Kyle Clark is a "triple threat" in Country Music. He produces. He's a songwriter. And he's an artist... What can't this man do?? As Kyle signed his publishing deal with SONY Music Publishing in 2019, he caught major buzz as he was a co-writer in Lily Rose's viral smash "Villain" that has surpassed 38 million streams on Spotify. As a songwriter, Kyle has established himself; he has cuts with Mitchell Tenpenny, Filmore, Lily Rose, Restless Road, Brandon Davis and Andrew Jannakos, amongst others. Kyle began his artist career in 2020 with the release of his self-titled EP and hasn't looked back. Clark had a viral hit of his own in May of 2022 with his single "Hope It's Hot Out". It went bananas on Tik Tok and was the song of the summer. Kyle Clark has a bright future in Country Music and I'm excited to see what the next few years hold for him. I sat down with Kyle and talked about his single "Call Me Monday", how playing a school beauty pageant sparked his music career and the group of songwriters that took him under their wing early on in his time in Nashville.
Get To Know Kyle
"Growing up my parents were always playing music in the house... whether it was Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Alan Jackson and even Jimmy Buffett. I felt like I was always listening to something growing up. I wanted to be like Kenny Chesney, had the cut off t-shirt and hat on... made a lego microphone or something at 5 years old in front of the TV watching Kenny. I would imitate his moves and sing along perfectly to whatever he was singing. There is actually a VHS tape of me doing all that! I have a song which I'm going to release about that experience. In the video, I run up to my mom and say "I'm going to be Kenny Chesney!" and she replies with "I hope you will someday". From early on I felt like music was always a part of me.
In middle school I wanted to learn how to play guitar so I started looking up John Mayer, Metallica, songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" and other random stuff. At the time, Brad Paisley had put out a song that was on the radio a lot, there was "Toes" by Zac Brown Band and "Cruise" by FGL. That's when my interest in Country Music went up and it was an explosion of how cool Country Music was becoming for me. I started playing Country Music more and more. Being from Georgia, I felt that I naturally had a little more twang in my voice.
Music really clicked for me as I played a pageant at my high school in front of a few hundred people. It was then I started writing my own songs. I even wrote a song for my football team and would play it in the stadium on Friday nights; that was another cool thing. The beginning of my music career was really a bunch of little things that simply started to add up. I was playing restaurant gigs around town and went on to win something in Atlanta called "NASH Next Contest" in 2017. It allowed me to open up for Darius Rucker. I did that and was able to meet and talk to Darius. Later that year I opened for Kane Brown. 2017 was a launching point in my career and I learned a lot.
A year later, I received an Instagram DM from someone who ended up being my manager - at the time. He asked me to come to Nashville and meet Jordan Schmidt. I met with Jordan and played some songs for him. Schmidt wanted to write with me and said they were looking for an artist to develop. So I started writing with Jordan and some other guys - Andy Albert, Matt McGinn, Zach Abend. From the beginning, they took me under their wing. I felt as though I skipped a couple levels getting in with those guys. I was able to learn a lot from those guys and also had the opportunity to work with Michael Whitworth and Paul DiGiovanni. Those people had a major impact on my early days in Nashville. I tried to be a sponge and soak up all the information I could. At the time, I was going to the University of Georgia so I was making trips back and forth from Athens to Nashville. I finally made the move to Nashville in June of 2019. I signed my publishing deal with SONY Music Publishing in October of 2019. A month later, I wrote a song with Lily Rose and Mackenzie Carpenter which ended up going Gold two years after we had written it. All of these experiences have been stepping stones that have led me on to the next thing... it's all part of the journey."
We've all been there...
Let's be honest... we have all been in that situation of wanting someone a little more than they want us. Whether it's a serious relationship that's fading fast or someone you had a crush on, talked with them for a little while and they lost interest before you did. It ain't a great feeling, but it's a feeling we can all relate to. In Kyle Clark's single "Call Me Monday", he shares the experience of wanting someone who is checked out and he brings this home in this line - "You miss me when you're drunk, but I miss you all the time". Kyle showcases his smooth vocals with relatable lyrics that pull the listener into an all too familiar, gut wrenching experience. Kyle Clark continues to demonstrate his elite songwriting and catchy lyrics that will keep listeners coming back for more. Consistency is key in Music City and Kyle has that on lock.
Inspiration Behind "Call Me Monday":
Written By: Kyle Clark, Jason Duke and Chris Bandi
"Wrote this song with Jason Duke and Chris Bandi back on April 12th, 2021. I think it was actually on zoom if I remember correctly. I remember Jason coming in with the concept "if you miss me then call me monday". It felt relatable to me because I've been there before and I believe most people have all gone through a tough breakup or had an on and off relationship at some point in life. It felt very real, especially the way it sounds like an actual phone call. Even when I produced it,I kept that in mind. On some of the guitars, drums and vocals I had a phone filter on them to play into the phone call sound. I also released "Goodbye Is A Gun" as a side B on this one. I wrote it with Blake Pendergrass on September 14th, 2021. It's always been one of my favorites; it felt like they fit together stylistically and with the heartbreak feeling. I'm excited to show a different side of my music compared to the uptempo fun/love songs. I will be dropping a summer EP so watch out for more songs similar to "Hope It's Hot Out"! "
Q & A With Kyle Clark
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment that you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "That "light bulb" moment for me occurred when my school put on a beauty pageant and they wanted some entertainment for when the judges were judging the girls. I was a Sophomore in high school at the time and had never played in front of people. I wasn't really open to playing out, because at that time I didn't know if I was any good. The cheerleading coach had heard from some of my friends that I could sing and asked me if I would be willing to play at the pageant. I did and got huge applause from about 200 people. That's when it really clicked for me. I really believe the response I got at the pageant made me think to myself like "oh, maybe I'm meant to do this" and pushed me even more to pursue a career in music."
Q: What does music mean to you?
A: "I feel like it's more than a hobby and more than a job. I am blessed that I have the ability to make music a job. It really is a dream job and I feel like it's more than that. I would “do music” even if I wasn't getting paid. I feel like music can change your mood at any moment and it can set the scene for anything. Think about the role that music plays in movies. If the movie didn't have music in the important moments, the scene doesn't have the same effect or display the proper emotion, if that makes sense. Whether you are riding around in your car or just standing in your kitchen cooking dinner, music can change the way you feel in an instant. I feel as though music is also a form of healing; it's a form of expression. There can be so many things you want to say but you don't know how, and certain songs can do that for you. Overall, I feel like music is a therapy for everyone and it's pretty special that everyday I get to wake up and think about what song I want to write and why. A lot of times a co-writer could be feeling the same things you are and it becomes this unintentional therapy session that can help us all out. Music is bigger than just the words itself, it brings people together."
Q: What's a lesson or failure that you look back on and are very thankful for?
A: "I feel like everything that's ever happened to me along this journey happens when it's supposed to. Looking back on certain experiences, I believe that if it were to happen at a different time, 1 - I don't think I would have appreciated it and 2 - it may not have worked out how it was supposed to. For example, my song "Hope It's Hot Out". I wrote that in 2019. Imagine if I put that song out in 2019, would it have the same effect it's having now? With Tik Tok helping this song out so much, would that 15 second video have had the same impact as it has now? In the meantime, I became a producer, which allowed me to make that song so much better than where it was at. I feel like this path God has me on, it happens when I'm supposed to. I can look back and there have been so many failures. If you don't appreciate the failures and take that time to learn and grow, whether that's being told "no" or a door closes, it's part of making the artist the artist."
Q: If you could go back 5 years what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "First off, I'd tell my younger self to appreciate each day. You can't go backwards so it's important to live in the moment. Time moves quickly. Also, don't care. There is nobody you need to impress and everyone puts certain pressures on themselves. At the end of the day, I truly believe you need to be yourself and that's what is going to help sell yourself as an artist or creator or whatever it is. There were so many times I got starstruck and didn't want to embarrass myself or say the wrong thing, but it really didn't matter. I ended up coming off weird when I should have just acted like myself. If I could go back, I'd say to just be myself and not care what others think and always do my best."