Ashley Clark’s story is one of closing doors and opening windows, of taking advantage of lucky breaks and following your dreams even if it means making tough choices. The story takes the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from sleeping on the floor of a stranger’s house in Nashville to having one of the most powerful managers in the music business (Simon Fuller) hook him up with one of the most successful producers in history (Mutt Lange) and signing to one of the most legendary record labels (Capitol Records and its new imprint IRS Nashville) to make his musical dreams come true.
I was flipping through some music industry websites and saw an advertisement for IRS Nashville’s Ashley Clark. Clicked on it and listened to his song Greyhound (you can too below). Then I Google’d him only to discover he had such a cool story. I swear I want to interview and ask him a ton of questions but the bio on his website was packed with so much I feel like I am doing a disservice by not posting it verbatim, but I am instead integrating it with my own thoughts.
Country Music Singer/Songwriter/Musician Ashley Clark grew up one of 11 children born to a traveling Pentecostal preacher. After a several tries to break out on his own (including crashing with his cousin, a pre-OneRepublic Ryan Tedder), Clark decided to move to Nashville for good.
“Back home in Virginia, we all had bunk beds, and I was lying there in my bunk thinking ‘I’m a man, I can do whatever I want, and I don’t want to be here,’” Clark says. “I had a friend take me down to the used car lot. I saw a 1986 Ford Bronco, and was like, ‘That one.’ I drove to Nashville and showed up at a friend’s house and said, ‘Can I stay here?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’m sleeping on the couch. You can sleep on the floor.’”
Word got out around Nashville about a “lightning-fast fiddle player” and soon Ashley was playing with newly crowned American Idol Carrie Underwood. After touring with Carrie for 2.5 years, he saw a promo for Fox TV’s “The Next Great American Band.”
“I called two of my brothers and said, ‘Guys, we can win this. I know we can.’”
AND win they did….do you recall the American country-pop group “Sons of Sylvia,” which consisted of Ashley, Austin, and Adam Clark? They were immediately signed to show creator Simon Fuller’s management company. Later on it became clear to Fuller that the true star was Ashley.
Thanks to an introduction to Robert John “Mutt” Lange (AC/DC, Shania Twain, Maroon 5) from Fuller, Clark, who had prior chart success as part of Sons of Sylvia and The Clark Family Experience, is now setting his sites on turning heads across the Nation on his own.
Clark’s debut EP for I.R.S. Nashville is due June 9. I look forward to sharing it with you.