But if they had the chance to talk, I think the two could have covered a lot of territory. I know, because I had the chance to do that with Clark the last time she was in Chicago on Jennifer Nettles’ tour. Clark has some great stories and a fresh perspective on things. So if they’d had time, I think DeGeneres and Clark might have touched on some of the same things we talked about.
Where Clark’s creativity took root: “When I was in high school, I worked on a Christmas tree farm. So you’re out there all day long with nothing but your mind. So I would take shows from TV and come up with different plot lines. That’s how I used my imagination for songs, too. I don’t even know what some of these women in my songs look like, but I know exactly what the kitchen that they’re sitting in looks like.”
How living life leads to songs: “Being on road for this tour, sometimes for a month solid, means I’m writing less. But since I don’t have time to write, I’m listening for ideas instead. When you’re in constant output mode, you don’t get to fill the well as much. So I want to use this time to fill that well back up.”
The importance of staying focused: “Some people can write whatever song they need to write. I really only have a couple of things I can do well. In some ways, that’s a blessing. In some ways that’s a curse. A lot of artists fail just because they can’t pick a direction.”
Why pride matters in country: “[Songwriter] Don Schlitz once said, ’You can’t write country music looking down your nose at it.’ And it bothers me that sometimes we are ashamed of country music. We have a responsibility to be proud of this music. I loved country music so much that I left everyone I knew and loved and moved to Nashville all the way from Washington State.”
Who made Clark go for the heart: “Garth Brooks always made music for your heart. And that heart meter is huge, even in his songs like ’That Summer.’ Even though that song is up-tempo, it hits you in a way that a ballad usually would.”