Spotlight Artist of the Week: Toni Clare

One of our main series we wanted to have on our blog was a Spotlight Artist series. We have so many amazing new comers of the Nashville Music Scene coming up within the next month and a half.

For this week’s Spotlight Artist, We want to introduce you to Toni Clare!

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My name is Toni Clare, and I’m a 15 year old singer/songwriter. I am from Virginia, but Nashville is definitely like home to me. I have performed at the Bluebird café and some venues on Broadway. I know so many amazing artists from Nashville, and I have collaborated with some of them. I recently joined NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) and I am meeting other singer/songwriters and am able to exchange ideas. It’s very exciting and, I have to admit, a bit overwhelming as there is so much talent out there.

On The Verge Nashville: How would you describe your musical style?

Toni Clare: My roots are country. That’s my main passion, and I definitely want to stick to that. I do enjoy bluegrass and rock as well, because they push me in different directions with the guitar and my voice, so I mix it up a bit. Right now, i’m just developing my own style and trying not to box myself in on the type of music I play.  

I have met some incredibly talented people in Atlanta and Nashville. Country music is going to keep growing and evolving and I hope through my songwriting that I can be apart of it. 

OTVN: Who are your inspirations?

TC: Personally, my biggest influences are my parents who have always been there for me supporting my music. Mark Maggiolo, my music teacher, is a walking music encyclopedia. As far as musical styles go, my biggest influences are Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Mary Chapin Carpenter for voice and stage presence. Also Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney are big influences because of the way they “mix it up” on stage with their music. 

OTVN: What is your overall goal with your music?

TC:One of my goals is to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage. I need to keep writing and playing my heart out on every stage i’m on. It’s all about networking. You never know who you’re going to meet.  I met Tanner Hendon a while back and he produced a CD. I have also met Wyatt Oates, a sound engineer for Adam Levine, OutKast and few others, and Peggy Still Johnson, who is my incredibly talented coach. 
When I was in Nashville, I happened to meet Philip Powell, a gospel/country singer-songwriter, who arranged a meeting and tour for me with one of the most prominent music producers in Nashville. You just never know who you’re going to meet and I am constantly inspired to get out there and keep working. I am hoping to get into a music college or see if my music takes off earlier. I am still in high school, so I have a little time to think about it. 

My biggest overall goal is to get my EP “It Takes Two” on national radio stations, but I eventually want to pitch some of the songs I have written to country and pop artists and to perform on bigger stages. 

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Pictured Above: Tori Clare with 103.1 WJMA Radio DJ

OTVN: What made you want to pursue being an artist?

TC: My first step was learning to play the guitar at age 8 from Mike Vinson after coming back from a trip to Nashville. When I saw performances from artists like the Band Perry, Love and Theft, Don Campbell, and Craig Morgan, I said “I want to be on that stage”. So I have been performing wherever I can such as state theaters, restaurants, parties with our family and friends, and talent shows. My younger sister, Frances and I won a 4-H talent show at age 7 and 9, and we won Grand Champion for singing an old Band Perry song. We are now in a five string band together with my older sister, Kati. 

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Toni Clare (right) and her sister, Frances (left)

OTVN: What have been your favorite venues to perform it?

TC: I have played in Memphis, TN and I loved a show that I did at the Lafayette Music Room. It was a packed house, and it was so exciting. I also really liked playing at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. There is a lot of adrenaline for that one, and so many famous singer-songwriters got their start there. 

Some of the unexpected or unplanned shows, I have learned, turns out to be the best ones. For example, last month I was asked two days before the show to perform in front of 1,500 teenagers in Northern Virginia and play my original songs with a band. It was so much fun!

OTVN: If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be and why?

TC: If I could collaborate with anyone, I would choose Chris Stapleton, because he is such an authentic songwriter and musician. Chris is very creative with his lyrics and he continuously inspires me to persevere in my writing and singing. 

OTVN: Tell us something that nobody knows about you. (Embarrassing moments, favorite food(s), any obsessions, etc)

TC: One embarrassing moment (out of many moments) is a time I was singing the national anthem at a huge basketball game. In the middle of the song, my microphone gave out, and it didn’t turn back on, but I smiled and sang louder. It ended up being okay in, and everyone said they could hear me. and it sounded good, but I would never want to experience that again!

My favorite food would have to be ribs, but only the ones my dad makes. He such an amazing “chef” and he teaches me how to cook. 

An obsession I have would probably be coffee! If I don’t have a cup of coffee before I start each day, I would not be able to function. 

OTVN: Are you currently working on anything at the moment that you should like us to watch out for?

TC: I have been writing songs for a while now, and recently recorded my first EP — a CD titled Toni Clare, “It Takes Two”. It is avaliable on my website (toniclaremusic.com) and on iTunes and Spotify. It was my first time in a studio and I worked with some unbelievable artists including Tanner Hendon, who recently played with Paul Rodgers and the Bad Company and with Collective Soul. I’ve recently have started playing my music and crowds have been really supportive and are reacting positively. I play covers at restaurants and parties, and that is what people mostly want to hear. My goal is to play at least half of my own music and half covers to mix it up. 

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OTVN: Where can we find your music?

TC: You can find my music on my website (toniclaremusic.com), iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and  pretty much anywhere you can find music. 

You can follow Toni Clare on her social media sites listed below:

Facebook: Toni Clare Music

Instagram: @ToniClareMusic

Twitter: @ToniClareMusic

Youtube: ToniClareMusic

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Thank you Toni Clare for being our Spotlight Artist of the Week! Do you want to be the next Spotlight Artist? Email us at onthevergenashville@gmail.com, tweet us at OnTheVergeNash, or comment down below!

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