Kelly Clarkson’s Music Director Reveals How “Kellyoke Comes Together

Kelly Clarksons Music Director Reveals How Kellyoke Comes Together
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2:30 p.m. Second verse, same as the first. Following a brown bag lunch at his desk and a wardrobe change into an equally bedazzled L.A.-centric top, it’s back to set. Things are “usually fairly smoother for the B show,” he notes. “Everything’s been decided at that point.” 

Still there are no opportunities to zone out. “We’re having to listen to everything that’s happening on the couch while updating departments and figuring out our music,” he says of sometimes crafting ditties on the fly. “I love it. I can’t think of a more stimulating, challenging job.”

Having grown up watching Shaffer come up with his “corny melodies” on the Late Show with David Letterman, he tries to inject that same humor and fun into this celebrity favorite. “Kelly never knows what we’re doing or what it’s going to sound like, so it’s always fun to get a good laugh out of her on the couch or a comment from her after we’ve performed these little things,” he says. “It’s a highlight of my job at this point.”

Still, even if she doesn’t come through with a chuckle, the band has a secret weapon. Without a live audience due to COVID protocols, “just to keep our energy up, I actually have a fake applause that just comes out in our ears,” he reveals. “That’s why you see us all smiling. It gives us the illusion that we just performed for a live audience.”

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