived off hand-me-downs. Now it’s nice to be able to say, ‘Hey, let’s go to Africa, and it’s on me!’
This is the city of one-upmanship. What makes your concert special?
I think I’ll be the first person in Vegas to go live [on social media] every show. I want my show to be different from everybody else’s, and that is hard to do. People go big in Vegas in different ways, and my way is to create a space that feels like I can have a conversation with someone. That’s the kind of vibe I wanted.
With all of your jobs, why are you adding in a residency right now?
I’m not able to tour with my schedule between the talk show, The Voice, four children—it’s a lot. Music is a huge passion of mine, obviously, and I didn’t want to stop touring, but I had to for now. It’s really cool to be able to still do shows, and that’s what the Vegas residency provides for me. It is perfect timing.
July 29-Sept. 26, tickets from $59, VIP packages from $416, Zappos Theater, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, kellyclarkson.com/vegas
Designed exclusively for the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Kelly Clarkson: Invincible will immerse fans in an up-close music experience that rocks through her nearly two-decade-long catalog of award-winning hits.
Photography by: Shane Mccauley