By Lisa Morgan
I have to tell you, that I like this woman’s music, but I like the person even more. Clare Dunn is the girl you want to hang out with. Whether she’s wielding melt-your-face lead lines on her electric guitar, slinging out killer vocals over well penned lyrics or talking shop, Dunn is the real, down-to-earth deal. Born on a farm in Southeast Colorado, Dunn was never afraid of hard work. She grew up driving silage trucks, combines and 18-wheelers, and spent countless hours behind the wheel of a John Deere tractor listening to music and dreaming of “the day”. That “day” is here and now, and Dunn graciously appreciates the opportunities she has worked her “rear end off” to receive.
2015 has already proven to be a great year for Clare Dunn — in addition to opening for American Rock icon Bob Seger on his 2015 tour, she also topped “Artists to Watch in 2015” lists for USA Today, Billboard, The Boston Globe, Taste of Country, Roughstock and Whiskey Riff, and was named one of 2015’s Next Big Things by MusicRow Magazine. Spotify also included Dunn on their 2015 Spotlight on Country playlist, which is a playlist of 20 new artists that are projected to be the genre’s hottest within the next year. The “newcomer” who has been living and working in Nashville for 7 years, is touted as a fearless performer and guitar player whose music possesses a unique blend of country and rock – the kind of rock that made her an ideal opener for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Dunn has also opened up for some of the big names in today’s country music including Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Hank Jr., and Jamey Johnson, to name a few.
In 2014, she was named the highest charting independent female artist on the Music Row Country Breakout chart in 10 years. Shortly after, Dunn was featured on the cover of USA Today. The article, “Country Lassos ‘Fresh Voices’,” discussed her inclusion as one of SiriusXM’s Fresh Female Voices and announced inclusion of her new single “Cowboy Side of You” on their playlist. The song experienced strong sales through iTunes and other major digital retailers. Additionally, a song she co-wrote called “Farm Life” was recorded by Colt Ford featuring Justin Moore and is on Ford’s new album, Thanks For Listening. Dunn is signed to Universal Music Group Nashville and has a world-wide publishing agreement with BMG/Chrysalis.
CVW: How long have you been living and working in Nashville?
Dunn: I moved to Nashville 7 years ago. I finished college here and got my first publishing deal shortly after. I have just been working my rear end off to try and get my music going – just trying to go out there and kill it every day. It was sparse in the beginning. I still worked a part time job at the Grand Ole Opry along with the publishing deal to pay the bills and stay afloat and sometimes, that wasn’t even enough.
CVW: What was the biggest lesson you learned between those early days and now?
Dunn: I think the biggest lesson was learning to believe in myself. I always felt music was what I was supposed to do. But there’s a fine line between believing you were meant to do something, and having the courage to full-on, 1000%, believe in yourself to do what it takes. Until that happens, you can let yourself listen to other people and their negativity, and run the risk of letting yourself believe their negative opinions.
I was lucky to have some really great people around me, including my family. We’re a family that is not afraid to be honest and open with each other. And I found a couple of people here in Nashville that believed in me too. Constructive criticism was never a problem for me. My parents equipped me and my sister to be able to handle that and use it to our advantage. The hard part for me came when people didn’t think my songs were going to ‘work in the current market’, or that my songs were ‘too different’… that I wasn’t ‘this’ or ‘that’. When I got into that territory, where my faith in myself got tested, it came down to me staying true to the very loud voice inside my head about who I was as an artist – that’s when I crossed that line. That feeling in my heart about my music was so strong that ignoring it was not an option. I didn’t have a choice.
I’ve got some massive goals I want to conquer, but if this is as good as it gets, just having the chance to pursue and chase this dream…that is enough. I will still feel that I have won.
For more information about Clare, visit:
“Cowboy Side Of You” – bit.ly/1nXhDQp
“Get Out” – bit.ly/WBD7pw