Growing up on a farm in a tiny Colorado town Clare set out to pursue her dreams. Determined to pursue her love for singing she headed to Nashville to attend Belmont University, despite not being able to afford it. She spent her breaks from school back on the farm working to make her dream a reality. Tune in to hear how Clare started from scratch not knowing a soul in Tennessee, taught herself how to play guitar and took a songwriting course at Belmont to get her start. She tells about her influences and how she got her start in the music business.
Growing up in tiny Two Buttes, Colorado (population: 43), Clare Dunn spent countless hours driving a tractor helping plow and plant the family farm, herd cattle and haul water, while simultaneously sharpening her ears on a wide range of uninterrupted music piping through her earphones.
She immersed herself in classic rock and country records — lots of Bob Seger, Tina Turner and Mick Jagger titles among them and, thanks to a background in competitive hip-hop dance, there was a lot of Top 40, Hip-Hop and R&B.
“Dance still informs so much about my songwriting and producing so when I’m making music, a lot of times, depending on the song, I think about it from a dance perspective: energy, movement, beats, musicality and phrasing,” says Clare.
For all of her sonic sensibilities, the aspiring artist lived in a town without places to play live shows, and she had no idea how to pursue her dream after high school until she discovered the music business program at Belmont University in Nashville. While the private school was out of her family’s price range, it didn’t stop Clare from earning her tuition money by driving a silage truck for harvest back in her hometown.
Once in college, the ace student worked part-time as a sales attendant for “The Opry Shop” and somehow made time to learn to play guitar. “It was a challenge explaining to a guitar player how I heard things in my head. I couldn’t speak their language so, I dug in and worked hard to learn it,” says Clare. Mastering that second language helped fine-tune Clare’s creative vision, resulting in becoming the only female country artist in recent memory to have a hand in all the writing, arranging and producing for her five-track debut release, Clare Dunn (2015).
SiriusXM’s The Highway put Clare’s flirtatious “Cowboy Side of You” in rotation and fans swarmed. With a knack for signing powerhouse talent, Universal Music Group Nashville offered Clare a record deal and she immediately hit the road with many of her musical heroes including Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and legend Bob Seger, who handpicked Clare as direct support on his Ride Out Tour after hearing just one sound check. She went on to receive standing ovations every night.
The success of “Cowboy Side of You” led to the release of “Tuxedo,” “Move On,” “Put You into Words” and “More,” and Clare’s fanbase continued to multiply.
Driven by a fierce work ethic, Clare remains focused on writing, rehearsing, recording, and producing. From agile melodic figures on acoustic guitar and aggressive shredding on electric guitar to delicate vocal emoting, Clare owns her craft.
While an acclaimed instrumentalist, it’s her voice that leaves audiences transfixed. From stadiums to intimate performance halls, Clare’s smoky lower range and ability to inhabit a song recalls such world-class pop performers as Adele, Pink or Annie Lennox and when she hits the high end of her pure four-octave range, she brings audiences to their feet.
Having performed on stages across the country from Madison Square Garden and Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium to The Gorge Amphitheater in Washington and the Utah Jazz Arena in Salt Lake City, Clare’s drive is unceasing.
The “absolutely magnetic artist” (Rolling Stone) unveils her highly anticipated new single on April 5, joins CMT’s 2019 Next Women of Country Tour on April 11 and weaves mainstage appearances including LakeShake Festival and Tortuga Festival into a busy recording and tour schedule.
For more about Clare Dunn, visit ClareDunn.com
What Bart has to say: I’ve loved watching Clare grow from a budding singer-songwriter, to a bona fide star and I feel like a proud much older uncle. She also claims to be a good domino player, but I’ve yet to see that.
In this episode you’ll hear
Clare tell what led her to Tennessee to attend Belmont University and how she got her start in the music business
The story of her first time opening for Bob Seger a few days after signing her first record deal
Links to Connect