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Songwriter Claude Kelly looks back on '09

Miley Cyrus, "Party in the USA"

   You might not know the name Claude Kelly just yet, but you sure know his work.
    The singer-songwriter from the Lower East Side is the man behind many of 2009's biggest hits, including Britney Spears’ “Circus,” Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” and Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You.”
    “I look at each artist as a different chapter,” Kelly says. “I try to do my homework and learn where they are in their lives to make that chapter as good as it can be.”
    Kelly is hoping his own singing career will take off in 2010, working on songs for himself when he isn’t working on projects for Whitney Houston, R. Kelly and Ke$ha.
    “I’m a singer first, as well as a songwriter,” Kelly says.

How did your work with Britney Spears come about?

I was on a plane ride to L.A. and thinking about what had been going on with her. “Circus” seemed to be summing up everything about her life... It was really the ultimate honor that they took my tiny idea and it turned into a song, an album, a tour, a whole marketing strategy. That was so cool.

What happened with the Kelly Clarkson songs?

Kelly is a bit more involved. She nows what she wants to say, and the attitude she wants to get across. She was awesome to work with and had the whole idea in mind. The songs started out as more one-sided, that the singer had completely screwed up and she changed it to be a story where they were both screwed up people in a messed-up relationship that just worked.

Are there songs this year that you wish you had written?

So many. Of course, The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.” “The Climb” for Miley is a great song. So is Owl City’s “Fireflies.”

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