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Brandy Clark on the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic of Life

Brandy Clark on the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic of Life

Late last year, country songwriter Brandy Clark quietly released her debut album, 12 Stories, on a little indie label out of Texas. Though the collection was chock full of exquisite craftsmanship, captivating performances, and ace production, Clark was an unknown quantity as an artist. Sure, she'd scored a couple of number one hits (Miranda Lambert's “Mama's Broken Heart” and The Band Perry's “Better Dig Two”), but none of the major labels would touch her solo record. But, then, a funny thing happened on the way to 2014: People listened to her record and loved it. Big-time artists like Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, and Eric Church spread her gospel whenever they could, and music critics fell all over themselves praising and proclaiming and putting the set at — or very near — the top of their “Best of 2013” lists... and not just among country records, either.

Flash forward six or so months, and Clark has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as in Rolling Stone and numerous other publications. She's also been touring with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and has fall dates with Church already mapped out. One place you won't find her, though, is on mainstream country radio. Of course, you won't find Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, or Holly Williams there, either. But, that's cool with Clark. She's having herself a grand ole time out there.

How much was your mind blown by having 12 Stories on so many “Best of 2013” lists? Judging by your tweets, you must have worn out the exclamation key on your phone from all the enthusiasm.
Ha! My mind was so blown. And I don't even think it's all completely hit me yet because I've been so busy. Since I did Letterman on January 6, I really haven't stopped. My mom told it would be this way and I was like, “Oh, mom. You just think that.” But it's crazy. You know, having all those “Best of” lists, I mean the press and other artists have been what has really moved my project along, so that's been amazing. My project was passed on by everyone. And, so, the last deal that we were working on fell apart this time last year. I was just like, “Let's put it out on our own.” Because I felt like we had something.