Josienne Clarke I Promised You Light

Label
Corduroy Punk
Released
4th February 2022

Format Info

12" - Midnight blue vinyl
Limited to 500

‘I Promised You Light’ follows on from Clarke’s critically acclaimed 2021 LP, A Small Unknowable Thing, an emotionally charged album bubbling with courage and
defiance.

“It sort of enabled me to throw the entire rulebook out,” Clarke says, reflecting on the last year. “I was sort of starting again, but not from nothing. I had all that experience to draw on. I’ve freed myself from all the structures that made it difficult. I was trying to work out what the thing was that was making this so difficult for me. I was miserable. I was encouraged by the structure around me to carry on because it was in everyone’s interest for me to be uncomfortable. I’m not sure that people really care about young women in the music industry that much, all the while you can keep making music, then good. That must mean you’re okay, nobody has to look at whether you need something. There isn’t an HR department, nobody’s regulating the industry.”

But the space away allowed her to reflect on her achievements – whether it be writing a plethora of critically acclaimed songs, winning a BBC Folk Award, opening for Robert Plant on his European tour, playing prominent slots on some of the UK’s biggest festivals or even taking a leading role in The National Theatre’s revival of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good (after being personally chosen by Cerys Matthews no less), it brought back her confidence. “It fuelled that creative fire certainly,” Clarke says. “It made me feel like I had a legitimacy on my own that was good. My songwriting and my singing was good enough. I existed as a singular person. It all contributed to my continuing exodus from what went before.”

Clarke recalls a quote from a review which read: “Underestimate Josienne Clarke at your peril.” The quote bothered Clarke at first, it feeling as though it had connotations of anger and demand – terms which so many women in the industry receive when they simply try to express their artistic vision. Now, Clarke uses this quote as her email signature, reclaiming another troubling narrative. “I don’t mind if people think that I’m unreasonable or think that I’m difficult for describing what I want. There are male words for all of those things which are very positive like ‘assertive’ and ‘confident.’ It’s very much time the industry stopped underestimating us.”