Kelly Clarkson Sticks Up for Mariah Carey

Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey

Heavy/Getty Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey

Original “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson says people don’t give fellow music superstar Mariah Carey enough credit, stating in a new interview that most fans don’t even know the former “Idol” judge is also a prolific songwriter.

In fact, Clarkson revealed, Carey wrote one of her favorite songs about the breakup of a marriage — something the talk show host has experienced recently with her divorce from Brandon Blackstock. Here’s what you need to know:

Kelly Clarkson Wants People to Know Mariah Carey Wrote an ‘Insane Amount of Hits’

While promoting her brand new album, “chemistry,” Clarkson sat down for an interview with Zane Lowe at Apple Music on June 21, 2023. Discussing the process of writing and recording the album, which is full of songs about her marriage and subsequent divorce, the Grammy winner brought up a song she loves by Carey, called “Side Effects.”

Clarkson told Lowe, “Mariah Carey has a song actually that I love, that I come back to, called ‘Side Effects.’ I don’t know if you know it, but that’s a really solid song.”

The up-tempo tune, which appeared on Carey’s 2008 “E=MC²” album, includes the follow lines:

I kept my tears inside ’cause I knew if IStarted I’d keep cryin’ for the rest of myLife with you I finally built up the strengthTo walk away don’t regret itBut I still live with the side effects

Clarkson continued, “People don’t give her enough credit. People give her credit as, like, a singer. I don’t think people give her credit as a writer. People don’t realize she wrote all that sh**.”

Lowe agreed, saying that of Carey’s biggest holiday hits, “All I Want For Christmas,” was written on a little Casio keyboard in seven minutes.

“Totally, I believe it,” Clarkson said, laughing that Carey was like “Ross on ‘Friends'” using a Casio keyboard to plunk out hits.

Lowe said that regardless of how she created it, “She’s second only in passive income to Michael Jordan.” In December, Forbes reported that Carey makes $2.5 to $3 million annually on royalties from that song alone, which was first released in 1994.

“That’s insane,” Clarkson said. “I mean, you know, financially she’s rocking it because of what she’s done. I just mean I think people think of her as a songbird and don’t think of her as, like, a writer. Because we talk about Carole King, we talk about James Taylor … those are all amazing people, yes.”

“But I’m just saying there are a number of hits (she’s written), there’s like an insane amount of hits,” Clarkson continued. “And not even hits. She’s got all these album tracks. I love great writing.”

Kelly Clarkson Professed Her Love for Mariah Carey Years Ago on ‘American Idol’

A longtime fan of Carey, Clarkson has periodically sung her songs on her talk show and during various performances over the years. In 2013, she nervously returned to “American Idol” when Carey was a judge alongside Randy Jackson, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj to sing the pop star’s tune “People Like Us.”

After her performance, seen in the video above, Clarkson said to host Ryan Seacrest, “It’s so nerve-wracking in front of Mariah Carey.”

“I know, I know, you were nervous about that,” he replied, and as Carey made her way to the stage, Clarkson exclaimed, “Oh my god, I love her.”

Pointing to the remaining season 12 contestants, Clarkson added, “If I had been one of them, having to audition in front of her, I would have vomited on the stage.”

Clarkson then reminded Jackson that he was with her the first time she met Carey, during the first season of “Idol.” She recalled being starstruck when she realized the producer and judge worked with Carey.

“And I like, lost my crap,” Clarkson reminded him.

Jackson replied, “That’s right! That’s right! She’s telling the truth! I introduced you at a radio show.”

Clarkson then told Carey she was so relieved that she wasn’t “mean.”

According to Spotify, Carey has written 247 songs on the music charts, including Bryon Tillson’s smash R&B hit “Don’t.” She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2022.