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Artist Spotlight: Gary Clark Jr.

-Kerry Souder, Roots N Blues Intern

Gary Clark Jr. is far more than an R&B singer: the guitarist, vocalist and songwriter has blended  genres to create a whole new category of musical excellence. Think R&B meets soul meets rock & roll meets hip-hop. Those of you who know Clark’s music are probably nodding your heads right now; the rest of you are probably raising an eyebrow at how so many different styles of music can be mashed under one artist. At this point, I would ask you to stop reading and listen to a few songs. Go ahead, I’ll wait here…

Clark’s diverse musical repertoire has caught the eye of many famous admirers, including Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger. He has collaborated with the likes of Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, and Nas. He has a simple motto that has rewarded his fans with a great variety of music: “I listen to everything…so I want to play everything.” You truly won’t get bored of this one, folks.

It is easy to see why he was dubbed “The Chosen One.” He’s become known as the future of blues guitar back in 2012, after the release of his album “Blak and Blu.” The artist kept a level head after receiving that praise, however, stating that he just wanted to make music and was not trying to live up to any expectations. His mentality and humbleness has undoubtedly served him well in his career as a musician.

Clark’s passion for music started well back into his youth. When he was just four-years-old, he went to a Michael Jackson concert, where the King of Pop changed his life. When he started playing as a teenager, he picked up any opportunity he could in the his hometown of Austin. Additionally, he sang in the church choir with his sisters, adding a more gentle side to his music to combat the rock and roll. Eventually, Clifford Antone, owner of the city’s premiere blues club, discovered Clark and began booking him at his venue. From there, Clark continued to grow into the legend he is today.

Clark is beginning a five month tour this May, kicking it off in his hometown of Austin. He’s hitting a bunch of states along the way, making his way up to Toronto and then concluding in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you can’t make the tour, fear not! You can catch him at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia shortly thereafter!

Check out this video of him singing in The Live Room to get excited!