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Kelly Clarkson signs with Reba McEntire's management company


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/03/2007 

Kelly Clarkson's friendship with country singer Reba McEntire has apparently turned into a professional relationship.

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The original American Idol winner has signed a management deal with Starstruck Entertainment, the Nashville, TN-based company announced Monday.  Starstruck CEO Narvel Blackstock -- McEntire's husband -- will serve as Clarkson's personal manager

"Kelly is an incredible talent with an unlimited future," Blackstock said in a press statement. "We are thrilled to be working with her."

In addition to McEntire, Starstruck also represents country singer (and fifth-season Nashville Star judge) Blake Shelton.  Blackstock is a former McEntire band member who became McEntire's manager in 1988 and married her a year later, according to E! News.

Blackstock will replace Jeff Kwatinetz, Clarkson's longtime manager that she parted ways with only two weeks prior to the release of her third album "My December" last Tuesday.  Trish McClanahan, Starstruck's vice president of marketing, will also assist Blackstock in the "day-to-day operations" of managing Clarkson's career, according to E! News.

The 25-year-old's decision to end her relationship with Kwatinetz came in the midst of her feud with RCA chairman Clive Davis over the musical content of "My December," which she either wrote or co-wrote every one of the 14 tracks while Davis wanted her to use the same producers for 2004's "Breakaway."  In addition to her problems with Davis, Clarkson's 2007 summer tour was "shelved" on June 14 after ticket sales were lower then expected.

"It's really disappointing," Clarkson told her fans via her website about the cancellation of her tour, In Touch Weekly reported in its July 2 issue.  "I promise you that we're going to get back out there as soon as humanly possible."

While the 30-city North American tour may not be happening, E! News reported that preliminary sales reports indicate "My December" should debut on The Billboard 200 at No. 2 behind only "Hannah Montana II: Meet Mylie Cyrus."

Clarkson and McEntire -- both two-time Grammy Award winners -- have a history together, as Clarkson has previously stated she grew-up listening to McEntire.  The two performed a duet together on Idol in 2002 and in November 2006, Clarkson made an appearance on CMT Giants: Reba, singing one of her favorite McEntire tunes to pay tribute to her "musical hero."  

In January, Clarkson appeared on an episode of Reba, the country singer's since-canceled The CW series, and the two also collaborated for an episode of CMT Crossroads -- a series that pairs country music stars with popular artists from other musical genres -- which filmed in February and aired on June 24.  McEntire was also vocal in her support for Clarkson throughout the young singer's feud with Davis.

"It's pretty heavy, what happened to her.  She was thrown into the ocean without a life preserver. And she handled it. I don't know that I could have," said McEntire in Elle magazine's July 2007 issue. "Back in the day, female artists were told to perform and then go sit in the corner.  Thank God for people like Dolly Parton who took charge. Kelly is the same way. She knows what she wants. She's had a rough go of it in the music business. People think she just won Idol and everything else was easy. Not so. She's had to fight."


(Photo credit Fox)


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