Country music singer-songwriter Clint Black, who will perform at the DeJoria Center on Friday, has garnered a truckload of awards since he started his recording career in 1989.
His accolades include a string of 1989 Academy of Country Music awards: Album of the Year for his debut “Killin’ Time,” Top Male Vocalist, Top New Male Vocalist and Single of the Year for his No. 1 song “A Better Man.” ACM also awarded Black a 1999 Vocal Event of Year for “When I Said I Do,” a duet with his wife Lisa Hartman Black.
Black has also received the nod for Favorite New Country Artist at the American Music Awards, as well as two from the Country Music Association — the Horizon Award in 1989 and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1990.
The singer’s hits include 13 No. 1 Billboard Hot Country hits including “Killin’ Time,” “Nobody’s Home,” “When My Ship Comes In,” “A Good Run of Bad Luck” and “Nothin’ But the Taillights,” to name a few.
In addition, Black, who has been writing all of his own songs since he was a teenager, is known for his appearances in the films “Flicka: Country Pride,” “Anger Management,” “Maverick” and the TV show “Wings.”
Black was under management orders to rest his voice and not to do any telephone interviews, so the Park Record caught up with the singer via email. Black’s responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Park Record: Who were your personal musical influences that pushed you towards a career in music?
Clint Black: Of course, there were a lot of artists who set examples for me, but I’d have to give the credit to my friends and family. I was strongly encouraged and told repeatedly that I could “make it big.” Once I set out to do that, I still had about ten years of struggling with gigs in bars. Through all of that, I never doubted I could make it, but I questioned my tactics many times.
P.R.: Was it always country music that you were drawn to?
C.B.: I’ve always loved the blues and rock ‘n’ roll, but I wasn’t cut out for that. Country was the natural choice.
P.R.: How did only recording your own written songs affect your career?
C.B.: It helped in that the songs fit me and the fans liked them, but it created a problem with the record company who hounded me year after year to record “outside songs.” Finally, when asked why, the head of the label said, “They just want a little taste,” meaning the publishing companies in Nashville. It was not what I wanted to hear. Tell me my songs aren’t cutting it; you don’t like them, they don’t sell enough records — but don’t tell me it’s politics.
P.R.: What do your awards and recognition mean to you as an artist?
C.B.: I tried to downplay them in my head, but I knew they were huge career markers. In some cases, I let myself believe that people I respected were showing appreciation for the work I do, but I could never fully buy into that. Probably because I didn’t want to get a “big head.” If you came to my house, you wouldn’t see a single award in my home. In my office, I have some displayed, but not in my home. Weird maybe, but I never felt comfortable with them in the home.
P.R.: Did your music influence the roles you took in film and TV?
C.B.: Music never entered into the movie choices. Mostly, those came out of the blue. Someone decided I could play a role and I got a call. There have only been a couple of movies I pushed up the hill. Jack Favor (from “Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack”) and “Flicka: Country Pride.” I enjoy doing them but not nearly enough to let it get in the way of music and touring.
P.R.: With all the politics that are part of the entertainment industry, how were you able to keep true to yourself and your music?
C.B.: For me it was just a matter of, “come hell or high water.” I make MY music. No one else does that for me. That’s why I’m not on a major label right now. I’m not willing to sell out my music for the sake of commercial success.
P.R.: What keeps you going artistically these days?
C.B.: I’m still growing. I play better, produce better and sing better than I ever did. That makes it fun. As a writer, I’ve developed a technique that works for anything I want to do. Writing for a movie script, a Broadway musical (“Looking for Christmas”) – which I have premiering at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego this Christmas – or just writing a song because the mood strikes.
P.R: What are your future goals for your music and/or acting?
C.B.: I have some new music coming out sometime in the next year. Some of my best stuff, I think. Acting; I don’t see anything on the horizon but of course, that’s when the offers come in! HA!