Featured Artist: Nick Clarke
Meet Nick Clarke. Nick is an actor, writer, and musician. Hailing from Southern California, this graduate student and self-proclaimed coffee addict’s sound is reminiscent of the middle ground between spoken word poetry and alternative rock. If you’re a fan of the Goo Goo Dolls, The Script and Matt Kearney, you will love his sound. Nick began playing guitar and singing at age fourteen and since then it has been a regular artistic outlet for him. He is passionate about theology and art and how the two inform one another.
M365: Who Are Your Biggest Influences?
Nick: My biggest influences are Brendan James, Griffin House, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, The Script, Matchbox Twenty, U2, Lecrae, and Jon Foreman.
M365: What’s Your Songwriting Process?
Nick: Songs come to me in two ways. When I’m going through hard times or trying to make sense of something in my life, I’ll sit down and try to get my feelings on paper; being as transparent as possible. The other way is sometimes I’ll be sleeping and wake up with a chorus or something in my head. I sleepily grab my phone and record the melody and then work with it the next day. Once I’ve started I’m typically anxious to get the first draft out in one sitting for the vocals and guitar. As I start to piece phrases and words together, I’ll get a sense of “Yeah this feels right and gets to the core of what I’m feeling or trying to say”. After I feel good with the guitar and vocals, I start to actually record it and add some layers.
M365: Which songs do you perform most frequently?
Nick: When Love Dies, Permission to Feel and Come As You Are.
M365: Where can our readers come to see you perform?
Nick: I play/lead music every Sunday at Santa Monica Church of the Nazarene.
M365: What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?
Nick: For a long time it was just getting my music out there and to an extent that is still difficult. The only venue I would occasionally share my music was church but then two years ago I recorded most of my songs as a Christmas gift for my family. Now that most of my songs are recorded and continue to get recorded, I’ve made a bigger effort to share it via social media primarily because I believe art is meant to be shared; it’s not just for the artist. I’m also trying to make a bigger effort at hitting open mics.
M365: Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
Nick: In the next 3-5 years I imagine I’ll have written more songs and my hope is that I’ll continue to be proactive about getting it out there. I’d also like to have a bigger audience and step up the recording quality too.
M365: How does music affect you and the world around you?
Nick: My favorite author, Frederick Buechner, said, “My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. It is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us more powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually.” Music is one of the ways we tell our story. It is one of the ways that we hear our story. Therefore, music is something I treasure not only for my own sake but also because I think it is vital for each of us. I write music not just because it helps me process but also because I feel a sense of duty to write it. I think of songs like “Walk On” by U2 and how grateful I am those words were written and how at a loss I’d be if they hadn’t been. My hope is that in telling my story as honestly and transparently as I can, that someone might hear the familiar rhythms of their own life in my music.