The new Jason Aldean album, My Kinda Party, is released today, and while the title track is the rockin’ first single from the project, it’s a duet with Kelly Clarkson that’s gotten the most attention among music critics who’ve already heard the album.
Jason and Kelly lock voices on “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” a big-sounding ballad that marks the first time he’s recorded with an artist from outside country music. Now they’ve announced they’ll be singing together during the 44th annual Country Music Association Awards Nov. 10.
The song was not originally presented to Jason as a duet, but he and producer Michael Knox thought the lyrics would work for two people if he could reel in a female singer to tackle it. Jason only considered two artists for the job: Kelly and the woman who will co-host the CMAs with Brad Paisley. There was no guarantee that either would do it.
“I had narrowed it down to two people, but also knew that with those two people, depending on which one we decided to go with, it was gonna make the song sound completely different,” Jason says. “Carrie Underwood was one of ‘em, and Kelly Clarkson, and I’m a fan of both of their voices. I think they’re both great, but they’re both different. Kelly’s is really kind of a really raspy, soul-type thing and Carrie, she’s just got stupid pipes too, but hers is a little cleaner.”
Kelly has a home in Nashville, and her manager is Reba McEntire’s husband, Narvel Blackstock, so there were certainly some local ties that made it easy to reach out to her. But Jason wasn’t completely convinced she’d be willing to take on the song.
“Her not really bein’ in the country genre, I thought it was a little more of a long shot, which ended up not bein’ the case,” Jason says. “But the list [of duet partners] was pretty short, and I had kinda decided that if we couldn’t get one of those two, then we just wasn’t gonna put anybody on it and I was just gonna sing the song myself.”
That’s not the only awards show on Jason’s horizon this year. He’s up for two trophies at the American Music Awards Nov. 22 and he’s in the running for Male Artist of the Year in the inaugural American Country Awards, on tap Dec. 6 from Las Vegas.