Click here for a free download of Stacy Clark's "Unusual."
Stacy Clark knows a thing or two about adversity. Ten years ago, during her senior year of high school, the Buffalo, New York singer was diagnosed with a rare blood platelet disorder that nearly took her life. Clark handled the physical ordeal with grace, and in the end the illness only added to her sense of drive and determination. In addition to doing open-mic shows while still in high school, Clark was savvy enough to seek an internship at a local recording studio. A pattern of diligence and perseverance was set in motion.
“I sacrificed any sort of free social time in order to keep doing what I wanted, which was to create music and go out and tour,” Clark says. “I learned the whole process of recording, from the ground up. I didn’t have anyone holding my hand, or paying for anything. I did everything—from buying my first guitar, to booking my first national tour, to promoting the shows. It has involved a lot of sacrifice, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because it’s what I love to do.”
The result of Clark’s efforts is Apples and Oranges, the debut CD she released independently late last year. A quirky blend of folk-pop, electronica, and dance music, the disc brings to mind such notable songsters as Regina Spektor and Imogen Heap. Working with producer Ian Kirkpatrick, Clark buffs her singer-songwriter ruminations with sprite modern textures, giving them a subtle shine. She says the move toward a radio-friendly sound has been an organic progression.
“It’s sort of involved a transformation,” Clark explains. “When I was 15, I was more folkie. Then I went in a more blues and jazz direction. But I’ve always liked electronic rock. I grew up dancing, from the time I was eight until I was 15. Whenever I hear a beat, the first thing I want to do is move, because I was programmed that way. In the case of my music, I wanted to create a kind of Postal Service or Bjork electronic sound. Or a bit like Morcheeba or Portishead, but more mainstream.”
Clark cites alternative popsters Copeland as an influence as well. In fact, Copeland frontman Aaron Marsh guests on Apples and Oranges, singing a duet with Clark on a song titled “Empty Bottles.” “It’s funny,” she says. “I never anticipated that people who I admired would in turn like my music.”
Despite her go-it-alone history, Clark says she’s not averse to signing a record deal. She’s been in talks with several labels, and is currently weighing her options. “You can only do so much on your own,” she allows. “The industry is evolving rapidly, and you really need to go along with that. But whatever happens, I’m not going to stop making music. This is who I am, and I plan to always continue along this path.”