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Yes, Kelly Clarkson Wrote a Song for One Direction — See What Happened
Kelly Clarkson was asked by a famous friend to write some music for one of the top boy bands — featuring her fellow The Voice Coach Niall Horan.
The Voice’s longtime Coach Kelly Clarkson has a proven track record (pun intended) of writing hit music for the ages. While we all know she's put out plenty of great solo music of her own — and performed some stellar duets! — she also helped write a song for a popular boy band: One Direction.
Yep, One Direction, the boy band that launched her fellow The Voice Coach Niall Horan into superstardom. Learn more about why Clarkson helped write them a song.
What One Direction Song Did Kelly Clarkson Write?
Clarkson was one of the people behind One Direction’s 2011 single “Tell Me a Lie” from the boy band’s mega-successful debut album, Up All Night. The song was a pop anthem at the height of 1D’s career, with lyrics such as: “If he’s the reason that you’re leaving me tonight, spare me what you think and tell me a lie.”
By the time she wrote the song, Clarkson — who’d found stardom as the inaugural winner of American Idol — was already an all-American sensation, with hits under her belt including “Since U Been Gone” and “Because of You.”
Like Clarkson, the adolescent members of 1D found fame after climbing the ranks of a televised talent series. Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and The Voice’s own Niall Horan joined forces on the British show The X Factor in 2010 and grew to be one of the biggest boy bands of all time.
The group, formed by The X Factor’s Simon Cowell (currently a Judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent), went on to sign with Cowell’s Syco Records, shelling out hits like the quadruple-platinum “What Makes You Beautiful.”
Why Kelly Clarkson Wrote a Song for One Direction
At the time, Clarkson recognized a neo-cultural movement that saw boy bands like 1D have sweeping success in the States, a renaissance akin to the counter-cultural phenomenon known as the British Invasion, which brought beloved bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to this side of the pond.
“One Direction have worked so well in America as well as the U.K. because people love a story, plus they have this innocence about them that attracts people,” Clarkson told music and entertainment outlet Pressparty in 2012. “There’s a lot of British talent doing well in America right now.”
It was One Direction's connection to Cowell that led to her writing a song for them.
Cowell was also part of why Clarkson found music fame, having served as one of the American Idol judges when Clarkson had her victorious win in 2002.
Based on Clarkson’s wild success in America, he thought it’d be a good idea for Clarkson to write a song for 1D, Clarkson told Pressparty.
“When Simon Cowell put me forward to write for One Direction, I said: ‘Let me hear them first,’” Clarkson told Pressparty. “Simon has been pretty supportive since I won American Idol.”
It seemed Clarkson already had a song written in her pocket but thought it’d be a good fit for the up-and-rising band.
“’Tell Me a Lie’ is the cut I’ve got on 1D’s album as I like the story of them, how they came together as a group,” said Clarkson. “While I wrote the song for me, it didn’t fit in the current album, as I never want an album to sound like one thought.”
In full-circle fashion, the Ireland-born Horan was welcomed as a Coach on Season 23 of The Voice and is already slated to return next season. He got to share the Coaches panel with Clarkson, who has served as a long-running Coach on the series, and now-retired Coach Blake Shelton and Chance the Rapper.
“I would do it again,” Horan said with a laugh. “That’s why I’m doing The Voice.”
As Season 23 of The Voice comes to an end, audiences can see Cowell return as Judge and Executive Producer on Season 18 of America’s Got Talent, which premiered on NBC on Tuesday, May 30. AGT fans can catch up on the premiere and past seasons on Peacock.