Kelly Clarkson is a Grammy Award-winning American singer and actress who has enjoyed success in the pop and rock music genres. Clarkson made her debut under RCA Records after she won the highly-publicized first season of the television series American Idol in 2002. She was originally marketed as a pop musician with her debut album Thankful (2003). With the release of her multi-platinum sophomore album Breakaway (2004), Clarkson moved to a more rock-oriented style of music.
Clarkson was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in the small town of Burleson, Texas. She is the third and youngest child of Jeanne Ann Rose, a first grade teacher who is of Greek and Irish descent, and Stephen Michael Clarkson, a former engineer who is of Welsh extraction. Clarkson's siblings include her brother Jason, and her sister Alyssa. When Clarkson was six years old, her parents split up after seventeen years of marriage; her brother went to live with her father, her sister went to live with an aunt, and Clarkson remained with her mother. Clarkson frequently moved around Texas while her mother managed several professions in order to support the family. Clarkson has since stated that, being six years old at the time, she did not understand why her family had been constantly moving. Eventually, the family settled in Burleson, where Clarkson's mother married her second husband, Jimmy Taylor.
Clarkson attended Fulton Middle School and Burleson High School. She originally wanted to become a marine biologist, but in seventh grade, a teacher overheard her singing in a hallway and asked her to audition for the school choir. Clarkson told the teacher that she had never received professional vocal training before. In high school, Clarkson performed in musicals such as Brigadoon.
Upon graduation in 2000, Clarkson worked several occupations to finance her demo CD that she hoped to market toward record labels. She received few responses, and eventually decided to move to Hollywood to seek out other opportunities in music, one of which was a mentorship under songwriter Gerry Goffin. However, Goffin fell ill, and to make ends meet, Clarkson appeared as an extra on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and That '70s Show among others. She played a small role in the 2002 film Issues 101. Following four months in Hollywood, Clarkson was discouraged when her apartment burnt down and decided to return to Texas, where she worked at a cinema, and as a cocktail waitress, Six Flags performer, telemarketer, Kirby Vacuum salesperson, and a Red Bull promoter.
bio from Wikipedia's article on Kelly Clarkson
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