Her 2024 nods include best country song, best country solo performance, best Americana album, best Americana performance, best Americana roots song and best musical theater album
The Grammys have long showered Brandy Clark with multiple nominations and much-publicized praise, but never a win. And while all of that just might change at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, the Washington native doesn’t seem much bothered by it at all.
She’s just happy to be here.
“I think about that girl who thought there was no way I could even be an artist,” Clark, 48, tells PEOPLE. “I remember that girl who didn’t think she was pretty enough or that she couldn’t do this because of my sexuality. Those were insecurities, and I just decided to forge ahead even in the face of those."
Forge ahead, she has.
Clark is nominated for six Grammys this year, including best country song and best country solo performance for "Buried," best Americana album for the self-titled Brandy Clark, best Americana performance and best Americana roots song for “Dear Insecurity” with Brandi Carlile and best musical theater album for Shucked.
“It’s a good lesson to not let insecurity to rule you,” says Clark, who's the most nominated country artist to never win a Grammy with 17 nods to her name.
Nevertheless, Clark would be the first to admit that she has had to battle multiple insecurities throughout her life, despite the best efforts of her parents during her younger years growing up in Washington.
“I had parents that didn't put a lot of stress on what your outward beauty was," she tells PEOPLE. “When I think about teenage me, I was insecure about fitting in. I wanted to be good at things. I always used to think I was trying to be good enough to fit in with my peers, but really, I think I was trying to be good enough to fit in with myself.”
And these insecurities didn’t go away once she found herself in Nashville.
“The music business or any kind of entertainment business will put those kinds of insecurities in you,” she says quietly. “This is the way it goes. It's part of the job, I think.”
Clark touches on some of the specifics of these insecurities in the music video for the Grammy-nominated “Dear Insecurity,” a powerful song that had her collaborating with the equally amazing Carlile.
“To me, it didn't make sense for one of us to be in the video and not the other, but [producer] Trey [Fanjoy] pushed to have me appear in the last scene,” Clark recalls of the closing moments of the transformative music video that shows her sitting down for an interview under the bright lights of self-doubt. “I mean, I’m critical of myself the way all artists are about themselves on camera. In those moments, you're being asked to be your most vulnerable self. And that's hard to do while you're grappling with what you think is being said behind the camera.”
It's a truth seldom talked about, but a very real one for Clark.
“I always battle with physical insecurities,” admits Clark, who will head off on tour in April. “I'm always thinking I need to be 10 to 15 pounds thinner or I’m complaining about the gray coming in on my hair and how I must get it colored. Those kinds of insecurities are ones that I think we all battle daily.”
Standing up to those insecurities is something that Clark and every character in the “Dear Insecurity” music video eventually end up doing. And upon seeing it happen firsthand in the music video released last October, Clark says she couldn’t help but cry.
“I can find myself in every character in that music video,” Clark admits softly. “I mean, you can start to think you're a great singer and a songwriter, and then you'll hear somebody who's greater. I don't think it ever ends. Really the only way to combat insecurity is to just try to get along with it.”
Clark also says she once felt insecurity about being a gay woman in the country music industry. “That was a massive source of insecurity for me,” says Clark. “I always was like, 'Oh God, will people like me if they know this?' I felt like I had to be 10% better to be accepted because of that." She pauses. "And honestly, it's probably why Shane McAnally and I have created some great things together because we both felt that way.”
Their most notable creation as of late is writing the music and lyrics for the Broadway smash Shucked. “I've always been insecure about my talent because I'm in a pool of highly talented people,” says Clark. “But maybe I need to get over that."
The 66th Grammy Awards will take place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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