Clarkson was "super hopeful" when she wrote the song about her ex, but told the crowd at her Las Vegas residency "sometimes hopeful turns into hopeless" — before debuting empowering new lyrics.
Kelly Clarkson is reclaiming “Piece by Piece.”
The OG American Idol first released the single, from the album of the same name, back in 2015. It was written after she married Brandon Blackstock and gave birth to the couple’s first child — and is about feeling complete again following her own turbulent childhood and complicated relationship with her father thanks to her husband’s love.
But after her bitter divorce from Blackstock, Clarkson decided to retool the track and debuted a new, empowering version of the song during her Chemistry residency in Las Vegas over the weekend.
“This song I initially wrote just super hopeful and well, sometimes hopeful turns into hopeless,” she said before performing the track on Saturday night.
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While she sings “piece by piece, he collected me, off the ground where you abandoned things” in the original, referring to Blackstock, she tweaked the lyrics to make it about restoring her own faith in herself in the new version.
“But piece by piece, I collected me, up off the ground, where you abandoned things,” she sings, “Piece by piece, I filled the holes that you burned in me at six years old and I just walk away when they ask for money, I take care of me, ‘cuz I love me.”
“Piece by piece, I’ve restored my faith that a heart can still beat even when it breaks,” she continues, again changing the lyrics — this time from, “Piece by piece, he restored my faith that a man can be kind and a father could stay.”
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Later in the song, she sings about never leaving her children like her father did and, in the original, said Blackstock wouldn’t do the same. In this new version, however, Clarkson only speaks for herself — and updated the lyrics to also include son Remington, as she only had one child when she initially wrote the song.
“Piece by piece, I fell far from the tree, I will never leave them like you left me. They will never have to wonder their worth, because unlike you I’m gonna put them first,” she sang.
The final line: “I’ll never walk away, I’ll never break their hearts. I’ll take care of things, when you leave scars. Piece by piece, I’ve restored my faith that a heart can still beat, even if it breaks.”
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When she first released “Piece by Piece,” she told The Huffington Post that the song sprung from a conversation she had with her sister about their supportive husbands and their realization of how different things were from how they grew up.
“A lot of the reasons why I wrote ‘Piece by Piece’ was I guess I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until I had a child of my own, and until I experienced love like I do with Brandon on the daily basis,” she said at the time. “I guess you don’t realize something is missing until you feel it. I can’t imagine walking away from my little girl. I can’t imagine not having that love anymore. I didn’t know it was missing because I never had it. It was a revelation and that’s why I wrote that song. I think a lot of people go through that.”
Listen to the original version below:
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