"Thankful" is Kelly Clarkson's debut studio album. The album was released on April 15, 2003 by RCA Records.

The album was originally supposed to be released in November of 2002, but due to Kelly's demanding schedule & the difficulty of finding suitable tracks for her taste & image, it was delayed several times.

By the time the album was released, it was over six months since her single "A Moment Like This" reached number one on the charts.

Album BackgroundEdit

Two songs originally on the album "Trace of Gold" and "Today for Me" (written by Stephanie Saraco) were replaced just before the album release by "Anytime" and "A Moment Like This".

Early released versions of the CD still show the original tracks on players that read the data from the CD itself (such as Windows Media Player). The two songs have yet to be heard by the general public.

Copies of the album sold during its first year of release contained a computer program that could be loaded and used with the internet for artist updates and music videos. The program ceased to function when Kelly's official RCA website was launched.

The album included three cover tracks: "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" originally by Aretha Franklin, "Some Kind of Miracle" originally sung by Puff Johnson and "Just Missed the Train" by Danielle Brisebois.

The song "Just Missed the Train" was previously covered by Carly Smithson (then Carly Hennessy), who worked on much of her album with Danielle Brisebois.


Standard EditionEdit

# TitleWriter(s)Producer(s) Length
1. "The Trouble with Love Is"  Kelly Clarkson, Evan Rogers, Carl SturkenRogers, Sturken 3:41
2. "Miss Independent"  Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Rhett Lawrence, Matt MorrisLawrence 3:34
3. "Low"  Jimmy HarryClif Magness 3:28
4. "Some Kind of Miracle"  Diane WarrenSteve Ferrera, Lawerence 3:38
5. "What's Up Lonely"  Rogers, Stephanie Saraco, StrukenRogers, Sturken 4:08
6. "Just Missed the Train"  Danielle Brisebois, Scott CutlerMagness 4:10
7. "Beautiful Disaster"  Rebekah Jordan, Matthew WilderWilder 4:10
8. "You Thought Wrong (feat. Tamyra Gray)"  Clarkson, Babyface, Gray, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon ThomasThe Underdogs and Face 3:49
9. "Thankful"  Clarkson, Babyface, Mason, ThomasThe Underdogs and Face 3:00
10. "Anytime"  Louis Biancaniello, Sam WattersBiancaniello, Wattes 4:05
11. "A Moment Like This" (new mix)Jörgen Elofsson, John ReidFerrera, Steve Mac 3:48
12. "Before Your Love" (new mix)Desmond Child, Cathy DennisChild, Dennis 3:59
iTunes and Japanese bonus track
# Title Length
13. "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"   2:36

Critical ReceptionEdit

Critical response for "Thankful" were generally positive.

On Metacritic (a website that compiles various reviews), the album received a score of 62, indicating generally favorable reviews.

Entertainment Weekly noted that "Clarkson glides through octaves with the masterful control of someone who's been doing this for decades."

Rolling Stone magazine gave the album three out of five stars, praising Kelly's talent and vocal abilities while criticizing the album for feeling manufactured.

They note that "[her] high notes are sweet and pillowy, her growl is bone-shaking and sexy, and her midrange is amazingly confident for a pop posy whose career is tied for eternity to the whims of her American Idol overlords."

On the other hand, Q gave the album a very negative review, stating that the album "has her trilling like Mariah Carey on fluffy R&B tunes."

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Thankful" sold well in the United States. It managed to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 with 297,000 copies sold.

The album sold over 1 million copies in six weeks. According to Nielsen SoundScan, it has sold 2,745,000 copies to date in the United States.


  • Vocals - Kelly Clarkson
  • Background Vocals - Kelly Clarkson, Suzie Benson, Danielle Brisebois, Debra Byrd, Sharlotte Gibson, Mary Griffin, Rebekah Jordan, Cindy Mizelle, Conesha Owens, Evan Rogers, Aiesha Wright, Betty Wright, Jeanette Wright, Sam Watters, Chris Willis, Leslie Smith
  • Guitar - Chris Camozzi, Pathik Desai, Paul Gendler, Corky James, Clif Magness, Rhett Lawrence, Tim Pierce, Olle Romo, Matthew Wilder, Dan Warner
  • Bass - Mike Elizondo, Randy Jackson, Clif Magness, Steve Pearce, Tommy Sims
  • Keyboards - Doug Emery, Clif Magness, Louis Biancaniello, Steve Mac, Carl Sturken
  • Percussion - Steve Ferrera
  • Piano - Jim Gasior, Clif Magness, Matthew Wilder
  • Violin - Charlie Bisharat, Bruce Dukov, Ghislaine Fleishman, Berj Garabedian, Peter Kent, Emma Kummrow, Charlene Kwas, Charles Parker, Michele Richards, Gregory Teperman, John Wittenberg, Ken Yerke
  • String and Horn Arrangements - David Campbell
  • Viola - Bob Becker, Darrin McCann, Peter Nocella, David Young
  • Cello - Larry Corbett, Jennie Lorenzo, Dan Smith
  • Organ - Kenneth Crouch
  • Concert Master - Joel Derouin
  • French Horn - Rick Todd
  • DJ - Rhett Lawrence, Wayne Rodrigues
  • Scratching - Rhett Lawrence, Wayne Rodrigues
  • Drums - Teddy Campbell, Steve Ferrera, Abe Laboriel, Jr., Lee Levin, Josh Freese
  • Executive Producer - Clive Davis
  • Producer - Louis Biancaniello, Desmond Child, Cathy Dennis, Steve Ferrera, Rhett Lawrence, Clif Magness, Steve Mac, Evan Rogers, Carl Sturken, Sam Watters, Matthew Wilder
  • Engineer - Louis Biancaniello, Carlos Alvarez, J.D. Andrew, Rich Balmer, Jeff Chestek, Steve Churchyard, Quentin Dunn, Doug Emery, Conrad Golding, Jules Gondar, Al Hemberger, Dino Hermann, Matt Howe, Jimmy Hoyson, Jeff Kanan, Chris Laws, Greg London, Craig Lozowick, Clif Magness, Marcelo Marulanda, Csaba Petocz, Lee Levin, Andy Zulla, Robin Sellars, Sam Watters
  • Mixing - Louis Biancaniello, Carlos Alvarez, Bob Clearmountain, Steve Ferrera, Rhett Lawrence, Tony Maserati, Steve McMillan, Dave Pensado, Andy Zulla, Mike Shipley
  • Programming - Louis Biancaniello, Doug Emery, Rhett Lawrence, Clif Magness, Matthew Wilder
  • Arranger - Louis Biancaniello, Doug Emery, Rhett Lawrence, Clif Magness, Sam Watters
  • Mixing Assistant - James Briggs, Brendan Kuntz, Matt Snedecor, Patrick Woodward
  • Assistant Engineer - Dan Bucchi, Gordon Goss, Kevin Harp, Jun Ishizeki, Daniel Pursey, Cesar Ramirez
  • Vocal Editing - Dabling Harward
  • Pro-Tools Editing - Rhett Lawrence, Steve McMillan, Andy Zulla, Jim Watts, Olle Romo
  • Drum Programming - Carl Sturken
  • Vocal Arrangement - Chris Willis
  • Strings Arrangements - Dave Arch, Larry Gold
  • Strings Conductor - Larry Gold
  • Orchestra Manager - Suzie Katayama
  • Songwriter - Stephanie Saraco
  • Mastering - Stephen Marcussen
  • A&R - Steve Ferrera
  • Photography - Tony Duran
  • Art Direction - Frank Harkins, Brett Kilroe
  • Production Coordination - Brian Coleman, Andrea Derby, Jolie Levine-Aller


  • Did you know that Tamyra Gray has won fourth place on the television series American Idol durig the First Season, the exact season that Kelly Clarkson won.
  • Did you know that Louis Biancaniello and Sam Watters not only compose a song for Thankful but also did songs for Breakaway and All I Ever Wanted.
  • Did you know that the early copies of Thankful contained a special computer program that when you load it up and you have an internet connection, you could see music videos and artist updates. However, the program ceased to function when her official RCA website was introduced.
  • Did you know that two songs originally on the album Thankful, "Trace of Gold" and "Today for Me," were replaced right before the album's release and were replaced with "Anytime" and "A Moment Like This." Early versions of the CD still show the names of the original tracks on players that read data from the CD itself.
  • Did you know that the song "Anytime" was featured in Kelly Clarkson's first movie "From Justin to Kelly." Still to this day, Kelly Clarkson gets offers to act because of her performances in the said movie. She rejects them because all she wants to do is to make music.


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