Brandy Clark had the tough job of opening slot for the 3rd annual C2C Festival in London on March 7th, but she pulled it off like the pro she is. Our friends at Chris Country Radio were front and center for her official press conference prior to her performance, and below is the transcription of what went down, with Richard Wooten acting as host.
Richard: Several people here saw you last night performing solo at the CMA Songwriters event, which was great. But tonight, I think you’re here – well, can you tell us what we can expect tonight? Who will be with you, and what you’ll be performing.
Brandy: Well I’ll be performing a 45-minute set with my band, and it’s a four-piece band. The real challenge for me [is] I’ve done a lot of things just myself and a guitar – all of last year was that, and so it’s a real challenge to keep the intimacy of that, yet do with it a full band. These guys have worked really hard to do that. They play things very similarly to what’s on the record but they also have done some things that make it a little different live. We usually do a portion where it is just me and my guitar – well, maybe we will do it, how well does that go over with an arena like this? Oh, okay. Well I’ll do a portion of the show that is just me and my guitar, and I’ll play some of those hits at that point.
Annette (Think Country): Great show last night. What I learnt about you is you don’t necessarily smoke pot anymore!
Brandy: That’s true!
Annette: But a lot of your songs there’s a lot of humor, there’s a lot of pot-smoking. Where do you get all of your ideas from?
Brandy: You know, most of my ideas start with some kind of truth. Like that song about ‘Get High’… I really did start that about someone that I had grown up with that was a pretty habitual pot-smoker. But then my characters sort of become composite characters. And sometimes they’re not people I know but maybe people – like that I wrote by myself, but I co-write most of the time, so a lot of times it’s somebody that somebody knows. I always have – even if I don’t have the character in my mind – this is so crazy! I always have the kitchen of their house in my head! (laughs) I don’t know why that is! My whole record for me takes place in a kitchen! Except for a few things, but a lot of it takes place in a kitchen. I’m sorry if I’ve drifted… But I really try to write from what I see around me. Sometimes that’s TV and books too, but usually the things that really stick are usually something that is grounded in truth in someone I know.
Richard (CMR Nashville): I saw you in Nashville on the New Faces show. What I’d like to know is are you going to do a duet with any of these people you’ve been writing with? Like Kacey, or?
Brandy: I hope so! I would love to do a duet with Kacey. I did a duet with Jennifer Nettles last year and we would do that on her show and I really loved that. I’d love to do a duet with a male singer as well. – You? You’d like that? Well my manager is here, you go talk to her! We will make it happen! But yeah I’d love to do more of that.
Erica (2Country Radio): You’ve been known for a while now as a songwriter, but now you’re really coming into your own as a singer yourself. How does it feel now as Brandy Clark the singer, you on stage and people recognizing you?
Brandy: It feels great. Both things have their plusses and their minuses. Being a songwriter, that’s a tough job, you’re behind the scenes and you’re working all the time, and you’re usually fighting for two spots on a record because most artists write and they might record just a couple of outside songs. So the competition is really fierce and when you get a hit song it feels better than you thought it would. But then coming out and being an artist, it’s pretty great to stand out in front of a crowd every night and sing those songs that wouldn’t be heard, you know songs like I mentioned ‘Get High’, ‘Take A Little Pill’, ‘Just Like Him’, and even ‘Hold My Hand’. Those songs, had I not done them, would never see the light of day, so that’s a huge gift. The highs are higher but the lows are lower as well, you know! (laughs) When it fails it’s all on you! When you’re a songwriter and something comes out and it doesn’t do well, it’s like oh okay, we’ll move onto the next thing. But if you’re an artist, it’s like oh wow, that was my one chance at that, and it’s gone. I didn’t plan on doing this, when it happened I was really fortunate, the right people heard my stuff and thought other people should hear it, and I hope that the rest of the world catches up to you guys!
Richard: This isn’t the first time you’ve played to 15,000 people probably, because you’ve been out with Eric Church, yes?
Brandy: I have been, yes. It isn’t, but I will go ahead and say it already. It’s probably the largest captive crowd I’ve played for. Cause a lot of times playing in front of Eric – he sold out Madison Square Garden – but when I went on I wasn’t playing to a sold out crowd, a lot of people are still getting their beer, and whatever they’re going to drink and eat for the night. And a lot of people don’t care about the opener. I feel like during my signing – when I was signing pictures out there, just that alone, the people that know my music and not just my record but other songs I’ve written, I feel like tonight I’m going to be playing to an audience that knows me a little better than what I’m used to.
Scottish press: I’d like to know what would be top of your bucket list, musically, to do?
Brandy: A venue, or?
Scottish press: Just what’s at the top of your wish list to do.
Brandy: Oh, well if I could be successful enough to keep making records, for the rest of my – for as long as I wanted, I don’t want say the rest of my life, at some point I wanna retire! But, that would be pretty, pretty amazing. If I could headline a tour and sell it out, if I could do a great theater tour, I would love that.
Sam (ukCOUNTRYmusic.net): ’12 Stories’ was recorded independently but you’ve since signed with Warner. Has that changed the recording process much, and what can we expect from the second album?
Brandy: A lot of times it would change the recording process, but I’m really lucky in that I’m at a label that’s very artist-friendly, so it won’t change much for me except it’ll be a bigger budget. Nobody’s telling me, oh we need something that’s more commercial, or anything like that. At least not yet! (laughs) I haven’t turned in a second record, I’ll start on that in May. I hope that what you can get from it is that there’ll be enough of this for you to love it but that it will also be enough different that you’ll stay interested.
Richard: Quickly clarify, the Warner that you’re signed to is not Warner Nashville, correct?
Brandy: It’s Warner LA.
Richard: That’s the label that people like Randy Newman, and Jackson Brown…
Brandy: Dwight Yoakam, um oh a lot of them.
Richard: So it’s a good fit.
Brandy: Emmylou Harris!
Helen (Scotland): I’d just like to know what your Dwight Yoakam experience was like?
Richard: That was the Grammys, wasn’t it?
Brandy: Yep. Well, I was a big fan of Dwight’s, and was out with him on the Eric Church tour. So I met him once out there and really liked him, and so when they told me that was who I was going to be performing with I was really happy about that. And he couldn’t have been sweeter – he actually bought me a book as a gift, The History of Warner Brothers Records. He was real supportive and he just wanted to come in and support me, he said a lot of times I just don’t wanna screw it up! He didn’t, and it was just –both visually and… audially – I don’t even think that’s a word! Audially. (laughter) You can tell I’m jet-lagged! I couldn’t have been happier with it.
Richard: The first single from Kacey’s new record is ‘Biscuits’? You’ve co-written it, with Shane and Kacey?
Brandy: Yes, yes.
Richard: So can you tell us anything about the new Kacey record or is it a big secret?
Brandy: Oh, it’s not a big secret! I have several songs on there and I think you guys are gonna really love it. The ‘Biscuits’ song – and there’s another song on there, I didn’t write it, that I love – I haven’t heard every song on there yet – it’s called ‘Pageant Material’. Are pageants big over here?
Richard: We don’t call them pageants, we call them something else.
Brandy: I think if you have ever watched a pageant or participated in one, you’ll really like this song! I think that from what I’ve heard of the record, it’s just really good and it’s enough like ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ but yet it is a step up in a little different direction as well.
German press: Who are your country music heroes?
Brandy: That’s a great question! Well Patsy Cline is probably my favorite singer of any format of all time. I love Merle Haggard a lot, and Dolly Parton. I think that Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard are every bit as great singer/songwriters as James Taylor and Carole King. For some reason they’re not recognized that way – you know, Dolly’s caricature of a person, and people forget what a great songwriter she is, and amazing singer. So those two – George Strait, for sure. I’ve always loved Reba. And actually, and I’m not just saying this because she’s on the bill tonight, I would say that Lee Ann Womack is probably my favorite country singer – female country singer of the last twenty years. And then before her I would say Patty Loveless. That would be it for me.