Greenwich's Zoe Clark says she strives to write 'honest, raw and vulnerable' music

Greenwich-raised and now Nashville-based pop artist Zoe Clark is excited to put 2020 behind her and start 2021 with some new music, releasing the single “Last One Standing” on Jan. 22.

Aside from her singing, Clark is known as an impassioned songwriter, skillfully harnessing her life experiences to deliver raw, honest and vulnerable songs that often cut to the heart.

“Last One Standing” is a shining example of that, talking about the strength of loving yourself outside of a relationship.

The singer co-wrote the song with Autumn Byssee, and said it derived from a conversation the two had where she was asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how bitter are you, because I’m at a 7!”

“So we wrote exactly that. We wrote what we were bitter about and what makes us different than everyone else and how we’re not conforming to societal standards,” Clark said. “Two hours later we had a song.”

Clark calls “Last One Standing” her favorite song she’s ever written.

The song comes on the heels of her debut EP, “Lovers Mark,” which was released in April and quickly found itself as featured music on Lighting 100 in Nashville and other stations around the country.

“It was hard for me to release this during the pandemic, with everything that was going on, but I realized that people need music more than ever when they are stuck at home and going through tough times,” Clark said.

“I know I want my favorite artists to put out new music.”

Once the album was released, she went back to writing — often collaborating

with people in Zoom sessions — and spent a lot of the pandemic watching

movies and reading books, which inspire her to write more.

While “Lovers Mark” was mostly about love, heartbreak and heartache and how someone can leave a lover’s mark on a relationship, Clark explained that her new songs aren’t so somber when it comes to love.

“That was a chapter of my life that finally came to a close. I wrote all those songs when I was feeling those emotions,” she said.

“Now ‘Last One Standing’ is completely different. It’s a stage in my life where I am right now. It’s a relatable and fun song that’s about not conforming to someone’s idea on what a person should or shouldn’t be.

“It’s very much about being unique and loving yourself for who you are.”

Besides being therapeutic, Clark enjoys writing songs about her life and experiences because those songs are the ones her audience can best relate to.

“For me, all the songs I am writing are the same in the respect that I am being honest, raw and vulnerable, and I am opening up about what’s going on in my life,” she said.

“As I’m in different chapters of my life, it’s not going to be about the same topics — things are going to change. I’ll always be honest and real.”

Clark has been singing and performing since she was a little girl, and by the age of 12 she began songwriting.

“It was just a big stress relief for me, and writing songs was my way of getting emotions out and figuring out my problems and who I am,” she said.

“I just started writing about my life, and it became a habit and something I loved to do and fell in love with. I knew it was something I wanted to explore with singing as well.”

After high school, she was accepted at Belmont University in Nashville as a songwriting major, working with Grammy Award-winning songwriters in the program.

“I stayed in Nashville and have been doing this ever since,” Clark said. “For me, music has always held a special place in my heart.

“When I hear a song for the first time, I always pay close attention to the lyrics, and I often feel the song was written just for me. That’s what I try to do for people. I want them to connect to my music just as much.”

Clark has been doing plenty of virtual live streams throughout the pandemic, but she greatly misses being on a live stage with a band.

“I want to connect with people,” she said. “Even if I put out a song and there’s just one person who listens to it all the time and reaches out to me because they love it, that’s all I need.

“I love when my fans reach out to me and connect to me about their life. I am 21 and figuring things out like everyone else, and I just want as many friends as possible.”

Looking ahead, she plans to continue putting out new songs and hopes to be able to tour by summer. In the spring, Clark will put out another single, and she expects more music to follow in the months ahead.

“I’m constantly in the studio and recording, and I love to share my music and hope that more people will listen to it, and I’m just doing what I can to get my music out there,” she said.

“I’ll continue to put out song after song. Right now it’s just singles, because I want my album to be a cohesive piece of art that has [a] deep track and tells a story in a purposeful way.”

Keith Loria is a freelance writer.