Singer songwriter Clark Hill may have only been in the business for five years, but he has already seen some pretty quick growth in his career. He decided to move to Nashville while going through a separation with his wife. His brother, a fellow musician encouraged him to get out of the house. In what sounds like one of those made for TV stories he opens up about that game changing day.
“It was my birthday. My wife had just left me. My wisdom tooth had gotten pulled and they broke my jaw. So I went out and played music and started enjoying it. In typical fashion I became extreme, and was like hey let’s go to Nashville. Let’s figure out how this business works and how to get to the top.”
While Clark clearly has a competitive side, he also wants to be good to people. Being in Music City and realizing people are listening not only to the music but also to how he talks has further confirmed that Nashville is the right fit. Hailing from a small town in Florida definitely plays into who he is as an artist. “There is a sense of values but also a sense of fun and craziness that accompanies it.” Clark shares, adding that he feels Nashville has that small town in a big city feel.
One of Hill’s fondest memories is performing for troops overseas. He can’t wait to go back. “If I could do that every show I would. It was better for me than it was for them. At the end of the day it was by definition humbling to feel so appreciated and wanted.” noting that a simple handshake and look in the eye made these soldiers day.
Being a big storyteller and a newer artist Clark was able to relate to the soldiers to the point where it opened up a dialogue that it was almost intimately conversational. He recalls being over there the night that America had just elected the newest president. He had been spending time most of the day with an EOD Unit and one of the soldiers felt inclined to share his story with Clark. Each soldier is given a bracelet with names of members that have died in the unit. This is the only jewelry they are allowed to wear and Hill was humbled that this particular soldier felt such a connection to give him his bracelet. He proudly showed it to me at the interview, saying that he is able to look at it and be reminded everyday of why he gets to entertain people.
In addition to writing songs, Clark is currently writing a book entitled The Label That Defines You. “I’m a very philosophical person so I’m always trying to share my life and help people believe in themselves more than anything.” He confides that he was raised in an environment where everything was a competition, a war and battle associated with labels. “One of my biggest personal battles is overcoming a label and making sure people know that a label doesn’t define you. How you treat people defines you. How you respond to how people treats you defines you. Are you capable and more importantly are you willing to wake up tomorrow and define yourself differently.” he perceives.
Clark believes that everyone has a spiritual side. Growing up in the South in Baptist Churches taught him that being transparent and vulnerable are great assets. As a father of two he believes the greatest lesson they can learn is from watching him fail and more importantly get up, dust himself off, get any help he needs and keep going.
As a kid he loved Elvis and used to perform as Presley. “I was always defined by labels at that point. You win a talent competition so I became Elvis Presley for a few years.”
As fun as that was, it only attributes to part of how he got his start in music. “Me becoming an artist was a culmination of a dozen things in my life. all of them played into the makeup of who I am as an artist.” he shares, adding that playing the part of Elvis taught him about performing.
The Country Music Association has honored him with the label of Emerging Artist. “Having that recognition that your achieving something in such a competitive industry is not only humbling but recharging.” Clark tells us. It gives him motivation to keep going.
Clark Hill just released his new single Perfect To Me on June 9th and is totally psyched! The song was written by Chris Young and Mike Rogers on a USO Tour. Hill calls himself a hopeless romantic and confides “To me it’s the musical version of the Notebook. It’s the perfect love story that is truly genuine.” It hit close to home with Clark’s marriage, where he realized after facing obstacles together that the flaws don’t matter, she is perfect just the way she is.
At the top of his list of proudest career moments we’re told was hands down the Armed Forces Entertainment Tour. Another highlight was playing a show with Brett Eldredge in Jacksonville. It was his first big show and seeing the hometown crowd singing along to his music touched Clark. He also prides himself on the past week. “I like being a workhorse. To do media interviews and get to connect with people.” For him it’s not just an interview, it’s building a relationship. And as someone who has interviewed many artists, I was impressed with his genuineness and authenticity. He shares “My goal is to be a relationship based person, to put my foot down in the industry and not be a person that disappears.”
When talking about what he hopes to accomplish with his music Clark says “I always joke change the world but its’ not a joke.” His short term goal is to chart a song, albeit for business reasons. In a world where radio dictates how you can perform, he is hopeful about getting the opportunity to meet with program directors and do his best to establish a relationship that will turn into experiences. “I want to leave a stamp not only on the industry but everyone that hears my life story and experiences the growth. My longtime goal is to effect each and every person. I’d like to leave some kind of positive impact on the world.”