Terri (b Terri Lynn Sauson) Clark. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, b Montréal 4 Aug 1968. Terri Clark's maternal grandparents, Montreal-based singers Ray and Betty Gauthier, were well-known on the Canadian country music circuit. Clark's mother Linda was a folk singer. In 1976 Clark, with her mother and sister, moved first to Calgary and then to Medicine Hat. At nine years of age, Clark's mother introduced her to the guitar. Clark later taught herself more advanced guitar. Inspired by the music of The Judds and Reba McEntire, at 12 years of age she started to write songs. In 1986 she finished high school and moved first to Toronto and soon after to Nashville.
Clark got her first work in Nashville at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. When searching for a record deal she discovered record companies were not anxious to sign women artists and were unwilling to embrace Canadian country musicians. Clark recalled being told, "We're sorry but we've got our female for the year" (Country, Nov/Dec 1996). (Clark credits Shania Twain's phenomenal success for turning these attitudes around.) For seven years Clark worked part-time selling cowboy clothing and waitressing. During 1989, following the advice of Nashville manager Woody Bowles (The Judds), she enrolled in vocal and songwriting sessions. Two years later she secured a writing and publishing deal with Sony Tree. In 1994 Mercury Records offered her a recording contract.
Terri Clark's Musical Style and Recordings
Clark's songwriting and performances reflect country music's ability to tell real-life stories in an honest way. Fans especially know her for her upbeat songs about empowerment. In hit songs, such as "Better Things to Do" and "A Little Gasoline," Clark sings of the survivor who refuses to be victimized by any life experience. Whereas country artists often cross over into popular music territory, Clark's music remains rooted in country music tradition. Her debut release Terri Clark (1995, 314-526 991-2 Mercury) achieved triple-platinum sales in Canada and platinum in the US. The singles "Better Things to Do," "When Boy Meets Girl," and "If I Were You" all made it into the top ten.
Her follow-up platinum album Just the Same (1996, 314-532 879-2 Mercury) contained more hits, including a remake of Warren Zevon's "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" and "Emotional Girl." How I Feel (1998, 314 558 211-4 Mercury) featured Clark's first no. 1 song, "You're Easy on the Eyes."
Clark's next recording, Fearless (2000, 088 170 157-2), offered introspective songwriting and a sound more influenced by folk and bluegrass. The recording, which Clark called her "art piece," was not aimed at commercial radio; it did however reach gold status in Canada. Attempting to resurrect past commercial success, the next album, Pain to Kill (2003, 088 170 325-2 Mercury), blended Clark's earlier upbeat style with her recent introspective approach. The first single, "I Just Want to Be Mad," and "I Wanna Do It All" were both big hits. Her next release, Greatest Hits 1994-2004 (2004, B000190602 Mercury/Universal) sold multi-platinum copies and included the no. 1 Billboard country single hit "Girls Lie Too."
Since 1997 Terri Clark has toured extensively throughout North America. She has headlined her own show and shared the stage with major country music artists such as Reba McEntire and Brad Paisley. In 2005 Clark toured Australia.
Billboard magazine named Clark top new female country artist in 1995. Clark won Juno awards in 1997 for best new solo artist and in 2001 for best country female artist. For four successive years (2001-4) she received the Canadian Country Music Association Fans' Choice of the Year Award, and in 2005 was named its female artist of the year.
On 12 June 2004 Terri Clark became the first Canadian female inducted into the Grand Old Opry. In recognition of her work to promote country music, in 2004 she was also awarded the prestigious Country Music Association's Connie B. Gay Award.