In the same way that Saturday Night Live has been an important starting point for comedians, American Idol gives musical artists a platform and swift chance at national fame. Kelly Clarkson is celebrating her own American Idol anniversary, marking 20 years since her fateful victory on the program. That was back in 2002, a big year for the singing contest itself as well, as it was the show's very first season. To mark this momentous occasion, Clarkson shared a post on Instagram that is both a celebration and an expression of gratitude for everyone who helped get her from local talent shows to American Idol and from American Idol to a Grammy-winning Billboard chart-topper. Kelly Clarkson celebrates the 20th anniversary of her breakthrough 'American Idol' win View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) One early September day, twenty years ago, Clarkson secured victory against contestant Justin Guarini. From there, her career enjoyed renewed momentum, making American Idol an invaluable part of her success. She signed record deals with RCA Records, S Records, and 19 Recordings. Clarkson went on to release her debut double-A-side single, "Before Your Love"/"A Moment Like This." For an idea of its success, few can say they broke a record set by the Beatles for the fastest leap up the charts. RELATED: Kelly Clarkson Performs Nostalgic Medley Of ‘Golden Girls,’ ‘Cheers,’ ‘Full House’ Themes This is what Clarkson celebrated in her 20th anniversary post shared to Instagram. The caption is a series of hearts, while the photos contain all the text explaining her gratitude. "20 years ago today I won American Idol and it forever changed the course of my life," she said. Clarkson continues, "That moment was the door that opened up so much access and opportunity, and creative partnerships that I will be grateful for all of my days. The family and friendships I have created over these 20 years in music and tv are priceless to me. We only get so many trips around the sun." The many factors that go into success This autumn, Kelly Clarkson celebrates the 20th anniversary of her American Idol win / Ray Mickshaw / TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved, Courtesy: Everett Collection On the anniversary of her American Idol win, while Clarkson was glad for the unique opportunity that she secured, she also acknowledged all the people who made that - and everything that came after - possible. It began during her school years, when a choir teacher heard her singing in the hallway and urged her to join despite the fact that she had no formal vocal training. On stage, encouragement continued when audience members showered her with motivating praise, suggesting she cultivate her "gift," as they called it. "While I am proud and feel abundantly blessed of the successes and failures that I have learned from," Clarkson's post continues, "I am most proud and grateful for those friends that have become family. And for their arms that have held me when I needed it and their hearts that listened to me when I felt lost. Without them I would not be where I am. I would probably not be here at all." AMERICAN IDOL 6, Kelly Clarkson, 'Season Finale', (Season 6, aired May 23, 2007), 2002-. photo: Frank Micelotta / TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved, Courtesy: Everett Collection Clarkson goes back to where it all began, adding, "Thank you so much to every single person that voted 20 years ago! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope all of you have people in your lives that fill you with laughter, and hope, and happiness. And if you don’t feel like you have that, then keep searching. Because I promise you they’re looking for you too." Even Clarkson faced pitfalls early on - and had to turn down contracts that she felt would have stifled her talent and capabilities. Setbacks saw her completely move cities when she faced rejection after rejection. All these were confronted by someone who is now, at just 40, ranked high in VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Kelly Clarkson gives thanks for everyone who helped her / Mike Strasinger/AdMedia / ImageCollect RELATED: Kelly Clarkson’s Children Are Growing Up So Fast: See The Photos!