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Pittsburgh Artist of the Week: Clara Kent

Clara Kent recently released the first installment of her new series of EPs called "The Four Winds." Inspired by the Lakota Medicine Wheel, the new records represent Clara’s musical tribute to transformation and act as a vibrant love letter for Black and Indigenous women.

Clara recently spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar.

This conversation may be lightly edited for content, clarity, or length.

What’s your musical history up to this point?

This question is loaded, lol. Let’s say, I have a long resume, but I still have so much to do and much more to accomplish before I can say I’ve made it to my goal. My whole life, from childhood until now, revolves around creativity, especially music. It’s a part of my destiny and purpose; I am grateful for this path and pray that I can continue the journey for as long as possible.

How do you describe your sound?

My sound is best described as multi-genre Soul Music. I love to dabble in all genres, but due to my tone and vocal approach, it’ll always be transformed into soul music. It’s pretty cool

Tell us more about the song “Play Clothes.” What inspired you to write it and what does it mean to you?  

I always write introspective songs that sound like love songs in disguise (I love a double entendre), but Play Clothes let me…play! I wrote it for a person I was dating at the time, I would do 3-4 shows a weekend, and they had a 9-5, so I thought it would be cute to make something to remind couples that you gotta enjoy each other too. Hard work is cool, but enjoy life and love with some Merlot too.

"The Four Winds: East" implies a few other related releases will exist. Why this approach, and what makes them unique?

“THE FOUR WINDS” is a four-part EP series inspired by the Medicine Wheel. Each EP represents one part of the Wheel via direction; East, South, West, and North. They all hold significance around mortality, emotions, spiritual healing, and the ancestral connection to the elements and seasons. I decided to use this sacred tool as a muse to express my intimate experiences over the last seven years as a Black Indigenous Woman of Oglala Lakota heritage. The series is my way of creating a musical tribute to transformation, experimenting with my voice and new sounds, and also a vibrant love letter for Black & Indigenous Women.

What was the first album that really changed your life?    

Woo, this one is tough. I’d have to say "What’s Going On" by Marvin Gaye or "My Life" by Mary J. Blige. I love these records because the lyrics are simple but deep and emotional. They are raw and human, soulful, and hypnotizing. I made it through many difficult moments with both of these albums, I’m truly grateful for them. Honorable mention is "Velvet Rope" by Janet Jackson.

Who are some other Pittsburgh artists you think more people should listen to?  

The young and younger generation of artists coming up is really doing their thing right now. I’m a huge fan of Mani Bahia, Ayasie, and Dejah Monae. I also love the swooning fellas like Shua, Joziah Council, and Cam Chambers; they all released some heat recently! Also big ups to Dan Sully who released a chill single and produced my lead single “Letting Go”.

Any other super interesting things we should know about you?

I’ll be performing again soon *wink wink*, and I’ll launch some events and a podcast under my business, Bounce House Studios & Productions, very soon! I’m also working on some new music with Nic Rec, Buscrates, and of course, For the Records Studios. Life is good.

Learn more about Clara Kent here.

Check out previous Pittsburgh Artists of the Week here.

Joey Spehar is a Pittsburgh native who started as a volunteer D.J. at WYEP, fresh out of college in 2006. He took on any job they’d let him do like editing audio, engineering remote broadcasts, and shoveling snow.