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Interview with Merideth Kaye Clark

Which comes easier, lyrics or melody? Why? Usually, which comes first?

You know, I’ve thought about this question before, and I’m not sure I have a clear answer. I will have an idea for a song – or some emotion or event that I want to explore with music. Usually a musical phrase will come to me – lyrics and melody included. But it’s just one little fragment or piece of the song. I’ll take that idea and develop it. From there, the music comes more easily than the words…

What/who is your muse? What inspires you? What do you do to put yourself into a creative frame of mind?

I am not a disciplinarian. I do not do what I am supposed to do and write every day. I am cursed with the notion of productivity in life- and I often have a “to do” list a mile long that I use to pull me away from my writing. So I task-master and fool myself into get everything in my life organized… once I’m satisfied and I have exhausted my procrastination- I’ll sit, quietly, with a pen and blank piece of paper and my guitar, and I’ll start. And then I give myself the gift of time.

For you, what happens emotionally/spiritually when you perform? Are you calm, nervous, on auto pilot?

I try to reconnect myself to the moment I wrote the song. What/who was I thinking of? What are the images that come to mind when I say these words? In performance I am usually visualizing the people, places, or moments that inspired the song. Therefore, performing is a very emotional experience for me. I am never on auto-pilot… but sometimes, yes, I am nervous. Mostly about whether or not I am connecting with my audience. Less, now that I am maturing, about how I sound.

Music involves both the process of receiving, opening, taking in and of giving, projecting. There is a dynamic exchange in music making. Which is more of an important part of your creativity? Taking in new ideas, material, inspiration or projecting your own music?

Huh. I think I would answer this differently depending on the day. Today, more important is the taking in. Tomorrow, perhaps, sharing. I believe in the flow- and I can’t have one without the other.

Talk to us about creativity. Where does it come from? What is it? How is it expressed? Are all people creative?

I don’t know. Honestly. But I have my ideas…

We give art back to the world, because we enjoy so much what we take from it. Those who create have a certain sensitivity to that. Creativity comes from the energy of trying to answer life’s questions. Therefore, all people are creative. Whether it is expressed in the creation of a song or painting- or in how a parent pieces together a busy family schedule, there is creativity in every person’s daily life. Some are just moved to figure out how to transfer that creative energy into a medium to share with others.

We read on your web page that you are also an actor How does being an actor inform your music? How are acting and performing one of your original songs similar or different?

Being an actor has given me the tools to practice empathy. I am challenged in my work on stage to see things from many perspectives. Knowing that there are infinite ways to see the world- validates mine!

When I perform another artist’s material, I am forced to try to understand their intention. Then, I bring to that my life experience. When I am performing my songs I can skip the step of trying to understand the intention… but there is a little more at sake for me in this circumstance because I am sensitive to whether or not I am being understood.

It appears that you have done a fair amount of collaborative work in your career. Acting by its nature is a collaboration, yes?. How easy is it for you to work with other creative people and to interpret and integrate their ideas into your work?

I love to collaborate… when I have good collaborators! I find it better to work, interpret, and integrate others’ ideas into my work- and I prefer it. For me, creating is communicating. What better way to test your communication than by having others to bounce ideas off of, or to tell you your being too esoteric, or to fuel the fire, or fill in holes…

How important is fame to you? Why?

I’d like to say it isn’t important at all… but I think I’d like to be ‘famous’ enough that people want to help me make a living with my music!

Which is more important to you in your creative work, affecting a small number of people on a deep level or a large number of people on a more superficial level?

Is this a trick question? Because for me the answer is pointedly obvious: If I make one person other than myself think, or connect to, or feel something they’ve never felt before, I am happy.

What would life be like for you if you anonymously (or accidentally) created the most beautiful song ever heard by man or woman, never got credit for it at all, but lived your life knowing that it had enriched the lives of millions?

That would be fine by me…

If there was a single message, a single sentence that you could tell your audience, as a piece of your personal wisdom, what would it be?

Set a goal – then do something, no matter how big or small, to move you toward that goal every single day.

Music by Merideth Kaye Clark

Beautiful Silence

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Indecision

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Shine On

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Trip to the Moon

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Find out more about Merideth at her web site:  www.meridethkayeclark.com

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