10 Questions with ... Clare Dunn
August 31, 2014
1) Clare, thanks for taking time out to chat with All Access! You grew up in Southeast Colorado working on the farm before attending Belmont here in Nashville. Can you talk to us about that and the process that got you to this point?
Being from a small, rural, agricultural community, Belmont was way outside of our financial ability. It was not some place I thought I would even come close to being able to attend, but I applied for every loan and grant I possibly could. I also would drive silage trucks back home to make money for tuition. I'd drive everywhere across Kansas, Southern Colorado, and Texas. That helped put me through Belmont. It was a lot of work. There were no spring breaks in Cancun or summers off, like there are for "normal" college kids. I was able to do one internship in Nashville for the portion of a summer and it was that internship that led me to my first publishing deal. It was a hard period of time, but thanks to my family's support, it got me to this point.
2) Speaking of growing up, who were some of your favorite artists to listen to as a child?
Keith Urban is definitely one of my favorites. He's somebody I've looked up to for such a long time. I would dig through my folks' record collection, and I loved Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Seger. My dad is a farmer, but he didn't like Country music growing up. He introduced me to Percy Sledge and Fats Domino and through that I found Aretha Franklin. Growing up, I listened to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Through my dance studio near my house, I was introduced to hip hop dance, so there was a lot of that influence. Any and every kind of music I could get my hands on, I listened to.
3) You've recently opened up for some of the hottest acts out there right now, including Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan. What have you learned from being out with those guys?
I think the thing I am most intrigued by is everything that goes on backstage. I love to perform and grew up performing, so for me the part that I haven't had a lot of time to study is the backstage aspect and the production of the shows. That part for me has been really awesome to see the flow, the working environment and everyone is there to help everyone else. The thing that I've been so blown away by is that as a young act just starting out, everyone who we've opened up for has taken me under their wing and helped to make sure everything goes okay for us and our show. That's not something a headliner has to do, so that's been really awesome. Each artist has their own way of doing stuff and I love to study that.
4) You write a lot of your music and currently have a publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis. Do you feel like there's a certain type of song you gravitate towards when going into a writing session or does it really depend on your mood?
As an artist, it's nice to have the songwriter tool if there's a particular song that I feel like I want to have because I can just sit down and write that type of song. A lot of times it just depends. Basically, the best idea wins out and that's sort of my philosophy. If you do that it will usually work itself out!
5) You're currently out visiting radio without label support. What has that process been? Is it like a traditional radio tour, are you only visiting certain markets, have you been scheduling it yourself?
My agent knew of a couple independent radio teams and they would just call ahead to some secondary radio stations and say 'Hey ,Clare's coming out!" and schedule a visit. We would talk and plan a route and then I'd load up my pickup truck and head out by myself with just my guitar. I think the first trip I did, I covered about 2,000 miles. The second trip was somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 miles. Just me, no rep. I'd take my music in and play it for them. I've been lucky to have great experiences everywhere I've went. It's been so much fun for me to finally get out there and get my music out there.
6) You're getting airplay on Sirius XM and made their fan-voted countdown. How have you built your fan base up to this point?
Mostly just touring. I'm not the best at social media, but I do handle it all myself. I try to keep everything as up to date as I possibly can. I'm not a social media whiz, so for me it's really just been about building it one-by-one. Fan-by-fan and show-by-show. I try to keep the mentality that no matter who I'm opening up for, or where we're playing, we just want to give the crowd at that show the best we can. That's really the way it's been building; through shows and word-of-mouth.
7) As a guitar player (and a great one at that), what guitar slinger would you most want to perform with on an episode of "CMT Crossroads"?
Oh, ask me a tough question! (laughs) Keith Urban, without a doubt! Can you have two Country people on "CMT Crossroads"; does that defeat the purpose? If you can't, then I'd have to say Eric Clapton.
8) Did you always know that music was what you wanted to do?
Yes! If I wasn't doing music, I'd be starving and wouldn't be making rent (laughs). If I had to stick with farming I'd be in trouble, I'm not very good at it!
9) For those that don't know the name Clare Dunn...yet. What do you want them to know most about you and your music?
That it comes from life. It comes from my life and the lives of those around me. I want them to know that my goal is to always create music that hopefully inspires other people in the way that I was inspired to create music by the singers I grew up listening to. I hope it's music that people can latch on to and make their own.
10) There is a lot of a buzz around you right now and your career is starting to take off; what do you hope to see happen from here?
My main goal is to keep going full steam ahead. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by a great team of folks that believe in me. Every chance that I'm off the road, I'm in the studio working on my record that I'll hopefully get out soon. I'm very lucky that there are labels that have started to call now and we're going to keep rollin' and find the right partner to team up with. After that, it's hopefully on to the stars, the moon, the arena tours and everything that comes after that!
1) What was the worst chore you had to do on the farm growing up?
That's a great question! Any chore was frowned upon as a young child, but I think the worst chore was cleaning out horse stalls. I look back now and realize it gave me a lot of thinking time, which turned into a lot of dreaming time. And I was always dreaming about music, so I kind of appreciate it now.
2) What is your favorite or funniest moment while driving a silage truck?
Well, I was two weeks late going back to Belmont because I wanted to stay in Texas and make more money. On my last day, the last load I hauled, I was headed to the silage pit and got stuck in the field. The tractors were all gone and the field was wet. I had to wait for an hour to get pulled out. I was so bummed because all I wanted to do was get back on the road to Nashville. That's definitely one of my more memorable moments!