Music mogul Clive Davis released his new memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life, today, and in the book (apart from the revelation that he's bisexual) is a chapter reportedly dealing with American Idol, and particularly the drama surrounding Idol champ Kelly Clarkson's third album, 2007's My December (I've yet to see a copy of the book).
Whatever Davis says in the book did not sit well with Clarkson, who posted this surprisingly frank rebuttal online:
So I just heard Clive Davis is releasing a memoir and spreading false information about me and my music. I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans. It feels like a violation. Growing up is awesome because you learn you don't have to cower to anyone - even Clive Davis.
First, he says I burst into 'hysterical sobbing' in his office when he demanded "Since You Been Gone" be on my album. Not true at all. His stories and songs are mixed up. I did want more guitars added to the original demo and Clive did not. Max, Luke and I still fought for the bigger sound and we prevailed and I couldn't be more proud of the life of that song. I resent him dampening that song in any way.
But, yes, I did cry in his office once. I cried after I played him a song I had written about my life called "Because Of You." I cried because he hated it and told me verbatim that I was a "sh*tty writer who should be grateful for the gifts that he bestows upon me." He continued on about how the song didn't rhyme and how I should just shut up and sing. This was devastating coming from a man who I, as a young girl, considered a musical hero and was so honored to work with.
But I continued to fight for the song and the label relented. And it became a worldwide hit. He didn't include that in the book.
He also goes on to say My December wasn't successful because I co-penned the album and it didn't have 'pop hits.' Well, first let me say, I've co-penned many of my 'pop hits.' Secondly, My December went platinum (It sold 20,000 less than All I Ever Wanted which followed My December.) Hardly a huge failure. "Never Again," the ONLY single they released in the US from that record, was a Top 10 hit. I am very proud of that and I have my fans to thank. But, again, what's most interesting about his story is what he leaves out: He doesn't mention how he stood up in front of his company at a convention and belittled me and my music and completely sabotaged the entire project. It never had a chance to reach it's full potential. My December was an album I needed to make for myself for many reasons and the fact that I was so completely disregarded and disrespected was so disheartening, there really aren't words to explain ...
Anyway, I love my job. I love my music. I love my fans. I love my label and all of my professional relationships now. And I am grateful for Clive for teaching me to know the difference.
Cheers to another amazing year! And, as always, thanks for listening!
Stout stuff, and something which gave me occasion to revisit what I wrote in June 2007, upon My December's release. What stands out most to me now is what the album's producer, David Kahne, told me at the time: "She said, I have one chance to do this if I dont do it now, Im never going to get another chance. I think [pressure] just builds up on [a person]. Its a tremendous experience to go through, growing and having that much success that fast."
Perhaps there were other forces at work, besides the pressure of success. Clarkson will perform at Verizon Theatre on March 1.