Country singer Terri Clark is an increasingly rare breed in the music industry.
She is arguably one of only a handful of Canadian country music artists to successfully crack the American market and since the release of her 1995 debut, has sold more than a 3 million albums in North America alone.
Terri Clark is back with a superb new record, Roots and Wings, and in her first Metro appearance in approximately two years, she will perform at Casino New Brunswick Saturday night.
The show starts at 8 p.m.
A five-time Canadian Country Music Association Award winner, Terri’s most recent win came in mid-September when she was awarded the CCMA for Female Artist of the Year. It was her first CCMA win in four years and according to Clark, was an even sweeter victory than winning her first CCMA so many years ago.
“I thought I was going to die,” Terri joked with The Times & Transcript last week via telephone. “I haven’t won a CCMA since 2007 and have put out a couple of records since then. I was honestly a little worried they were over me. With the record I released in 2009, I felt as though the industry wanted to see that I was coming back to stay so when I put Roots and Wings out, I think they figured out that I was here to stay, no matter what.”
Terri credits Northern Girl, the first single from Roots and Wings, as having helped secure her most recent CCMA win. The song is perhaps the most Canadian-like anthem you will hear this year, referencing the all-too-familiar black ice, Ian Tyson and the true north, strong and free.
“I think a lot of people really related to the song; it got great radio airplay. But even more importantly, I think everyone knew that the song came from my heart and was an authentic representation of who I am and where I am from.”
Terri’s love of her native Canada is really nothing new, however. It was with her 2009 record Long Way Home that the Quebec-born, Alberta-raised singer decided that it was high time that she turned her attention back towards her Canadian fans after feeling as though she had neglected them for long enough.
“It did seem like the right thing to do at the right time,” she says. “A big part of the reason behind me wanting to focus upon Canada again is that I had been signed to an American major label for my first six records and that ended up eating up a lot of my time in terms of promotional efforts and touring. I have always toured Canada; I could never forget about where I came from after all but I just never spent as much time in Canada as I would have liked.
“Now that I am doing what I want to do though, I can do the touring that I want to do, especially throughout Canada. I am going to be working one end of the country to the other promoting my new record. My fans have been so loyal to me and that respect goes both ways. I am really excited to be touring through Canada again; it feels like I am home no matter where I am in the country.”
Although her previous record Long Way Home was heralded as one of Clark’s most personal efforts of her 15-plus year career, her newest record Roots and Wings has arguably usurped that designation. In the two-plus years since the release of her previous record, Terri suffered the immeasurable loss of her mother to cancer in addition to the dissolution of a long-term relationship. She says that it was somewhat inevitable that both topics would find their way into the songs contained on her new album. Rather than approaching these events in terms of the loss she suffered, she chose to frame the losses in a more positive way.
“I tried not to sing about the losses as much as I chose to focus on the growth that came from both situations,” she says. “By focusing on the gifts that I was given emotionally through the loss, it helped the feeling of the letting go that you do as a parent and as a child.”
Despite her past success, Terri is not one to rely upon her past to help keep her career alive. Having recently turned 43 years old, she stresses there is much fuel left in the tank.
“I have been in the business for a long time and have to keep finding new ways of doing things,” she says. “At this point, I am not quite sure what my next studio record will be. Maybe I will have to do a concept record to change things up somewhat.”
“Record labels these days are looking for quick returns. There is little in the way of artist development going on anymore so I am very grateful that I came up in the business when I did.
“Whatever I do as far as recorded music goes, I always want it to be something that I can stand behind as an artist. I would much rather make a record that I can stand behind artistically than making a record that compromises my vision and sells a million copies.”
Article published in September 30, 2011 edition of The Times & Transcript