Kelly Clarkson lost millions after refusing to share song writing credit with Dr. Luke


Kelly Clarkson was one of the prominent women who came out in support of Kesha in her allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying against music producer Dr. Luke. Kelly’s support spoke volumes because it stemmed from her own experience of having worked with him. In a recent radio interview she admitted her situation was different from Kesha’s in that there wasn’t sexual harassment but claimed that Dr. Luke “just lied a lot,” and that, “he’s difficult to work with, kind of demeaning.” Kelly admitted to Z100 radio show that she was so disgusted at being forced by her record label to work with Luke, she refused a song writing credit for her song My Life Would Suck Without You because she didn’t even want her name next to his. It’s a powerful statement made even more so by the fact that without a writing credit, she can’t get royalties. Given that song’s popularity, Kelly’s act of defiance cost her millions.

Kelly Clarkson has revealed she willingly lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” “or millions,” in royalties for refusing to associate herself with Dr. Luke as a co-writer on her 2009 single “My Life Would Suck Without You.”

In a new interview with Z100, the singer said, “I was making a point to the people working with me, going, ‘This is how much I didn’t want to do this.’ I don’t care about the money. I don’t care about, oh, ‘You’re going to be the most famous person ever if you do this.’ That’s not what holds weight in my life.”

Last year, Clarkson alleged that those who worked at her record label at the time, RCA (owned by parent company Sony), said they would not release her album if she did not work with Dr. Luke.

“Basically, they were gonna sit on my record unless I did what they wanted. I was so frustrated because I literally said, ‘Anyone in the world but this one person. I will work with anyone you want to put in my path.’ I love people. I think that’s apparent. I think I’m a nice person, that’s apparent. It was just this one thing, and I asked not to work with Dr. Luke just because I had not a good experience with him,” said Clarkson. “If an artist like me, I generally love everyone. You have to really be a special kind of … for me not to like you.”

“They brought up writing credit at the end,” she went on. “They were like, ‘Well, you changed the song.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t want my name near his. I want to pretend this didn’t happen in my life and I want to forget it.'”

[From Billboard]

I admit ignorance to how sleazy entertainment deals can be. I still get shocked by how bad it gets. Kelly also appeared on the Elvis Duran radio show and spoke more about saying ‘no’ to label’s demands. When one of the DJs asked if labels really did that, Kelly’s response was “are you kidding me?” And let’s remember that Kelly has the money, clout and family support to make these demands. Think about the starving artist who has to choose between not being able to pay rent or working with a known predator. Good for Kelly for pulling back the curtain on these sketchy dealings. Let’s hope it helps those who feel they can’t say no.

Kelly recognizes Dr. Luke’s talent, even though she reviles him as a human. I think he crosses the “separate the artist from their art” line for me. I can’t condone this reprobate and will make a conscious effort to avoid music from which he profits. I will, however, consider my judgement for those that work with him because it doesn’t sound like they have a choice.

Got to hang with @elvisduranshow this morning! Thank y'all for always being so nice and supportive!!

A post shared by Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) on

I heart Kelly so much – look at her!


Photo credit: WENN Photos and Instagram

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37 Responses to “Kelly Clarkson lost millions after refusing to share song writing credit with Dr. Luke”

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  1. Alex says:

    Kelly has talked about being forced to do things for her label. Even Clive Davis wrote something about it in his book. They forced her to do that stupid movie after she won American idol and she cried.
    There’s a reason they used to call record deals “slave contracts”. Entertainment is sleazy no matter what section you’re in. And she was young when she got famous so I doubt she had the know how or the people behind her to fight it in the beginning.

    • GiBee says:

      Wellll with the movie, I think that’s a much different type of “forced”. It was, as far as I recall, a contractual obligation related to a contract signed before she and Curly Hair Dude won. Also, it was stupid I’m sure, but it was hardly the worst thing anyone’s ever done.

      • Bridget says:

        They had no choice on that movie. The American Idol contracts are TERRIBLE, and every contestant signs them in order to compete on the show.

  2. Crowdhood says:

    I think the worst part is people will believe her story more because societ just simply cannot accept sexual harassment as a real thing. She just had regular old harassment so she probably is telling the truth 🙄

    • Ninks says:

      When women claim they’ve been raped or sexually assaulted by famous people, loads of people immediately assume that they’re trying to extort money from them. Amber Heard was called a golddigger, even after making it clear she wanted to donate her divorce settlement to charity. Harder to accuse Kelly of being a gold digger when she has literally turned down millions.

    • diana says:

      It is unfortunately true, people are still so quick to blame the victim. If any of you here on CB listens to metal then you’re probably heard about the Decapitated case.
      One thing is to say “lets wait for all the details to come out” but what is going on in the metal community right now is sickening. If you want your whole week ruined go read the comment section on sites like Blabbermouth.

  3. detritus says:

    Now this is what integrity looks like. All the applause for Kelly.

    Wtf is wrong with studios that they keep forcing women to work with him? It honestly sounds like they are imposing unsafe work environments on these women knowingly.

    • MarionC says:

      Money trumps all; even with the lawsuits he’s bringing more revenue than he’s costing. Until that flips, the situation won’t change.

  4. Bobbymilly says:

    I really applaud Kelly.

    She really is a great person

  5. Enough Already says:

    What is empowering about letting an abusive pos reap the commercial and professional benefit from your work? Is it really integrity if she’s still telling us she co-wrote it with Dr. Luke? What was gained? Clarkson has the financial security to do something like this as well as her own unique privilege as a Nashville insider. Many women who will find themselves in abusive situations simply can not afford to forego their wages to publicly call out their tormenter. I think integrity is using the money to start a foundation or create a female friendly label etc etc. This reminds me of Calvin Harris insinuating he alone wrote Rihanna’s hit Looking At You until Taylor Swift called him out for it. Will say, however, that I love Clarkson even more for supporting Kesha when she needed it.

    • Tiffany says:

      Calvin did not have sole writing credit for that song. Shifty chose to use a pseudonym then she went out and was being petty when it won a award in Europe. He said he did the music but she gets credit and paid for the song. Yeah, if that was true her parents would have had lawyers at his door so fast he would have got whiplash.

      • Oh-Dear says:

        I don’t recall him saying she gets credit and paid for the song. She wrote the lyrics and had the general sound before sending it to him, after which he wrote the melody. I don’t blame her for putting a pseudonym on it so it had a chance to be heard without prejudice, then letting people know she could co-write a pop song to expand her repertoire. I don’t like how she did it but as stories like Kelly’s come out, I wonder if there were other pressures and aspects at play. Swift may have kept quiet if Calvin wasn’t misrepresenting the experience, but who knows because it seems to be a very tangled industry.

    • EOA says:

      Integrity means speaking out about one’s experience even though people won’t believe you. It also means supporting someone like Kesha. Kelly Clarkson did so here. It would be great if she started a foundation but she doesn’t have to in order to prove to you that she has integrity.

      • Enough Already says:

        I like what Clarkson had to say but just don’t agree with her forfeiting her revenue for song credits. Luke is further rewarded for his abuse.

    • Maria F. says:

      Enough already – this was awhile ago and if she did not work with Dr. Luke her entire album would not have been released. That would have been a big risk to her livelihood. That album pushed her to yet another stardom level. And as far as I understood her in the interview, she did not co-write with him directly, but took his song and made some changes to it.

      So yes, I admire her for fighting with the only weapon she had left. It might seem like a small gesture, but to think of this young woman at that time telling the excutives where they could stick the money, is a really admirable thing to do.

      What i find appaulling and definitely does not reflect good on the RCA label – the fact that they did not budge and apparently saw fit to make her uncomfortable in the studio.

      • Enough Already says:

        But if she didn’t cowrite the song how could she relinquish royalties? If she did enough to get writing credit she should not have given Dr. Luke one penny of it. Just my opinion.

      • Scotchy says:

        I am a song writer and if you take a song and change it, it is considered co-writing. You don’t need to be in the same room together to co-write a song, in fact more often than not you are not in the same place as the person you are collaborating with.

        The music business is disgusting. It is racist and very misogynistic.

        It just keeps getting worse and worse because it’s been so devalued thanks to the internet and studio magic that the average listener would be hard pressed to find great music amongst the mediocrity.

        That being said, it has been known for years that Dr. Luke was a disgusting human being.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I mean have you ever willingly said bye-bye to that much money for the sake of your principles? No? Until then I think it’s a bit rich to say she didn’t do anything. She earned that money but refused it so telling us about it won’t change that. You sound like one of those people for whom it will never be enough.

      It’s precisely the people with money and power who need to speak out first because they’re the ones who can. She has nothing to gain here.

      • Enough Already says:

        No,despite how I sound I am not one of “those women,” i simply have a fringe opinion. I have always loved Clarkson but don’t think relinquishing hard-earned funds to an abusive creep helps the women who will come after her who will have far less power at the outset.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        But whenever a celeb puts their name next to a known predator, we verbally stone them as well. See everyone who worked/works with Woody Allen. So what now?

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        When credits are being discussed it’s too early to know how much it’ll make in royalties.

      • Enough Already says:

        Not sure I get the connection or your question. Any actor who works with an abuser or pedophile may feel they can do so even if they don’t support the person or devend his/her actions, but they must accept that the public may have strong opinions about that association. Again, not sure how this is tied to Clarkson’s situation at all. Clarkson was a victim. Peopke who work with Woody Allen are not victims.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        You said you disagreed with her actions and that it wasn’t empowering. It was for her so who are you to judge how she got there? She didn’t want her name next to his and because this was a situation she couldn’t control, she at least controlled the result and didn’t want to profit from it. That was not enough for you. She should have taken the money to help others but that’s not your call. If she had taken it, people would have called her disingenuous. Like Blake Lively who advocates for children and works with Woody Allen. Making money off of something you speakout against is not admirable no matter what you use the money for.

      • Enough Already says:

        You are creating a false equivalency. Clarkson would not have been profiting from Luke’s abuse. Obviously she would have been profiting from her own talent as a songwriter, as she should. She could speak out about the abuse without giving the creep money she was entitled to. And if she didn’t want to be associated with the song/songwriter she should have declined to mention that she cowrote it with him, thus preventing any association with Luke beyond what was absolutely necessary per their contract. This is so not like the Lively/Allen situation it’s not even funny. As I’ve stated before I admire Clarkson for speaking up. My not liking her letting Luke take publishing credit for the song doesn’t negate that regardless of how much you insist that it does. I personally don’t want to see any female artists give Luke any power over them, personally, professionally or financially, including Clarkson.

    • perplexed says:

      I think she has integrity. She must have been in her mid-20s when she made the decision. I don’t think anyone can make the most perfect decisions ever, but I do think Kelly Clarkson is as close as you can to being a genuinely good person with integrity in the entertainment industry. (Maybe something will happen tomorrow that will make me regret writing this, but as it stands now, she’s always struck me as being someone with integrity).

  6. Tina says:

    Kelly is such a classy woman. I love her so much. Good for her for taking a stand against the label with respect to that POS

  7. paranormalgirl says:

    I love Kelly Clarkson. She seems like such a good person and she’s real and honest.

    • mia girl says:

      Yeah, I feel the same.

      And laugh at me if you want, but whenever I hear “A Moment Like This” it makes me a little emotional thinking about her singing it after she won the first American Idol- her happiness, her mom crying…such simpler times.

  8. Vizia says:

    My favorite Kelly quote, after some blogger or someone dissed her for being overweight: “Who? She must not know me, I’m awesome.”

  9. Erica_V says:

    I’m so into her new song Soft Love it’s sooooo good!

    I was first really turned off by Fifth Harmony still working with Dr. Luke after Kesha’s allegations came out. I agree with the writer – I’m going to give those artists a little less of a hard time as it’s clear the label forces them.

  10. Shocked says:

    Damn, I love her.

  11. lucy2 says:

    I have always loved her, and continue to do so now. I admire the hell out of her for being a constant support for Kesha and not being afraid to speak her mind.
    It’s disturbing to me that someone at Kelly’s level, huge pop success and highly regarded, doesn’t have the power to not have to work with abusive people. You’d think someone of her standing would be able to choose who works on her album. RCA/Sony is really disgusting.

    • Lulublue says:

      This new album is her very first with a new label, she has been locked into her idol contract this whole time. So this is the first time she’s actually been able to pick who she works with. Disturbing isn’t it?

  12. homeslice says:

    I read the whole article, she covered ET mag last week. Wow, the entertainment industry is just totally disgusting…

  13. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    Really wish people would stop calling him Dr. Even sites (like this) give in to this conceit of his. People actually have to put in work to earn that title. At least put it in quotes? e.g. “Dr.” Luke.

  14. OliviaJoy says:

    I thought Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift wrote the song “This Is What You Came For” for Rihanna. Did they write more together for her? It’s a good song.