If allowed only one word to describe Clint Black, "profound" would cover a lot of bases.
The artist has had a profound effect on the music industry, not only through his own recordings, but also through the establishment of his brainchild, Equity Music Group, a record company he co-founded in 2003.
He is a profound, not to mention prolific, songwriter. To date, he has written, recorded and released more than 100 songs, a benchmark in any artist's career. An astounding one-third of the songs eligible for single release achieved hit song status at country radio. As a musician, he profoundly astounds -- he is an accomplished guitarist, and humbly describes himself as proficient on drums, harmonica, bass guitar and any assortment of percussion instruments.
Clint Black -- even his name evokes a deep sense of history and place in country music. The 1989 debut of his critically acclaimed and fan-endorsed Triple-platinum Killin' Time marked a subtle shift in the country music industry, and, thanks in part to Clint, a return to the more traditional sounds of the genre. CMT lists this album as one of the 100 Greatest Albums in Country Music. That album, from a then unknown Texas-based artist and writer, boasted five #1 hits (unprecedented in any music format), and won Clint a collection of awards that included:
- Country Music Association Horizon Award- Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year
- American Music Awards Favorite New Male Country Artist
- Academy of Country Music Best New Male Vocalist
- Academy of Country Music Best Male Vocalist
- Academy of Country Music Album of the Year (Killin Time)
- Academy of Country Music Single of the Year ("A Better Man")
For Clint, this was only the beginning. The Triple-Platinum Put Yourself in My Shoes followed in 1990, and the ride continued. To date, Clint has had nearly two dozen #1 hit singles, and almost as many Top 5 and Top 10 hits, all of them original compositions. The number of awards crowding his trophy shelf surpasses the number of hit records. And the number of music fans he has performed for in concerts through the years is staggering.
Still, he keeps it fresh. When he felt that things were becoming a bit stale and feeling a certain sameness in the late 90's, he took a risk and shook things up by leaving his label of more than a decade, and taking a much needed break to reevaluate where he wanted to take his career. And more importantly, he and wife Lisa Hartman Black decided to start a family. The birth of daughter Lily Pearl gave Clint a new perspective and vigor that affected not only his personal life, but his professional and creative sides as well.
Clint devoted his time to nurturing his little family, and his big career. In 2003, he decided the best course for that career was to start a record company that was artist-friendly, and would be not only home to his recordings, but to other artists of a like mind and approach. Enter Equity Music Group. The release of Clint's highly anticipated first album for the label, Spend My Time, received great critical acclaim and gave the company the credibility it needed. The label proved itself to be a little scrapper, taking on the big corporations with a flair and success that earned it Billboard's #2 Independent Imprint of the Year and #4 Independent Label of the Year over all genres in 2006. In addition to Clint, the label is home to Little Big Town, whose first release for the label is already Platinum (and Billboard's #1 Artist and Album of the Year for 2006 all genres).
Clint takes great pride in co-founding a label that has the reputation in the artist community of being a true partner in the best sense of the word. Besides Little Big Town, the label has attracted Laura Bryna, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Carolina Rain and Mark Wills to its roster, with the promise of much more, including the 2007 single from Clint, "The Strong One.
"Without a doubt, Clint Black has earned his place in country music. But he also has a clear eye set to its future. When pressed to accommodate, one word will do -but so many more are needed to adequately convey Clint's particular talents and extraordinary place in music.