Brandy Clark, a consistent Grammy nominee, has yet to secure a win despite widespread acclaim. Despite this, the Washington native appears unfazed as the 66th Annual Grammy Awards approach on Sunday. She’s just happy to be here.
“I think about that girl who thought there was no way I could even be an artist,” Clark, 48, says. “I remember that girl who didn’t think she was pretty enough or that she couldn’t do this because of my sexuality. Those were insecurities, and I just decided to forge ahead even in the face of those.”
This year, Brandy Clark boasts six Grammy nominations. Notable among them are Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance for “Buried,” Best Americana Album for her self-titled work, and Best Americana Performance and Best Americana Roots Song for “Dear Insecurity” with Brandi Carlile. Additionally, she’s recognized in the Best Musical Theater Album category for “Shucked.”
“It’s a good lesson to not let insecurity to rule you,” says Clark, who’s the most nominated country artist to never win a Grammy with 17 nods to her name.
Acknowledging her personal journey, Clark openly conveys grappling with insecurities despite her parents’ earnest efforts during her upbringing in Washington.
“I had parents that didn’t put a lot of stress on what your outward beauty was,” she says. “When I think about teenage me, I was insecure about fitting in. I wanted to be good at things. I always used to think I was trying to be good enough to fit in with my peers, but really, I think I was trying to be good enough to fit in with myself.”
Even upon her arrival in Nashville, Brandy Clark continued to grapple with these persistent insecurities.
“The music business or any kind of entertainment business will put those kinds of insecurities in you,” she says quietly. “This is the way it goes. It’s part of the job, I think.”
In the music video for the Grammy-nominated “Dear Insecurity,” Brandy Clark delves into the specifics of her insecurities, showcasing the powerful collaboration with the equally remarkable Brandi Carlile.
“To me, it didn’t make sense for one of us to be in the video and not the other, but [producer] Trey [Fanjoy] pushed to have me appear in the last scene,” Clark recalls of the closing moments of the transformative music video that shows her sitting down for an interview under the bright lights of self-doubt. “I mean, I’m critical of myself the way all artists are about themselves on camera. In those moments, you’re being asked to be your most vulnerable self. And that’s hard to do while you’re grappling with what you think is being said behind the camera.”
Brandy Clark’s experience, seldom discussed, unveils a very real truth. “I always battle with physical insecurities,” admits Clark, who will head off on tour in April. “I’m always thinking I need to be 10 to 15 pounds thinner or I’m complaining about the gray coming in on my hair and how I must get it colored. Those kinds of insecurities are ones that I think we all battle daily.”
Facing and overcoming insecurities is a shared journey for both Brandy Clark and the characters in the “Dear Insecurity” music video. Witnessing this transformation in the video released last October moved Clark to tears.
“I can find myself in every character in that music video,” Clark admits softly. “I mean, you can start to think you’re a great singer and a songwriter, and then you’ll hear somebody who’s greater. I don’t think it ever ends. Really the only way to combat insecurity is to just try to get along with it.”
Brandy Clark candidly shares her past insecurity as a gay woman in the country music industry. Feeling the need to exceed expectations for acceptance, she reflects on the shared experience with collaborator Shane McAnally, suggesting it played a role in their successful collaborations.
Recently, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally collaborated on writing the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit “Shucked.” Despite being in a pool of highly talented individuals, Clark reflects on her persistent talent-related insecurities, contemplating the need to overcome them.
The 66th Grammy Awards are scheduled to occur at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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