Kelly Clarkson does not care if you remember her.
“I don’t really give a shit,” she jokes. “I just want people to know that I did what I loved, and I loved what I did.”
This candor is exactly what fans love about the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, and most likely how she will be remembered.
In the 16 years since her American Idol win, she’s been known to speak her truth. Whether it’s through honest songs, going head-to-head with music executives, or shutting down twitter trolls, she is determined to remain the driving force behind her own success and image.
“It’s not even that I’m like stubborn or controlling, ‘cause a lot of people will try and rephrase that because I’m a woman in the public eye,” she said.
Here, she talks about the possibility of a Cardi B collaboration, what it’s really like to work with her husband, and the topics that she’ll avoid on her upcoming talk show.
On her Meaning of Life tour:
We’re switching it up this year on tour and I’m covering all these artists that inspired me to make music or new songs that came out that really inspired me to keep going. It’s really about inspiration this year. My point with that is that I’m going to be covering songs that I probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to do it anyway!
On the rumors of a Cardi B remix:
We do not have a remix, I would do it! But we don’t have one.
[Marie Claire: The internet wants that to happen. So, let’s make that happen.]
Oh, I love it! I love it. Let’s project that.
On staying true to herself:
I think I’m just really proud of the fact that it’s not one instance, from the beginning I’ve been doing that. Like even before ‘Idol,’ when I lived out in L.A. and [I turned] things down that possibly could have ended up making money or having a record deal. Even when I was a little kid, I saw enough documentaries or biographies about people that regretted so much in the beginning because they did something they didn’t want to do, and I didn’t want that to be me. So I think I’m just proud of the fact that hasn’t ever changed in me.
On taking control of her career:
In my whole career for like for 16 years now, they’re trying to get you to do stuff they think is going to win and I’m like look, if my ship sinks, that’s totally fine, but I want to be the one at the helm. I want to be the one steering the boat. It’s cool if it sinks and it doesn’t work out, but I don’t want it to sink [with] me relying and thinking somebody else is going to make something happen for me and compromise to a point to where it’s not me. You only get one life, right? Or that we know. And if we’re going to be back, I’d better be a man cause this female stuff is hard [laughs].
On how she plans to run her upcoming talk show:
Even in the pilot, people were trying to get me to go somewhere with one of the guests on the show. It was really cool though, because the people on my team understood right off the bat. I was like look, I totally get why you’re doing this. I don’t want that kind of show, where we’re pushing people just to make a headline. I don’t ever want to make someone uncomfortable. I want people’s voices to be heard. I’ve just been on the receiving end of that a lot. I just want quality, and I want heart, and I want humor, and that’s all.
On working with her husband:
Well, I think it comes down to respect. I wouldn’t have hired Brandon to be my manager if I didn’t see first-hand how great he is at that and how much he cares about Blake [Shelton]. And the way that [Blake’s] career has blown up, I would have hired Brandon regardless. He’s really talented at what he does and his mind really does work in a completely different way. I’m always like “is this your manager hat?” And he’ll go “oh, is this your artist hat? Are we going there? [laughs]” So, we’re pretty good about that. I mean, we just have the regular marriage, kids thing, to where it’s like “I am not putting them to bed, you are.”
Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.