By Annie Reuter
Long before Brandy Clark released her excellent debut country album 12 Stories, she had a publicist in Kacey Musgraves. The two songwriters penned several hits together, including Miranda Lambert‘s 2014 ACM Award-winning “Mama’s Broken Heart” and Musgraves’ recent single “Follow Your Arrow.” Naturally they formed a tight bond.
“Kacey Musgraves was a publicist for this record before we had a publicist,” Clark told Radio.com. “So much of what she’s doing artistically is really opening major doors for a record like mine. Had Kacey’s record not come out when it did, I don’t know if my record would have been received the way it was. I feel like she’s really opened the door for a different kind of song and for some of those topics that are a little bit more taboo.”
Clark released 12 Stories in October, and she immediately began earning rave reviews from music critics and artists alike for her storytelling ability and traditional country roots. (Update: 12 Stories was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY Award for Best Country Album.)
“For me, to really sink my teeth into a song, I do have the characters in my mind, and they grow,” Clark said. “When I’m writing a song, I can picture the kitchen they’re sitting in and what their TV set looks like. Those are the things I have to do, just getting into that spot in your mind where the story is taking place.”
Lead single “Stripes” is an example of Clark’s unique storytelling. What started as an idea to write a song called “Orange,” about a woman who wants to kill her cheating husband, transformed into a tell-all tale of what would happen if she didn’t hate stripes and looked good in the color orange. Listen below:
“Traditionally, country music is a truth-telling, adult format. I want to be a truth-teller. I always want my music to be truthful and a dark comedy. Happy and sad. High and low.”