Kelly Clarkson's "Piece By Piece" Is Emotional

by Amy Mackelden

Kelly Clarkson has never been one to shy away from the honest and the emotional, and the "Piece By Piece" lyrics are no exception. Clarkson's performance of the song on American Idol reminded people of how powerful her voice is, and how expressive a singer she can be. The acoustic version of "Piece By Piece" really showcases the song's lyrics, and it's impossible to ignore how personal the words are. Not only does Clarkson discuss her husband, Brandon Blackstock, in the song, she also talks about her own relationship with her father, especially the fact that he left her when she was young.

Clarkson has been candid about her relationship with her estranged father. In an interview with Glamour in March 2015, speaking about "Piece By Piece," Clarkson said, "It’s a positive song, even though I know it sounds sad. I don’t know what my father went through as a child, and I don’t know why he left and made the decisions he made, but everyone’s human... He’s made me want to be that much more present in my family." Even though a lot of pain is evident in the lyrics of "Piece By Piece," there's a lot of love also, and understanding. So what is Kelly Clarkson's "Piece By Piece" about?

The song is an exploration of what it means to be a father. By looking back at her relationship with her father, Kelly Clarkson is able to appreciate what an amazing dad her husband is to their child.

And all I remember is your backWalking towards the airport, leaving us all in your pastI traveled fifteen hundred miles to see youBegged you to want me, but you didn't want to

The first verse of "Piece By Piece" discusses the early days of Kelly Clarkson's relationship with her father, which included him leaving, and her flying out to see him. Despite making such a huge trip to spend time with her dad, it didn't make any difference, and he seemingly remained indifferent to her. After reflecting on these devastating memories, Clarkson returns to present day, examining her life now.

But piece by piece, he collected meUp off the ground, where you abandoned things, yeahPiece by piece he filled the holes that you burned in meAt six years old and you know, he never walks awayHe never asks for money, he takes care of meHe loves mePiece by piece, he restored my faithThat a man can be kind and a father could... stay

There's no mistaking the "Piece By Piece" chorus, as Kelly Clarkson doesn't hold back. Comparing her father to her husband, she notes all of the ways in which the two are different, and there are many. The singer credits her husband with saving her, picking her up off the floor, and being a strong partner for her. In never hitting her up for cash, and never leaving, her husband is the sort of dad she wishes she had had, and she's grateful that her child can rely on him. The chorus is emotional, hard-hitting, honest, and raw.

And all of your words fall flatI made something of myself and now you want to come backBut your love, it isn't free, it has to be earnedBack then I didn't have anything you needed so I was worthless

The second verse is every bit as heartbreaking as the first, but for different reasons. Clarkson discusses how her father came back into her life, but only because she was famous. He wanted to know her, but the musician saw through it, feeling that he only wanted to reconnect because she'd made something of herself. As he hadn't had time for her pre-fame, she questioned his intentions. Kelly Clarkson shows real strength here, in standing up for her self-worth and refusing to be used.

The final refrain of the chorus introduces some new lyrics, which show Clarkson finding a way forward for her and her family.

Piece by piece I fell far from the treeI will never leave her like you left meAnd she will never have to wonder her worthBecause unlike you I'm going to put her first

Having survived a disappointing and soul-destroying relationship with her father growing up, Clarkson is intent on giving her daughter a different life. The American Idol winner wants her daughter to know unconditional love, and to have major self-belief. In having her own family, Clarkson is able to build stronger relationships.

"Piece By Piece" is a beautiful song, and Kelly Clarkson deserves to have her story told, as her experience resonates with a lot of people.

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