Fourteen years after winning American Idol and embarking on a career that's amounted to more than 25 million album sales worldwide, Kelly Clarkson is headed in a brand new direction: She's making a long-awaited soul record.

In a fifth and final installment of a Facebook Live video series Clarkson's been unrolling this week (you can watch here), she announced she's signed a brand new contract with Atlantic, which also oversees the careers of heavy-hitters Ed Sheeran, Missy Elliott and Coldplay, just to name a few.

Clarkson's been signed to RCA since her since her 2002 American Idol win. While she thanked the label for years of great work in the clip, she did admit it's played out a bit like an "arranged marriage," and added she looks forward to working with the eager Atlantic. She also noted the new team understands the "colors of her voice" and is giving her lots of license to proceed with her career as she sees fit — which might also include a country album down the road.

"[Atlantic wants] to make the album I've wanted to make since I was a kid" she explained, adding that she's bringing her catalog "back to Idol days," during which she sang songs by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

"My mom has wanted this for years," Clarkson said of her coming soul record, which she plans to release in 2017.

And there's more good news: to sate fans who constantly demand live covers from Clarkson, the singer has announced the launch of, a destination that will upload live performances monthly that fans can download for free. Covers of Coldplay's "Fix You," Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind," Radiohead's "Creep" and India Arie's "Ready For Love" are already available.

Oh, plus she performed a devastatingly amazing rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me."

"I'm so excited I can't stop smiling," she said after. Same.

Clarkson first hinted a new career movement on Monday (June 20), which she called the "coolest" of her career. Since then, she's posted daily cover performances that she said would serve as a collective hint to what was ultimately her Atlantic signing — first Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine," then Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," then Aretha Franklin's "Something He Can Feel" and finally Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." Each artist, she revealed with her final announcement, has been an Atlantic artist.

Clarkson had been on vocal rest since cutting a 2015 tour short for strain on her voice, but said in her initial announcement that she was feeling miles better, and couldn't wait to get back to work.

"I’m excited to sing again,” she said in her introductory Facebook Live video. “Months ago I sounded like crap…[but] this is the coolest announcement for me as an artist.”

A soul record has been a long time coming for the Clarkson-devout. While her career has gone in a mostly pop-rock direction, her 2003 debut LP Thankful included some fan-favorite soul-pop tracks like "What's Up Lonely" and "Thankful" that showcased vocal stylings Clarkson's since left mostly un-included from her discography. Soul-pop tracks like "Why Don't You Try" and "I Had a Dream" have appeared on more recent LPs.

What do you make of Kelly's next chapter? Think it's the right move? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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