Sue Bonzell:                 Today’s guest is Callista Clark. She has a new song out that speaks directly to me. I’m Sue Bonzell. This is Up N Country, powered by vLiveCast. She’s going to play that song, It’s Cause I Am. Let’s meet Callista Clark. She has over 18 million downloads globally of her song, It’s Cause I Am, and she just turned 18. I am so excited to welcome Callista Clark. Hello, Callista. How are you?

Callista Clark:                Hi, I’m doing great. What about you?

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, I am doing fantastic. I am so excited to meet you. I’m just watching all of your success with this song. The first time I heard the song, I didn’t know it was you, I heard it and I was like, “Okay, this is my song.” I’m like, “Who is this gal? She’s singing my song.” And then I find out it’s you and I go, “She’s 18. This girl is beyond her years.” Tell me about writing this song.

Callista Clark:                Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. And It’s Cause I Am was a song that I wrote with Cameron Jaymes and Laura Veltz at the end of 2019. And it was kind of my way of just putting it all out there, all of the feelings that I had been holding in about feeling like people were looking down on me or just kind of doubting me for my dreams or things that I wanted to accomplish in my life because I was young and maybe even because I was a young girl in this industry. And so I just wanted to write a song that was really fun and really sassy, really empowering and something that introduced me in a really confident way.

Sue Bonzell:                 It is very powerful and I love the sass. I’m all about the sass. So I think it’s funny that you said kind of like into talking about people maybe doubting you at your younger age, getting into country music. And so I saw a quote that you did, it was on an Instagram post and somebody had said a quote that said, “You can’t be 17 from a small town and make it in country music.” How does it feel to prove them wrong?

Callista Clark:                Well, thank you. I mean, I’m trying my best. I’m just doing what I love and it seems to be going pretty well so far. I appreciate that.

Sue Bonzell:                 And I’m sure that those folks that maybe were kind of doubting you in the beginning are probably eating their words at this point.

Callista Clark:                Well, that’s very-

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s got to feel a little bit good.

Callista Clark:                That’s good. I mean, I feel like there have been a lot of moments like that leading up to me writing It’s Cause I Am. One in particular being, I was at a Starbucks in Nashville and I had my guitar with me… This was probably two years ago now, and this random guy just sees me in Nashville with the guitar, big dreams, big hopes. And he just looks at me and was like, “Good luck.” And I turned around and I smiled and I said, “Thank you very much.” And I went and I had yet another reason to go write, It’s Cause I Am.

Sue Bonzell:                 You were like, thank you for that. I appreciate it. That’s exactly what I needed.

Callista Clark:                Yeah. A little bit of motivation.

Sue Bonzell:                 Exactly. So now you’ve got to go on national television. So you were on Live with Kelly and Ryan. That’s pretty exciting. Tell me about that experience.

Callista Clark:                It was so much fun. They were so nice. And it was also my first time in New York, ever. And I’ll have to go back where I can actually see more things about New York. I was only there for less than 24 hours. I got into town, I did the interview and I left the next morning. So I definitely need to spend more time in New York. But it was so much fun and so special. And I can’t believe that my first TV appearance was on Kelly and Ryan of all things. It was just [crosstalk].

Sue Bonzell:                 Right? So you are obviously a very skilled singer, songwriter. I understand you play eight different instruments. What instruments do you play?

Callista Clark:                Thanks. I started on ukulele and then I moved to acoustic guitar. I’m self taught on all of them, so I really don’t know what I’m doing, but we’re getting by. I also taught myself piano, bass, six string banjo, mandolin. I really love learning and I really love music. And during quarantine, I even picked up keytar. So it’s gotten a little [inaudible].

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s classic. I love that. You got to put some video up of you playing the keytar.

Callista Clark:                I would. I think I should do that soon.

Sue Bonzell:                 I want to see that. I want to see that. So would you be willing to play your song, It’s Cause I Am? It’s a big smash hit. We’re playing it on 93.7, [inaudible] here in Santa Rosa, California. So would you be willing to play it for us today?

Callista Clark:                I sure would. And thank you guys so much for playing it. It means so much to me. Seriously.

Sue Bonzell:                 Absolutely. I love it. It’s one of my faves.

Callista Clark:                Thank you so much. All right. We good?

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Callista Clark:                All right.


Sue Bonzell:                 Yes. Ooh. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for playing that-

Callista Clark:                Thank you.

Sue Bonzell:                 … for us. So appreciate that. So you’ve been on the Grand Ole Opry stage, how many times?

Callista Clark:                I believe, four. I’m counting it.

Sue Bonzell:                 Four. Yes, exactly. Marking him them on the wall, right?

Callista Clark:                Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 So how old were you the first time?

Callista Clark:                I was 17. I just turned 18 at the end of September and I had my debut in July, so yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow. Awesome. Fantastic. So who would you want to collaborate with if you had the opportunity?

Callista Clark:                I really love Ingrid Andress, really love Tori Kelly, Maren Morris, Dan and Shay. There are so many people that I truly love.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well, you know what? You just put it out to the universe, so now they’re going to call you and be like, “Callista, we want to do a song with you.”

Callista Clark:                Yeah. I hope so. That would be incredible. I would really love that.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes. You’re like, “I’ll take the phone call. Thank you very much.”

Callista Clark:                Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 So I’m going to have just a couple more questions for you before we wrap it up. But I want to have a little bit of fun with you. So I’m going to do some fun questions. I’m going to ask you, if you had the choice of superpowers, what would your superpower be?

Callista Clark:                To teleport.

Sue Bonzell:                 Ooh.

Callista Clark:                No flying. No car rides. Just appear somewhere. That would be amazing.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh my gosh. That is a great answer. I love that. It’s very efficient.

Callista Clark:                Yes. Absolutely.

Sue Bonzell:                 But no more road trips, all the fun in the road trips.

Callista Clark:                You can do the fun ones. You could do some. But the ones, waking up at 03:00 AM and in the car for eight hours, those, snap your fingers and they’re gone.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s an excellent superpower. I like that one. I’d like that one as well. Do you like cats or do you like dogs?

Callista Clark:                Dogs.

Sue Bonzell:                 Dogs. Okay. What do you think that dogs dream about?

Callista Clark:                I don’t know. I have no idea. I don’t know. I’ve always thought about that, to be honest. It seems like their life would be so peaceful and just… I don’t know.

Sue Bonzell:                 You see them having those dreams and they’re shaking.

Callista Clark:                Maybe, a treat or something like some kind of food. That, seems pretty accurate. I don’t know. What do you think?

Sue Bonzell:                 I know these are silly questions.


Callista Clark:                What do you think?

Sue Bonzell:                 I was thinking, it’s the ball, throwing the ball over and over again.

Callista Clark:                Fetch. Nice. That’s good.

Sue Bonzell:                 Playing fetch. Or maybe they’re dreaming about chasing cats or something. I don’t know.

Callista Clark:                Yep. One side or the other, cats or dogs.

Sue Bonzell:                 Exactly. I mean, I kind of wonder what cats dream about, really. I don’t know.

Callista Clark:                I have no idea. I overthink questions like this.

Sue Bonzell:                 Because, cats it’s like, what? I have a cat so it’s literally like, what?

Callista Clark:                Yeah. You don’t know.

Sue Bonzell:                 You don’t know. Okay. Let’s go to one of my favorite topics of all time, and that is food. What is your favorite pizza?

Callista Clark:                Supreme with the veggies. That’s the way to go.

Sue Bonzell:                 Nice. Meat or no meat?

Callista Clark:                I do eat meat, but I feel like-

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay.

Callista Clark:                … that’s definitely my favorite pizza.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Excellent. Very healthy. So can you cook? And if you can cook, what’s your favorite thing to cook?

Callista Clark:                I don’t really cook. You don’t really want me to do that. I promise. The closest I come to that is on Thanksgiving. I help my mom prepare things. I can follow recipes and measure. But me with the stove, that’s what you don’t want to happen. It won’t be good.

Sue Bonzell:                 Got to make sure you have the smoke alarm handy.

Callista Clark:                Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s when you know it’s done, right?

Callista Clark:                My gloves up to my shoulder, and it’s just not good.

Sue Bonzell:                 Excellent. Well, thank you for having fun with me with those silly little questions. So what is next for you? What’s coming up?

Callista Clark:                Just playing some shows, different festivals and things like that. And it’s really exciting. And at all the different shows that I’ve been doing, I’ve been playing a lot of unreleased songs that I’ve written and seeing how they go over and seeing what everybody’s liking and just… It’s kind of where I’m at. Songwriting a ton, it’s just new music.

Sue Bonzell:                 Good. Ooh, I can’t wait. So I’m going to envision an album of some sort in the future, right?

Callista Clark:                I would sure hope so. Let’s go. I’m excited.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. I love it. We’re just putting all this stuff out into the universe and it’s just going to come to you. So there you go.

Callista Clark:                Yes. Well, thank you so much.

Sue Bonzell:                 Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for being here with us, answering all my crazy questions and playing your amazing song. I really appreciate you.

Callista Clark:                Thank you. This was so much fun.

Sue Bonzell:                 Thanks for tuning in to Up N Country, where we have new episodes every Tuesday. And be sure to visit for all of the episodes and information about our VIP club, where you’re going to get exclusive backstage access. And if you’re on Instagram or TikTok, make sure to follow me, Sue Bonzell. I’ll see you next week.