SHout out to kelly, tAyloR’s vErsion

May 08, 2024

You gotta love Kelly Clarkson, the 2002 American Idol winner. She deserved that win, too. That girl can sang—not sing…sang! So, I had to laugh the other day when I heard someone say that current artists should have some kind of clause in their contracts indicating that Kelly Clarkson cannot do covers of their songs. This cracked me up because EVERY time I hear Clarkson cover a song—any song, new or old—she knocks it out of the park. Did I mention that girl can sang!? But as it turns out, she’s actually a pretty good person, too.

It all started when Scooter Braun bought Taylor Swift’s former label, and the masters of every song Taylor had recorded on her first six albums, for a mere $300,000,000. That number has more zeroes than a dive bar after midnight. All that work that Tay-Tay did and a rich dude named Scooter purchased every note, every chord, and every old-boyfriend lyric—if you’re not familiar, that’s a lot! Apparently, Swift had tried to purchase them first, but she didn’t get a favorable deal…then Scooter rolled up and the rest is history.

In 2019 when all of this became public, Kelly Clarkson offered up some advice via Twitter, businesswoman to businesswoman. She simply said, “@taylorswift13 just a thought, U should go in & re-record all the songs that U don’t own the masters on exactly how U did them but put brand new art & some kind of incentive so fans will no longer buy the old versions. I’d buy all of the new versions just to prove a point.💁🏼‍♀️.”  I especially love this female hat tip emoji Clarkson added!

Kelly Clarkson tweet - Taylor Swift in 2022 | Kelly clarkson, Songs, Kelly

Whether or not THAT was just the push or tidbit of advice Swift needed or not, she did just that! That’s how “Taylor’s Versions” were born. But a true respectful relationship was born as well. Every time Swift releases a new “Taylor’s Version”, she sends Kelly Clarkson flowers. The swell of gratitude here is meaningful to me. As nonprofit professionals, we should be models of expressing gratitude more often and intentionally. After all, if we don’t have a reason to do so, who does?

While Clarkson won’t take any credit for the actions Swift has taken, I absolutely adore that here first inclination was an idea that might help solve the problem. See, at the time, Clarkson's stepmother-in-law, was Reba McEntire. Apparently, Reba had re-recorded some of her own masters so she could own them once upon a time. Having that unique background knowledge that Swift didn't have, she humbly shared it. It made me wonder…how could we share our ideas more freely in the nonprofit space?

4 Tips for Leading a Discussion Group | by Lawrence Mitchell | Medium

Rewind to two weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking in St. Cloud, Minnesota. (Thanks for the invite to my Minnesota friends!) Speaking publicly is one of my favorite things to do and I feel at my very best when I am among other nonprofit ninjas. This specific event was a CoFo conference where I got to meet some of my blog followers as well as teach them a handful of marketing and fundraising ideas that have really work. Then, it happened. Once again, I learned something new—I always do. Every. Single. Time. Other people at the conference sharing their best ideas helped make me better at my job, too. That’s where the Taylor/Kelly connection comes in.

Few would argue that both Swift and Clarkson have both pipes and appeal. They sell tons of tickets and make a living off their music. I’d say that makes them both professionals and practitioners, but some might think it makes them competitors. Alas, they’d be wrong.

Wrong Answer GIFs | Tenor

Clearly, we don’t have all the answers, no matter who you are. In this case, Clarkson had an idea…that was it, just an idea. But it was an idea she was willing to share. Swift swiftly grabbed that idea, developed it, and implemented it flawlessly. Together something really amazing happened. Taylor likely wouldn’t have Eras or a Tour without Kelly. Noodle on that for a minute, would ya?  <<mind blown>>

You see, to be our best selves, we need each other. You, as a nonprofit leader, need to be sharing your best ideas, practices, tips, and tricks. Even things that seem simple or commonplace to you might not be so simple or commonplace to someone else. Are you speaking at conferences, are you writing blogs, or are you responding to ListServe questions from colleagues? Are you sharing your ideas, your successes, and your failures with others so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel? In my opinion, we must do this to strengthen our nonprofit sector as a whole.

Put some muscle behind your nonprofit’s capacity-building effort

Right now, you have at least ONE idea—and likely many more—that was a gamechanger! Grab that spirit of abundance and share it. An abundance mindset is the perspective that there a many other ideas, opportunities, and resources available. So share, there's plenty more where that came from. Sharing that idea will help someone. And sharing that idea won't harm you. That’s why I keynote at conferences. I share what’s worked for me and come home with other ideas that I now get to try. It’s the synergistic 1 + 1 = 3.

The best part of this narrative is that it dispels the notion that Clarkson and Swift are rivals simply because they are both musical geniuses with a similar target audience. Better yet, it proves that one helping the other has ended up helping both. That’s how abundance thinking works.

So, the marketing lesson today is all about NOT holding your cards too close to your chest. This isn’t KFC’s secret recipe, the ending of the Sixth Sense, or revealing the identify of Goldfish on The Masked Singer. In our field, we need to share. And don’t be surprised if this practice of idea generosity comes back to you tenfold. It worked for Taylor and Kelly. Let this be your sharing era.

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

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