Getting some new songs together for her upcoming greatest hits album may have put Kelly Clarkson  on the path for her next set of all-new material.
The inaugural "American Idol" champ tells Billboard that she recorded six new songs for "Greatest Hits -- Chapter One," out now. "We've got three other ones we recorded for this album that are fantastic," she says. "There's one that actually sounds a little more for country radio or could be for pop; it's just kind of a really beautifully written singer-songwriter song. One sounds like David Bowie meets U2, and the other sounds like a 2012 version of En Vogue. They're all over the map, so we really don't know what we're gonna do with the next project."
One thing Clarkson says she's definitely planning to do, however, is take some time to make it. "We just finished 'Stronger' and now we're doing the greatest hits, so we haven't talked about it much," she explains. "Honestly, we've been going straight for a year, and I'm excited to have most of January off. But I'm a writer, so we've always got something going on that's, 'Oh, we can use that for the next project.' We kinda never stop in my camp with stuff like that, just because it's exciting for us."
Clarkson says that "Catch My Breath," the first single from "Greatest Hits," was designed as a summation of her 10-year- career to this point, which has included five studio albums and sales of more than 20 million worldwide, as well as 10 Top 20 Hot 100 singles, a pair of Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards and a dozen Billboard Music Awards. Despite the success, however, a compilation was a bit of a hard sell for her.
"At first when the label brought the idea up I was like, 'What? I'm too young! I'm only 30!' " she recalls. "Then they convinced me that it's awesome to be just 30 years old and have this many hits to be able to do it. And it's been literally a decade since 'Idol,' so it's kind of wrapping up the first decade, which is why it's called 'Chapter One.' "
Clarkson is particularly excited about one of the album's other new songs, a duet with Vince Gill called "Don't Rush" that's targeted direction for the country market -- where she's had hit duets with Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts and has won two Academy of Country Music Awards and one Country Music Association Awards. "People have been wanting me to release something specifically for country radio for years, but I didn't want to just release something that has a steel guitar on it," Clarkson says. "I wanted to release something I'm proud of, and we finally found that song. It's my favorite kind of country music; it's like 80s, 90s country music, that throwback, two-steppin' style. And I'm freakin' stoked I got Vince Gill to sing on it with me, so I win 'cause he's like one of my favorite people."
After "Greatest Hits" comes out Clarkson says she's looking forward to spending her first holiday with boyfriend Brandon Blackstock, McEntire's stepson (she and Reba like to play board games together). And she may check out the latest season of "Idol," though she has little to say about the show's new panel of judges.
"I just got back in the country recently from England; I just found out Keith Urban's gonna be on it, and I didn't know that," she says. "I totally watch if I'm home and it's on, but I normally don't get to watch live television. I usually have to watch TV that I downloaded or something when I'm on a plane. But if I'm at home and 'The Voice' happens to be on, or 'Idol' or 'X Factor' or whatever, I totally watch."
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