Kelly Clarkson vs. Clive Davis: Where does it rate among label spats with artists?
Clive Davis got off lucky. His public spat with Kelly Clarkson has so far only involved words.
Once, an artist was so pissed off at her A&R executive at a record company that she jumped up on his desk, squatted, and took a dump. This is a true story. She thought it was the ultimate act of rebellion, but all it did was get her dumped from the label.
To catch you up to speed, yesterday Davis, a legendary label executive, released his second book, “ The Soundtrack of My Life.” In it, he told his version of what happened with Kelly Clarkson’s third album, “My December.” She was in a dark place when she wrote many of the songs for the album and Davis was concerned that it wouldn’t have the commercial appeal of the “American Idol” winner’s first glossy two albums.
Davis describes the ongoing battle over the album one way and Clarkson remembers it very, very differently, so she took to Whosay yesterday to post her version of events. She calls Davis's account "a violation."
This morning, Davis decided to chime in again and in a long Twitter posting, replied:
“As anyone who has read ‘The Soundtrack of My Life’ knows, I think Kelly Clarkson is a tremendous vocal talent and performer. In the book, I provide an in-depth look at our years together during which we shared major multi-platinum success, as well as a few creative differences. I am truly very sorry that she has decided to take issue with what I know to be an accurate depiction of our time together. Before the book was published, I had every fact checked with five independent individuals who were present on a daily basis throughout it all. The chapter as it is written was thoroughly verified by each and every one of them. I stand by the chapter as written in my book. At the same time I wish, and will always wish, Kelly's talent and her career to soar to ever new heights.”
So he’s not backing down and she won’t either. Let’s just say we won’t be seeing Clarkson perform at any of Davis’s pre-Grammy parties any time soon.
In the annals of recorded music, this he said/she said doesn’t even rate a 2 on the spat-o-meter. Artists have taken swings at record executives: Diddy, then going as Puffy, struck label exec/artist manager Steve Stoute with a champagne bottle because he was mad over a scene kept in a Nas video (they settled out of court).
Maybe Clarkson will get another song out of it: the road is strewn with songs by artists railing against their record label, including Nick Lowe’s “I Love My Label,” Cracker’s “It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself,” Against’s Me’s “Unprotected Sex with Multiple Partners” and, of course, Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me.”
So does the public really want to see how the sausage is made? The vast majority of fans don’t care that artists and label execs go toe-to-toe every day...they’re just quiet about it. It’s really part of the creative process and, while it’s nice to believe that an artist should always get to make the album he or she wants to, when a label is investing millions of dollars in that artist (most of which it will never recoup), it does get to have a say.
In this court of public opinion, Clarkson will likely win this one and I applaud her for speaking up since she clearly felt wronged (she wasn’t quiet when the incident happened the first time, so why should she be now). For Davis, it’s all part of publicity machine and even he knows this is great for his book.
Who do you think is right?
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