Everything is coming up roses for Brandy Clark. Last fall, she took home the CMA Award for Song of the Year, “Follow Your Arrow,” which she co-wrote with Kacey Musgraves and Shane McAnally, and then early this year was nominated for not one but two Grammy Awards. She’s currently touring with Alan Jackson on his 25th Anniversary Tour and preparing to record her second studio album, due to release later this year.
SH: Congratulations on your two Grammy nominations. What was your favorite moment from the show?
BC: This is going to sound egotistical, but my favorite moment was my performance. That was just a magical two and a half minutes for me. I wanted a performance slot so bad. I said, “God, if I get a performance slot, I don’t care if I win.” That was the first time I’d performed at any awards show.
SH: Miranda Lambert’s album Platinum took home the Best New Country Album award, and you wrote a song on that album, “Two Rings Shy.” How does it feel to have played a part in that project?
BC: I’m proud to have had a song on that album. It’s a great album. I can’t take a pat on the back or anything. That’s was all Miranda.
SH: You’ve written songs for a laundry list of stars—Miranda, The Band Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers. Are there any collaborations or projects in the works?
BC: I have some songs on Kacey [Musgrave]’s upcoming album [including “Biscuits”]. But until it’s shrink-wrapped in Wal-Mart nothing’s a sure thing.
SH: What is your favorite song on your album, 12 Stories, and why?
BC: I think it would be “Hold My Hand.” I performed that at the Grammy’s. That’s a song I’m always excited to perform. I know the response it’s going to get. I know it’s always going to stop the room. Whether it’s a writers’ night or a club or something like the Grammy’s, people are going to take notice. Not every song can do that.
SH: Touring with Alan Jackson is like stepping through the pearly gates of country music. What is it like opening for him?
BC: That’s a great way to put it. It’s so amazing to be out there with a legend. And he’s still very current. He doesn’t seem old enough to be a legend. I was a huge Alan Jackson fan. I remember going to his concerts. It’s pretty surreal. It feels like you’re at any other show until he comes out on stage.
SH: Have you started working on a sophomore album? When can we expect to hear new music from you?
BC: I’ll go into the studio at the end of May and all of June. I’m always writing. I’m that sort of writer. For so long I’ve been an everyday songwriter. I’ve never really gotten out of that. I don’t write as much on the road, but when I’m home I write every day. That makes for a lot of songs. Usually there are one or two songs that are precious to me. People that I know and trust listen to the songs. A producer gets involved and they are really creative and can decide which colors they want to paint with to make the album.
SH: Which do you prefer: songwriting or performing?
BC: It depends on the day. I probably do prefer songwriting. It all starts with the song for me. Without a song I don’t have a performing career. But there are days when I like performing better.
SH: You signed with Warner Bros. Records, who also produces music for Jason Derulo and Stevie Knicks. Quite a wide range of styles. How, if at all, will the environment at Warner Bros. affect your music in the future?
BC: One thing I love about my label is they don’t want me to be anybody but who I am. I think my music is going to stay very country. I can’t be anything but really country.
SH: Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?
BC: I see myself just working all the time, making records that inspire me which starts with writing songs that inspire me. My goal is to be a platinum-selling artist and headline shows. Just have a career that looks like nothing I’ve ever seen. I didn’t expect to get this chance when I did. That gave me the freedom to do whatever. I actually just wrote my first musical. It opens in Dallas this summer. It was always a life dream for me. If I didn’t have the freedom in my head I wouldn’t have thought, “I can write a musical right now.” I want to make music that breaks down some barriers. I’ve blazed my own trail, and I love the trail that I’m on.