Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson has had the type of career most artists only dream about. In over a decade since she won 'American Idol,' the singer has accumulated 91 No. 1 singles on the Billboard charts and sold over 20 million albums worldwide. But life wasn’t always so rosy for the superstar.

"I came from nothing," Clarkson, now 32, tells People. The star grew up in Texas and initially worked odd jobs as a telemarketer and cocktail waitress in order to pay the bills.

Clarkson’s life changed practically overnight when she won 'Idol.' She immediately signed for a record deal with RCA Records, and the rest is history.

"My life couldn't be any better," the new mom says, "But you just pause and go, 'Why wouldn't you want to give back? Why wouldn't you want to help out when you have so much spotlight to share?'"

Determined to use her fame for good, Clarkson found a meaningful way to give back to the community. She works with a nonprofit called Musicians on Call, performing music for hospital patients. Studies have shown that music lifts peoples’ spirits and aids in the recovery process.

"Music has such an influence on our emotions, and it aids in recovery. It’s kind of a healthy little elixir for everyone," Clarkson notes. "And I can relate to it: I was very much an outsider as a kid, and music kind of saved me."

She has been volunteering with Musicians on Call since 2012, when she started doing Christmas shows at a children’s hospital in Nashville. Why? Because, in her words, "I used to go to hospitals and just sing because I love kids, and I love singing."

Clarkson's new album, which will include elements pulled from country music, is out March 3.

Kelly Clarkson and Other Stars' Yearbook Photos

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