The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At The 2012 Essence Music Festival held July 5–8 in New Orleans. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including gospel singer/songwriter Maurette Brown Clark.
Clark discussed diversity at the Essence Music Festival, her musical start, the importance of music, and advice for aspiring artists, among other topics.
"It really speaks to my emotions [and] it speaks to who I am, whether that's gospel … jazz … rock or pop," said Clark. "I don't think that we can exist without [music]. … As long as we're alive and breathing … we're [going to] need music."
A native of New York, Clark began singing at age 4 and took her first private singing lesson at age 6. She performed with her family gospel group throughout high school, and later went on to join the gospel choir at the University of Maryland. In 1998 she released her debut album, How I Feel, which peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's Gospel Albums chart. By His Grace was released in 2002 and peaked at No. 12, followed by 2007's The Dream. Clark's most recent release, 2011's Sound Of Victory, reached No. 6 on the Gospel Albums chart and features the Top 10 Billboard Gospel Songs single "I Hear The Sound (Of Victory)."