"Miss Independent" is a song by American pop artist Kelly Clarkson. It served as the lead single from her debut studio album, Thankful (2003). Written by Christina Aguilera, Clarkson, Rhett Lawrence, and Matt Morris, with Lawrence serving as producer, it was released by RCA Records on April 10, 2003. The track was initially intended for Aguilera's fourth album, Stripped (2002), but was later given to Clarkson when the song was left unfinished at the time of Stripped’s development.
"Miss Independent" is a pop rock song with R&B influences. It tells of a story of an independent woman who finally allows herself to lower her emotional and communication barriers to fall in love. Its theme of self-sufficiency would later served as a template for Clarkson's subsequent releases. The song generally received positive response from music critics, while criticism targeted the song's similarity to Aguilera's material.
The song became a commercial success, it helped in presenting Clarkson's "girl next door" image to the public and contributed in eliminating her "American Idol" persona. In the United States, it peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart and peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also attained a top ten position in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It was eventually certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and was nominated Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004. The song's accompanying music video was directed by Liz Friedlander, and featured Clarkson singing at a house party. She has performed the song in several live performances, premiering it in the second season of American Idol, and has included it in set lists in most of her concert tours.
American record producer Rhett Lawrence first offered the song "Miss Independence" to American R&B trio Destiny's Child whom later turned down the offer to record the song. Lawrence then collaborated with Christina Aguilera and Matt Morris to record it for Aguilera's fourth studio album Stripped (2002) as "Miss Independence". Aguilera ultimately decided not to include it for the album, leaving it half-finished without the bridge. Lawrence, Clarkson's then manager Simon Fuller and music mogul Clive Davis suggested that Clarkson contribute lyrics to the song, and record it for her debut album Thankful (2003). One of Clarkson's A&R managers, Keith Naftaly, suggested to re-title it as "Miss Independent". The song was released by RCA Records on April 10, 2003, ten days ahead of the Thankful’s release. In 2009, it was made available for purchase as a downloadable content (DLC) for the Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and Lego Rock Band video games.
In an interview on Total Request Live, Aguilera revealed that upon hearing Clarkson's version of the track, she became miffed that RCA, which was also her record label, decided to release it without her permission - however she also praised Clarkson's vocal performance. She told Clarkson on the air, "if the song was to go to anyone I'm glad that it went to you because you gave it justice." In 2010, Clarkson told the Bournemouth Daily Echo that "I had to argue with the record label to the point of literally crying to get "Miss Independent" on the album, then they released it as my debut single and it was a hit."