Terri Clark appears on CMT Most Wanted Live on Saturday (Oct. 18).
Terri Clark wants to do it all — including a morning chat with CMT.com. In this exclusive interview, she talks about her new book Phases & Stages, praises her fellow CMA nominees and reveals her fondness for junk food. It’s a good thing she’s got an exercise program now, especially with Playboy magazine taking an interest in her!
CMT: What can your fans expect to find out when they read your new book?
Clark: I think they can expect to see the other side of what people perceive as glamour. Glamour to me only happens twice a year and that’s at two award shows. The rest of the time is hitting the road the hard way with one bus and the trailer and a lot of cornfields. We have a great time playing. If there is an audience, we have fun, and that is the main thing. This book is more about the 23 hours a day that people don’t see behind the scenes that lead up to that time on stage that they do see, and giving them more of an insight into the reality and ups ands downs and different aspects of my life.
CMT: When did you write it? When you had some downtime on the road or did you make a point to write every day?
Clark: I didn’t make a point to write at any set time. Just when I thought I had something interesting to say. It was something that was an unexpected surprise to have a book out. If you were to tell me two years ago that I would have a book out — these little journal entries I was doing on my Web site — I would have told you that you were crazy. It is an added bonus and a keepsake that I think fans can have and read. A lot of them have already read it on a journal online, but now they’ve got all in one condensed version.
CMT: You scored your first CMA nomination for female vocalist this year. Knowing your affinity for the past winners in that category, and that you grew up watching that show, what was going through your mind when you heard the news?
Clark: It was a combination of utter sheer joy and relief at the same time because when you go so long not really being an award show favorite…. I’ve had a lot of hit records before and still not been nominated. There was no guarantee this time. I was really hoping that I would be one of those artists that if I proved myself long enough it would eventually happen. Either you slide in or you don’t. There are a lot of artists that work really hard that never get that nomination. I was just on my knees thanking God because it has been a dream of mine for so long. Part of my visualization as a kid dreaming about my career included award shows. I tried for a while to get that out of my head, to protect myself from being disappointed if it never happened. Letting go of that vision just a little bit hurt so much, but when it came back into reality, it was like ‘Wow, this actually could happen.’ If you were handed something like that right off the bat, I don’t think you are as appreciative as if you have done 900 shows over eight years and spent your time out there really working for it. It just makes it that much sweeter.
CMT: Is it amazing to you when you read that list of the other names in that category?
Clark: Yeah, those are the artists that are the reason I am in business. They are the ones that I admire. Dolly Parton is a legend. Just seeing my name in the same group as hers is such an honor. The other artists in the category like Patty, Alison, and Martina all had really long careers and have done really well. I am the youngest. I am the one with the shortest career out of all of them. There are a bunch of people in there that have worked for long time. I have even been out there eight years doing it, so it’s not one of those categories this year that you see the flavor of the month at all, which is kind of cool to be included in that.
CMT: How did you get paired up with “Walking after Midnight” on the Patsy Cline tribute CD?
Clark: Most of the cuts on that album had already been done and I didn’t get to hear any of them. I totally took my road band into the studio and we did a few things at sound check and tried different styles of the song and we decided that just doing a bluesy, barn-burnin’ Delta blues, strong-feeling track because Patsy Cline was such a strong person — her personality and her voice. A lot of people know her for her more mellow songs with the Jordanaires and the Owen Bradley sessions, but I remember the first records that I bought were on the 4-Star label and they were really gritty and really raw. I wanted to cut “Walking after Midnight” more in the fashion that she cut it the first time [on 4-Star], rather than the second time [on Decca], just to capture who she was. “Walking after Midnight” was basically the song they asked me to do and I grew up singing all of Patsy’s songs, so that was just one of the many that I sang. It was fun to put our own spin on it and the band did a great job. My road band came in and played on it and I produced it. It was my first chance at producing something alone, not co-producing. It was a really fun experience and something that I would definitely do all over again. We started doing it in the show every now and then; it’s a fun thing.
CMT: You sound terrific on the Louvin Brothers tribute album, singing with Vince Gill. Is there anybody you’d drop everything for, just to sing harmony with them?
Clark: Probably just about anybody, I love to sing harmony. I sing harmony with my mom. I love to sing harmony and that’s one thing about country music that I think is so identifiable about our genre is that the harmony vocals are so rich and I think that comes from bluegrass and gospel. It’s a big part of the sound of our records even now. I love to do that. If anybody asked me, I would be there in a second. For any other artist to sing on anything, I would be there in a second. I saw Vince at the Opry the other night. He said he just heard it and really liked it, so that’s good.
CMT: Have you heard about this Playboy.com poll with you and Shania and a few others?
Clark: I have heard about it, yes! (Laughs)
CMT: Is posing for Playboy something you’d ever consider?
Clark: I just want to be a singer! What happened to singing? All this other stuff is happening now and it’s all really good. It has thrown me for a loop a bit because I have always just been about the music and playing my guitar and singing my songs. It is funny how little doors will open through music for you. Being considered sexy is not anything that I really ever made an effort to go for or anything like that. In fact people are always trying to get me to wear less clothing. It is fun and it is not anything that I take too seriously. If for some reason I were to win that thing and they were to ask me to pose for something you know… I don’t know… I might do a spread. (Laughs) Strategically placed guitar strap, very wide guitar strap.
CMT: Do you like getting your picture taken?
Clark: Yeah, I don’t mind it. Some people hate it. Some people love it. It’s all part of the deal. It is part of the job. Once you learn how to hold your head properly so that your chins don’t poke out as much, it’s good. As you figure out how to pose for pictures, you become more comfortable with it. The more I see a good photo, shoot the better I feel about it.
CMT: You seem very active and fit. What’s your exercise routine?
Clark: I just started working with the same trainer I worked with before my first album came out. The one where I was all buff on the cover. I just started working out with him again. I am almost ten years older than I was then. I just bought a convertible and I have to look cute in it. (laughs) If I don’t look cute in the convertible, then I have got to take it back. I run, walk, hike, and I try to do a lot of cardio and aerobic exercise outdoors. There are so many great parks in Nashville that you can take advantage of. I like to try some of the harder hiking trails. I try to do that every single day even when I am not with the trainer. My problem areas are different than a lot of women. My problem areas are not my legs and my thighs and my butt. … I do a lot of aerobic exercise so I try to get out there and climb mountains and such.
CMT: Do you eat healthy? Do you eat well?
Clark: Well, you know, it depends. I eat very well! (laughs) I don’t know if I eat healthy but I eat well. I have a junk food habit. I love fried food: French fries, burgers, Krispy Kremes, fried chicken, and all that kind of stuff. I give myself one day a week where I eat anything I want. The rest of the days I try to be pretty careful and eat lean and not overdo the pasta and bread. It is really tough because I love food. Food and sex are two things where, I tell you what, that’s it for me honey! Get out of the way! Back off! Get your own sandwich!