Terri Clark Biography

Terri Lynne Sauson, 5 August 1968, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. During the late 90s singer-songwriter Clark offered a serious challenge to Shania Twain and Michelle Wright for the title of most successful Canadian country export. Raised in Medicine Hat, Clark comes from a musical family: her maternal grandparents, Ray and Betty Gauthier, were popular country performers in Canada and her mother sang folk songs. Clark’s mother recognized her daughter’s talents and encouraged her to move to Nashville in 1987. She started well by working as a house singer at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. She married fiddler Ted Stevenson (they were divorced in 1996), but her career suffered one setback after another, giving substance to her later quote: ‘ Pam Tillis said that a woman needs to be twice as good as the men to make it in country music, and she needs ten times the guts. There is some truth in that.’

Eventually, Clark signed a recording contract with Mercury Records and set about recording her largely self-written debut album. Her luck appeared to have changed as she enjoyed US country Top 10 hits with ‘Better Things To Do’, ‘When Boy Meets Girl’, and ‘If I Were You’, and Billboard named her as one of their artists of the year in 1995. Her good looks prompted various merchandising companies to seek her out to advertise products, the most lucrative being Wrangler jeans, which accorded with Clark’s sexy cowgirl image. She claimed that she has been wearing cowboy hats for years, except now she was being paid to do so. The 1996 follow-up, Just The Same, proved that Clark had staying power, going platinum like its predecessor. How I Feel reigned in the energy of her live shows, but was another high quality collection of contemporary country, although sales only reached gold status this time around. The album generated her first country chart-topper, ‘You’re Easy On The Eyes’.

By autumn 2000 Clark was established as a major artist, but although the ambitious Fearless enjoyed initial strong sales, the album was significantly less commercially successful than her previous three releases. Despite this the album rewarded the artist with the best reviews of her career, with many praising Clark for attempting to break away from the mind-numbing restrictions imposed on songwriters by contemporary country radio. Pain To Kill (2003) received similar critical acclaim and spawned the hit singles ‘I Just Wanna Be Mad’ and ‘I Wanna Do It All’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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