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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 1

Original 'Idol' winner Kelly Clarkson parts way with her manager

By Steve Rogers, 06/12/2007 

Original American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, already embroiled in an ongoing feud with RCA chairman Clive Davis over the musical content of "My December," her upcoming third album, has now parted ways with Jeff Kwatinetz, her longtime manager, just two weeks before the album's release.

"Kelly Clarkson is an enormously talented artist. We are pleased to have served as her managers during her well-deserved rise to stardom and are proud of the role we played in backing her creative choices," a spokesperson for Kwatinetz's Los Angeles-based The Firm talent management company told People on Tuesday afternoon.  "We believed in Kelly from the day we met her and believe in her now. We have only the best wishes and hopes for her in the future.

Ironically, the news of Clarkson's break with Kwatinetz comes on the same day that the July 2007 issue of Elle magazine -- which features a Clarkson cover story in which Kwatinetz voiced his support for Clarkson's attempts to seize control of her third album's content from her label -- hit newsstands.

"The label didn't even acknowledge her ASCAP [songwriting] awards [for 'Because of You,' a second album song Clarkson wrote as a teenager]," Kwatinetz told Elle while discussing Davis' attempts to convince Clarkson to replace some of the 14 songs on "My December" -- which were all written or co-written by Clarkson -- with more mainstream pop music songs written by other songwriters.

"It's upsetting," Kwatinetz told Elle.  "They don't want her to be a songwriter. They just want her to shut up and sing. They want her to stay their little American Idol."

"I could give a crap about being a star.  I've always just wanted to sing and write," Clarkson told Elle.  "My resistance upsets a lot of people, because we could make a lot of money."

"I've sold more than 15 million records worldwide, and still nobody listens to what I have to say," Clarkson, who blamed her label's resistance on the fact that she's "25 and a woman," told Elle.   "I am a good singer, so I can't possibly be a good writer.  Women can't possibly be good at two things. I haven't lost my temper about it. It only drives me more. If your thing is to bring me down, cool. I'll just work harder."

"I don't mind sucking, as long as it is my decision," Clarkson told Elle.  I have literally been told one of the reasons this record took so long to come together is because I am a girl. This is 2007! We aren't in the '50s anymore. Wake up and smell the Folgers."

According to Entertainment Weekly, Clarkson's ongoing feud with her label likely played a role in Kwatinetz's departure.  "He exacerbated a thermonuclear situation," a "source close to the situation" told Entertainment Weekly. "Jeff did everything he could to control Kelly and her career suffered. He should have steered her in the right direction."  RCA declined comment on EW's report.

However according to another EW "insider," the reasons behind Clarkson's split with Kwatinetz extend beyond her "My December" song choices.  "It's been a poor setup," the second source told EW. "Tour markets were misread and all the fighting with the label has taken attention away from the one thing that matters: her music."

Assuming the album doesn't get delayed -- which given it still hasn't yet hit the production factory, a third EW source suggests might still happen -- "My December" will be released on June 26.  "It's not too late,"  the source told EW.

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