Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
At 18 years of age, Kristen T. Clark has already experienced many sizeable achievements including sharing the stage with Adam Gontier (formerly of Three Days Grace), Brian Byrne (I Mother Earth) and performing with world renowned headliners such as Rik Emmett (Triumph). She was also elated to perform with Maurice Raymond (The Blushing Brides) and open for Tom Wilson (Blackie and The Rodeo Kings).
Auditioning to play lead guitar for Shawn Desman in his Canada/US/European tour at age 16 was an immense rush! The audition was flawless and Kristen was presented to management, but sadly, it wasn't meant to be; she was advised she had to be 18 years of age to partake. She is extremely grateful however, for this jaw-dropping opportunity!
Currently enrolled at Harris Institute in Toronto (Canada's #1 Audio Production College), Kristen is extremely excited to be studying Audio Production, Touring, Marketing & Promotions, Finances and more. Faculty are vastly knowledgeable professors who have decades of experience in the industry such as David Quilico (Sony Music Canada); Bob Roper (Management Consultant to Gowan, Rik Emmett, Styx); and Terry Brown (producer of 10 of RUSH's albums). Graduation: July 2014.
Kristen's story began when she was just 4 years old, competing in step-dancing contests around Ontario, Canada. By age 6 she had developed a vision for herself as an entertainer and was entering contests, winning many along the way. At age 7 she was writing her own compositions, had her own band, and was performing so extensively that she developed nodes on her vocal chords and was prescribed vocal rest for a year. Not letting that get her down, she started taking professional vocal lessons with Tara Lyn Hart and professional guitar lessons with Keith Robertson (Western Avenue).
Between 2004 and 2008 Kristen recorded many original compositions including Kisses To You, Hold Me Tenderly, I'll Fly Away, I'm Missing You and For The Magic of Christmas among others. Several were released to radio across Canada with many 'pickups' and internet radio play was also seen in the US and the Netherlands. She also recorded a full-length country cover album entitled Grand Ole Classics which she sold at all her performances. As a result, Kristen was invited to perform at several venues in Nashville during CMA Fest, two years consecutively. More importantly though, at age 12, she had secured an interview on Music Row with Wes Mayers of Redline Entertainment.
Fundraising efforts were also a major initiative with involvement in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Terry Fox Cancer Research, Kids Help Phone, the US Humane Society, Calling Cards for the Troops and the woundedwarriors.ca organization. She successfully hosted her own almost sold-out fundraiser for Smitty's Christmas Wish Foundation, raising nearly $1,000 for the organization.
Rock Genre Shift
Things began to shift in 2009 and 2010, when Kristen started getting recognition for her compositions and guitar work. She was presented with the 'Instrumental Music Award/Trophy' at her school and was nominated for the 'Best Young Songwriter's Award' at the Barrie New Music Fest. With this encouragement she continued on, writing and composing Not My Type, Where I Belong, When You Said Yes, Loser Liar Leaver, Not, Sweet Stuff and Narcissistic Me (with Brent Bodrug).
In June of 2010 at the age of 14, as she continued to perform, write and play with her band, nothing could have prepared Kristen for the major, life-changing breakthrough that came her way. She won an online contest (there were 60 entries from around the world) for a Scholarship to attend a one-week professional songwriting workshop called SongStudio founded by Rik Emmett (Triumph) and Blair Packham (The Jitters). Working with acclaimed, expert songwriters such as Rik and Blair, James Linderman (Berklee) and Allister Bradley, made a substantial difference in her future compositions. Undoubtedly, this was the beginning of a genre shift from folk and country to progressive rock.
Writing and Achievements
In October that same year, Kristen was shocked and astounded to learn that she had won her first 'Battle of the Bands' competition (against 11 bands), performing several of her own originals. To her amazement she was described by the organizers as different, fresh and very professionally organized in her performance. As a result, several months later, her debut rock song Meant To Be was recorded and released to the 50 Top Rock Radio stations across Canada.
Ending the year on a high, Kristen was officially endorsed by Mike Carparelli, owner of Carparelli Guitar Co., and was presented with an S4 model electric guitar. This confirmed Kristen's guitar skills as extremely notable and potentially world-class.
2011 through 2013 were met with a flurry of 'wins' including two more 'Battle of the Band' 2nd place finishes, an 'Award of Distinctive Merit' for writing a score for a theatrical play, an online fan-voted 'Wildcard Prize' and another SongStudio recognition with the Long & McQuade/Alesis Award for 'Excellence in Songwriting'. In addition, Kristen was also graciously endorsed by Jeff Wesseling, owner of Road Rage Pro Gear.
Fueled from these accolades, Kristen continued writing songs adding Jump, and Left Behind to her growing music catalogue. Fortunate to be working with highly acclaimed producer Rob Wells (Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Adam Lambert), together they recorded Jump, which received huge compliments when performed live. She has since had a further co-writing session with Rob at Sony recording studios in Toronto. She also further participated in Skype songwriting sessions with Christopher Ward and James Linderman and enjoyed co-writing at a 4-day professional 'songwriter's retreat' with Allister Bradley, Bunmi Adeoye, Matt Gerber and Mike Butler.
The last couple of years have been quite gratifying for Kristen, picking up nominations for the 'Rising Star Award' and 'Guitarist of the Year Award' at The Wire Awards show in her home town of Peterborough, Ontario. At her Grade 12 graduation (November 2013), she was presented with 'The Ross Pinkerton Memorial Scholarship' for academic achievement and community service, 'The Vera Briscoe Theatre Scholarship' for bringing talent, commitment and energy to Adam Scott school's plays and performances, and a couple of other awards of recognition for academic efforts.
No 'overnight success' is forthcoming here, but new ideas are continuously being explored, new sounds are being recorded, and a debut album is still in the works. One thing is for sure, this story is even now still being written, and is 'to be continued'.