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‘Idol’s Kara DioGuardi Talks Writing for Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

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Former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi has written songs for some big stars over the years, including Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. In a new interview, she reveals what it was like to work with these talented women.

DioGuardi first appeared as a judge on the talent show for Season 8, alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. She returned for Season 9 with Cowell, Jackson, and new judge Ellen DeGeneres.

Kara DioGuardi Shares What Made Kelly Clarkson Her Hero

In a recent interview with Sounds Like Nashville, DioGuardi shared a story about working with Clarkson, for whom she wrote songs such as “Walk Away” and “Heartbeat Song.” When she stood up to a producer, DioGuardi says Clarkson became her hero.

“I always loved Kelly’s feistiness and her ability to say what was on her mind,” DioGuardi said. “I have this great story when she was working with me, and this producer and the producer was not being very nice to her. He was being condescending and a real jerk and she got up to go to the bathroom and never came back. She became my hero right there.”

The feeling is apparently mutual. In 2009, Clarkson said in an interview that she was watching the current season of American Idol to see DioGuardi, whom she called her friend. She described her as “a kick-ass vocalist and writer.”



DioGuardi Wrote with Carrie Underwood in Six Hours

The songwriter told Taste of Nashville that she worked with Underwood to write “Undo It” and “Mama’s Song” in under six hours. The tracks appeared on Underwood’s 2009 album Play On. She and Underwood talked about the men they were dating. This was back when Underwood was seeing her now-husband Mike Fisher.

“Then we started talking about weddings and how it’s so weird how the dad always walks the bride down the aisle but what about the moms?” DioGuardi recalled. “How the dad does the dance, but what about the moms who taught you everything from what it’s like to be a woman to everything else? I just lost my mom and that’s how we got onto ‘Mama’s Song.’”

DioGuardi’s advice for songwriters? “Write about your own feelings.”

“You have to go out there and get your heart broken, fall in love and experience life,” she added.

Want to listen to DioGuardi’s songs? Spotify has a playlist of over 360 tracks she worked on, by artists such as Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, and Adam Lambert.

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