Jeremiah Clark Plays More Than Just Sad Songs
Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Jeremiah Clark is coming back to Richmond for the second leg of his “Just Another Sad Song” tour, where he will play many of his “sad songs” as well as some other somber tunes.
We caught up with Clark before his upcoming show at the Gay Community Center of Richmond.
GayRVA: How did you get started?
Jeremiah Clark: I recorded my first album when I was 16 during the summer before my senior year of high school. I was writing and performing contemporary Christian music at that time and playing shows at churches, coffeeshops and other venues on the weekends and after classes. I have no idea how I was so motivated as a teenager, but I pushed myself to be heard.
I remember recording a demo on a four track using karaoke cassettes when I was a freshman in high school. I think there was an Elton John song and a couple of country songs. It was horrendous, but it always makes me smile to think about it. I submitted it to labels in Nashville and actually got a letter back from Giant Records. Even though it was a rejection, I was so proud that it was addressed to me! I felt so important!
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences these days?
Alison Krauss, Duncan Sheik & Death Cab for Cutie have always been at the top of my list. Lately, I’ve been listening to Radiohead, Ari Hest, Imogen Heap, Nickel Creek and Andrew Bird. Most of my influences are those who work alongside me. There are so many singer-songwriters, composers, producers and engineers who have been such a blessing to me. They have been the guidance and focus that has made me who I am today and who I will be tomorrow.
Can you describe the process you go through creating “Just Another Sad Song?”
I sat down with a select group of friends and fellow musicians to sift through years of material. This was my first full-length album in eight years, and we had about 50 songs to consider. We talked about the mood, message and meaning that should be conveyed with the final product. Once we had a track listing, my co-producer Gracie Sutherland and I rounded up the very best talent in Pittsburgh to assist with recording and engineering the disc. Though it was years in the making, the entire process took less than a month, and what started out as a four-track summer project, became what we now know as our greatest collaboration to date.
Haven’t you been touring on this album for awhile now? What made you decide to do another tour?
I’ve been touring on this album for almost a year now, and though “Born & Raised” will be released Aug. 9, “Just Another Sad Song” will remain the focus of my marketing for the next several years. The new album is acoustic and much more similar to my live performances, but I love the full orchestration and production of my current disc. I tour as much as possible, because I think live music is so important. Being able to access it wherever you are is such a blessing. If I could tour all year long, I would! My goal for 2012 is to play over 150 shows across the states. I’ve been averaging about 100 a year so far.
What is a Jeremiah Clark show like? Any surprises that Richmonders can expect at your show?
I sing a little, play a little and talk a little. Some nights, I talk A LOT. Touring affords some hilarious stories, so I love to try to make people laugh. It’s important considering how heartbreaking some of my songs are. I like to play a really depressing song, acknowledge the elephant in the room and then tell completely unrelated stories. Some people have told me it’s charming, but I think the road just makes me severely delirious.
People are sometime caught off-guard by the fact that I can swear like a sailor, drink like a fish and impersonate an old Jewish lesbian all in one set. You know, it’s a tough market, and you really have to diversify your talents if you want to be successful!
What’s your favorite song to play live?
Generally, the most recent song I’ve written is my favorite to play, because it’s what I’m going through right then. I also get to experience everyone’s reaction and get feedback on how they interpret the lyrics and sound. “Born & Raised” is my new favorite right now.
Jeremiah Clark and special guest Molly Rae perform at the Gay Community Center of Richmond on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance, available at Diversity Thrift, DT2 and online by clicking here. Tickets will be $10 at the door.
Andrew Cothern is a music lover and media professional in Richmond, Va. specializing in photography and video production. Check out his music blog Richmond Playlist.
I want people to leave with knowledge of what their community center does,”March 31, 2015
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