Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson first discovered she could sing when she was asked to join the school choir after being overheard singing in a corridor by a teacher.

After graduating from school she scraped together enough money to fund a trip to Hollywood to peruse her dreams of a career in music. Having briefly worked with songwriter Gerry Goffin, she become disillusioned with L.A life and returned to Texas where she found work as a cocktail waitress.

2002 saw the US debut of the hit reality series ‘American Idol’ and Kelly found herself encouraged by friends to join the thousands of other young hopefuls. Happily ensconced in the competition, it wasn’t long before Kelly, and more importantly her voice, came to the attentions of celebrity judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

Week by week contestants were whittled down until only Kelly and Justin Guarini remained. In September 2002, she picked up 58% of the final audience vote and was declared the winner of the first ever American Idol.

Her debut single taken from the series, ‘A Moment Like This’, broke records when it was released in October 2002 and her album ‘Thankful’ sold well in the US.

With success on home territory firmly in the bag, Kelly adopted a rockier sound for her follow-up release, ‘Breakaway’ in 2004. The album won 2 Grammy awards and featured the writing talents of Avril Lavigne. Thanks to the success of singles such as ‘Since U Been Gone’, the album has sold in excess of 5 million copies worldwide.

While on tour in Europe in 2006, Clarkson began writing and composing songs for her third album, 'My December'. In 2007, she parted with her management company after a disagreement over the release dates of songs from the album. 'My December' was officially released in the U.S. in June 2007 and has gone on to sell over 2.5 million copies worldwide.

In 2007, Clarkson took part in 'Idol Gives Back' - a show to raise money for African charities. The singer was reportedly asked by her record label to perform 'Never Again', the single she was promoting at the time. However, she refused, saying she did not want to use a charity event to promote herself. Clarkson instead sang Patty Griffin's Up to the Mountain.

Clarkson released her fourth album, 'All I Ever Wanted', in 2009. The record featured the hit singles 'My Life Would Suck Without You' and 'Already Gone'. She went on to receive a Grammy nomination for the album.

The singer announced in March 2011 that the release of her fifth studio album had been pushed back to September 2011. The star apologised to fans for the wait but promised that it "sounds great".

Claude Kelly, Clarkson's producer and co-writer, told MTV news that her record company is keen to make sure that the "arena is clean for Kelly Clarkson's return". It was eventually released as 'Stronger' in 2011.

Her latest studio album, 'Wrapped In Red' was released in 2013.