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  • Writer's pictureCountry Stars Central

Terri Clark Interview

(CSC) 1. Thanks for the interview! What was the mindset like going into the studio for the new record “Roots and Wings” and what did you value most about the hands-on role as producer?

(Terri Clark)

This new record is my sophomore producer effort. (Laughs) It’s my second album that I have released independently and I learned a lot from the first time around. Having been able to work with some of the best producers in town throughout my mainstream success in Nashville like Garth Fundis, Keith Stegall, and Bryon Gallimore; I learned a lot from these guys.


The one thing I did learn from each of them is I kind of stole a musician or two from each one of them that I thought really contributed to my sound and my sessions and put them all together in one band.


What I learned to do is hire the right people and being a producer is all about knowing who you want to come and play and who you can convey your creative vision to the best as far as a musician goes; that’s a big part of it.


(CSC) 2. When can fans expect to see you tour in the United States for the new record?


(Terri Clark)

Well, I just wrapped up a big and long unplugged tour in April; I played all over the place and I’m doing a very few big full band shows in the US, I’m doing mostly unplugged shows where I go with just a guitar. It’s a two hour show and I do the hits, new songs, old songs, and cover songs.


That show is going over so well that I keep doing them and I will be doing a string of more unplugged dates in February and March of 2012 so my fans can be on the lookout on my website for those dates.  


(CSC) 3. How does the album title “Roots and Wings” originate from and can you tell us about the record?


(Terri Clark)

Roots and Wings feels like an all-encompassing title for what I was trying to convey and that I was taking so long on this album. Songs like “Northern Girl” and “We’re Here for A Good Time,” there are some northern references on this album.


Trooper was a band that first did “We Here for A Good Time” and I covered it on this album. They were a very, very popular Canadian band. That song is almost a Canadian anthem in its own right so I was very excited to do a different version of it and cover it myself; so that song definitely paid homage to where I came from in my roots.


The Wings part of the album I guess you could say is the part about being free, you know freedom and flying. I lost my mom to cancer last year and I look at her like she’s an angel. There’s a song called “Smile” on the album that’s about my relationship with my mom and that’s where the wings part comes from. 


It’s about staying grounded and yet being free and I think that’s what the whole album encompasses for me.


(CSC) 4. Its no surprise to the fans that you’ve faced hard times over the past few years. What was the breaking point for you to rise above the trauma and return to recording music?


(Terri Clark)

Well, when my mom was very sick and battling cancer, I was in the middle of recording my last album “The Long Way Home” and that album was a little more somber and melancholier, a little more introspective.


When my mom was really sick from battling the cancer, I had a lot of questions and my perspective on life really changed and it became all about fighting for her life. We were all right besides her fighting for her life.


When she passed away, I grieved and I will always grieve that loss but I came out the other side of it to live again and wanting to embrace life not just waiting for somebody to die or somebody trying to just survive and stay alive but to live life.


This album lightens up a whole lot; it even revisits some of the sound that brought me to the table in the first place. You know, like some of that jovial, upbeat, up-tempo fun stuff. I was ready for that and ready to lift the veil up a little bit and let the light back in. 


(CSC) 5. I’m going to name a year; 1995, what were you doing during that time of your life and where did you envision yourself going as an artist?


(Terri Clark)

Well, that was the year my record came out; my very first record and I worked very, very hard in Nashville and spent a lot of time networking and getting to know people to get a record deal. It was a very exciting time but a lot of it’s a big blur because everything was moving so fast; I had three hits in a row and things just started to fire up.


I remember thinking that all my dreams were coming true but I also wish I had enjoyed it a little bit more. I found myself so stressed out, I was so afraid of losing it that I didn’t enjoy the moment so that taught me a lesson in life in general; to enjoy each moment, instead of living in fear of losing something.


I envisioned having a long career, which I’ve been fortunate to have, I may not be getting a bunch of current airplay on the radio but I’ve been making records and touring ever since 1995 and I haven’t slowed down or stopped. I’m just reconfiguring and things have changed, but I’m still working as much as I want to.


I work a lot in Canada; I still get lots of airplay there on current stuff so I’ve got the best of both worlds. I’ve got the creative freedom of an independent artist and I still have the success of a mainstream artist in my homeland so what more could I ask for after sixteen years of doing this? It’s a great combination.


(CSC) 6. Being a native Canadian or “Northern Girl” as you say, did you feel any sense of hostility when you made the transition to Nashville as an outsider to the music circle?


(Terri Clark)

No, I really didn’t. I’ve never felt any kind of discrimination on either side; Canada wasn’t mad that I left and went to Nashville they said they didn’t know who I was when I left, they didn’t even know I was Canadian until it was in the press that I was from Canada.

You know I think there’s room for everybody in Nashville. Keith Urban’s from Australia he does great, there are people from all different parts of the world now doing country so it’s not the stereotypically southern United States genre as it used to be. 


(CSC) 7. As the only female Canadian member of the Grand Ole Opry, what was the most memorable highlight from your 2004 induction and where does the Opry membership fall on your list of career accolades?


(Terri Clark)

I’d say the Opry membership is number one; it’s definitely the highlight. The best part about it is I had my grandfather and my mom and my family all flew in for it, it was a really momentous occasion and a great opportunity to have the people around me that helped me realize that dream and stood beside me, believed in me the most and that was a wonderful thing to celebrate with them.  


(CSC) 8. You have stayed true to recording more traditional country music; but did the thought ever cross your mind to record more contemporary sounding songs in your career?


(Terri Clark)

You know I did produce a record for what the song calls for and on this new album there are a couple that are more contemporary but there are also a couple that are just barebones traditional that sound like 1935; there are triple fiddles on them. So, it really runs the gamut.


I really like to sing it all and I think that my voice is probably the best in the more traditional range type of music. I enjoy all of it and I think there’s room for all of it on one record if they’re sequenced properly.


(CSC) 9. Outside of music, you’re an avid lover of nature. What sports and activities do you participate in when you’re in Canada for leisure or vacation?


(Terri Clark)

Well, I’ve taken up bass fishing, I really enjoy that. I just got a boat that I can go out in and fish. I like boating, fishing, and cooking, hanging out with friends. I ride a bike for cardio, I work out and lift weights, I have different activities I like to do when I’m not in the bus or on the stage.


(CSC) 10. Why did you make the decision to start an independent record label and what are the pros/cons that come with having that responsibility?


(Terri Clark)

Well, you give up US mainstream, major radio airplay if you go independent unless you want to fork out every dime you’ve ever made and pay for independent promotion which does not guarantee you’re going to have a hit so it’s a tough call.


I decided to go independent because I felt like I was spinning my wheels on a major label, they weren’t releasing singles and sitting on an album that I understand they weren’t ready to put out until we had a song in the top 10 but they couldn’t get anything up the charts.


I’ve been on two major labels; Mercury was the first one and then BNA. When I was on BNA, we just really beat our heads up against the wall trying to find the right song and I found that three and a half years into the record deal I still didn’t have an album out. My fans were jumping up and down, I felt like I was starting to lose my fan base because they had nothing new to sink their teeth into. So, I had to make the choice that want to keep my fan base instead of striving to find some magic song that’s going to bring in other people who don’t know who I am.


I asked off the major label and they let me out of my contract. Within months I turned around and made a new record and got it out there. After that, I’ve already got a new one out so I’m already producing more music now than I did that whole time that I was on a major label. I’ve put two new albums out since then so I’m really just in the business to make new music and get it to people, I found out I wasn’t doing that so I needed to make a choice and I think I made the right choice.


(CSC) 11. Lastly, what do you want to share about yourself and your plans for 2011/2012 with the fans?


(Terri Clark)

Well, I’d like for them to come out to the unplugged shows when they hear we’re touring in their area. We are growing every time we go out and do them and they have been selling out. I’d like to keep playing to more and more people in that format so keep checking the official website for the latest dates. I’m also going to be touring in the UK next July (2012).



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