Kelly Clarkson blasts Clive Davis for his memoir: ‘Not true. His stories are mixed up’

First of all, I want to praise Kelly Clarkson for absolutely killing it at the Grammys. She did a medley of Teneesee Waltz and Natural Woman that was just amazing. Also, Kelly won Best Pop Vocal Album, for Stronger, and her exuberant acceptance speech was so cute.

Kelly may be on top of the charts now but she’s had her trials and setbacks since shooting to fame as the first winner of Idol in 2002. She’s also had a longstanding feud with record producer Clive Davis, in which they’ve butted heads over the direction Kelly wanted to take with her music. Davis was CEO of Kelly’s label, RCA records, up until April, 2008. He then moved to head up Sony records. So Kelly worked under him for her first three CDs, up until 2007’s My December.

In his new memoir, Clive tells some stories about professional disagreements with Kelly, but Kelly wants us to know that he’s getting the details wrong. She also includes some additional information she claims Clive left out, in which it sounds like he demeaned and bullied her and did not give her credit for her successes. Kelly posted this on WhoSay:

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!

[From WhoSay]

Damn I love how she just smacks those stories down and makes her case bluntly. She is one tough cookie and she will stand up for herself and for her music. It really shows in her songs, and her industry and the marketplace have recognized that. Kelly is so talented and I love that she isn’t taking this laying down.

Update: Clive has responded to Kelly’s criticism of his book. He apologized but says his claims are accurate. He said, in part “I am truly very sorry that she has decided to take issue with what I know to be an accurate depiction of our time together. Before the book was published, I had every fact checked with five independent individuals who were present on a daily basis throughout it all.” You can read his whole statement here.

Kelly is shown on 12-5-12 and on 2-9-13, when she was the Grand Marshal at the Krewe Of Endymion Mardi Gras Parade. Credit: Pompo/FameFlynet

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70 Responses to “Kelly Clarkson blasts Clive Davis for his memoir: ‘Not true. His stories are mixed up’”

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  1. Gine says:

    And now Clive is saying that his version of events was “fact-checked” by “five people.” Uh huh. Even if those five people exist, are we supposed to believe they aren’t on his payroll?

    Team Kelly. Good for her for standing up for herself.

    • Abra says:

      This! Sounds to me like Clive Davis is a little miffed that the Kelly cash train took their success elsewhere.

    • Troubadour says:

      Were there five people in his office when she cried? Somehow I doubt that. Strikes me as a one on one affair.

    • Pandy says:

      Kelly is great – the best of the Idols (which should just STOP now btw). With her talent, she doesn’t need Clive anymore. She’s proven she can sell records. He has proven he can show up on Idol as he lost his job due to sticky fingers. Piss off Clive.

  2. Joanna says:

    I like her a lot. She seems real and genuine. and good for her for standing up for herself.

  3. T.C. says:

    Oh snap. Don’t mess with Kelly she will verbally smack you down.

  4. Lupe says:

    Kelly just seems so refreshingly normal and genuine.

  5. Little Darling says:

    There is nothing this girl could do to make me love her more! Well done Kelly. It takes a brave person to stand up and correct/defend yourself against someone much more “powerful” than yourself. And to do so with integrity and grace while remaining firm is absolutely amazing.

    • emmie_a says:

      Totally agree. Not too many people would stand up to Clive. Glad she did!
      …and why wouldn’t he ‘fact check’ the facts with the actual (living) participants??

    • Chicagogurl17 says:

      Couldn’t agree more! Especially when you think about all the artists before like whitney who needed Clives approval so much.

  6. EmmaStoneWannabe says:

    Team Kelly. I am so proud of her and like her so much. How brave! I hope this comes back to really bite Clive in the a$$. What a toolbag to tear down “Because of You” – not to mention her career and music in its entirety – which lyrics have touched no telling how many people over the years. You go girl! Stand up!

  7. bella says:

    this girl is a mega-talented singer.
    she can sing anything from a spectrum of genres – stealing this from lainey.
    just an amazing talent who appears to be all about singing the song.
    good for her for taking on a HUGE power in the business.
    lots of integrity, young lady!

  8. annabelle says:

    Good for her!

    She doesn’t seem to be like the other controlled puppets Clive is known to have under his thumb, I have no doubt he would try to smear her name.

  9. Mar says:

    I love Kelly. She keeps it real

  10. babythastarsshinebrite says:

    I think I just became a Kelly Clarkson fan.

  11. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Love her. She’s not the type to lie or embellish for the sake of sensationalism or for PR purposes. I 100% believe her version of the story and I think Clive sounds like an egotistical asshole.

  12. SargassoSea says:

    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and Clive has been too large for people to speak loudly about his young boy loving, sinister self. Having a party in a hotel while Whitney lay dead upstairs was just ____. No words. Disgrace.

    Go Kelly. I believe every word. Since she has had integrity and a respectable sense of self from her tenure on Idol to present day.

  13. TQB says:

    I love Kelly and her music, but I worry that she gets so unnecessarily upset and defensive about Davis. They’ve both aired this dirty laundry before, and I think it’s pretty clear what happened: a legendary hitmaker tried to dictate to an artist and she didn’t like it. Fighting ensued. It’s no surprise to the average music fan that record execs are dictatorial pricks who want to make money, and that artists are passionate people who bristle at threats to their creative control. I’m sure some people think Kelly should have been more deferential to Davis and “all he did for her” but even they can’t deny that he wanted her to continue to be the big-hits popstar and she wanted to make more personal music. She doesn’t have to explain that he’s a condescending jerk; it’s obvious.

    Relax, girl. We get it.

    • Kim says:

      ITA there are always three sides his,hers and the truth.

    • holly hobby says:

      Quite frankly we heard this story a million times already. Yes it’s in his book but really why does she feel the need to respond? She already aired that out years ago. It’s quite frankly immature. Her PR person should have just stated no comment or we’ve said whatever we needed to say three years ago blah blah.

      Clive may be a prick but he’s been in the industry for years and he knows a lot of people or people who will defer to him. You never know who you will bump into down the road and since she is still early into her career, now’s not the time to yak ad nauseum.

      I’m not advising her to be a doormat. I am advising career longevity. She may be marrying Reba’s son in law but will that guarantee her a sustaining career in the long run (Yes naysayers will say but she won a Grammy! Her last record did well! I’m talking about the fallow years when she’s tapped out. Sorry but all great artists hit a slump so will she get any support when that happens – only if Clive is dead by then)?

      Record producers will always keep an eye on the bottom line. Artists will always want to push creatively but there’s a professional way to do things. Barbra Streisand is well in control of her career but that’s because she doesn’t personally air her differences with the powers that be in the court of public opinion. She eventually got her way but we never heard her bashing anybody.

  14. Poink517 says:

    Good for her!

    As far as Clive and his ‘fact-checking’, what else is he going to say? He can’t admit that she is right because then people will question everything else in his book.

    • holly hobby says:

      I think the publishers would fact check only because they don’t want a defamation suit. All autobiographies are combed over and vetted in the legal departments just in case someone decides to sue. Publishers are liable too – not just the author.

      Like I said somewhere between the two stories is the truth. I’m not going to discredit either one of them but enough is enough. I don’t want to hear about it anymore.

    • Troubadour says:

      I’m not sure it would serve anyone well to double down on defamation.

  15. aims says:

    Atta girl Kelly!! Don’t be bullied and slandered by anyone. She’s great and brave.

  16. Green_Eyes says:

    Clive Owen seems to love the cookie cutter females where you can insert any female and she’ll sing for you, just show up & do it. Those days are history! Hope more female artists take Kelly’s lead (hint Taylor more to sing about than the latest boyfriend) and continue to push for what they feel in their soul. I get where Kelly is coming from. She put herself heart, soul, & experiences in those songs. They were successful & this man who is a relic made her out yo be irrelevant (another cookie cutter..just. W/ tantrums). Hope other producers & music execs heed Kelly’s stance and Clive’s ignorance. GO TEAM Kelly!

  17. J says:

    Love her and I loved “My December,” I actually think it’s one of her best albums

  18. L says:

    I remember when ‘my december’ came out and Davis was slamming it in the press and hating on it left and right. So I believe kelly. Esp about ‘because of you’-notice he never corrects that, but only about the issue with since you’ve been gone. So team kelly all the way.

    And really-you had 5 people in the room for every meeting to use as fact checkers? Really?

  19. epiphany says:

    Youknow, I don’t think either one of them are lying; I think they both genuinely remember their time together in a completely different way, which is where we get the adage, ‘perception is everything.’ I’m certain the real, objective truth is somewhere between their respective renditions. Good for Kelly standing up to Clive; I’m sure that’s something he’s not used to, and hopefully Kelly has learned not to react so emotionally to record company executive criticism, which they view as a professional responsibilty, not a personal attack.

  20. Jayna says:

    In the middle is the truth. Artists should be allowed to self-express on albums, but Kelly didn’t start out as a songwriter/singer and she had momentum which they wanted to keep up. They had a right to be concerned. Many labels scrap whole albums because of lack of hits on it, , direction it took, etc. Seal’s fourth was never put out because of the label thinking it was too dark after his already dark Human Being, which didn’t sell as well as his first two albums, even though artistically stunning. and he had to start all over on another fourth album. Steve Perry’s solo album in 90 was scrapped by the label as not viable. Kelly was still new in the game. Another label might have scratched the whole album and had her start over.

    I know many fans disappointed in some of My December. And sometimes Artists don’t know best. Tears for Fears’ songwriter didn’t even want to finish Everybody Wants To Rule the World and it was insisted he out it on Songs from the Big Chair. Massive hit.
    He didn’t even see that Shout was going to be massive until someone heard him fiddling with the early stages and told him he had to finish writing that song, that it was a hit. It was.

    Seal hated Kiss From a Rose and had to be told to put it on his second album. The
    rest is history.

    I am a music buff and love to read articles on artist’s heyday and the making of their biggest albums.

    • Tonya says:

      Poor Clive, he seems a little senile. And to talk about Kelly as though she’s no good, when we know she’s freaking awesome! Kelly rocks! And I’m proud of her for speaking the truth! Go Kelly!

    • holly hobby says:

      This! I just listened to her greatest hits album and the one song I totally hated was the excerpt from My December. She just sounded angry and shouty. I don’t listen to music to get depressed or suicidal. That one track was enough for me to switch it off.

      Don’t forget Nicole Scherzinger’s aborted albums. I think there’s three in existence but never released.

  21. SimpleRed says:

    If only I could share the thoughts about this memoir…

    Working in the music industry is a nasty business but that is only if you don’t have your head in place… You have to be strong with a backbone in order to succeed but also be humble to get what you want…

    I will say they are both right about what they say…

    • holly hobby says:

      Yup yup. The one person who does it right is Barbra Streisand. She is totally in control of her career and she is surrounded by the right people too. I’m sure whatever she did in the past was considered unorthodox but she never bashed the powers that be in front of the press. She did what she had to do behind the scenes and still got her way! That is the model Kelly should follow.

      This twitter crap is really not reflecting well.

  22. realitycheck says:

    I love Kelly Clarkson to pieces!! THIS is what I’m talking about! real artists not allowing the devil in the details to demoralize them and circumvent their artistry!! I wish her all the best, LOVE HER VOICE and her music. she is one of the best in the music industry today and will continue to shine brighter. go Kelly!!!

  23. lucy2 says:

    I’m thinking it’s a little bit of each remembering it differently, but overall I’m far more likely to believe her.

    I can understand creative differences, but he sounds jerky about it. He’s probably just pissed she’s had success without him.

  24. Dani V says:

    Love this woman. Love her voice and all her music. She has and will always be my favorite idol winner. But she stepped out of that shadow long ago and has grown as an artist. She knows how to mix it up.

    Glad she knows how to be assertive without being mean. That is a great attribute in this life also. Go Kelly.

  25. judyjudy says:

    Please don’t hate, but I can’t handle her music. To me it always sounds like she’s yelling.

    BUT…I think she’s a really cool girl and I’ve always appreciated how strong and confident she is.

    • LizEJ says:

      Same. She’s a singer with a big voice but her music is really really bad.

      Clarkson has done well because she is a generic pop singer not ‘an artist’ or a decent singer-songwriter in any sense of the word.

      That being said, she seems refreshingly normal and confident without being arrogant.

      • TQB says:

        The irony here is, had Davis not trashed the My December album, you might have a very different opinion of her music. He’s the one who has pushed all the yell-y pop songs. The album that she created is much more interesting. She *is* an artist (we can certainly debate whether she’s a great, good or mediocre one) and the core of this argument is that Davis didn’t think that side of her was going to be commercially viable.

  26. Sweet Dee says:

    Gah, I love Kelly and everything about this story. He’s a douche. Oh really, 5 people on your payroll confirmed your story? Shocking! Idiot.

    Anyway, no matter how much I love her, the blonde is totally wrong on her. It irks me because she’s so beautiful as a brunette.

  27. apsutter says:

    I believe Kelly here. She states her side of the story very bluntly and matter-of-fact. Plus to Clive, Kelly was just yet another singer to work with. She wasn’t someone that he saw sing and hand-picked to nurture and be a star(like Whitney.) She was someone who won AI and was forced upon him so when he is remembering it her story is literally a tiny footnote in a long career. But to Kelly every step of her career, especially the years with Clive, were absolutely vital to her future, success, and career. So I think she’s the one with the lazer memory of the events in her mind.

  28. truthful says:

    Clive is full of crap, he’s broken down more than a few good entertainers, all female of course.

    Old mean troll!!

    good for Kelly!

    everyone knows that Clive is a old hateful ass barracuda.

    • Cazzie says:

      Reading Kelly’s account, it sounded very much to me like Clive Davis is a classic narcissist – remembering everything “his way” and then insisting it’s the truth.

      People like that are a nightmare to work with…overbearing, inflexible, and sometimes they can be downright mean.

  29. Diana says:

    So Clive sounds like an asshole. I remember back when Kelly was promoting MY December here in Latin america and she said it was really hard to get the label to aprove the songs she wrote and that she was usually blown off because she was a young woman and they thought they knew better than her. I’m glad she stands up for her music and what she believes and doesn’t take crap from the big shot that tried to crush her.

  30. Celt Lady says:

    Kudos, Kelly.

    Smackdown the bully.

  31. MG says:

    L O V E Kelly!!!

  32. Marco says:

    I believe Clive. What does he have to gain by lying about Clarkson and her middle of the road repertoire? He already has anything and everything you could ever want.

  33. rosalee says:

    Hmmm..sounds as if an old man who still has status and power trying to belittle a young woman into the old my way or no way mode of thinking. Good for Kelly for standing up for herself. So few would go against the music “god” I wonder if he would have tried this bullying behaviour with Springsteen.

  34. Rita says:

    While I acknowledge Clive’s place in the music industry and I think battles occur all the time between artists and producers, I have to say I love Kelly for taking the stand she did as well as speaking out about it. Gutsy gal. Team Clarkson!!!!

  35. garvels says:

    I believe Kelly. I remember reading about how she battled with Clive on her 3rd cd ,My December, a few years back. Clive wanted to turn her into a manufactured product whereas Kelly did not want to sacrifice her writing to please Clive.

  36. Dawn says:

    Bravo Kelly! Now this is a great young woman who knows how to stand on her own two feet. I believe what she told wrote to be the truth of the situation. Good for her!

  37. ArtGirl says:

    Clive’s sabotaging of careers is legendary. His treatment of R&B great Phyllis Hyman is a perfect example. When Phyllis had a contract dispute with Clive, he prevented her from recording for years and he also refused to let her right her own songs. She was finally able to right her own songs on her last few albums on a different label, but sadly committed suicide before the last cd’s release.

  38. Another Ann says:

    I love the fact that she’s making him out to be some old dude with a failing memory. It’s plausible and enough to cast doubt on what he says.

    Good for her for standing up for herself. The old male powerbrokers aren’t used to women fighting back. It’s nice to see the shoe on the other foot.

  39. HotPockets says:

    Kelly is one of the only Pop stars I like. She has come out against the entertainment industry in general too, but always in a tasteful manner.

  40. skuddles says:

    Good for her! I love that she refuses to kowtow to the industry bigwigs or allow them to push her around in any way. I thought her response to Clive’s book was perfection… she totally kept her cool and stated the facts as she knew them, but ooooo, that closing remark is such a beautiful burn!

  41. Feebee says:

    Clive “fact-checked” because he knew she’d call him out for it. I haven’t seen the size of the book but in his long career he took a whole chapter to talk about Kelly Clarkson? The man holds a grudge and he wanted to…. bury might be too strong a word but he wanted to cause some damage to KC. Quite the bitchy move.

  42. DGO says:

    I love her.

  43. pwal says:

    Good for Kelly!!

    Given how Clive tried justifying letting the party go on while Whitney lie dead upstairs, claiming that ‘Whitney would’ve wanted it that way’ hell yeah, Kelly should, loudly, speak for herself.

  44. d b says:

    Clive Davis sounds like a spiteful little old dude. Who knew?

  45. lisa says:

    i believe kelly. he looks like a douche. did he really think he could totally lie in a book and she would say nothing? + 1 kelly