BRI CHANGES FO­CUS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - WHAT'S ON PLANNER -

SINGER song­writer Bri Clark has been bunkered down in a Mel­bourne stu­dio to record her first EP.

The River­vale 23-year-old came to the at­ten­tion of mu­sic lovers in 2015 when her first sin­gle “Never Far Enough,” which she’d up­loaded to Triple J’s Un­earthed web­site, was played by the pop­u­lar ra­dio sta­tion.”

“They played it on my birth­day, I’d just turned 22 and my friend texted me, ‘You’re on the ra­dio’.”

She thought her big break had ar­rived. How­ever, her next sin­gle failed to launch.

“Lots of money was put into that one, a huge push in mar­ket­ing and back­ing, I fig­ured that was the way to get no­ticed.”

“It was a huge kick in the face,” she said. “It made me re­alise I’m bet­ter off fo­cus­ing on be­ing a bet­ter singer-song­writer on my own.”

When asked if her tal­ent for mu­sic was ge­netic she laughed.

“I don’t know where it comes from – my par­ents were both ac­coun­tants.”

But she ad­mit­ted hon­ing those tal­ents was a lot of hard work.

“For about eight months I didn’t leave the pi­ano, from 9 to 5, try­ing to make some­thing ev­ery day even if it was just an idea or a riff, lyrics,” she said. Bri Clark’s ca­reer threat­ened to come to an abrupt end when she was di­ag­nosed with a chronic au­toim­mune disease.

“It was re­ally hard to de­scribe, you lose your abil­ity to move, I had lumps on my wrists and a re­ally bad fever,” she said. “I was in Royal Mel­bourne Hos­pi­tal for a week.” A rheuma­tol­o­gist di­ag­nosed her with Lu­pus. “I just lay there like, OK, thanks,” she said. Clark could not per­form live for most of 2016. She has to keep her stress lev­els low and main­tain a strict diet to avoid trig­ger­ing what’s known as Lu­pus “flares,” de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms of in­creased disease ac­tiv­ity.

“I wouldn’t get out of my py­ja­mas for weeks at a time.”

Clark said it was a good cre­ative process but one she of­ten hated. In­spired by singer-song­writ­ers such as Imo­gen Heap, Missy Hig­gins and Ben Abra­ham, Clark has de­scribed her sound as hav­ing a wide, at­mo­spheric qual­ity.

That cin­e­matic qual­ity is ev­i­dent on her sec­ond sin­gle “Shiver”, which was nom­i­nated for the 2016 West Aus­tralian Mu­sic (WAM) Song of the Year.

On tour she has ap­peared as a sup­port act for Air­ling and Clare Bowditch as well as Grammy Award-win­ning artist Shawn Colvin.

Bri Clark will be play­ing on the WAM Wheat­belt Tour from Fe­bru­ary 17-19.

Bri Clark: “For about eight months I didn’t leave the pi­ano.”

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