Kelly Clarkson Remembers Doing Etta James Karaoke With Amy Winehouse While Filming ‘From Justin to Kelly’ | Video

“She, just from the jump, had such a presence about her voice,” the Grammy winner says

Amy Winehouse singing Etta James is a sight that any fan would love to see — and it turns out, Kelly Clarkson has some bragging rights in that department.

The “Kelly Clarkson Show” host revealed in Thursday’s episode that she had a night out with a young Winehouse while filming 2003’s “From Justin to Kelly” and she witnessed the iconic British songstress on the mic singing karaoke before “she was who she was.”

“It’s funny, I actually saw her before she was who she was. She just was coming over with her boyfriend, and it was while I was shooting this movie that I absolutely hate,” Clarkson told guest Marisa Abela, who stars as Winehouse in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s upcoming biopic “Back to Black.”

“We all did a karaoke night, and it was before she was her, and she almost sounded a little different, as well. It was like, before she became, like, Amy Winehouse,” Clarkson continued. “I don’t think she even had a record deal or anything at that time. But it was, like, we all went to karaoke and she sang Etta James, and I was like, ‘Wait, what?!’ She, just from the jump, had such a presence about her voice.”

Clarkson added, however, that she sounded different from the doo-wop-tinged Winehouse we know best from the Grammys-sweeping “Back to Black.” Her voice, she said, “almost became more of a character with herself throughout her career.”

“Yeah, well, she’s influenced by different people, as well,” Abela explained of her approach to the performance. “You know, that first album, ‘Frank,’ which is less of an iconic album over here in the States than ‘Back to Black’ is, but it’s more of a sort of jazz/hip-hop album. So there are different influences and her voice is different on that album.”

“Yeah, it was different when I heard her. I was like, ‘That’s the same chick?!’” Clarkson enthused of the karaoke-to-Grammys difference.

“That’s also the crazy thing about learning to sing as her. It changes,” Abela continued. “You know, ‘Back to Black’ is … this sort of romantic 1950s thing, the beehive comes into play and it’s a different girl to the girl who’s singing ‘Stronger Than Me’ [from ‘Frank’]. She’s more influenced by hip-hop. And so even Amy changes.”

“I think every artist does,” Clarkson responded, “so it’s kind of exciting instead of staying the same all the time.”

Watch the full “Kelly Clarkson Show” interview segment in the video above. “Back to Black” hits theaters Friday.


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