Brandy Clark Details How Brandi Carlile Pushed Her Out Of Her Comfort Zone

Brandy Clark recently chatted with Variety and discussed working with Brandi Carlile while producing her upcoming self-titled album, along with disclosing how Carlile pushed her out of her comfort zone.

The only similarity the two rockers share isn’t the familiar vowels of their names; the duo also bonded over their common interests in life and music. So, working with Brandi was undoubtedly a unique experience for Clark, though this didn’t mean it would always be easy since Carlile enjoyed pushing Brandy out of her comfort zone to help her come up with the most creative lyrics or tunes.

The singer recalled one instance when Carlile helped her realize an essential fact about songwriting: the genuineness of the lyrics. Brandi often advised Clark to rewrite her words in the most genuine way she felt, and even though that pushed her out of the boundaries, it also brought forward much more realistic and special lyrics.

Clark recalled how Brandi helped her out with songwriting:

“And I don’t make a lot of changes to ’em [to the lyrics] once I do that. They’ve all been written and rewritten. But Brandi would question me on every line and say, ‘Well, do you really feel that way? Would you really say that?’ And so a lot of rewriting happened in the studio because of that.

You know, every time I’ve worked with a producer, I always give ’em 18 to 24 songs that I’m too close to really pick 10 or 12. I was surprised at some of Brandi’s choices, and I said, ‘Why did you choose these songs?’ She said, ‘You know, all the songs were great, but I just chose the songs that sounded like they weren’t written in a writing room.’

That really hit me. Because I’ve been in that world of writing songs every day for so long, and when I think of my favorite records, I don’t think about where they were being written! I just think about the emotional place it takes me.

So that was different for me, to start to think that way, because even though I’ve made three other records, I really identify as a songwriter, and so she made me step into that role of artist: ‘Would you really say this? I don’t believe it when you say it’ — you know, that kind of challenging.”

Brandi’s advice shook her since Clark never had a producer who asked her to rewrite her lyrics; however, the singer was up for the challenge as she made it clear to her producer friend that she would take her advice and trust her to rewrite her words for certain songs. Carlile was happy to hear that, as she praised Brandy’s courage and easiness at accepting criticism.

Brandy on feeling out of her comfort limits but still being willing to try something new:

“It was an adjustment for me to have somebody say, ‘This song’s almost right. I think you need to rewrite this.’ I’ve never had a producer do that. And there was a part of my ego that was tough on the first day. But she came over the next morning before we started working, and I said, ‘You know, Brandi, I’m just gonna completely trust you. I’m gonna go down the roads that you’ve asked me to go down.’

And a couple days in, she said, ‘Man, you’re brave! Like, everything I ask, you’ll try it.’ You know, if I could produce my own records, I would, but it’s not in my wheelhouse. And I think of a producer as the last writer on all those songs — the last person hearing ‘em and figuring out how to do that one more thing that makes ’em that that much more special. Or, maybe taking that one thing away.”

So, although you’ve probably read too many Brandy’s or Brandi’s in a sentence or there were too many Clarks and Carliles throughout the article, it still should be necessary to note that Brandi’s advice for the other Brandy was quite essential when it came to songwriting, as the older rocker helped Clark to be out of her comfort zone and create more genuine lyrics.