When your grandmother enlists you to model her “I Skied Down Mount St. Helens May 18, 1980” t-shirts—complete with “authentic” burn holes—at the local flea market, you can be sure you’re going to grow up with a unique outlook on life. For acclaimed No. 1 songwriter Brandy Clark, it’s an outlook that has served her well.
Born and raised in the small Washington mill town of Morton—yes, in the shadow of Mount St. Helens, which erupted when she was just a little girl—Brandy developed an affection for working-class people and the dangerous jobs many of them undertake to make ends meet. Her father, a logger, died in a work-related accident, her mother toiled in human resources at the mill, and Brandy herself worked amid the lumber, at a fencing mill. As such, she related to the hardship depicted in the film “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and became obsessed with the music of Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard.
But above all, Brandy adored eccentric personalities.