Clare Dunn, who has opened for Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban and Hank Williams Jr., will perform on the Budweiser Stage at the Missouri State Fair through tonight.
Dunn, represented by The AristoMedia Group in Nashville, is a Colorado native raised on a farm. She said in an email interview with the Democrat on Tuesday that she believes rural life and her roots are reflected in her music.
“I’m from the very southeastern corner of Colorado,” she said. “Near a town called Two Buttes. Growing up driving tractors all day long, combines during harvest, (it) influenced my music in the way that all we had was the radio to listen to. My family loved music and when you’re stuck in a cab for 10 to 12 hours a day, it’s the perfect molding ground for musical influences.”
She added that the work ethic of the farm trickled down into her career.
“I’m lucky to have had that time growing up, and the work ethic I learned then comes in real handy chasing music,” she said. “Like farming, the music business is fast paced and non-stop. I’m blessed to have been raised on a real farm/ranch.”
Dunn left Colorado, with her family’s support, and moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University, where she worked driving a silage truck during breaks to pay for her education. While there she began to play guitar and eventually graduated with a bachelor of art degree in music composition.
“I write all of my songs,” Dunn said. “Everything I do, except for the occasional Led Zeppelin or Tom Petty cover, are all songs I’ve written. Other artists have started cutting my songs too — Colt Ford, a friend who I’ve gotten to open shows for over the past year, being one of them.”
Her decision to sing country music comes from her rural roots.
“Being from a farm, that’s just who I am,” she noted. “I grew up on a John Deere tractor, and although my songs aren’t talking about John Deeres and combines, that’s what my sister and I grew up doing on my parents farm. I am a farm girl, through and through, and my roots run deep there.”
Dunn said playing a guitar is an extension of herself. It frees her and brings emotions into play for her audience.
“Playing the guitar, for me is definitely an extension of expression for me as an artist,” she said. “When I play live, it’s another way for me to express what I’m feeling and express melodies and sounds that I couldn’t otherwise. For me as an artist, it helps me get ‘my sound’ out of my head and down onto tape, so to speak. I hear things a certain way, certain tones, certain melodic lines. And to have the freedom to play what I hear is the absolute end all for me. That’s what the guitar represents to me, is freedom.”
For her audience she wants her music to last decades.
“I just want my music to be something that people want to listen to in 10, 20, even 30 years,” she said. “I hope it just connects with people, inspires people and maybe if I’m lucky, makes someone down the line want to pick up a guitar or write a song — the way my heroes inspired me to want to make music.”
Dunn’s newest song is “Get Out.”
“‘Get Out’ is a song I wrote with a good friend, Ben West,” she said. “Ben wrote ‘Try’ for Pink, and is an amazing writer/producer. He and I worked on ‘Get Out’ together from the beginning to end. Writing it, producing, recording, and mixing it, I got to play all the guitars on the record. It’s a song for anyone who’s ever had a long ass week and needs a break to get out and get down! (There’s) a lot of farm memories from growing up, on this one.”
She said she’s had many great moments in her career.
“There’s been so many great moments so far already,” Dunn said. “Having SIRUSXM The Highway feature a new song of mine, ‘Cowboy Side of You,’ on their ‘New Music Discovery Week’ this week, has been pretty amazing! They’ve been big believers in me and to have their support of my music has been amazing.”
She said she wants to be remembered by fans and the public because of the emotion and simplicity her music brings to the country music genre.
“Hopefully, if I’m, lucky, for making music with integrity and for giving people an experience at live shows that’s one they won’t forget,” she added. “Not because of 40 wardrobe changes, 300 dancers, 10 set changes or things like that, but because the music made them feel something. It made them remember, made them dream, and made them believe.”
This is Dunn’s first time to play at the MSF and she excited about the two-day tour.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so stoked!” she said. “I can’t wait! I’ve never played and I’m just so pumped and looking forward to it!”
Dunn’s songs “Get Out”and “Cowboy Side of You” can be downloaded on iTunes. Fans can follow Dunn on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at ClareDunnMusic. She also has a website, Claredunn.com.
Dunn will be performing at 2 and 6 p.m. today on the MSF Budweiser Stage.