Listen up, Kelly Clarkson, the artist formerly unknown outside Burleson, Texas. On Sept. 4, in front of 22 million people, you won American Idol and were suddenly being compared to Whitney, Celine and Mariah. But all that glitters is not gold; sometimes it’s Glitter. So take the advice of pop stars who’ve tasted the sweet and sour of fame. What they have to say is—as Paula Abdul might put it—fuh-nomenal.
Former New Kid on the Block
“Stay grounded, because someday all this is going to come to an end. Someday you’ll be a 40-year-old woman raising your kids. Don’t let this adulation give you a phony sense of who you are. And above all else, remember this is just a job. Nothing more”
Pop star at 15
“Make sure that whoever you have as management—the people around you—care about you in the long term. It’s easy to make that one hit, but harder to stay in a career. Keep the good friends who care that you’re an everyday schmo. Keep them around at all times”
Pop star at 16
“Being crowned the American Idol is going to be a double-edged sword. It may carry a stigma, because she’s manufactured. She’s just gotta speak up and make sure she loves what she’s singing, because she’s gonna have to sing those songs 8 million times”
“Don’t be a puppet for the American Idol people or Simon Cowell or whomever. Do what it is you want to do. Then stop every once in a while and take a deep breath and enjoy what’s going on at the present time. Really truly enjoy it. Have as much fun as you can. Don’t let it pass you by”