BURBANK, California (AP) — Returning to the recording studio after having her second child, Kelly Clarkson said she "cried a lot."

Clarkson has two young children with husband Brandon Blackstock — 1 year-old Remington Alexander and 3-year-old River Rose. She says she intentionally got back to music fairly quickly after each child was born, "just to be productive in a different way."

"Obviously it's very productive making a human," she said. "I needed something outside of that — almost as a bit of an escape. And then come back (home) and you're like so in love with the moment again."

But as the tears began to fall, the former "American Idol" winner had to work to shape her jagged sensitivity into the lyrics and soulful songs that would become her eighth studio album, "Meaning of Life."

"I possibly went back too early after Remy's pregnancy, making this album, because I cried a lot," Clarkson said. "I felt everything. But I think that there's something cool about that, too, like in hindsight. Because I think I was really emotional, like feeling everything in the studio."

The 35-year-old singer's fans appear to be feeling happy with the result: "Meaning of Life" debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's 200 albums chart.

The Atlantic Records release marks her first album outside of her "Idol" record contract and allowed her a new freedom to choose her collaborators and creative direction. She famously clashed with label head Clive Davis.

"I'm glad I was the first ('Idol') season. I'm glad that it was really hard for us and we had to kind of pave the way and jump the hurdles, because it's the same thing with the record label — like, I'm glad the arranged marriage was successful, although very hard, but I'm glad that I know the difference now," Clarkson said. "You start getting to a point in your life and you're like, 'Yeah, I'm getting too old to, like, hang out and work with people I don't like.'"

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