Kelly Clarkson is expected to release her first Christmas record "Wrapped in Red" next week (Oct. 29), but a source has leaked a full album stream. Featuring collaborations with Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and Ronnie Dunn, the project also includes originals and has the singer digging her vocals into rich, soulful tunes -- many of which are classic holiday standards. Boasting 14 tracks, the record will surely be fit this holiday season as a "great stocking stuffer," she quips in the album preview.
The dialogue discussing the singer's sixth studio album being a Christmas venture started last December with Greg Kurstin ("Stronger"). Needless to say, it was something Clarkson had always wanted to explore. "I've been dying to make a Christmas album," she says in the latest issue of Billboard. "I always get asked what genre I'm in: 'Is this country or pop or rock? What are you?'" she says. "And what's cool about making the Christmas album was, 'Oh, there are no limitations! We can do whatever we want!'"
"It's our main release this season," RCA VP of marketing Aaron Borns notes. "The angle on this album is that, like all great Christmas records, it's about amazing vocal performances. That's what this is intended to be-an album launched this year but timeless and genre-defying."
"Wrapped in Red" (the title track) is only a snippet of what fans can expect on the overall record. The song itself was inspired by the romantic comedy "Love, Actually," starring Keira Knightley. "It's all over the map," Clarkson adds. "But in a good way."
Also included on the record is a cover of Imogen Heap's "Just For Now," an unlikely addition to a holiday set. She explains, "I just love that song. That was my family Christmas-highly dysfunctional, like, 'Can we just stop for like five minutes and have like a normal Christmas setting?'"
In support of the record, Clarkson will also star in her very own Christmas special called "Kelly Clarkson's (Cautionary) Christmas Tale." Set to tape in front of a live audience Oct. 30, the TV event will consist of musical performances and comedy bits. "I love [the Will Ferrell movie] 'Elf,'" she says. "I wanted to tell a real story, make a new classic, not just do some skits that aren't really related."
"This will feature a full narrative with a beginning, middle and end," says Ian Stewart, co-founder of Dun and Dusted, the production company behind the special "And the spine is her singing. We'll have a young girl, narrating the story, sitting in an overstuffed chair in front of an amazing fire, reading the story from a book. And yes, it starts with 'once upon a time' and ends with 'happily ever after.'"
"Wrapped In Red" Track Listing:
1. Wrapped in Red
2. Underneath The Tree
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
4. Run Run Rudolph
5. Please Come Home For Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing)
6. Every Christmas
7. Blue Christmas
8. Baby It’s Cold Outside (feat. Ronnie Dunn)
9. Winter’s Dreams (Brandon’s Song)
10. White Christmas
11. My Favorite Things
12. 4 Carats
13. Just For Now
14. Silent Night (feat. Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood)
Take a listen to the full album above.