Callista Clark

Callista Clark has been singing since she could talk. The 17-year-old Georgia native began performing at her grandfather’s church as a child before she started posting performance videos online. A cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” that amassed more than 27 million views caught the attention of Scooter Braun, who signed the teenager to his SB Projects management company then introduced her to Big Machine Label Group Founder and CEO Scott Borchetta. Clark’s debut Big Machine Records single, “It’s ’Cause I Am” goes for adds Monday, March 29.

“I didn’t know what was happening, it was just the craziest thing,” Clark tells Country Insider. “I still don’t know to this day what it is about that video that made it do what it did, but it changed my life.”

Clark, who also plays eight instruments, has been co-writing in Nashville since she was 15. Her earliest songs, including “It’s ’Cause I Am,” are featured on her “Real to Me” EP, released in February.

Clark penned “It’s ’Cause I Am” with Laura Veltz and Cameron Jaymes in late 2019. It was one of the last in-person writing sessions she had before lockdown. The song idea came to Clark after witnessing a snide remark from an older gentleman who saw her carrying a guitar into Starbucks.

“I was trying to get back out the door and this random guy sees that I'm a young girl with a guitar in Nashville and he just goes, ‘Good luck,’” she says. “I turned around and I said, ‘Thank you very much!’ I was so angry that people judge me before they knew who I was or what I was capable of. I had a really fun time ranting to Laura Veltz and Cameron Jaymes about that situation and that feeling.”

The song has Clark sharing that she’s a complicated woman and not one-dimensional. “You want a one-dimensional woman/ It’s OK I understand/ If I seem too complicated for ya/ It’s ‘cause I am,” she sings on the chorus.

“I really like the one-dimensional woman line because no one's ever one-dimensional,” she says. “Everyone is unique and everyone is special in their own way, and that's what that [line] means to me. No one's ever that easy to figure out by one glance.”

Several stations including Bonneville International KYGO Denver (98.5) have already played “It’s ’Cause I Am.” KYGO first spun the song Feb. 12 and continues to do so across all day parts.

KYGO PD Brian Michel, who says he instantly connected to Clark’s big voice and the record’s production, is introducing Clark to Denver listeners through the KYGO First Listen program, which highlights and exposes new music. Within two hours of reaching out to Big Machine Director of West Coast Promotion Brooke Diaz after hearing the single, Michel and his team had the elements to launch a First Listen with the singer.

“While I don’t think radio can keep up with streaming charts and play everything all the time, we do have to expose new music – even before DSPs and other outlets – to remain that trusted curator,” Michel says. “We have to truly expose the music we believe in and make it special.

“When I look at the majority of stations with these huge overnight categories just diluting spins of every song they play and add, that actually helps no one. The listeners never familiarize with any of the music under that model. We wanted this to be heard and get real exposure on an ultra-talented artist and ultimately be that trusted curator.”