Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard.com Pop Shop Podcast, Billboard’s weekly audio breakdown of the Billboard charts, hottest music news and year’s biggest musical events. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard.com senior editor Katie Atkinson every Tuesday on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes (click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
This week’s special Grammy Awards preview edition of the podcast stars the three-time Grammy winner and all-around music superstar Kelly Clarkson! The pop powerhouse — who has earned three No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and a trio of chart-topping albums on the Billboard 200 — called in to the show to talk all things Grammy. She discusses her feelings about her current nomination (her 13th!) for the Idol Version of “Piece by Piece,” memories of winning her first Grammy, and watching the annual awards show as a kid. (The 59th annual Grammy Awards will take place on Feb. 12, airing live on CBS TV at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.)
Plus, Clarkson chats about her upcoming new studio album, which she says is “literally the record I’ve been wanting to make since I was a kid.” She says the album — her first for Atlantic Records — will encompass soul, R&B and pop (she calls it a “fresh take on ’90s R&B urban pop”) and is “by far my favorite album I’ve ever been a part of, definitely.”
As for her nomination this year, Clarkson says “it’s pretty special that it’s this specific version” that was recognized, “purely because it’s just an intimate lyric, and how we did it was very intimate — with just me and a piano.” The arrangement that is nominated is a stripped-down piano-and-vocals version of the song that was originally found on the album of the same name. Clarkson — the first winner of Fox’s American Idol TV series back in 2002 — performed the tune in its ballad form on an episode of Idol during the show’s final season in 2016. Clarkson’s emotional performance spurred great interest in the song, which was quickly released to retail and streaming services, leading to the track’s debut at No. 8 on the Hot 100 shortly thereafter. It earned Clarkson her 11th top 10 hit on the tally.
“It’s just such a bookend for me,” Clarkson says of the nomination. “[Idol] was where I got my start … and you know my kids — well, one of ’em was still in me [she was seven months pregnant with her son, Remington] — and my other kid [daughter River Rose] was running around the halls that I used to warm up in when I was 19. And my husband was there. It was just one of those cool moments when you’re like, ‘Man, if my 19-year-old self could see where I’m at today — how proud I would be. And how amazed.’ Who would have thought that all this would have happened? This particular version wraps up all of that nostalgia in one song. I feel very blessed.”
In addition to the interview with Clarkson, the Pop Shop team dives into a discussion about the big four categories at this year’s Grammy Awards — and who they feel should (and will) win. Could Beyoncé nab her first win for album of the year (for Lemonade)? Might Justin Bieber triumph in the song of the year category for “Love Yourself”? And who will walk home with the best new artist trophy? Could The Chainsmokers dance their way to a best new artist win over Kelsea Ballerini, Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris and Anderson .Paak?
In addition to all our Grammy Awards coverage on the show, we also recap Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime performance and run down the week’s big chart news at the top of the Hot 100 and Billboard 200.