Kelly Brianne Clarkson (born April 24, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and author. She rose to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural season of the television series American Idol, which earned her a record deal with RCA Records. Clarkson's debut single, "Before Your Love/A Moment Like This", topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the best-selling single of 2002 in the nation. It was followed by the release of her debut studio album, Thankful (2003), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Trying to reinvent her image, Clarkson decided to part ways with American Idol management and developed a more pop rock sound for her second album, Breakaway (2004). It sold over 12 million copies worldwide and earned Clarkson two Grammy Awards. She took further creative control for her third album, My December (2007), by becoming the executive producer and co-writing the entire album. However, it caused a feud with her label, that was dissatisfied with her darker, less commercial rock music and reluctantly promoted the album.
Clarkson returned to the top of the charts with her more mainstream-oriented fourth album, All I Ever Wanted (2009). Its lead single, "My Life Would Suck Without You", holds the record for the biggest jump to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. She scored another Billboard Hot 100 number-one single with "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" from her fifth studio album, Stronger (2011), which made Clarkson the first artist to win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album twice. Her sixth studio album and first Christmas record, Wrapped in Red (2013), became the best-selling holiday album of the year, making her the first American female artist to achieve this feat. Her seventh and final album under RCA, Piece by Piece (2015), was her third album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Its title track became her eleventh top-ten single on the Hot 100. In 2016, she signed with Atlantic Records and recorded her soul-influenced eighth album, Meaning of Life (2017), which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.
Clarkson has sold over 25 million albums and 36 million singles worldwide and scored a total of over 100 number ones on the Billboard charts. Her accolades include three Grammy Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. Often called one of the best vocalists in the industry, Clarkson is known for her powerhouse voice, as well as her versatility, which enables her to record crossover music. She became the first artist in history to top each of Billboard's pop, adult contemporary, country and dance charts. She was ranked nineteenth on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Clarkson has also ventured into film, television, and writing children's books.