By Amanda Wicks
Kelly Clarkson got personal on her seventh studio album, Piece By Piece. The fraught relationship she had with her father–who abandoned her family when she was young–made its way onto the single, “Piece by Piece.”
The song’s seeds were first planted when Clarkson sat down with her sister and began discussing their childhood. She would go on to co-write the song with producer Greg Kurstin. But instead of a pure lament about the love she never got from her father, Clarkson shifted the song to focus on all the good her husband has brought to her life. In every way her father failed her, her husband has put her back together. “Piece by piece, he restored my faith/ That a man can be kind and a father could stay,” she sings on the heart wrenching chorus.
“I wrote that song after an intense conversation with my sister,” she told Radio.com. “We didn’t have a very high bar – or any bar – set for what a father figure should be like. Or what a man should be like. I think a lot of girls date someone like their father. I didn’t want to do that! I don’t know him very well, but I know that he’s awesome at abandonment. I wrote the song about how that sucked.”
“Piece by Piece” earned Clarkson her 11th Top 10 hit, and she also returned to her staging ground, American Idol, to perform a stark version of the song in early 2016. That version so struck listeners that Clarkson released it as a separate single. It would go on to receive a GRAMMY nomination for Best Solo Pop Performance.
Find out if “Piece by Piece (Idol Version)” wins at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards, which will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12. It will air on CBS at 8pm ET.