Release Parties



Real To Me:  The Way I Feel Album Release Party

Tuesday October 11, 2022

@ The Listening Room Café in Nashville, TN

(Review By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

The Listening Room Café, located just a drop outside the flashing neon lights of downtown Nashville, has become the songwriter haven; the place to play in town if you’re a true-blue songwriter that’s wanting your craft to be heard and absorbed. 

With a venue policy that tells the audience to please keep table conversation to a minimum, they then are immediately invested in the songs that are coming to life right before them, being performed by the songwriters who wrote and lived them.

With fans lined up outside the venue hours before the doors officially opened, sporting Callista Clark t-shirts and talking about their favorite songs that they hope she plays, inside the venue was buzzing with a who’s who of music industry reps, fellow songwriters and artists, and Callista Clark, smile on her face, greeting all those who have supported her journey to get to this point – the week of her debut album release – as praises of congratulations showered her.

The venue packed in with her diehard fans, all with their cameras at the ready, as she took the stage for a Q&A with Sirius XM’s Macy Banks, during which she talked about the overall feel and vibe of the album, the struggles she’s faced with being one of the younger in the industry right now, and ultimately, overcoming everything to put together a diary in song for her album Real To Me: The Way I Feel,” before welcoming her co-writers Liz Rose and Emily Landis to the discussion to talk candidly about what it's like working with Callista and to delve into the songs they co-wrote with her.

In a venue that’s widely recognized for acoustic songwriter rounds, Callista Clark radiated their brick walls with a full band performance that saw her not only previewing the new album (dropping Friday October 14, 2022), but also providing a glimpse into her wheelhouse sound and style, which leans mostly into a bluesy country tilt to deliver something intriguingly fresh to a genre that is currently mostly driven by pop ideals.

“Thank you guys so much for coming out in the middle of the week to celebrate with me,” Clark gratefully shared before sliding into a pinch me moment when she excitedly said, “I seriously can’t believe that this is even happening,” as she dipped into the bluesy driven groove of the slower paced title track “Real To Me,” opening the show by inviting us straight into her diary, allowing her incredible vocal to grip the crowd as she put on a display of maturity that is well beyond her years.

“This album to me, sort of has two parts – two halves,” she told as she talked about first releasing a five-song EP. “So, when we were getting ready to put together the album, I wasn’t really ready to let those first five songs go. But I started thinking about what songs were missing from those and what I wanted to say with an album. I literally took a page from my diary and sent it to my co-writer, Emily Shackelton. We wrote this next song almost word for word from my diary page, and I did a piano-vocal demo of it in my bedroom that we were all so super excited about,” she gushed. “No matter what happens from here, this is still one of my favorite songs on this album,” she admitted as she stayed right in her soft blues aura with “Gave It Back Broken,” which saw her impressively bringing her hushed vocal power into its highest register, capturing the crowd and eliciting cheers as she hit note after note.

“When I was thinking about this album, a big part of it was things that would go over well at a live show. I noticed that when I was out playing, people just really liked to vibe. Well, when I got together with Sarah Buxton and Jimmy Robbins to write on this day, I told them that I had no idea what I wanted to write, but it had to be something happy because I’m not sad,” she knowingly said with a half-smile on her face as she delivered “Sad,” providing a sway along melody that perfectly sat in that vibe she mentioned during the songs introduction, as heads bobbed along, shoulders bounced, and toes tapped as Clark injected that slight touch of sass into the I’m happy you’re gone lyric with a flip of her hair and a cocky grin on her face just before the bridge.

Gleefully and giddy at this point in the show, Clark mused, “This is just so much! Thank you for being here for this,” reiterating her gratefulness to the crowd of supporters. “This is not one that I wrote, but it’s one of my favorites that I get to cover on the road. I grew up on classic rock, singer-songwriters, 80’s and 90’s country – of course – but this is our little spin on a song that’s not country,” she finished as the familiarity of Hall & Oates “Make My Dreams Come True” rang out as she continued to stay in that vibey pocket she delivered on her previous song, “Sad,” commanding the drum beats late in the song with a fist pump and eliciting cheers as she swiveled at center stage, feeling the mood of their sultry version while giving the band behind her a chance to each shine individually.

“I wrote this next song a few years ago and have been keeping it in my back pocket for the right moment, and what better place to put it then on an album called Real To Me?” Clark asked with a shrug of her shoulders. “This is the most soulful song on the record, but I was also thinking about who I could put on it with me? And I thought about a friend of mine that I’ve made while out on the road….Jimmie Allen,” she smiled with a pause as the crowd cheered. “So, this may or may not be me telling you that I have a song with Jimmie Allen on the record,” she excitedly exclaimed as she played “Wish You Wouldn’t.”

Clark brought Chris DeStefano to the stage, one of the co-writers on “Heartbreak Song,” to play the fan favorite alongside her while getting boot heels snapping on the cement floor in rhythm as she kept people shoulder dancing with its brooding melody that punched through the verses, making the slap of the chorus that much more powerful as she perfectly held the crowd in her hand with a song that DeStefano said to be one of those rare ones that he knew was special the day they wrote it.

“I couldn’t do an album called Real To Me without being completely honest with myself,” she confided as she took us through a letter written to her younger self with “Brave Girl,” an empowering, encouraging song that will most likely be her next official radio single, which sees her looking back on where she came from to get to this moment in the here and now, and telling her younger self to not get so caught up in the fear and worrying, and to just hang in there because the other side of all of that doubt is so amazingly confident and more than she can imagine.

“Thank you so much for being here again…it absolutely means the world to me,” Callista humbly shared. “Well… this last one changed my life. It was my first song to country radio and it made me the sassy, confident girl that I am today,” she said with a heel stomp to the stage as she kicked into “It’s ‘Cause I Am,” injecting extra attitude into the hit song by scrunching her face as she owned who she is while holding her guitar out straight to her side at one point ala Cash and shaking a finger side to side as she sang the line “It ain't your fault boy, not even gonna make you say it,” before the final notes of the song were played and she exited the stage to a standing ovation from the sold out room.


1) Real to Me

2) Gave It Back Broken

3) Sad

4) Make My Dreams Come True (Hall & Oates cover)

5) Wish You Wouldn’t

6) Heartbreak Song

7) Brave Girl

8) It’s ‘Cause I Am

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