Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Katelyn Clampett

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Katelyn Clampett

When I got to Tiburón Golf Club, I had no idea Impact Zone Golf was here. At the time, I had no idea what Impact Zone Golf was, but quickly learned it was Bobby Clampett’s academy. Bobby is a former PGA TOUR winner, author, golf course architect… This guys does it all. Oh, and he has a daughter. His daughter is Katelyn Clampett, and she is a singer/songwriter. Katelyn lives in Nashville and recently released her debut single “The Trouble With The Truth.” The song is incredible and I just had to learn more. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but Katelyn was on American Idol and was on the road with Selena Gomez for 2 years. More on that below! It is my pleasure to introduce you to Katelyn Clampett.

You have been doing this for a long time. When did you know you wanted to make a career out of singing/songwriting?
I started poking around at writing songs when I was 8, writing piano pieces. Then really started writing songs around sixteen, when I actually had things to write about (i.e. my parent’s divorce). It became a creative and therapeutic outlet for me at a time when I really needed one. There has never really been any doubt in my mind that this was what I was put on earth to do. As Gloria Steinem put it, “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

You won a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music. Tell me more about that and your experience attending Berklee.
I had done some research my junior year of high school on music schools, and I landed on the Berklee College of Music. I signed myself up for a scholarship audition, and forced my mom to come with me. I ended up getting the scholarship, which I think took some reserve and hesitation away from my parents’ decision to let me go to a school that wasn’t exactly close to North Carolina.

A lot of big names have been on American Idol. You were on the show in 2010. What was that experience like? Did you get nervous performing in front of those celebrity judges?
American Idol was definitely an interesting experience for me. I always felt like I was being judged on one aspect of who I am as an artist, instead of the whole package. I didn’t feel like myself entirely without singing my own songs. I’m not really one to do “covers,” but I wanted to push myself and get myself out there. Meeting the judges was nerve-wracking, but luckily they didn’t hate me, so that helped sedate the nerves a bit. During Hollywood Week, Ellen Degeneres told me that I was “too jazzy.” I had never heard that before in my life (was probably because I used some more advanced voicings on the piano, being a fresh music nerd out of Berklee), but I don’t think I knew who I was as an artist back then. I’m glad things happened the way they did. I met some people I still call really great friends on that show.

Tell me more about your relationship with the Creative Artists Agency.
The band I moved to Nashville with, we signed with Creative Artists Agency when we first came to town. I had scheduled a meeting with someone I knew there (who is my current agent), he told me to NOT bring our instruments in and not to play live. So guess what we did… We came in and played live, and they signed us on the spot. Gutsy move that paid off. I’ve been with them for a few years, and now I’m also signed with their film/TV division out of LA for acting.

There are a lot of great places to see live music in Nashville. What are some of your favorite venues?
I’ll say that I probably discovered my new favorite place this past week, the American Legion in East Nashville. They have country music every Tuesday night. It’s divey, vibey, and so incredibly fun. Grammy award-winning artists will show up here and play. I went to see another artist on our management roster, the King of Americana himself, Jim Lauderdale play there. It’s a hidden gem for sure.

You just released “The Trouble With The Truth.” Tell me more about that song and what you hope to achieve with this single.
I wrote this song a few years ago with one of my songwriting heroes, Barry Dean, and my old bandmate Ethan Roberts. I brought the chorus of this song in, because I had been working on it for another song I was writing by myself called “Words I’ll Never Say,” but it seemed to fit the title we wanted to write, “The Trouble With The Truth,” so we put it in. It’s always so effortless working with Barry on lyrics. It’s almost as if he finishes my sentences. I remember walking away that day knowing that we had just worked on something really special. It’s one of the songs that I’m most proud of.

In releasing this as a first single, I just wanted something different from what else is out there right now, and something that really embodied who I am as an artist and as a songwriter. I just want people to get to know me at the core, and there’s no better way to do that than just putting something out there that’s so honest you might be a little afraid to.

How many different guitars do you own?
I actually only own 3! A Gibson SG electric, a Gibson Hummingbird, and a Fender bass. I also have a banjo, mandolin, keyboards and some other toys. But I’m a firm believer that less is more, and all you really need is what you already have, especially in an age today where sounds are tweaked digitally anyway.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
I’m still waiting for the day that I can say Beyoncé, but alas, I still tragically haven’t been to her show. I’d say hands-down… Ryan Adams at the Ryman Auditorium. Not only is it one of the most historically beautiful venues in the world, but he is such a savant. I was blown away by him… And the fact that a friend got me into the show… Those tickets ain’t cheap!

Tell me more about Gellman Management.
I was introduced to Gellman Management through my agent at CAA. I went out to LA, Gail Gellman fed me sushi (PS food is my love language), and it was love at first bite. The rest is history. They’ve become some of my closest friends.

I don’t see many tour dates on your website. Are you planning a tour this summer/fall?
We are! I’ve got a couple shows on the site for now, but yes, we have some things up our sleeves for the rest of the year, and I’m excited.

What is your songwriting process like? Do you write on a legal pad or do you find yourself writing lyrics on the back of a napkin? Songwriters have always intrigued me!
I’m a Google Docs gal. A lot of my lyrical ideas are in chunks/sections, so it makes it a lot easier to copy/paste and scroll to see it all. Plus, I’m much faster at typing than I am writing by hand! Saves a lot of time and helps me stay organized. I do get ideas randomly, and jot them down in a list of ideas I have. Sometimes I’ll excuse myself to the bathroom at a function or party to go record voice memos or jot an idea down. You never know when that light bulb is gonna turn on, so I’ve gotta be prepared (and willing to look like a fool, singing into my phone in the produce aisle of the grocery store).

Who are some of your biggest influences?
I like a lot of different things. I think the two artists that got me into country music were Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley. Alison, because I had never heard heartbreak sound so beautiful, and Brad, because his songs were so well written (and a lot of them hilarious). I nerded out on both of them hardddd. But other influences came from a lot of groups with heavy harmonies. Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, etc. I grew up in a family that harmonized everything together. On road trips, we would play a game to see who could sing the most sharp/flat. We’d start making “beats” at the dinner table, clanking of dishes with our forks and knives and singing in harmony. We’re a bunch of musical weirdos.

How do you know Selena Gomez?
Selena gave me my first tour as a background singer out in LA. I was with her off and on for a couple years. She’s honestly such a good human with a massive heart and I’m really proud of her.

Tell me about your relationship with Barry Dean.
Barry is a songwriting hero of mine, who quickly became a friend when I first moved to town. He took my bandmates and I out to dinner and was so kind. He’s a quality human and such a talented writer.

What’s next for Katelyn Clampett?
More music. A lot more. And coming to a city near you!

Thank you so much for doing this! In all of the interview I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Shameless plug (in announcer voice… I learned from the best) “The Trouble With The Truth” is out NOW on Spotify and iTunes. Download it, write a review, stream it, whatever you like! And let’s be friends. Follow me on social media to stay in touch and see what’s next!

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