Kelly Clarkson’s Most Uplifting Songs About Female Empowerment

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    Kelly Clarkson is a force to be reckoned with — and a female role model like no other. Since her introduction on American Idol’s first season in 2002, the Fort Worth, Texas, native has been candid about everything from her body to her love life to motherhood’s trials and tribulations.

    “I’ve had this discussion with many females in the industry. I felt more pressure from people actually when I was thin, when I was really thin and not super healthy because I just was worn out, just working so hard and not keeping healthy habits,” the “Because of You” singer told Glamour UK in an interview published in June 2020. “But I felt more pressure. It was more of magazines shoved in front of you and, ‘This is what you’re competing with and we’ve got to compete with it.’”

    The mom of two shared those same sentiments in a 2018 interview with Redbook adding, “If you gauge your life on what other people think, you’re going to be in a constant state of panic trying to please everyone. People should just concentrate on their own lives and their own health and their own happiness, and whatever that looks like for you, be happy with it.”

    This message is one that Clarkson doesn’t just reiterate in interviews but often incorporates into her music. Whether singing about overcoming heartbreak or her strength as a woman, the Voice judge’s songs are overflowing with messages of female empowerment and uplifting lyrics.

    Us Weekly confirmed on June 2020 that the three-time Grammy winner filed for divorce from Brandon Blackstock — with whom she shares daughter River Rose and son Remington Alexander — after nearly seven years of marriage. “They clashed on so many levels and being in quarantine [amid the coronavirus pandemic] together heightened their problems to the point of no return,” a source told Us at the time. “So she filed for divorce.”

    Despite the rocky time in her life, Clarkson’s season 18 Voice team members shared with Us exclusively how supportive their coach had been.

    “She’s more motherly to me than a coach. I mean, she’s a coach, but she’s so kind and sweet and all the help that she’s given me has been incredible,” Megan Danielle told Us in May 2020. The finalist, who made it to the semifinals, sang a heartfelt rendition of Clarkson’s “Piece by Piece” during the knockouts. At the time, fellow coach John Legend said she “annihilated” the original.

    Clarkson’s emotional song isn’t the only one that screams power and grace, however. Keep scrolling to see some of the singer’s most empowering anthems through the years.

    “Since U Been Gone”

    In her biggest hit, Clarkson combines her signature “better off without you” attitude toward heartbreak with the high notes and runs only she can hit. Since its release in 2004, “Since U Been Gone” has become one of the best songs for belting at the top of your lungs. 

    
Notable lyrics: “You had your chance, you blew it / Out of sight, out of mind / Shut your mouth, I just can’t take it / Again, and again, and again, and again.”

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    “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

    Think you got the best of her? Think you had the last laugh? The title track from the Texas native’s 2011 album builds and builds until it reveals itself as a breakup anthem flipped on its axis. There might have been a heartbreak but these lyrics don’t indicate an inkling of sadness. 


    Notable lyrics: “Think you left me broken down / Think that I’d come running back / Baby you don’t know me, ’cause you’re dead wrong.”

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    “Broken & Beautiful”

    As the theme song for the 2019 animated film UglyDolls, in which Clarkson voices the character of Moxy alongside Pitbull, Ice-T, Blake Shelton and others, “Broken & Beautiful” sends an important message about inclusivity and acceptance to kids — and adults — who need to hear it. 

    Notable lyrics: “We bury our emotion and pretend that we’re just fine / The only way to live now is to know you’re gonna fly.” 

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    “Breakaway”

    The titular song off Clarkson’s sophomore album isn’t just fun to sing at karaoke; its message is an important one for the singer’s young fans. As the American Idol winner herself was catapulted from the life she knew into superstardom, the song feels extra personal. 

    
Notable lyrics: “I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly / I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky / And I’ll make a wish / Take a chance / Make a change / And breakaway.”

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    “Whole Lotta Woman”

    Clarkson combined her country roots and soulful energy to make “Whole Lotta Woman” off 2017’s Meaning of Life. Instead of lyrics about picking yourself up after heartbreak or unrequited dreams, this anthem is perfectly — and so simply — about being a badass woman. Add it to a playlist with Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” and Demi Lovato’s “Confident” and you’ve got a party.

    When the album was released, Clarkson reflected on what “Whole Lotta Woman” means to her in an October 2017 interview with Rolling Stone. “One of my favorite singers on the planet, Aretha Franklin, isn’t tiny. But she’s boss, and when she walks onto the stage everyone stops breathing. We’re marveling at her talent, [but] maybe some artists that we loved growing up would never make it today because of that dumb reason. Why we are afraid of it? People come in different packages, and they may not all be what you like, but man, don’t they sound good?” she said. 

    Notable lyrics: “I’m a whole lotta woman / Anything I see I want, I get / I’m a strong, badass chick with class and confidence, yeah.” 

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    “Invincible”

    There’s no denying music can be cathartic to listen to during hard times and 2015’s “Invincible” is one of those songs — regardless of what you’ve been through. In fact, of recording the song with Sia, Clarkson told Billboard the year it came out: “Towards the end of ‘Invincible’ it was like I went to church. I was having a good time singing that song. And I love that song — that message is so empowering, and that message is so raw.”

    
Notable lyrics: “I was running from an empty threat of emptiness / I was running from an empty threat that didn’t exist / I was running from an empty threat of abandonment.”

     

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    “Let Your Tears Fall”

    A track from 2015’s Piece By Piece, “Let Your Tears Fall” isn’t pegged to anything specific, be that death, illness, heartbreak, bullying or any of life’s other hardships. Instead, the power ballad unites Clarkson fans by promoting a simple premise: It’s OK, and actually even liberating, to cry. 

    Notable lyrics: “Tell me all your secrets, tell me all your fears / I won’t push you away, I’ll only pull you near / No I won’t judge you / And I’ll help you through.” 

    Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

    Mr. Know It All

    Ever date someone who felt they knew what was best for you? Who wanted you to do things their way regardless of your feelings? That’s what “Mr. Know It All” is about. In the opener off 2011’s Stronger, Clarkson sings about a controlling man who likes to bring others down — and why it’s OK to leave that person in the past. 

    Notable lyrics: “So what, you’ve got the world at your feet / And you know everything about everything / But you don’t / You still think I’m coming back but baby you’ll see.” 

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    “Behind These Hazel Eyes”

    Owning your sadness is empowering, as Clarkson exemplifies one of her earlier hits “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” In addition to its extremely vulnerable lyrics, the 2004 song features Clarkson harmonizing with, well … herself. Listen closely during the bridge for her epic power move. 


    Notable lyrics: “I’m torn into pieces / Can’t deny it, can’t pretend.”

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    “Miss Independent”

    Suffice it to say, Miss Independent and Mr. Know It All probably wouldn’t get along. On Clarkson’s debut album, Thankful, she sings about a guarded woman falling in love for the first time. Cowritten by Clarkson and Christina Aguilera (after the song was passed down) among others, it’s an early aughts female empowerment anthem that feels timeless.

    Notable lyrics: “So, by keeping her heart protected / She’d never ever feel rejected.”

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    “Walk Away”

    “Walk Away” For many, it’s not easy to demand what you deserve and kick someone unworthy to the curb. Luckily, 2004’s upbeat “Walk Away” is a fun reminder that you deserve the very best — and you’re kickass enough to ask for it. 

    Notable lyrics: “I want a man by my side, not a boy who runs and hides / Are you gonna fight for me? Die for me? Live and breathe for me? / Do you care for me? / ‘Cause if you don’t, then just leave.”

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