Métis singer-songwriter Grace Clark is just finding her way in music, although it’s been her world for a lifetime. Growing up in Yellowknife, Clark first sat down to the piano at age three and quickly moved to fiddle. After making a name for herself performing in her hometown, she then picked up the guitar—and discovered not only her singing voice but her songwriting talent.
“I had great teachers who really supported me,” says Clark. “And my dad played a big part in me getting into songwriting. He encouraged me, showing me other songs and saying, ‘This is about drinking a cup of coffee! You can do this!’”
“I would take little things in my life and say, ‘Dad, I wrote a song!’” she laughs. “I still tend to write about my own experiences. It’s a way to process those things, to find out what’s going on in my mind. But it’s also about nature, because I grew up in the north. The culture there is really connected to nature and the land, and that influences my writing.”
After a gap year in Finland, Clark made her way to Selkirk College in Nelson, B.C., where she studied music and performed locally for three years, emerging with her first eponymous EP.
Then she was off to Quebec. “I like to try new things,” Clark says. “I’ve only lived in small towns. So I decided to move to Montreal, which has been a crazy adventure.”
Studying jazz vocals now at Concordia University, she says, “We tend to put ourselves in these boxes as artists, and it’s fun to explore that and get outside of those comfort zones. I’m working on a project now that’s focused on examining different boundaries and barriers that I’ve encountered as an artist—maybe being from a small town, having fewer opportunities.”
Songwriting is still a focus for Clark, who’s compiling work for a future album. “Art always takes longer than you’re anticipating,” she says. “I think the culture today is just to be productive, and release things really quickly. But it’s nice to slow down and just reflect a little bit on why you make your art.”
Looking forward to solo performances and recording this summer in addition to her studies, Clark is grounded and patient: “I am still working on music but I’m also exploring other artistic things. Which I think is really important to do when you’re young.”