A restless artist recasting R&B and a musician with a few stories to tell on the long drive ahead, Steven A. Clark is a straight-talker in a genre filled with wish-fulfillment, whimsy and cliched beats. On The Lonely Roller, his Secretly Canadian debut album due out September 18, the descriptions of emotions and bad breaks, of flawed characters extricating themselves from tragic affairs, arent just a set-up or storytelling device. Its personal identification set to song, new additions to a canon looking for fresh blood.
“I dont want to just be some guy trying to bring something back, but I always think there is room for a flawed character,” Clark says. “The characters in the songs and me, theyre often the same guy. Thats why I use my actual name. Theres no point in just talking about the character on stage.” By pairing raw, confessional singing and personal stories with pulsing synthesizers and rhythms that hang in the air like a glowing grid of roadside neon, Clark is charting his own creative path.
Miami by way of Fayetteville and Little Rock, Clark’s musical journey began in the south with roots in hip-hop. Attracted to the honesty of the form as well as the creative potential, Clark’s own style evolved toward verse. On songs such as lead single “Not You,” he flips a brutally honest breakup tale and draws emotions and empathy from being on the right side of the conversation.
“Rhythm and blues aint all candy and hearts,” says Clark. “There is real emotion, and lots of times, artists dont always go there. Tapping into the darker side helps make a song more real, and keeps things fresh.” We love the wanderer with no patience for niceties, who cant be bothered by saccharine stories, because we know theyre being called to seek out something more, and Steven A. Clark is the next stranger to roll in from out of town.
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1. Lonely Roller
2. Trouble Baby
3. Not You
4. Can’t Have
6. Time Machine
7. Floral Print
8. Part Two
9. She’s In Love
10. Young, Wild, Free