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Star Talks Holidays and New Album on AFRS Radio Program

  • Published
  • By Randy Martin, AFRS Public Affairs

A world renowned singer from Texas joined an Air Force Recruiting Service host for the “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” radio show. The program has been a staple of armed forces holiday entertainment for over two decades and has featured scores of major recording artists through the years.

“Thank you all so much for your service, I’m going to lead with that,” Kelly Clarkson said after a welcome by Tech. Sgt. Greg Cerny. The program was recorded in a Nashville, Tennessee, studio on Oct. 11, 2021 with Clarkson joining virtually from Los Angeles.

The hour-long show features six songs that are included on Clarkson’s ninth studio album, “When Christmas Comes Around.” It is her first holiday album since 2013.

“Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” listeners will hear the singer, songwriter, author and TV star talk about growing up as a teacher’s daughter in a conservative community and the importance of hard work and education.

“It was refreshing to see that fame hasn’t stolen her authenticity,” said Cerny, AFRS’s broadcast noncommissioned officer in charge. “She’s real and down to earth and that’s cool.”

When asked about growing up and her family’s holiday celebrations, Clarkson bragged about her sister’s culinary skills and confessed to being a “sous-chef.” Later in the interview she recalled a seventh grade teacher whose push landed her in choir rather than band class where she had originally intended on being. Stardom came with a win during the inaugural 2002 season of “American Idol.”

Two decades later, the now world-famous singer from Fort Worth, Texas, said there are things more important than fortune and fame. “I don’t respond to money,” Clarkson said. “Pulling at my heartstrings, that’s a good way.”

Even though Clarkson has won Grammy Awards for her work and sold millions of albums, during the show she spoke at length about teachers and parents who are devoted or as she said “invested” in educating children.

“I always lift up educators and I think that they are angels on this planet. You’ve got to lift up parents who are killing it at home, that are reading with their kids at night and really investing,” Clarkson said.

While balancing her own singing career with raising two children and as a coach on a popular television show, Clarkson says she urges aspiring artists to work hard all the time.

“This is going to be work all the way,” Clarkson said. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m still working my tail off.”

“Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” was not produced in 2020 due to limitations associated with COVID-19. “Red, White and Air Force Blue Christmas” will be available digitally to more than 2,000 radio stations across the U.S. as well as American Forces Network overseas.