With Canadian Joey Clarkson as our featured artist this week, what better time than to ask her all our burning questions about #whatmadeyoucountry?
To me, country music is a best friend that is there for you through absolutely every stage of your life. It’s there when you’re a kid, singing with your family to lyrics you don’t quite understand yet. When you turn 12 years old and decide you hate country music, because it’s not cool to like country music, it waits patiently and doesn’t pass judgement as you roll your eyes and turn the radio down for Country hour. It’s there for you when you turn 23, and realise that life is more than pop music about clubbing… it’s about family, and love in all forms, and sharing experiences. It’s the friend who waits until you are ready to admit you actually love them, at 24, after pretending you don’t for over a year, while secretly spending all your hidden time together! And finally, it welcomes you back with open arms when you realize just how blind you have been, accepting once and for all that you not only love country music, but you are in fact a country music artist. And you always have been. You had just been fighting it.
True country music is family. It is inclusive, and welcoming, and is a home for anyone who needs to feel like they belong. I love the way it makes me feel, and I love the community built around it. I love the festivals, and the tailgate parties. The stories of struggle, family and love. I love almost every part of this genre, and I love that it reminds me of home!
I know these weren’t the first country songs I heard, but they are the first ones I remember hearing. I have strong memories of sitting by the fireplace in Canada watching the country music countdown with my Parents, Sister Cousins and Auntie Deen. I must have been around 8 years old. The songs that stick out to me the most are “26 cents” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. It was around this time that I bought a greatest hit album from Dolly on cassette, and I honestly can’t remember which came first. But to me, those songs bring me right back to my parents living room with my family. It’s hard to remember how I felt at the time, aside from happy, but they definitely give me nostalgia now.
The one artist that inspired me most is… A MEAN QUESTION, and impossibly hard to answer! I think my answer to this question changes often, because I take inspiration from so many people. Right now, my gut instinct is to say Mickey Guyton; a woman who, despite having faced so many roadblocks on her rise in country music, forges onward to create a more inclusive country music scene for the future generations. Her music is so inspirational, and that voice! In addition to this, I find it incredible that she continued to create, perform and stand up for what is right throughout her pregnancy, and now continues to do so into her first year of motherhood. I think the world needs more strong women, especially mothers, in roles of leadership. Especially in the musical world. I find it incredibly inspiring.
If I could only listen to one country album for the next decade, it would be… also a mean question, but I’m gonna have to say Same Trailer Different Park. BANGER of an album.
Here are five of the songs most influential to me as a country artist.
‘I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow’ is the song from the movie that acted as a gateway for finding my love for country music again, whilst ‘Night Train’ was the song that made me realise I was, in fact, a country music fan (and artist) in denial.
‘If You Ask Me To’ is the first country song I FELL IN LOVE WITH, and openly loved, as an adult. I still cry my way through it when I listen to it. ‘I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair’ gets me every time. Gorgeous.
Joey’s surprise new single ‘Cheating Man’ is out now and available to stream here. Follow Joey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to her YouTube channel for some fantastic insights into the music business.