Friday, March 11, 2016

A Tribute to Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson

Over the last decade, when I listen to current music I have increasingly found myself missing lyrics with real relevance. Yes, there were still a ton of songs about love and relationships during my younger years, but why this subject must fill the lyrics of about 90% of mainstream songs produced I have no idea. It is just one aspect of life's journey.

What I do find is that there used to be more mainstream artists who wrote strong lyrics on other subjects that inspired me - Simon & Garfunkel (Bookends, The Sound of Silence, The Boxer, I Am A Rock, Bridge Over Troubled Water), Cat Stevens (But I Might Die Tonight, Can't Keep It In, Where do the Children Play, A Hundred I Dream) to name just a few. I am sure there are still many talented artists offering diverse, powerful lyrics on subjects other than love, but in the mainstream media it is the exception rather than the rule.

Thankfully there are still a few. Enter Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol. I will be honest, I haven't followed her career much. Traditional radio and even focused podcasts always have playlists that bore me, so I honestly struggle to keep up to date on today's musicians. You really have to dig to find those you like and I don't have a lot of time.  However, she caught my attention in a big way this last week.

                                                  Be sure to have a Kleenex when you
                                                                   watch this video!

I actually didn't see the American Idol show she appeared on, but the video of her performance was everywhere and I found myself deeply moved. Goosebumps and a few tears definitely happened and continued to happen when I re-watched Clarkson's performance of a new song called "Piece By Piece." The subject? What it felt to be abandoned by her father, the healing that came with a strong relationship and the affirmation that her own children would never know this pain. Her performance came from her heart and it was fortunate she performed with a pianist that could move with her through the emotional pauses that came near the end.

Well done Kelly! Well done!  And add in a pile of respect. I couldn't believe she apologized on Ellen. I thought her emotional performance was perfect.

Even more telling is she has created a website (HERE) for this song where others can share their stories. From the site -

Winning 2 Grammy's in 2013
"I wrote 'Piece By Piece' about the pain I, and so 
many children, feel who are abandoned by one of 
their parents. Thankfully, the song ends happily 
because I was fortunate enough to find a husband 
and create a family who help restore my faith in love
and myself every day. I want to focus on the positive 
that comes from pain.

I would love for you to share your stories and share 
images of the influential individuals in your lives who 
have helped you overcome any challenges you have 
faced. When you submit your photo, you can also enter 
to win a signed Piece by Piece vinyl and a phone call 
from me. So help us fill in the puzzle below, 
piece by piece."

I offer you both the video (above) and the lyrics (below), and suggest you read along the first time to truly understand the meaning. Want to see more meaningful songs make it into the mainstream media - buy it!  Nothing else sends the same message.

Kelly Clarkson "Piece By Piece" lyrics

And all I remember is your back
Walking towards the airport leaving us all in your past
I traveled 1500 miles to see you
Begged you to want me
But you didn't want to

But piece by piece you collected me
Up off the ground but you abandoned things
And piece by piece you filled the holes that you burned in me
At six years old and no
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father could stay

And all of your words fall flat
I made something of myself and now you wanna come back
But your love isn't free
It has to be earned
Back then I didn't have anything you needed
So I was worthless

But piece by piece you collected me
Up off the ground but you abandoned things
And piece by piece you filled the holes that you burned in me
At six years old and no
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father could stay

Piece by piece...

Piece by piece I fell far from the tree
I would never leave her like you left me
She will never have to wonder her worth
Because unlike you I'm gonna put her first
He'll never walk away
He'll never break her heart
He'll take care of things
He'll love her
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father should be great

Piece by piece...


Winning first American Idol in 2002

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