Grammy nods validate veteran songwriter Brandy Clark as recording artist
Among the country artist nominees that were ballyhooed leading up to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards were Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, The Band Perry, and … Brandy Clark. The latter name may not bring to mind past awards or chart-topping hits boasted by the others—and the Northwest U.S. singer-songwriter’s background doesn’t help make her association with the aforementioned group any easier to understand—at least not to the average fan. However, these star-studded names know the Best New Artist nominee quite well, as does Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Sheryl Crow, Billy Currington, Darius Rucker and Kacey Musgraves; all of whom have recorded songs written by the Washington state native.
Clark, 37, was born and raised in the small lumber mill town of Morton, Wash., situated in the shadow of Mount St. Helens (which erupted when she was a little girl). Her father was a logger who died in a work-related accident, and Clark developed an affection for working-class people and the dangerous jobs many undertake to make ends meet. “I get my inspiration from real people who are just surviving their life and getting through their day,” states Clark in an artist bio posted on BrandyClarkMusic.com.
The CMA- and ACM-nominated artist has been a songwriter since 2005, getting her first No. 1 hit in 2012 by penning The Band Perry’s ‘Better Dig Two.’ More success followed the next year with Miranda Lambert’s 2013 chart topper, ‘Mama’s Broken Heart.’ Clark steps up to the mic as a solo recording artist with the Grammy-nominated 12-track debut aptly titled 12 Stories. The Warner Bros. collection produced by Dave Brainard (Jamey Johnson, Jerrod Niemann, Ray Scott) is full of the diverse characters Clark loves to write about in her songs.
Clark uses her songwriting prowess and “distinctly country voice” to craft a dozen tales on 12 Stories. Each is sure to touch “everyone lucky enough to hear it,” claims the bio/press announcement. Clark applies her dark humor to everything from adultery and divorce to addiction and death, exposing an “unfiltered take on the human experience, its joys and especially its frailties.”
12 Stories was released in October 2013 and made its debut on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart at No.28 before peaking at No. 23. Lead single ‘Stripes’ is the story of a woman who fantasizes about killing her cheating husband, but can’t bear the thought of having to wear a prison uniform. Meanwhile, ‘Pray to Jesus’ finds a woman praying to the Lord for help, but plays the lottery “just in case.” Among the other tongue-in-cheek tales on the album is the bored housewife in ‘Get High,’ who escapes her daily drudgery by “rolling joints at the kitchen table.” The cut stands alongside “rollicking back-porch jams” (‘Crazy Women’) and “vulnerable tear-at-your-heart ballads” (‘Hold My Hand’).
Clark made her network TV debut in January 2014 on The Late Show With David Letterman. She also opened for Jennifer Nettles on the Sugarland vocalist’s 2014 That Girl solo tour. Clark is currently touring U.S. venues with Alan Jackson through May, detouring to open for Lady Antebellum in Glascow, Scotland (Mar. 5). She’s also performing at the Country To Country (C2C) Festival held in London (Mar. 7) and Dublin, Ireland (Mar. 8).
Watch Brandy Clark in the official music video for ‘Stripes,’ a single off the noted songwriter’s debut album as a solo recording artist.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Brandy Lynn Clark was born and raised in the small logging town of Morton, Washington. She was influenced by the country-pop and traditional country music of the 1980s, and by listening to her parents’ albums by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, and Merle Haggard.
* Clark began playing guitar at age nine and sang in school musicals. Her mother also encouraged her to write songs, but the avid athlete abandoned her music in high school to pursue her love of sports, eventually earning a basketball scholarship at Central Washington University.
* Clark’s basketball career was short-lived, and she returned to her hometown to take a job at a fencing mill. She also attended community college to earn an associate degree, and resumed her musical interests. After honing her guitar skills, Clark joined a band with her mother and a friend.
* Clark moved to Nashville in 1998 to enroll in the music business program at Belmont University. She was chosen to perform in the school's prestigious “Best of the Best Showcase” and landed a job after graduation with Leadership Music. The opportunity led to a publishing deal and her first songwriting credit in 2005, penning ‘That's Why I Hate Pontiacs’ for singer Rebecca Lynn Howard.
* In 2011, Clark wrote ‘Mama's Broken Heart’ with songwriting partner Shane McAnally and singer Kacey Musgraves. The song appears on Miranda Lambert's 2013 release Four the Record and reached No.2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts. Clark’s biggest success to date is The Band Perry‘s No.1 hit ‘Better Dig Two,’ which she wrote with McAnally and Trevor Rosen.
* Clark opened on tour for Grammy-winning artist Sheryl Crow in 2012, and was invited by veteran country star Marty Stuart to join him later in the year for his Grand Ole Opry Anniversary celebration. In December 2012, Clark digitally released a self-titled three-track EP that includes the songs ‘Pray to Jesus,’ ‘Stripes,’ and ‘Take A Little Pill.’
* Since 2005, Brandy Clark’s songwriting credits include at least two dozen artists who have recorded 27 of her songs. In 2013, she was included as one of CMT’s Women of Country, and received Song of the Year nominations from the CMA and ACM as co-writer of Miranda Lambert's ‘Mama's Broken Heart.’