GARY CLARK JR.
As one of the premier guitar savants in the U.S. today, Gary Clark Jr. has steadily built up a reputation with some of the best musicians in the business for his psychedelic playing style and smooth vocals that permeate his music. Clark Jr. grew up in Austin, Texas, a live music mecca, and began playing guitar at the age of 12. Throughout his teenage years, Clark would play at local music clubs and would eventually meet a variety of musical promoters who gave Clark Jr. the chance to play at some of the more renowned musical venues in the area. While Clark Jr. built up a steady following on the Texas rock & roll scene, it wasn't until his 2010 performance at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, where he played with the likes of B.B. King, Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, that his star really began to soar.
As Clark Jr. began to play high-profile festivals like Bonnaroo and other large-scale shows, he also began to collaborate with a series of popular musicians. Clark Jr. would record with a variety of artists throughout the late 2000s, including Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band and many more. In 2011, Clark Jr. would release his first EP, The Bright Lights EP, which would garner plenty of buzz for the artist after it was featured in a variety of commercials and other forms of popular media.
In 2012, Clark Jr. would release his first full-length feature album, Blak and Blu, which would break into both the Billboard 200 albums chart, as well as rock and alternative charts. Along with the hit song "Bright Lights," the album featured a rough and tumble style that certainly departed from many other artists on the contemporary rock scene. With Clark Jr.'s trademark fuzzy guitar distortion and soaring solos, the guitarist managed to combine the raw energy of electric guitar with funky melodies and vocals that helped reserve him a special place in today's music scene.
Looking ahead to the future, Clark Jr. has gone back into the studio to work on his next album and has become one of the most sought-after guitarists in the music industry. With musical contemporaries comparing his style to the unpredictable and raw talent of Jimi Hendrix with the smooth progressions of Eric Clapton, it's very rare that an artist's star soars as quickly as it has for Gary Clark Jr.