The past two months haven't been too stellar for pop star Kelly Clarkson in the run-up to the release this week of her new RCA album, "My December." First came reports that she had to fight hard with

The past two months haven't been too stellar for pop star Kelly Clarkson in the run-up to the release this week of her new RCA album, "My December." First came reports that she had to fight hard with label execs to release an album of entirely self-penned material, on the heels of her smash 2004 album "Breakaway," which featured a number of co-writes with experienced songwriters.

Then, after first single "Never Again" stalled at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, Clarkson was forced to scrap her summer arena tour after lower-than-expected ticket sales. "We came to the realization that we had bit off more than we could chew," said LiveNation CEO Michael Rapino, whose company was promoting the tour. On top of everything else, Clarkson parted ways with her manager, the Firm's Jeff Kwatinetz.

So that leaves "My December," which was produced by David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Sugar Ray) and features bass work by indie veteran Mike Watt (the Minutemen, fIREHOSE). Tracks include "Haunting," "Chivas," "Be Still," "One Minute" and "Sober."

Asked why she thinks the industry seems so resistant to the idea of her writing her own album, Clarkson recently told Entertainment Weekly, "It's because I'm a woman -- because I'm a young woman. I literally heard someone say it [during a conference call]. They didn't know I was on the phone. Like, really? We're living in what century? I hung up. I was like, 'I can't even address that.' 'Cause that was the most ignorant thing I've ever heard."

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