It's been a long, sometimes slow journey to reach the platinum sales mark, but the first winner of "American Idol" has finally reached the plateau she aimed for back in October 2011. Fifteen months of sales later (and this week) Kelly Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger, became her third album to cross the million threshold in sales.
According to Billboard.com, Clarkson saw Stronger post 8,000 in sales in the past week, inching her just over the 1,000,000 line.
The achievement comes as Clarkson rides the crest of a wave ten years into her career, something many artists rarely see. Besides one-hit wonders and career-best albums, many artists see a quick rise and fall in popularity and chart movement, sometimes remaining in the spotlight for several years but more often waning -- and sometimes disappearing altogether -- far shy of the decade mark. But not Clarkson.
Eight-and-a-half years after released her first album, nine years after the release of her coronation song, "A Moment Like This," Clarkson dropped Stronger. Making the most of the success of her fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, which generated four Billboard Hot 100 hits (including the No. 1 "My Life Would Suck Without You"), and spurred on by the sales and award-winning juggernaut that was her country duet "Don't You Wanna Stay?" (with Jason Aldean), Stronger landed at No. 2 its first week on the charts and the first single, "Mr. Know It All," climbed into the Top 10. But it was the release of the title track, the second single from the album, "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You," that gave the album longevity.
The single would peak at No. 1 and go on to become the biggest selling single in "American Idol" alum history.
Stronger was awarded platinum certification in September by the Recording Industry Association of America. It was Clarkson's fourth album to receive the award, although her third studio album, 2007's My December, has still to achieve the actual attainment of the sales mark. Appearances on awards shows, "American Idol," "Dancing With The Stars," and specials like "Blake Shelton's Not-So-Family Christmas" kept her front-and-center in the headlines. And that was in addition to her starring role as a judge/mentor on the ABC singing competition "Duets."
She also recorded the team theme song for the Dallas Cowboys, "Get Up," part of the NFL Pepsi Anthems series.
Yes the last year has been a busy one for Kelly Clarkson and it looks as if her success will stretch into another decade...
Clarkson released the first-ever "Idol" greatest hits compilation in November, dropping a 17-track (20-track international deluxe edition) collection called Greatest Hits: Chapter One. The set included three original songs, a holiday offering, and all nine of her Top 10 Hot 100 hits. It also includes the No. 1 Hot Country Songs hit, "Don't You Wanna Stay?" (which peaked at No. 38 on the Hot 100). The other three songs were Top 10 near misses.
The 30-year-old Texas native also hit a high note recently in her personal life, announcing her engagement to talent manager Brandon Blackstock in mid-December.
Although she began her career as the inaugural winner of the hit singing competition "American Idol," Clarkson didn't rest on her laurels, nor was she satisfied with a one-and-done scenario that seems to play out so often with the artists that graduate from the "Idol" types of shows. Names like Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze all burned brightly for a short period, then faded. (Or, as was the unfortunate case with Lee DeWyze, never really burned at all.) Her first album, Thankful, has sold 2.8 million albums to date. Her sophomore set, Breakaway, is the second-best selling album in "Idol" history, notching up 6.3 million in sales (second only to Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts, which has accumulated nearly 7.3 million in sales to date).
Stronger is the sixteenth album from an "American Idol" alum to break the one million sales threshold.
Take Home Message: Guns 'n Roses lead singer Axl Rose once said in reference to album sales that it was a marathon, not a sprint. Kelly Clarkson's 15-month run to get to a million copies sold was certainly that. Helping get those sales was her hard work ethic, evident in her continuing television, touring, and chart presence. Yes, good things might come to those who wait, but for those willing to expend the effort, the maxim that success comes with about 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration (read: hard work) also sees good things come to the hard-at-work waiting for their success. They're just a little busier and more productive than those simply waiting...
** All sales cited US only.
(photo credit: Manfred Werner-Tsui, Creative Commons)