GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Clark, joined onstage by his manager Scooter Weintraub, discussed the music that influenced him as a child in Austin, Texas, his introduction to the guitar and his songwriting process, among other topics. Clark also performed a brief set featuring songs from his major label debut album, 2012's Blak And Blu, including "Numb," "Things Are Changin'" and the recent GRAMMY winner "Please Come Home."
"I used to just scribble little poems and thoughts in my notebook at school when I actually should have been taking notes on what I was being taught," said Clark. "When I got my guitar I just went back and started singing those poems … once I got the guitar I felt very comfortable putting [songs] together. That was the missing link."
Born and raised in Austin, Clark began playing guitar at age 12 and spent his teenage years playing venues throughout the city such as Antone's nightclub, a venue that helped launch the careers of Los Lonely Boys and Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others. In 2005 he released Tribute, an album paying tribute to blues greats such as B.B. King and Lightin' Hopkins, followed by a pair of independent albums in 2008, 110 and Worry No More. Clark performed at GRAMMY winner Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010, and a subsequent live DVD recording of his performance led to a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. In 2011 he released an EP, Bright Lights, which topped Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart.
Produced by Clark and GRAMMY winners Rob Cavallo and Mike Elizondo, Blak And Blu peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The album features 13 tracks, 10 of which are solely written by Clark, including "Aint Messin 'Round," which was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 56th GRAMMY Awards. He picked up his first career GRAMMY for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Please Come Home." Clark also made his GRAMMY telecast performance debut, joining Keith Urban onstage for "Cop Car." On Feb. 9 Clark and GRAMMY-winning guitarist Joe Walsh helped commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles in America with a performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A GRAMMY Salute."
Clark will return to Austin for a performance at South by Southwest on March 13. Following a two-night performance with the Dave Matthews Band in Australia on April 15 and 17, Clark will begin a North America tour, with dates scheduled through September.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include An Evening With John Németh And The Bo-Keys (March 17), Being Dionne Warwick (March 19), The Drop: St. Vincent (March 20), Spotlight: Jon Batiste And Stay Human (March 24), and An Evening With Blue Note Records (March 25).