The American star is from Texas and speaks with a charming southern twang. People often question, is Kelly a country singer?
Kelly Clarkson is not a country singer. She is able to sing in many genres, but her main focus is on pop music.
What Makes Kelly Pop
Genre can be difficult to define, and music fans frequently disagree about the exact boundaries between pop and country. Some critics say that music can be called country when it has a vocal twang or classic country instruments like steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, and harmonica. Others say that country music is defined by the cultural values upheld by the artist and their fans.
While country has key defining features and attitudes, pop music generally refers to any music that is popular. There is country pop, which adopts more pop and rock sounds while maintaining country’s lyrical and cultural context.
Kelly Clarkson’s songs do not attempt to sound country. Her solo work does not feature typical country instruments like steel guitar or fiddle. For example, her 2020 song “I Dare You” uses guitar, bass, drums, piano, and synthesizer for its classic pop sound.
Kelly’s music is frequently categorized as pop music by the experts on genres. She is frequently nominated for major awards in the pop category, and her three Grammy wins were all for pop music awards.
Kelly’s Ties to Country Music
Kelly Clarkson largely works in the pop music world, but the singer has close associations with the country scene as well. She cites country singer Reba McEntire as one of her musical influences along with the many other rock and pop acts that shaped her sound.
Kelly’s connection with Reba McEntire only grew as the pop singer’s career progressed. Kelly played numerous concerts with Reba and the two joined forces for the 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour through North America in 2008.
In 2012 Kelly started dating her talent manager, Brandon Blackstock, who happens to be Reba McEntire’s stepson. Kelly married Brandon in 2013, becoming Reba’s stepdaughter-in-law, but Kelly and Brandon filed for divorce in 2020.
Kelly’s Music Crosses Over into Country
Although most fans agree that Kelly Clarkson’s music is firmly planted in the pop genre, the superstar does not shy away from experimenting with other genres. Kelly has worked with country stars for duets such as “Because of You” with Reba McEntire and “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Jason Aldean.
Kelly’s country crossovers were just as successful as her pop hits. She earned numerous nominations and awards from the Academy of Country Music Awards, American Country Awards, and Country Music Association Awards. Kelly was nominated for three Grammys in country categories, which is a notable feat for a non-country artist.
Although Kelly Clarkson dabbles in country music, pop appears to be her music genre of choice. She ended her stream of country songs in 2013 with country singer Vince Gill for “Don’t Rush” which was critically acclaimed and nominated for a country duet Grammy award. From 2013-2020 she only made pop music.
Kelly Criticizes Country Music
In 2020, Kelly Clarkson took an interesting stance as a huge country music fan who disagreed with aspects of the modern country industry. In a Q&A video she was shocked to learn that “farm emo” was an online slang term for country music.
Kelly responded with a lengthy rant about the current state of country music. She criticized the new country music and said “country music doesn’t sound country anymore.”
Kelly elaborated that she disliked the new crossover of rap into country music. She identified herself as a huge country fan, but said that she liked the older country of the 80s and 90s more than the newer rap-infused country music.
Kelly also brought attention to sexism in the country music industry. She noted that the 90s were filled with female country icons, meanwhile current country music seems to exclude female artists.
Although Kelly firmly identifies herself as a pop musician, she has close relations with the country music industry and considers herself to be a huge country fan. She is involved in the country scene and advocates for more old-school country sounds as well as the inclusion of female country artists in the spotlight.