We’re lucky here at Countrytown to be invited to artist showcases with emerging country artists – but we’re usually unsure what to do with those opportunities we receive. But, for those who don’t know, at an artist showcase, media and other industry officials learn some things about the artist usually through a Q&A or a brief interview and then hear a song or two performed live.
We’re going to try and recreate that experience as best we can for you today with seventeen-year-old, country singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Callista Clark.
Earlier this year, she released her debut five-track EP, Real To Me. The EP’s sassy, confident lead single, It’s ‘Cause I Am hit both the Billboard Hot Country Songs and US Country Airplay charts and was also our Song of the Day back in June. She also made her Grand Ole Opry debut in July 2021.
Raised in the small town of Zebulon, Georgia, Callista wrote her first song at the age of 11 and grew up singing at a church where her grandfather was a pastor. She gained fame with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain? posted on Facebook, which received 27 million views.
Inspired by different genres including gospel, motown, country music and classic rock, growing up she listened to everyone from The Judds and Travis Tritt, to Aretha Franklin, but now she finds herself emulating the likes of Tori Kelly, Maren Morris and Jennifer Nettles. Callista signed with Big Machine Records at the age of 15 and to date, has amassed over 65 million views on Facebook and over 6 million views on YouTube.
Anyway, here’s introducing … Callista Clark. This is what she had to say.
Callista Clark on Change My Mind:
I wanted to start off [the artist showcase] with a fun, sassy song. I feel like a lot of my songs I’m noticing a pattern with this. I feel like this is probably my way of getting out any frustrations I have, so, it just kind of all happens in songs. I wrote this one with Jonathan Singleton and Dan Isbell. I love this song, so I hope you love it too.
Callista Clark on Heartbreak Song:
The next song I wrote with Liz Rose, Emily Shackleton, and Chris DeStefano all in one write, which was overwhelming if I do say so myself. But I had just went through a breakup and I was thinking about how, when you’re in a relationship, all your favourite songs are in one playlist, or at least for me, because everything about my life is just music. And so, when we broke up, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t listen to any of my favourite songs anymore and I was in this really weird place. So, I thought to myself, “Oh, yeah, I write songs” [laughs]. So, I just decided to write my own to make me feel better and just something that I could jam to.
Callista Clark on handling the pressure of performing with big name artists like Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland, Laura Veltz and Carly Pearce at such a young age:
I think it helps when the artists you’re performing with are as nice and humble as all three of those women are. They’re so incredible and so talented, but they make you feel so comfortable to be around. It’s very natural, and I love all of them so much. I feel like that has that helps a lot. But it’s also what I’ve always wanted to do so it’s more so me being excited, anxious, and ready to do it. Then once I’m on-stage performing songs, and in the middle of it, I just get carried away and it’s all good from there.
Callista Clark on her debut single It’s ‘Cause I Am being on the US charts above artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Brett Young, Lauren Alaina, and Chris Stapleton:
I don’t think there’s words that I’ve found yet that can tell you how I feel about it because I look up to all the artists who just said especially Chris Stapleton. He was a major musical influence for one of the songs and it’s just mind blowing. I don’t know the right words for it. It’s incredible [laughs].
Callista Clark on her debut single It’s ‘Cause I Am:
Like I said, with sassy songs, here’s another one. This one I wrote because I felt like there was a lot of times in my career where I had people doubt me and not take me seriously before I would show them what I was capable of doing. So, I wanted to write a song that says, “Let me introduce myself and this is what I can do.” It’s just a fun song.
Callista Clark on Real To Me:
The title track to the collection, that I just put out, it’s called Real To Me. It’s one that I wrote with Laura Veltz and Casey Brown in my second co-write I ever had in Nashville. I had no idea what I was doing [laughs]. But I knew that I wanted to go in and be honest with them about everything that I was feeling. And that’s that I felt really misunderstood. We wrote this song about being a teenager and what that’s like, because being a teenager is the time in your life where you’re trying to figure out who you’re going to be as a human being. And, for me, I was figuring that out while I was figuring out who I was going to be as an artist, so it was a very interesting time for me. It’s safe to say this one’s my favourite.
Keep up to date with Callista Clark on her Facebook page here.
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Image: via Facebook