OFFSTAGE: Kelly Clarkson Catches Her Breath

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

In a couple of weeks, Kelly Clarkson will be at the CMA Awards, where she’s nominated for the female vocalist of the year award. In the meantime, she’s kind of catching her breath. And last week, she took a break from her European tour to call Ryan Seacrest and talk about her new single (“Catch My Breath”) and her romance with Reba McEntire’s stepson Brandon Blackstock. She met him when he was Rascal Flatts’ tour manager, and she told Seacrest, “We were just in a room together, and then he came up and said he was from the same home town as me, and I was like, ’Oh, we’re so getting married.’ I was so that girl. When he became single, I was like on the prowl.” But the reality is, Clarkson says they are taking it slow, and she’s loving every minute. “Once you finally fall in love with someone and you’re so comfortable with them, it makes you more comfortable in your skin, it makes you comfortable as an artist and it makes you more confident,” she said. “I know that sounds super lame. And not like, ’Cool, hardcore, I’m Miss Independent girl,’ but it is true. I’m the man-hater in all my songs.” Now that she knows this kind of love exists, she admitted, everything else starts to be really peaceful.