Kelly Clarkson has never shied away from discussing her feelings – and in a new interview, the singer opened up about experiencing loss and heartache during the festive season.
Let’s face it: Christmas is a rough time of year if you’re not feeling 100%. Everywhere you turn, you’re confronted with messages telling you to be merry and bright, and happy faces enjoying the festive celebrations: not something that sparks joy when all you want to do is bury yourself beneath the duvet.
Kelly Clarkson is someone who understands the exquisite agony of the festive season when your heart is aching. During her new NBC special, Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around, the pop star opened up about how turbulent the Christmas period has been in recent years following her highly publicised divorce from Brandon Blackstock in June 2020.
Ahead of performing her latest song, Merry Christmas (To The One I Used To Know), Clarkson explained that she had written it in the midst of feeling utterly wretched.
“The holidays come with a whole range of emotions,” she began. “I’m gonna be real with y’all, when I wrote this next song, I was crying my face off, which happens even at Christmastime, everyone. I had just put my kids to bed and I was just going through it, having a really hard time, and it’s been a really tough year for a lot of us.”
“And I wrote this song for me, but also because there aren’t many holiday songs for people feeling alone or lost or just plain sad other than Dolly Parton’s classic Hard Candy Christmas, which we all love.”
The Voice coach went on to explain that Parton’s hit song is “about getting through a tough holiday,” adding, “I absolutely love that song and it allowed me to write this.”
Clarkson also performed Christmas Isn’t Cancelled, a breakup track she released earlier in September.
“I was honestly a little nervous about sharing this one because it’s not your typical Christmas single,” she explained.
“But it was the first song that I wrote for this album and I wrote it because a lot of things were taken from us over the last couple of years – people, relationships, jobs, etc. There were so many things taken.
“But instead of looking at everything that’s gone wrong, we should be looking at all the things that have gone right. And that’s what my therapist tells me anyway so that’s who I’m singing to! But no matter what people try to take from you, nobody can cancel Christmas, y’all.”
There isn’t anything new about acknowledging that people are sad, lonely or heartbroken during the festive season, of course. But Clarkson’s admission reminds us it really is perfectly OK to feel a whole range of emotions during the Christmas period, and that different feelings – from joy to grief – can co-exist at one time, too.
What’s more, as a star with a huge public following, Clarkson’s honesty is a timely reminder that someone’s public image is not an accurate representation of what’s going on in their personal life. You could be a successful singer-songwriter with your own national TV show, belting out pop songs like Clarkson – and still crying incessantly behind closed doors.
What we really need to do is treat people gently, because you never know what someone is going through; more so than ever during the season of goodwill.
Meanwhile, in case you’re in need of a pick-me-up, please defer to Clarkson’s flawless rendition of Ariana Grande’s 7 Rings. You’re welcome.