Brandy Clark Is Drawn to ‘Real Flawed Characters’ in Her Songs
You've heard the music of Brandy Clark, whether you know it or not. The Washington native has been in Nashville since the '90s, but in the last few years she's been on a hot streak as a songwriter, with everyone from Reba McEntire to LeAnn Rimes recording her songs.
She recently scored a one-two punch with the Band Perry's 'Better Dig Two' and Miranda Lambert's 'Mama's Broken Heart,' and she's got a solo album on the horizon. In a new interview, the celebrated songwriter talks about her writing process, revealing how she creates such true-to-life characters.
"I'm drawn to real flawed characters," Clark tells CMT Edge. "In anything I like to watch on TV or read, in friends and in my own self, I'm drawn to flaws. ... I mean, I think that a lot of people are just trying to survive their lives. And those stories, to me, are the ones that I want to tell. I don't think many people are telling that story."
That's what powers songs like 'Take a Little Pill,' 'Get High,' The Day She Got Divorced' and 'Stripes,' all of which portray the darker side of living with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
"I believe life is a dark comedy," Clark states. "I don't know if that's just because my experiences have been that. My favorite movies are dark comedies, like 'Raising Arizona.' There's so much tragedy in that, but it's still funny all at the same time. And I think life is that way. In the sadness, there is humor. The truth is funny. And I also think those dark subjects are a little more palatable if there's a little humor wedged in there."
But the singer-songwriter -- whose forthcoming retro-cool country album has many Nashville insiders already placing her alongside Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Pistol Annies and other female acts who are helping to reinvigorate the genre -- insists that not all of her songs are drawn from her own life.
"If everything I wrote was autobiographical, it would be pretty boring," she observes. "Any song of mine that is decent, it started with a seed of truth, but I love having the license to make it fictional. And I feel like people will talk about songs needing to be autobiographical, and the thing I always go back to is: Did Johnny Cash really shoot a man in Reno?"