Toni Clare is 17 year old singer/songwriter from Virginia and has been involved with music since the tender age of 10.
Toni's talent has taken her to heights beyond what most 17 year old teens could dream of.
In March, Clare released her debut album, 'Country Home', which is already making waves throughout the industry; with notable names involved with in the making of 'Country Home' such as Larry Fridie, Robinson (Justin Bieber/Usher), Peggy Johnson, a member of The Board of Governor's at The Grammy's and Tanner Hendon of Atlanta Madison Records.
Toni designed the album in such a way so teenagers have a place they can feel safe and can come to escape and submerge themselves within the catchy and fun melodies in which 'Country Home' offers.
Madison Mueller interviewed Toni about her music, inspirations, up coming shows and her album, 'Country Home'
Maddie: How has the decision to record an album designed as a safe place for teens to be, change the way in which you recorded in the studio?
Toni: I wrote my album, Country Home, with a theme of high school experiences, young love, etc. I am a senior in high school, and it has been a crazy journey that has included hardships but also has opened so many doors. I really dedicate this album to my friends; we all helped each other get through high school together, and we have all supported one another no matter what happened. They have always been very supportive of my music, even though it brings out a unique lifestyle that most teens don’t go through. Now that we all are graduating in May, it has been very emotional, and this album is for them. I hope teenagers, and really everyone, can relate to this album. It will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope people feel the lyrical connection in the songs.
Maddie: What was it like to record a debut album with some of the biggest names in the music industry?
Toni: Working with Tanner Hendon and Wyatt Oates was amazing, especially for my first experience in a recording studio. They were so easy going, and they made me feel very comfortable. They have worked with some of the most successful, widely-known artists, and they had so much knowledge and experience to share with me; I really enjoyed learning from them. I will also never forget how much we all laughed and had a great time during every recording session!
Maddie: Do you write your own music?
Toni: I have been writing my own music as long as I can remember, and I wrote all the songs for “Country Home”, my first album, which is available on all digital platforms including Apple Music and Spotify. I can’t wait to continue with my musical journey and to share so many other songs I have in store!
Maddie: What is your writing process?
Toni: My writing process varies everyday. The songs I write can take months, days, or even just one hour. I am very old school; I have writing journals where I jot down all my thoughts. But I also use my phone to write down notes from people, places, or things that inspire me. My friends and family will often find me humming a random tune that comes in my head on my voice memos. I enjoy adventures and traveling, for example: I like spending time at a river that’s 5 minutes away from my house (that’s where I wrote Country Home and others). I also take my journal whenever we go to the beach or on a long car or plane trip.
Maddie: Were you involved in music at school?
Toni: I am involved with music at my high school. I have been the secretary for the TRI-M music society, I sing and play bass for the jazz band, and I am apart of the choir group. I love playing at school functions for fundraisers, music nights, competitions, etc. and getting to see all my friends and family in the audience.
Maddie: You are doing some shows soon, do you have your own band?
Toni: I have played with many different types of bands, and I used to be the lead vocalist for a couple of bands in the past, but I currently enjoy jamming with other musicians and being featured in bands. Other than being mostly a soloist, I play a great deal with my younger sister who plays a mean fiddle and sings gorgeous harmony.
Maddie: What’s it like rehearsing with professional musicians? Do you have a lot of fun?
Toni: Ever since I started learning guitar at the age of eight, I’ve gotten to rehearse and perform with people that I never would have imagined. Music has opened so many doors, and I’ve gotten to meet, learn from, and play music with the most incredible artists. I have been so blessed to have musicians around me that truly desire to help me reach my goals. Events like songwriters nights in Nashville, Artist Development sessions in Atlanta, festivals, concerts, and more have given me the opportunity to meet incredible people and be truly inspired by them.
Maddie: How did you know that you wanted to be a country singer?
Toni: Even though I am open to and have been apart of performing so many different genres like rock, classical, pop, jazz, theatrical, gospel, and bluegrass music, Country Music will always be home for me. I grew up visiting Nashville’s music festivals and having so many popular bluegrass/country festivals in my area, so it is definitely my comfort zone, and I will never give up writing Country Music.
Maddie: Who are some of your biggest influences?
Toni: Some of my biggest influences include Maren Morris, the Dixie Chicks, and Chris Stapleton.
Maddie: If you could ask them a few questions, who would you ask, and what would you ask?
Toni: If I could ask them anything, I would ask them to co write a song with me. Some of their songs are on the list of my top favourites, and it would mean so much to me if we could collaborate. I love Chris Stapleton’s heartfelt lyrics, the Dixie Chick’s sound and harmony, and Maren Morris’s fresh new take on country.
Maddie: What do you do when you are not singing, or writing music?
Toni: Other than music, I thoroughly enjoy playing sports especially soccer, track, basketball, and swimming. I love anything outdoors including horseback riding, hiking, and fishing.
Maddie: Do you have a favourite song on the album and why is it your favourite?
Toni: I can’t say I have a favourite song because they all relate to my life stories in different ways, but it’s interesting when people tell me how different songs from my EP impacted them, and it makes me feel so satisfied that all my listeners can connect to the pieces.
Maddie: What were you doing in music and singing before the album?
Toni: Before the album, I was playing mostly in Virginia and along the east coast at various venues like theatres, festivals, weddings, restaurants, and more, I was writing nonstop, and I was playing with bands.
Maddie: What instruments do you play?
Toni: My main instrument is acoustic and electric guitar, but I also play bass, mandolin, ukulele, and piano.
Maddie: What is your dream venue to play? What has been your favourite venue so far?
Toni: I would love to play at the Grand Ole Opry stage as the best, legendary artists in country music have performed there. One of my favourite, intimate venues was playing at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. I also liked playing on the bigger stages including the Wharf Main Stage for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC, the Lafayette Music Room in Memphis, state competitions, and sold out shows at state theatres.
Maddie: What advice do you have for other young artists with similar dreams?
Toni: I want to tell other upcoming artists to always have the people around you that support and love you. It’s important to not get in your head about the people that don’t want you to succeed. Be confident in your abilities, and stay true to who you are. And remember that it’s ok to be different.
Maddie: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Toni: Please subscribe to my Youtube channel: toniclaremusic, check out my website: toniclaremusic.com, and follow my socials media pages: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
Country Home Available on
Links to Toni Clare
Catch Toni in concert
April 27- Wool and Wine Festival at Hoover Ridge in Madison, VA (Time TBD)
May 4 -Toni Clare Live Show at Bees and Trees Farm in Elkwood, VA (12pm-3pm)
May 18 -Toni Clare Live Show at the Jewell Boxx Theatre in Culpeper, VA (Time TBD)
May 19 - Original Music from Toni Clare (time TBD)