Many of my readers will know that one of my biggest inspirations and one of my favourite songwriters is Brandy Clark. From hearing her very first album and discovering she’d written some of my favourite Country hits for other artists I have been in love with her style of writing. The stories she tells in her songs are honestly quite captivating and she certainly has a way with words. I’ve seen Brandy perform three times now, at CMA Songwriters Series in London, C2C on the Main Stage a few days later and a few weeks after that at Tin Pan South in Nashville. Each time I was speechless by her calibre of writing and I can’t wait to see her again next Saturday in Manchester, it is going to be one of the highlights of the year! Every performance is like a masterclass in Country songwriting. And so it gives me great pleasure to bring you an interview I did recently with the CMA Award winning Singer-Songwriter.
Who are your inspirations? growing up what did you listen to?
I’ve always been inspired by people and life as much as anything. I’m an observer and I love to watch and listen to people and their stories. I’m fascinated by big personalities and I draw much of my inspiration from them. I love country music. I always have loved it. Some of my faves growing up and still today are Patsy Cline, Patty Loveless, and Merle Haggard.
You are often referred to as the greatest storyteller in Country Music. How much of your own life experiences influence these lyrical themes and ideas and do you take influence from things like poems or films?
Thank you. That is such a compliment. Almost everything I write is either inspired by my life or the life of my friends/families. I do get inspiration from lines I hear on tv or movies but from those seeds grow stories that always have a grain of familiar truth to them. “Pray to Jesus and play the Lotto” was I line I heard in a television show. That sparked the idea and the character then came quickly and was one that I knew well. The best part of that story is that her daughter actually did win the lottery!
You co-write a lot. Who are your favourite people to work with?
I have such a strong group of co-writers that I not only enjoy writing with but also who inspire me. Shane McAnally, Jessie Jo Dillon, Scott Stepakoff, Lori McKenna – so many and all of them bring something different to the writes.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
I’m gonna have to go with a song called “Crystal Clear”? A song about the drug Crystal Meth…
Your latest album has been successful in the UK as well as the US do you have a favourite song off the album and if so why is it your favourite?
Songs are like children and it’s always hard to pick a favourite. I will say that my favourite song to play right now is “Daughter”. The response from the crowd when I play that is incredible and it’s always so much fun to play.
When you are performing what are your mid-gig thoughts? Are you completely focused or do you let your mind wander?
While performing I always just try really hard to connect with the audience. Being able to play my songs live and seeing what translates in the crowd is so rewarding. Every night I’m on stage I try to focus on being in that moment and really put it out there for the people in the audience. Sometimes you do notice some things that can be distracting but not in a bad way – whether it’s someone dancing or a sign someone may be holding up – that’s always fun! I love seeing people having a good time.
Do you notice any differences between UK audiences and US audiences?
I’ve only played in the UK once and I was amazed that even though I had not been there before they embraced me wholly. I can’t really say that I’ve spent enough time there to see a difference in the crowds between the two countries just yet but I hope to change that with more trips over. I feel a huge support from everyone in the UK and am really excited about playing my new record over there. We have been planning on finding a way to get back to the UK for a while now and I was so excited to make that announcement.
When talking to Barry Dean he said artists/songwriters like you and Kacey Musgraves have done a lot for Country Music, particularly women in Country. Do you feel that the Country Music industry is improving the way it treats it’s female aritsts/writers?
There are so many amazing female artists out there working really hard and putting out great music. I get to do a lot of shows with other female acts and I see the audiences respond in a big way so I know that fans definitely want to hear from females. I think there has been a huge lack of space for us in the genre for a while and I’m anxious to see that change. There is room for everyone.
I’ve heard you had a basketball scholarship. Do you still get the chance to play any sports? Would you have liked to have done sports as a career or has music always been what you wanted to pursue?
I wish I had the time to play sports. I do spend a lot of time in the gym working out but unfortunately it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to play a sport. As much as I like basketball I am a much better spectator than player these days. I’ve always known that music was what I wanted to pursue. I’ve had all kinds of jobs but music has always been my dream.
What’s next after the tour?
More touring. I love being on the road so I’m just looking to continue to have a full calendar. We are releasing our second single to country radio “Love Can Go To Hell” and there will be a lot of travel with that. I’m definitely getting a ton of airline miles but I love what I’m doing!
So there you have it, if you haven’t got tickets yet to her UK tour, go and get them! This is one artist you’re not going to want to miss. Her latest album Big Day In A Small Town is out now so again if you haven’t got it yet, correct that and get your copy from Brandy’s website. http://www.brandyclarkmusic.com If any of our American friends are reading this, don’t forget to request “Love Can Go To Hell” on Country radio!