As our worlds get small and smaller due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders, Kelly Clarkson has found a way to connect us all through song.
After hyping it as her favorite thing she’s ever done, Clarkson revealed her inspiring new single, “I Dare You,” on Thursday morning (April 16), Zooming in to The Today Show to debut the track.
With technical issues preventing co-host Hoda Kotb from playing it properly, Clarkson sang along to the tinny sound from Hoda’s phone and explained that she’s had the song locked-and-loaded for a while. “We’ve been working on this project for over a year,” she said, explaining that the time-consuming recording involved tracking five other versions with vocals by a handful of international singers.
In addition to Clarkson’s original, there is also a version where her vocals are intertwined with her international cast of singers, as well as recordings by each vocalist: Zaz (“Appelle Ton Amour” – French), Faouzia (“كنتحداك” – Arabic), Blas Cantó (“Te Reto A Amar” – Spanish), Glasperlenspiel (“Trau Dich” – German) and Maya Buskila (“בוא נראה” – Hebrew).
“I grew up singing opera night… I grew up singing different languages — like German, French, Italian, Spanish, that kind of stuff, and Latin — but I always had the idea to do this with a project in my career but I never really had the song I felt fit with it, nor did I have the team that really would back it, the idea,” Clarkson told Kotb of the track. “The message was perfect. I thought it was kind of globally connecting and I wanted to do that musically and then all this happened and we became extremely connected globally.”
There were thoughts of shelving it, but Clarkson said she felt like maybe it was the perfect time for a lyric in which she dares you to pick love over fear and hate and engage with with other people and we’re all one human race. “At the end of the day we’re all like the same human race,” she said about the song, which also includes a version in which she blends her vocals with those of her international compatriots.
“This is my favorite/hardest project that I’ve ever worked on,” Clarkson said in a statement. “It has always been a dream of mine, as I grew up singing in different languages, to find that perfect song, with the perfect message, to connect us all globally and then record that song with several other artists around the world in their native languages.”
She continued, “We have put a lot of work into this as a team and decided to continue with our release date of this project because we feel like we all couldn’t be more connected right now across the world, and maybe this message will bring a little hope in this sometimes dark, and isolating time. Thank you so much to all the artists that worked on this with me. We hope everyone out there connects with this message and chooses love instead of fear. I dare you.”
The song was written by Natalie Hemby (The Highwomen), Laura Veltz (Dan + Shay) and Ben West (P!nk) with production by longtime Clarkson collaborator Jesse Shatkin (Sia).
The lyrical message is simple: “I dare you to love/ Oh, I dare you to love/ Even if you’re hurt and you can only see the worst/ Even if you think it’s not enough.” Clarkson did a virtual takeover of the Pulse Channel as part of SiriusXM’s Home DJ Series on Thursday morning, with the special scheduled to broadcast multiple times throughout the weekend as well as On Demand.
The performance video for “I Dare You” will premiere on Thursday’s episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, where the singer will perform virtually with her global partners.
Listen to the versions of “I Dare You” below.