Multi-platinum country star Terri Clark has a new record on store shelves (The Long Way Home, her sixth studio record) and is headed to New Brunswick to play shows in support of her new record.
“I felt that it was time to come back to Canada and show how much my fans support has meant to me over the years. I had placed a lot of the focus in my career on the US and felt it was time to give a little bit of love back to Canada,” Clark says.
Clark has resided in Nashville for the past 21 years, leaving Canada when she was 18 years old. Despite the overwhelming amount of talent residing in that city, Clark says the atmosphere isn’t nearly as competitive as one might think.
“Nashville is very rich in creative energy and history. There is no other place in the world where you can see someone like Emmylou Harris get up on stage at a local club and sing on a whim on any given night of the week.
“And at the end of the day, everyone knows each other in this city and truly enjoys working together. It is not a dog eat dog atmosphere by any means.”
With more than four million albums sold and nearly a dozen top 10 hits to her credit, Terri Clark is a dynamic, spirited performer and one of the rare female country artists capable of some damn impressive guitar work.
The Alberta native has toured with country superstars such as Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire and George Strait on her way to becoming an eight-time, fan-voted Canadian Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, a CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nominee and the first Canadian female country artist to be a member of The Grand Ole Opry.
But for all of her previous accomplishments, The Long Way Home brought another first to Clark’s life: the role of record producer.
“I had co-produced my records in the past, working with some of the greatest teachers of the trade,” Clark says from her Nashville home.
“But when it came to making my previous records, I had always been very vocal about the sound of my records, the instrumentation and arrangements. So it just made sense that I would take the role of producer on for my latest record.”
Even though Clark was feeling confident about her production abilities prior to entering the studio, such confidence fell by the wayside once in the studio environment.
“I was forced to get over my own insecurities and the inevitable questions about whether I could produce the record or not. Eventually, I figured out that I had to barrel into the project with 100 per cent confidence.
“I had selected all of the songs for the record and then it came down to knowing which musicians to hire to complement the songs I had selected. It was a little overwhelming, but everything ended up coming together seamlessly,” Clark says.
After spending approximately 11 years as an artist on a major label, Clark has finally found artistic freedom, releasing her new record on her own label, while passing distribution and promotion duties to EMI Music Canada.
“Going into making this new record, I knew that my main focus was going to be Canada. I felt that it was crucial that I partner up with a great label to help ensure the most exposure for my new record.”
Clark admits that her relationship with her former label Mercury was a great run which brought her great success, but the relationship had simply run its course.
With priorities shifting towards other Mercury artists, Clark saw the writing on the wall and asked to be released from her contract with the company.
Clark then spent the next two and a half years under contract to another powerhouse country music label, BNA. It was a long two and a half years for her that didn’t even result in the release of a record. And once again, Clark found herself asking to be let go from another major label record deal.
The move to work under EMI Canada’s umbrella was “the best move I could have made,” Clark says. “They have been nothing short of outstanding to date.”
Despite a perceived tough exterior, Clark has seen her priorities change significantly over the past few years.
After having her mother diagnosed with cancer, she has gained a better appreciation for what is truly important in life.
“Family has taken a new priority with me in my life. With all the success I had experienced, I was very driven and wanted to stay ahead of everybody else. It was a never-ending thing, always looking forward, trying to have that next hit.
“But when my mom got sick,” Clark continues, “It was the one thing in my life that made me step back and regroup. I ended up re-examining a lot of the choices I had made throughout my life and decided that I have to be true to myself and be happy with this gift I have been given by God.”
There is no doubt that Clark will continue to use her God-given gift for many years to come. Trying to stifle such a talented artist would be a futile effort on anyone’s part.
If you don’t already have your tickets to one of Terri Clark’s two shows in the province, I’m sorry to say you might be out of luck if you were hoping to be in attendance:
Clark’s website (www.terriclark.com) is reporting both the Moncton show at the Capitol Theatre on October 21 as well as the Fredericton show of October 23 at The Playhouse is sold out.