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'People Don't Give Her Enough Credit': Inside Kelly Clarkson’s Fandom for Mariah Carey

"I think people think of her as a songbird and they don’t think of her as like the writer that she is," Kelly Clarkson recently said of singer songwriter and pop star legend Mariah Carey.

By Jill Sederstrom

The Voice’s Kelly Clarkson is showing the love for fellow pop icon Mariah Carey

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While promoting her new album Chemistry, Clarkson told Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe that she didn’t feel Carey got “enough credit” for her songwriting talents. 

“People don’t give her enough credit,” she said. “People give her credit as like a singer, I don’t think people give her credit as a writer.” 

The topic came up after Clarkson shared her love for Carey’s song “Side Effects,” describing it as a “song actually that I love.” 

“That’s a really solid song,” she added. 

RELATED: Kelly Clarkson Covered Madonna's "Like a Prayer"

It definitely isn’t the only song Carey has penned. According to Songwriters Hall of Fame, Carey either wrote or co-wrote a staggering 18 of her 19 number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 list, including the iconic “All I Want for Christmas is You.” 

As of last year, the Christmas time favorite continued to hold its spot at No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200 chart. (Fun fact: Lowe insisted Carey wrote the song in just seven minutes on a Casio keyboard).

“She’s rocking it because of what she’s done, I just mean I think people think of her as a songbird and they don’t think of her as like the writer that she is,” Clarkson said.

Kelly Clarkson's Cover of Mariah Carey's Vanishing

It isn’t the first time the three-time Grammy winner paid tribute to the pop legend. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as Clarkson hunkered down at her Montana ranch with her family, she recorded a video for fans of her singing Carey’s song “Vanishing.” 

“This is for Mariah,” she said before launching into an impressive A cappella version of the song from a cabin bathroom. 

“I totally changed the whole song but I totally forgot where it went at one point,” she joked at the end, after nailing some powerful high notes. 

Split image of Kelly Clarkson and Mariah Carey

Clarkson separately praised the songstress just a few months later, remarking that "Looking In" is another one of her favorites from Carey. "The amount of times I listened to this song as a kid is incredible. Still holds up. What a songwriter [Carey] is! Obviously an insanely talented singer, but the writer in her.... just wow. People forget she wrote ALL OF THOSE SONGS y’all," she tweeted in September 2020.

And this comment didn't go unnoticed, with Carey taking the time to respond to the kind message.

"Thank you for acknowledging one of the most personal songs I've ever written. it's a huge compliment coming from you, because I know music is your life as it is mine," Carey replied. "Love you and can't wait to see you again."

Clarkson Covers Carey's "Love Takes Time"

Clarkson put her own spin on another Carey track during the much loved Kellyoke segment of The Kelly Clarkson Show, belting out power ballad “Love Takes Time” last year.

And rewinding it way back to 2002, a fresh faced Clarkson performed Carey’s “Without You” during her run on American Idol. Clarkson went on to win the competition, becoming the very first champion of the long-running show.

The pair would have a full circle moment of sorts 13 years later when Clarkson appeared on American Idol to perform her new single “People Like Us” while Carey was serving as a judge. “It’s so nerve-wracking in front of Mariah Carey,” Clarkson blurted after the song, according to American Songwriter

But Clarkson wasn’t the only one feeling the love, it appears the admiration is mutual.

“Darling, I need your opinion on some new stuff,” Carey told her during the show after they shared a moment together. 

Maybe there’s hope for a Clarkson and Carey duet. Now that would be epic.

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