“Success is a lot of things. And I think it changes as you go on,” Annie Clark opines. “To me, success means getting to make work that I believe in 120%. Making the best work I can possibly make and feeling proud of it. And to make great things for the next generation.”
My Art of Drive is this irrepressible urge I have to make things. I always feel like the next thing I make is going to be the best thing I make. Really going to the point where you know that you truly gave it your everything.
A desire to inspire
Clark’s drive to establish this legacy is motivated by the artists that have inspired her, she explains. “I feel immense gratitude, not just for what they did to make my life easier as an artist and a person, but also for the deep work that my heroes made.” And this feeds into her desire to mentor. “I really hope that I make it easier for the next generation to be whoever they are and say whatever they want to say,” she adds.
An award-winning mind that’s driven by change
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Clark says she doesn’t remember a time before music. There was no Plan B. She started playing guitar around the age of 12, getting into the technical side of production just a year or so later from the studio she built in her bedroom. Initially she was part of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ band, before releasing her debut album Marry Me in 2007 – and with that, St. Vincent was born.
Since then, she’s collaborated with world-renowned artists and became the first woman in 20 years to win a Grammy for Best Alternative Album. We could go on. Clark is without doubt one of the most versatile and accomplished artists of our times.
Her ambition is in constant evolution. She takes risks; aims to intrigue and surprise. She’s currently moving into directing and scoring films, for example, and was heavily involved in the creation of The Art of Drive short film.
Elsewhere, Clark’s latest album, Daddy’s Home, sees her morph into a ’70s-inspired glam-rock icon, complete with blonde wig. “You’re truly just playing with your own energy to become who you want to be for a minute, or a year,” she explains.
When encountering challenges, Clark responds with solutions. Case in point: her guitar. Not finding an instrument that suited her body, she created one. Sleek, lightweight and with a silhouette that’s made to highlight the player’s waist, her guitar is specifically designed to fit the female form. It’s the perfect example of Clark’s agency, using her power not only to challenge but to change the status quo.
Follow your dreams. Not other people.
The desire to make her own indelible and authentic mark on the world, and to inspire others to instinctively do the same is what drives Annie Clark. Capturing transcendent moments through music that stands the test of time. Creating a legacy that makes it easier for the next generation to be who they are. Speaking truthfully. And celebrating individuality.
“I hope to inspire others by letting them know that it's absolutely fine to be themselves, whoever they are,” she says. “To try to be the best version of themselves – not by copying others, but by honing their own instincts and being true to themselves.”
In the short film, Clark takes us on a journey through her alchemical process of creation. Giving insight into the level of commitment involved to really push the boundaries of originality. “I bring dreams into reality by chasing them,” she says. “That's how I look at making music… Trying to catch lightning in a bottle.”