This is the first single by American pop rock singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson from her fifth studio album, Stronger. The song was debuted on August 30, 2011 during a live webcast hosted by Clarkson on her official website. During her Livestream chat Clarkson discussed why the song was chosen as the album's lead single. "We picked 'Mr. Know It All' because it was unlike any song that, really, I've ever come out with," she said. "Secondly, just because it's very different from a first single for me. Usually we go with an anthem, guitar-driven song. This is very different, and I was really into it… It's just super sassy and it sets up the album nicely. The whole theme is very empowering." The song was sent to radio immediately after the webcast and made available for download on September 5, 2011.
The midtempo break-up tune was written by Brett James (Carrie Underwood), Ester Dean (Beyoncé, Usher, Rihanna) and Brian Kennedy (Chris Brown, Rihanna, Backstreet Boys). Kennedy also produced the track whilst US producer Dante Jones also has a writing credit.
The empowering song finds Kelly warning her guy he might think he's got it all figured out, but "Baby, you don't know a thing about me." She told Entertainment Weekly: "It's everything I am as a woman and a singer. I love telling men off!" Previous Clarkson songs where we heard her shooting men down include "I Do Not Hook Up," "Never Again" and "You Thought Wrong."
Clarkson described the song to Ryan Seacrest as different from any of her other singles because the message is not just about relationships. The singer added that though she has a list of people that have brought her down, the song is also about ignorant people who think they know everything about someone.
When the song debuted at #18 on the Hot 100, Clarkson became the first artist to achieve Top 20 hits on the single charts with both male and female honorifics. ("Miss Independent" previously peaked at #9 in 2003).
This was the last song recorded for Stronger and was actually laid down after the album had been finished. "That song came out of nowhere. And luckily it did, because everybody fell in love with it," Clarkson told MTV News.
Clarkson explained to MTV News what attracted her to the track. "First of all, every girl has probably dated that guy, and also just in work life, I've known a lot of those people — especially in this industry," she explained. "And people that try and pigeonhole you. I think I was just attracted to that idea of being a little sassy and feisty with that message."
The music video was directed by Justin Francis and was filmed on August 25, 2011 in Nashville. Clarkson explained in a behind the scenes film that, "The idea behind the video is variety. The whole point of the song that I like is 'you don't know a thing about me. I love that concept because it's ignorant to think you know everything about a person. There's many sides to everybody's personality. We're kind of doing a variety of different Kellys."
Part of the video finds Clarkson glammed up dressed in a long gown with feathers in her hair representing freedom. "There's different sides of me, and that whole outfit was more for all the freeing aspect," she explained to MTV News. "Like, there's all these different sides of you, and that was the free-spirit side of me. That's one of my favorite shots in the video. It keeps coming back to my hair everywhere."
The video also features a "wall of doubt" in which negative headlines about Clarkson such as "Why So Single Kelly?", "Too Fat", and "Kelly has no style" are posted. Clarkson remarked it as "basically all the crap that's been said about me that's kind of funny or ridiculous…we're playing with that…it's how I handle it…kind of sarcastic and funny."
The song is one of several break-up tunes on Stronger. Clarkson revealed to MTV News that there was one particular jerk of an ex-boyfriend who inspired many of her break-up songs. "I have been through one [breakup] that was real crappy," the singer admitted. "I think that'll last me for a lifetime, so I'm good. That was enough sorrow for one year. So I've been through it enough to where if I have a song, I can sing about it and I know the experience.He was just a really loser guy and that kind of whole situation. I was like, 'Oh, I didn't pick very good -- oops!' Just the environment, I think, as a whole wasn't a healthy situation," she added. "I don't know what was wrong with me. I was never in love with him. We're completely different. I don't even know why. I think that is how lonely you get sometimes, when you're like, 'Well, you don't look so bad.' That was bad, but I got a lot of songs out of it!"
Clarkson also recorded a Country version of this tune, reworking the song with the help of Dann Huff, who is the producer behind hit albums by Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban amongst others. The singer has several ties to the Nashville scene, her manager, Narvel Blackstock, for instance, is married to Reba McEntire.