I want to be known as someone who embraces age and change with transparency. In my music and writing, I dive into the vulnerable parts of the human experience. I’m fascinated by what we find when the masks and layers are gone, and how much the same we all are at the core. In my own small way, I aim to expose the myth of perfection. Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not weakness. It is strength. In the raw, honest place of my songs and stories, I try to weave in a good measure of hope. You can’t take the beautiful, messy humanity out of a live performance. If listeners leave feeling less alone in this cold world, then I have done my job.
K.C. Clifford is a three-time Woody Guthrie Award-winning folk singer/songwriter from Oklahoma City. Music has always been a guiding force in Clifford’s life, and her talent and love of performing on stage revealed itself at an early age. She was two when she first sang in public and composed her first song at age seven. Early influences included artists such as Paul Simon, Carole King, The Beach Boys and the popular bluegrass band Mountain Smoke, founded by her father in the late 1960s.
The two-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist studied opera at the prestigious Indiana University School of Music, but found her true voice in folk music while earning a degree in vocal performance at Belmont University in Nashville. Shortly after graduating, Clifford released her first full-length album, Times Like These, to critical acclaim in 2000. Her career continued to blossom with the release of her sophomore album, Teeth-marks on my Tongue, in 2004 and Pockets Full of Hope, recorded live at Oklahoma City’s historic venue The Blue Door in 2008.
In March 2009 she wrote an anti-hunger anthem for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma called “Raise Your Voice.” Food banks across the country were soon requesting live performances at food drives, and a year later the song was chosen as the theme for CROP Hunger Walk, a worldwide public awareness campaign led by Church World Service to help end hunger.
By her own admission, K.C. turned a corner in her craft with the writing, recording and release of her 2010 album, “Orchid”. A confessional album written over the course of one year, the 10-song set is led by the first single, “Broken Things,” and includes fan favorite “Songbird.” Also of note from Orchid is the moving epic “Story of Our Own,” written for the internationally acclaimed documentary “Finding Hillywood” about the rise of filmmaking in post-genocide Rwanda.
K.C.’s most recent studio release, “The Tag Hollow Sessions,” was written in seclusion, at a remote Northeast Oklahoma cabin by Lake Spavinaw in an area known as Tag Hollow. The cabin – named Gleneyrie after her paternal grandmother, Glennes – was built by her great-grandparents in 1933. Clifford retreated to Gleneyrie following months of intense nationwide touring in support of her 2010 album, Orchid. The solitude reenergized her creative spirit. The cabin and its history became her muse. She is set to release her sixth album in late 2017, recorded live over two sold-out nights at the Blue Door.
K.C. credits her prolific 20-year career to the support of her “Generous Friends,” a large network of highly devoted fans she thinks of as extended family. These days she splits her time between her two lifelong dreams: music and motherhood. She and her husband, musician David Broyles, live in Oklahoma City with their two children.
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1: What artist would you most love to work with?
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
3: What was the worst advice?
No answer provided.
4: What was your first concert?
My Dad is a bluegrass musician, so I was going to concerts in the womb. The earliest documented concert of me performing was at age two and a half, Miss Hickman's Music School Spring Show. There's a Polaroid of me dressed up as a cat, lined up at the front of the stage with two other girls. My companions were frozen in their places and overcome by stage fright, not singing a note. I am pictured reaching for the microphone to rock a solo. That pretty much sums it up.
5: What/where is the best road food?
Memphis, TN.. Brother Juniper's for breakfast... Yum.
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
Talking with a songwriting mentor about the music business in my early twenties. "Isn't all just about who you know?," I asked. I'll never forget his reply. "Yeah, there's definitely industry politics. But you have to remember this: The word 'politics' comes from the same root word as the word 'polite'. Being someone who is kind and great to work with goes a long way in this business. As long as your art is good, that is. People will find out who you are."
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?
The album Chicago 17