New to the country music scene, singer-songwriter Liddy Clark is already making waves with her hauntingly beautiful single, “Shot Down (Stand Up),” which she penned after she lost friends in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. I got the chance to talk with this talented up-and-comer about how she originally got into music, how she balances her career with her studies at USC, what she nerds out about and so much more! Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
I’ve been singing ever since I was seven. I learned I was related to the legend that is Pocahontas and performed a tribute to her at my elementary school’s talent show. After that, I got really into musical theater and started taking voice lessons. I got started in country music when I was 13 and then I started to really find my voice. It was then I learned how to write songs and play guitar, and the genre I was drawn to was country music because of my roots in Texas and the music I listened to on the radio.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is something you wanted to start taking seriously?
I’ve always known that I was drawn to performing and writing material, but I actually knew that this was what I wanted to do when I got my first negative comment at a live performance. It was then I realized that the one negative comment I had gotten was not nearly as important as the people who genuinely enjoyed the music, and I knew that was what would motivate me going forward.
You’re a full time student studying at USC’s Thornton School of Music, correct? Have you found it challenging trying to balance your up-and-coming music career and school?
Yes! Of course, it’s always been a challenge even when I was in high school. The best part about being in a music school, though, is that progressing my career is part of what I’m learning and the people I’m meeting are just as committed to their craft.
Back to music, I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you produce?
Chill acoustic style, but also laced with an edgy perspective on the world. The type of music I put out into the world is meant to make people think or make them feel something, but both ideally.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
John Mayer, Kacey Musgraves, Fleetwood Mac, Maren Morris, Parachute, the 1975, etc.
Your current single, “Shot Down (Stand Up),” is based on your experience as a native of Parkland, FL and being friends with several of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. Did you know you wanted to write about this going into the song session that birthed this song or did it just come about organically once you were in the session?
I wrote this by myself [and] I knew I wanted to write this for a while, but it took time to figure out what I wanted to say. I have my own political views, sure, but I wanted to write something deeper than just trying to convince people that my ideology is better than others. This is a song about overcoming prenotions about what other people are thinking and coming together to fix the issues that are at stake in our country.
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically? Did you write this by yourself or did you collaborate with other artists/songwriters?
I wrote this by myself in about an hour, although I was still tweaking things the week after. I knew I wanted to write something about the subject and when I was asked to perform at the Wear Orange Gun Violence Awareness event I knew that I had to finish the song before then.
Speaking of songwriting, who are some of your musical influences when it comes to songwriting?
I think songwriting is the most important musical element to me, so it’d be a pretty similar list to my overall music influences (John Mayer, Kacey Musgraves, etc).
What was the recording process like? Was this song recorded in one single session or over the course of multiple sessions?
In the past, I’ve done multiple sessions for each song, but this song was done in just one.
Were there any major changes to the song that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
The lyrics stayed the same, but we played around with the musical arrangement and figured out some interesting stylistic choices.
What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
I hope to graduate from college in about 2 1/2 years! After that, I’ll be moving to Nashville and (hopefully) I’ll be writing pretty much full time.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something that you nerd out about?
I’m such a nerd for calculus. I know a lot of people hate math, but it was always one of those subjects in school that it was pretty easy for me to understand.