Kelly Clarkson’s story seems like a Cinderella story. At 20 years old, she captured hearts around America with her girl-next-door charm on season one of American Idol.
Week after week, Kelly blew the competition out of the water with her powerful vocals. As we all know, she won that inaugural season. She then released “A Moment Like This” — the single crafted for the winner of the show.
It’s been 17 years since that magical moment, and it’s safe to say it changed her whole life. Kelly has illustrated an enormous range during her musical career; she’s released playful pop songs, heartfelt ballads, and good old-fashioned country music.
Cinderella moments don’t come to those who don’t work hard for them, though. Just as Cinderella did a lot of housekeeping in those days before the ball, Kelly did a lot of small-time work on the way to her dream. In a recent interview, she opened up about what her life was like in those pre-Hollywood days. She detailed several small-time jobs she took over the years, all while she was hustling to achieve her dreams.
Kelly Clarkson has accomplished so much in her career so far. It hardly feels like it’s been 17 years since she won season one of American Idol.
Kelly regularly sells out shows. She’s won three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards.
She joined the coaches of The Voice for season 14. Now two seasons in, Kelly has coached two vocal talents to win the competition.
Kelly has even written two children’s books, River Rose and the Magical Lullaby and River Rose and the Magical Christmas. She’s also dabbled in acting!
In the midst of all these huge career wins, Kelly also found love. She married husband Brandon Blackstock in 2013.
The two share two children, 4-year-old River Rose and 2-year old Remington Alexander. Kelly’s also spoken about being a stepmom to Brandon’s two older children, Savannah, 16, and Seth, 11.
It’s been a wild ride for a girl with humble beginnings. Kelly’s small-town girl charm has been touted since her American Idol days.
Recently, Kelly appeared on the Spotify podcast The Rewind With Guy Raz to discuss her career. She revealed that life wasn’t always as glamorous as it is today.
Kelly’s first time in Hollywood wasn’t with American Idol. In fact, Kelly turned down several college acceptances to travel to Los Angeles and work on her career after high school.
While she was working on making her dream come true, she needed a way to keep a roof over her head and food on the table. She did so just the way so many of us have before.
“I worked at a comedy club; I was a cocktail waitress at a comedy club. I’ve worked at a Papa John’s. I’ve worked at a Subway,” Kelly revealed.
She even gave amusement park work a try. “I worked at Six Flags — I did the singing and dancing, like all those shows. Any option that was available to make money singing, I was like, ‘OK.'”
Kelly was very honest about what drove her to take those jobs: “I did anything that paid. I made any job work. Because if you’re hungry enough and you want electricity, you’ll work anywhere, and so I did.”
A fire at Kelly’s Los Angeles apartment resulted in her heading back home to Texas. While she was home, her friends told her about a singing competition show they’d heard about on the radio. That’s how Kelly ended up in front of the Idol judges, taking home the win, and winning a place in our hearts.