"Piece by Piece" is a song by American singer Kelly Clarkson taken from her seventh studio album of the same name. She co-wrote the track with its producer Greg Kurstin. A midtempo pop song about restoring someone's faith in love and family relationships, Clarkson promulgated "Piece by Piece" as a sequel to the song "Because of You" (2004) but with a "happy ending". After a discussion with her sister about their family life, she introspectively co-wrote the song in a first-person narrative to her father, whose neglect of his family was used as a juxtaposition to her husband's unconditional love for her and their daughter, whom they both promised to never abandon.
"Piece by Piece" was first released as the second promotional single from Piece by Piece by RCA Records on February 24, 2015. Upon its release, the title track has received praise from music critics, who commended lyrical content as one of the album's highlights. Clarkson premiered the song in a live acoustic performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and has showcased it on the set list of the Piece by Piece Tour. A re-worked version of the track was released to American hot adult contemporary radio stations on November 9, 2015, as the third and final single from the album. On February 25, 2016, Clarkson performed "Piece by Piece" in a live presentation on the fifteenth season of American Idol. The successful commercial and critical response of her performance on the program led RCA to issue an "Idol version" of the track on February 29, 2016.
The combined versions of "Piece by Piece" allowed the song to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number eight, becoming Clarkson's eleventh top ten hit and tying itself with "Never Again" (2007) as her highest debut on the chart. The track also attained the top position on three Billboard charts—primarily the Billboard Digital Songs chart, earning Clarkson her 10th Billboard number-one hit—a milestone in her musical career. Overseas, "Piece by Piece" became a top 40 hit in the music charts of Australia, Canada, and Scotland. Clarkson later performed a reprise of the Idol version on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 3, 2016. The Idol version was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
One of the five songs she had written by for her seventh studio album, Clarkson co-wrote "Piece by Piece" with frequent collaborator Greg Kurstin, who produced the track. Clarkson has said about writing the song:
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 (Blackstock) on the daily basis. 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.
"Piece by Piece" (2015)
Clarkson's relationship with her husband serves as an antithesis to that of her estranged father. The complexities between parental bonds, primarily about fatherhood, are explored throughout the song.
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Lyrically, the song is a midtempo pop number about restoring someone's faith in love and family relationships. The song starts with a woman's recollection of her father abandoning his family; by the chorus, she finds a new man in her life, whom she describes as someone who, "piece by piece", had restored her "faith that a man can be kind and a father could stay". Written in a first-person narrative, Clarkson introspectively co-wrote the song to her father, whose abandonment of his family when she was six years old was utilized as a juxtaposition in contrast to her husband's unconditional love to her and their daughter, whom they had both promised in the song to never leave behind.
Clarkson pegged "Piece by Piece" as a follow-up song to her 2004 track "Because of You" and the album's "most personal" record, saying that "once you've worked through that and you find love and the kind of happiness you hoped for but didn't really know was possible. It's a happy song. And it has a happy ending, unlike 'Because of You'". She revealed that she was inspired to write it after a discussion with her sister about their relationships with their respective families. She remarked, "I was talking to my sister on the phone about how sometimes girls with daddy issues don't find men like that!". Clarkson also noted that how their husbands were so supportive and loving were in stark contrast to the cliché about people with "abandonment issues" dating "losers". She also said that "Piece by Piece" is a positive song, despite its somber resonance, and that she's still grateful to her father for making her want to be much more present in her family. Sonically, Jon Pareles of The New York Times compared it to the anthems recorded by U2. While Marissa Muller of CBS Radio described its sound as having a stadium feel with big drums.
An accompanying music video filmed by Alon Isocianu was commissioned to promote the single and premiered on Vevo on November 19, 2015. The video, filmed entirely in a monochromatic form, features tribute scenes to women of all ages—primarily to mothers, abandoned daughters, and pregnant women, ending with a scene of Clarkson carrying her own daughter. File Hashes
HASH2: C9D96A3BA3A90EB3 (MP3)