KELLY CLARKSON & CARRIE UNDERWOOD:
Musical Impact and the Numbers
Domestically, Underwood has a slight lead in album sales at 15.3 to 13.9 million, but internationally, Clarkson leads 25 million to about 17 million in album sales. Underwood has sold 29.6 million singles, while Clarkson keeps ahead at 36 million.
Clarkson has released 7 studio albums, plus a greatest hits record, while Underwood has released 4 studio albums and a greatest hits album. With this in mind, Underwood can potentially close the album and single sales gap with three very commercially successful albums. That is a big ask, but possible; music sales in general are in decline…unless you’re Adele.
On the all-encompassing US Billboard 200 albums, Clarkson has three #1s, two #2s, two #3s and a #11 for her greatest hits.
Underwood has three #1s, one #2, and a #4 for her greatest hits.
Globally, Underwood mainly charted on the country albums of the US, UK and Canada, consistently taking the #1 spots. Aside from Canada, she failed to make a strong impact on international “main”, all-encompassing album charts with infrequent appearances on the UK and Australian charts. Clarkson frequently charted in the top 5 and 10 of numerous international album charts.
Carrie has a record FOURTEEN #1 US country hits, and a #1 on the all-encompassing Hot 100 for her coronation song, Inside Your Heaven.
Clarkson has a staggering 98 #1 hits across all billboards charts, including three #1 hits and seven Top 10 hits on the Hot 100 (plus some Top 20 and Top 40 hits).
Clarkson has won a whopping 62 awards out of 90 nominations, but
Underwood has an astonishing slew of 136 awards out of 189. In terms of Grammys, Clarkson has 3 and Underwood 7. The relevance of Grammys is subjective, but the overall award count is clear. A strong variable is the genre these two compete in: pop vs country.
Tour grossing for Clarkson are rather obscure, but Underwood likely has a greater tour revenue anyways. In terms of reach, Underwood was primarily cemented in North America (heavily in the US), with a rare handful of concerts in Europe and Australia for her Blown Away Tour. She has another 5 stops in Europe for her upcoming Storyteller Tour.
Clarkson consistently branched out internationally to other major music market continents. During her world tours, about 40% her dates were international. She has performed on every continent with exception to the implausible Antarctica.
From various unspecified or unsupported sources, Underwood is estimated to have a net worth of $75 million, while Clarkson is believed to be around $28million.
Underwood is named the voice of her generation in country music, and has that record 14 #1 hits to boast. She is a member of the famed Grand Ole Opry and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Her debut album, Some Hearts became the fastest selling debut album in country history and was the best selling country album in the 2000s. Her debut hit, Inside Your Heaven also became the first ever country song to debut at #1 on the US Hot 100, and the first to do so in a decade. She is the highest earning “idol” among her peers. She is also the most decorated idol in terms of awards, and a stand-out among all decorated music acts in history. Country has a relatively loyal fan base (compared to pop), and she will likely go on to sell well and win many more awards. She was listed in Time’s 100 Most Influential People In the World list in 2014. She is appropriately titled, the Queen of Country.
Clarkson became the first ever American Idol winner, bringing fame and credibility to the series, producing a talent reality series cascade for the next decade. Due to her vocal power and versatility, she is considered one of the best voices in music by many critics. Her rock-tinged Breakaway era is credited with influencing a pop-rock scene for the 2000s, primarily with her critically acclaimed smash hit, Since U Been Gone. She is the best selling idol in term of album and single sales. She also holds the record for biggest jump to #1 on the US Hot 100 with My Life Would Suck Without You (she has broken the record twice). She is the first solo female artist in history to have the best-selling holiday album, with Wrapped In Red in 2013.
She is also the only artist in history to have won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album twice, and the ONLY artist to have been nominated four times. (An outlier like this goes to show how fickle pop is and how relevant Clarkson has been in a wavering genre.) She is a pop symbol for self-empowerment, strength and acceptance.
*Primary sources of information and statistics are from Wikipedia and commonly accessible digital music articles. Feel free to kindly corroborate any mistakes.
BONUS: G. ARTISTRY
Underwood’ soprano vocals range from E3 - G5 (excluding exclamations). What Clarkson has in power, Underwood has in endurance. She is capable of holding incredibly long and powerful notes. She has received critical praise for her country, pop, rock and gospel performances.
Clarkson’s soprano vocal range spans from E♭3 – F#6 (excluding exclamations). She has a stirring, powerhouse voice, capable of flourishing in any genre, from R&B, to pop, soul, country, rock, classical, opera, and even rap. One of the most malleable and flexible voices in all of music.
The sky is the limit.