Seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter Clairity (Claire Rachel Wilkinson) began to write songs at 13 and taught herself to play keyboards by watching YouTube videos. She hails from Clarksville, TN, 45 miles northwest of Nashville, which could easily be viewed as a geographical limitation. But when you can capitalize on social connections, limitations can be dissolved.
The smallish-town girl’s story starts with a lucky liaison with a high- powered player. “Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I met Pebe Sebert, who’s Kesha’s mom,” Clairity explains. “I’m close with her and she introduced me to her connections, including Samantha Cox at BMI. That’s how I got to New York to meet Kara.”
That’s industry veteran and former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. They came together after a cancelled session with a New York producer. “I had a connection at BMI in New York and I’d been writing there,” Clairity recollects. “When the production session fell through, the producer’s manager––who was close with Kara––sent her some of my demos. Coincidentally, Kara was headed to Nashville as soon as I got back. So we met there and I signed a publishing deal with [DioGuardi’s] Arthouse [Entertainment]. She also offered to schedule further writing sessions with me.”
“She was in his office and happened to play him some of my songs.”
The story gets bigger. DioGuardi had face-time with Lava Records CEO Jason Flom, an industry juggernaut who has signed artists including Katy Perry, Lorde and Tori Amos. “They were meeting about something completely unrelated,” the singer recalls, “and Kara played him some of my songs. The next thing I knew, I was in Clarksville doing dishes when Jason called. He wanted to fly me to New York the following Monday.” A deal was inked shortly thereafter.
Clairity’s first single “Sharks In The Swimming Pool”––which dropped on March 17––was penned with the help of New York songwriting duo Kinetics & One Love, another connection courtesy of Sebert. Clairity performed at the 2015 SXSW and her currently-untitled EP is all but complete and slated for release later this year.
– Rob Putnam