The record is a reflection of the 41-year-old’s own recent relationship with now ex-husband Brandon Blackstock, looking back on some of the lightest and darkest memories from their eight-year marriage.
In a cover story with American Songwriter magazine for their July issue, the singer got candid about the hardship of performing work so personal and impactful, especially at her birthday show back in April, when she first introduced the record.
Speaking with the outlet, Kelly described trying to perform the opening track, ‘Skip This Part’, but left unable to do so, taking a moment to regain her composure before resuming.
“I got so choked up to where I couldn’t get sound out,” she said of the moment, reliving the pain associated with the ballad. “I was destroyed, just bawling. That’s kind of how it was in the studio with that song, too. It was really hard to record.”
The American Idol winner dove deeper into the meaning behind the album opener, which describes the feeling of wanting to bypass the feelings of sadness, resentment, and pain.
“Everybody keeps saying the end is going to happen, but I just really want to skip all of this,” she adds. “It just hurts physically, emotionally, mentally – everything hurts – and I think, unfortunately, people can relate to that.”
Released on June 23, Chemistry, which has been dubbed Kelly’s “divorce album,” received positive reviews upon release and went on to become her ninth top ten record in her native United States.
When she first announced the album in March, she described it as a bridge between the range of emotions one feels in a relationship.
” I’ve been working on this project for close to three years now,” she said in a video message. “I wasn’t sure I was going to release it, but I am.
Of the album’s title, she explained: “I was trying to find a word, it might be one of the songs on the album [spoiler alert: it is], but I was trying to find a word that really described the whole thing. I didn’t want everybody to think I was just coming out with some ‘I’m angry,’ ‘I’m sad’ – just one or two emotions. This album is definitely the arc of an entire relationship.”
She added: “That whole relationship shouldn’t be brought down to one thing. There’s the good, the bad and the ugly kind of thing going on. Chemistry can be a really amazing, sexy, cool, fun thing, but it can also be very bad for you. So that’s why I named it Chemistry, I thought it was the perfect title to describe the entire album.”
Chemistry is a look back on Kelly’s relationship with ex Brandon, a talent manager who was introduced to her by close friend Reba McEntire, who happened to be Brandon’s former stepmom.
The Couple welcomed daughter River, nine, and son Remington, seven, during their marriage, but their split has since been characterized by a messy divorce, including disputes over property and spousal support.