Roy Clark, ‘Hee Haw’ co-host, Country Music Hall of Fame member, dies at 85

Presenter Roy Clark, center, makes eyes at Miss Country Music, a hostess, while master of ceremonies Tennessee Ernie Ford attempts to move Clark along during the CMA Awards show Oct. 25, 1969.

Presenter Roy Clark, center, makes eyes at Miss Country Music, a hostess, while master of ceremonies Tennessee Ernie Ford attempts to move Clark along during the CMA Awards show Oct. 25, 1969. Bill Preston / The Tennessean

Tammy Wynette receives the Female Vocalist of the Year award from presenter Roy Clark during the CMA Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium on Oct. 15, 1969.

Tammy Wynette receives the Female Vocalist of the Year award from presenter Roy Clark during the CMA Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium on Oct. 15, 1969. Bill Preston / The Tennessean

Big winner Johnny Cash, left, joins other CMA award winners on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium to sing a chorus of "This Land is Your Land" at the end of the NBC live telecast of the CMA Awards show Oct. 15, 1969. Next to Cash are Tammy Wynette, June Carter Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Archie Campbell, Roy Clark, Charley Pride and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Big winner Johnny Cash, left, joins other CMA award winners on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium to sing a chorus of “This Land is Your Land” at the end of the NBC live telecast of the CMA Awards show Oct. 15, 1969. Next to Cash are Tammy Wynette, June Carter Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Archie Campbell, Roy Clark, Charley Pride and Tennessee Ernie Ford. Bill Preston / The Tennessean

Master of ceremonies Tennessee Ernie Ford, right, mops the fevered brow of Roy Clark during the nationwide telecast of the CMA Awards show Oct. 14, 1970. Clark won the Comedian of the Year award.

Master of ceremonies Tennessee Ernie Ford, right, mops the fevered brow of Roy Clark during the nationwide telecast of the CMA Awards show Oct. 14, 1970. Clark won the Comedian of the Year award. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Appearing almost overcome with his Song of the Year award, Kris Kristofferson nervously tries to get his distance on the microphone offered by presenter Roy Clark during the CMA Awards show Oct. 14, 1970.

Appearing almost overcome with his Song of the Year award, Kris Kristofferson nervously tries to get his distance on the microphone offered by presenter Roy Clark during the CMA Awards show Oct. 14, 1970. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, center, speak to the audience after winning the Duet Group of the Year award during the CMA Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium on Oct. 10, 1971. Looking on are presenters Roy Clark, left, and Merle Haggard.

Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, center, speak to the audience after winning the Duet Group of the Year award during the CMA Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium on Oct. 10, 1971. Looking on are presenters Roy Clark, left, and Merle Haggard. Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, second from right, and family make their strings sing Dec. 10, 1972, in a surprise performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Playing the mandolin, left, is Uncle Dudley, while Uncle Paul waits poised with his fiddle and Roy and his father, Hester, right, work on their guitars.

Roy Clark, second from right, and family make their strings sing Dec. 10, 1972, in a surprise performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Playing the mandolin, left, is Uncle Dudley, while Uncle Paul waits poised with his fiddle and Roy and his father, Hester, right, work on their guitars. Jerry Bailey / The Tennessean

Roy Clark shows off his talents for the audience at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Clark went on to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award.

Roy Clark shows off his talents for the audience at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Clark went on to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award. Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark shows off his talents for the audience at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Clark went on to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award.

Roy Clark shows off his talents for the audience at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Clark went on to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award. Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, receives congratulations from presenter Eddy Arnold after winning the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973.

Roy Clark, right, receives congratulations from presenter Eddy Arnold after winning the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, accepts the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Looking on is presenter Eddy Arnold.

Roy Clark, right, accepts the coveted Entertainer of the Year award at the seventh annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 15, 1973. Looking on is presenter Eddy Arnold. Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974.

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974.

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974.

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974.

Roy Clark, right, and Buck Trent perform at the Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament sponsors party at Opryland on Oct. 10, 1974. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Country music entertainer Roy Clark, center, is all smiles as he signs autographs for fans during a break at the 10th annual Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament on Oct. 12, 1974.

Country music entertainer Roy Clark, center, is all smiles as he signs autographs for fans during a break at the 10th annual Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament on Oct. 12, 1974. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs at the new Grand Ole Opry House during the eighth annual CMA Awards show Oct. 14, 1974.

Roy Clark performs at the new Grand Ole Opry House during the eighth annual CMA Awards show Oct. 14, 1974. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, and Jerry Lewis perform for a few laughs during the "Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition" for the benefit of muscular dystrophy patients at the near-capacity Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975.

Roy Clark, left, and Jerry Lewis perform for a few laughs during the “Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition” for the benefit of muscular dystrophy patients at the near-capacity Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs during the "Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition" benefit show at the Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975. The event was sponsored by McDonald's and the Nashville-Middle Tennessee Home Builders Association and produced by WLAC-TV.

Roy Clark performs during the “Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition” benefit show at the Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975. The event was sponsored by McDonald’s and the Nashville-Middle Tennessee Home Builders Association and produced by WLAC-TV. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs during the "Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition" benefit show at the Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975.

Roy Clark performs during the “Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition” benefit show at the Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs during the "Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition" benefit show at the Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975.

Roy Clark performs during the “Lewis and Clark Entertainment Expedition” benefit show at the Municipal Auditorium on June 24, 1975. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Roy Clark shows off his fiddle skills during the taping of "The Grand Ole Opry at 50, A Nashville Celebration" for a nationally televised special at the Opry House on Oct. 23, 1975.

Roy Clark shows off his fiddle skills during the taping of “The Grand Ole Opry at 50, A Nashville Celebration” for a nationally televised special at the Opry House on Oct. 23, 1975. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs during the taping of "The Grand Ole Opry at 50, A Nashville Celebration" for a nationally televised special at the Opry House on Oct. 23, 1975.

Roy Clark performs during the taping of “The Grand Ole Opry at 50, A Nashville Celebration” for a nationally televised special at the Opry House on Oct. 23, 1975. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Roy Clark finishes a song during the taping of "The Grand Ole Opry at 50, A Nashville Celebration" for a nationally televised special at the Opry House on Oct. 23, 1975.

Roy Clark finishes a song during the taping of “The Grand Ole Opry at 50, A Nashville Celebration” for a nationally televised special at the Opry House on Oct. 23, 1975. Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean

Co-host Roy Clark, who earlier won the Instrumental Group of the Year award with Buck Trent, performs during the CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 11, 1976.

Co-host Roy Clark, who earlier won the Instrumental Group of the Year award with Buck Trent, performs during the CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 11, 1976. Gerald Holly / The Tennessean

Co-hosts Johnny Cash, left, and Roy Clark say goodnight at the end of the CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 11, 1976.

Co-hosts Johnny Cash, left, and Roy Clark say goodnight at the end of the CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 11, 1976. Gerald Holly / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, Mack Smith, Gordie Tapp, Diane Sherill and Buck McPherson share a moment at the fundraising show and dinner for the Citizens for the Metropolitan Council political committee at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on June 23, 1977.

Roy Clark, left, Mack Smith, Gordie Tapp, Diane Sherill and Buck McPherson share a moment at the fundraising show and dinner for the Citizens for the Metropolitan Council political committee at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds on June 23, 1977. Dale Ernsberger / The Tennessean

Ruth Buzzi, left, veteran of TV's original "Laugh-In," and host Roy Clark perform a rousing rendition of "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose" with apologies to Little Jimmy Dickens during a taping of "Hee Haw" on Oct. 4, 1977.

Ruth Buzzi, left, veteran of TV’s original “Laugh-In,” and host Roy Clark perform a rousing rendition of “May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose” with apologies to Little Jimmy Dickens during a taping of “Hee Haw” on Oct. 4, 1977. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Ruth Buzzi, left, veteran of TV's original "Laugh-In," and host Roy Clark perform a rousing rendition of "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose" during a taping of "Hee Haw" on Oct. 4, 1977.

Ruth Buzzi, left, veteran of TV’s original “Laugh-In,” and host Roy Clark perform a rousing rendition of “May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose” during a taping of “Hee Haw” on Oct. 4, 1977. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Ruth Buzzi, left, veteran of TV's original "Laugh-In," and host Roy Clark perform a rousing rendition of "May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose" during a taping of "Hee Haw" on Oct. 4, 1977.

Ruth Buzzi, left, veteran of TV’s original “Laugh-In,” and host Roy Clark perform a rousing rendition of “May the Bird of Paradise Fly up Your Nose” during a taping of “Hee Haw” on Oct. 4, 1977. Frank Empson / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, is joined by Larry Gatlin, left, Mac Davis, Danny Davis, Jerry Clower, June Carter and Chet Atkins for a performance during the 11th annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 10, 1977.

Roy Clark, right, is joined by Larry Gatlin, left, Mac Davis, Danny Davis, Jerry Clower, June Carter and Chet Atkins for a performance during the 11th annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry House on Oct. 10, 1977. Bill Welch / The Tennessean

Johnny Cash, left, and host Roy Clark enjoy a little lighthearted clowning on the Grand Ole Opry House stage during the afternoon's rehearsal for the three-hour NBC "Big Event" television special, "Fifty Years of Country Music," on Jan. 4, 1978.

Johnny Cash, left, and host Roy Clark enjoy a little lighthearted clowning on the Grand Ole Opry House stage during the afternoon’s rehearsal for the three-hour NBC “Big Event” television special, “Fifty Years of Country Music,” on Jan. 4, 1978. Robert Johnson / The Tennessean

Johnny Cash, left, and host Roy Clark enjoy a little lighthearted clowning on the Grand Ole Opry House stage during the afternoon's rehearsal for the three-hour NBC "Big Event" television special, "Fifty Years of Country Music," on Jan. 4, 1978.

Johnny Cash, left, and host Roy Clark enjoy a little lighthearted clowning on the Grand Ole Opry House stage during the afternoon’s rehearsal for the three-hour NBC “Big Event” television special, “Fifty Years of Country Music,” on Jan. 4, 1978. Robert Johnson / The Tennessean

The entire cast and special guests perform the opening number "You Are My Hee Haw" during the taping of the "Hee Haw Tenth Anniversary Special" on Sept. 28, 1978, at the Grand Ole Opry House.

The entire cast and special guests perform the opening number “You Are My Hee Haw” during the taping of the “Hee Haw Tenth Anniversary Special” on Sept. 28, 1978, at the Grand Ole Opry House. Gerald Holly / The Tennessean

Popular "Hee Haw" star Roy Clark repeats as the Instrumentalist of the Year winner during the 12th annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 9, 1978.

Popular “Hee Haw” star Roy Clark repeats as the Instrumentalist of the Year winner during the 12th annual CMA Awards show at the Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 9, 1978. Bill Welch / The Tennessean

Popular "Hee Haw" star Roy Clark, with a victory cigar, repeats as the Instrumentalist of the Year winner during the 12th annual CMA Awards show Oct. 9, 1978.

Popular “Hee Haw” star Roy Clark, with a victory cigar, repeats as the Instrumentalist of the Year winner during the 12th annual CMA Awards show Oct. 9, 1978. Bill Welch / The Tennessean

Ronnie Milsap, left, with presenter Roy Clark looking on, accepts his Album of the Year award during the 12th annual CMA Awards show Oct. 9, 1978. Milsap won the honor with "It Was Almost Like a Song."

Ronnie Milsap, left, with presenter Roy Clark looking on, accepts his Album of the Year award during the 12th annual CMA Awards show Oct. 9, 1978. Milsap won the honor with “It Was Almost Like a Song.” Bill Welch / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, and Woody Herman perform during a taping of the "Nashville Palace" show at Opryland on Sept. 16, 1981.

Roy Clark, right, and Woody Herman perform during a taping of the “Nashville Palace” show at Opryland on Sept. 16, 1981. Ricky Rogers / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, and Woody Herman perform during a taping of the "Nashville Palace" show at Opryland on Sept. 16, 1981.

Roy Clark, left, and Woody Herman perform during a taping of the “Nashville Palace” show at Opryland on Sept. 16, 1981. Ricky Rogers / The Tennessean

Former CMA Entertainers of the Year Mel Tillis, left, and Roy Clark talk about "Uphill All the Way," a feature comedy movie they are co-starring in, during a news conference at Jim Owens Entertainment on Oct. 5, 1984. They begin filming in Texas later this month.

Former CMA Entertainers of the Year Mel Tillis, left, and Roy Clark talk about “Uphill All the Way,” a feature comedy movie they are co-starring in, during a news conference at Jim Owens Entertainment on Oct. 5, 1984. They begin filming in Texas later this month. Dan Loftin / The Tennessean

William Banowsky, center, president of Dallas-based Gaylord Broadcasting Co., jokes with co-hosts Buck Owens, left, and Roy Clark during a visit June 18, 1985, to the Nashville set of "Hee Haw," which is produced by Gaylord Program Services, a subsidiary operation.

William Banowsky, center, president of Dallas-based Gaylord Broadcasting Co., jokes with co-hosts Buck Owens, left, and Roy Clark during a visit June 18, 1985, to the Nashville set of “Hee Haw,” which is produced by Gaylord Program Services, a subsidiary operation. Robert Johnson / The Tennessean

Hosts Barbara Eden and Roy Clark introduce the next act during the nationally televised sixth annual National Songwriter Awards show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Jan. 13, 1986.

Hosts Barbara Eden and Roy Clark introduce the next act during the nationally televised sixth annual National Songwriter Awards show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Jan. 13, 1986. Kathleen Smith / The Tennessean

Bob Hope, left, shares a joke with his friend Roy Clark during a reception and dinner in Clark's honor, "A Salute to Roy Clark," in the Plantation Ballroom of the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988.

Bob Hope, left, shares a joke with his friend Roy Clark during a reception and dinner in Clark’s honor, “A Salute to Roy Clark,” in the Plantation Ballroom of the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988. Mike DuBose / The Tennessean

Bob Hope, left, jokes with his friend Roy Clark during a reception and dinner in Clark's honor, "A Salute to Roy Clark," in the Plantation Ballroom of the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988.

Bob Hope, left, jokes with his friend Roy Clark during a reception and dinner in Clark’s honor, “A Salute to Roy Clark,” in the Plantation Ballroom of the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988. Mike DuBose / The Tennessean

Bob Hope, left,  jokes with his friend Roy Clark during a reception and dinner in Clark's honor, "A Salute to Roy Clark," at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988.

Bob Hope, left, jokes with his friend Roy Clark during a reception and dinner in Clark’s honor, “A Salute to Roy Clark,” at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988. Mike DuBose / The Tennessean

"Hee Haw" co-host Roy Clark, left, and Buck Owens laugh during a reception and dinner in Clark's honor, "A Salute to Roy Clark," at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988.

“Hee Haw” co-host Roy Clark, left, and Buck Owens laugh during a reception and dinner in Clark’s honor, “A Salute to Roy Clark,” at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988. Mike DuBose / The Tennessean

Minnie Pearl tells Roy Clark he's the finest entertainer she's ever seen during a reception and dinner in Clark's honor, "A Salute to Roy Clark," at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988. "You distract me with the wicked grin every time we play a show together," she said.

Minnie Pearl tells Roy Clark he’s the finest entertainer she’s ever seen during a reception and dinner in Clark’s honor, “A Salute to Roy Clark,” at the Sheraton Music City Hotel on Sept. 9, 1988. “You distract me with the wicked grin every time we play a show together,” she said. Mike DuBose / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, and Chet Atkins share a moment before a taping May 26, 1999, for the "Ryman Country Homecoming," a three-part special slated for TNN.

Roy Clark, left, and Chet Atkins share a moment before a taping May 26, 1999, for the “Ryman Country Homecoming,” a three-part special slated for TNN. P. Casey Daley / The Tennessean

Roy Clark accepts the Minnie Pearl humanitarian award during the TNN/Music City News Awards show June 14, 1999.

Roy Clark accepts the Minnie Pearl humanitarian award during the TNN/Music City News Awards show June 14, 1999. Delores Delvin / The Tennessean

The Country Music Association announces Feb. 4, 2009, that Roy Clark, left, Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy will become the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame. Clark will be inducted in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975" category.

The Country Music Association announces Feb. 4, 2009, that Roy Clark, left, Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy will become the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame. Clark will be inducted in the “Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975” category. Billy Kingsley / The Tennessean

Roy Clark and Barbara Mandrell share a moment on the red carpet during the Country Music Hall of Fame's Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009.

Roy Clark and Barbara Mandrell share a moment on the red carpet during the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009. Mandy Lunn / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, is inducted by Hall of Fame member Little Jimmy Dickens during the Country Music Hall of Fame's Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009.

Roy Clark, left, is inducted by Hall of Fame member Little Jimmy Dickens during the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009. Mandy Lunn / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, and Barbara Mandrell applaud Charlie McCoy during the Country Music Hall of Fame's Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009. All three were inducted at the ceremony.

Roy Clark, left, and Barbara Mandrell applaud Charlie McCoy during the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009. All three were inducted at the ceremony. Mandy Lunn / The Tennessean

Roy Clark sings "Yesterday, When I Was Young" during the Country Music Hall of Fame's Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009.

Roy Clark sings “Yesterday, When I Was Young” during the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Medallion Ceremony on May 17, 2009. Mandy Lunn / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs during the 85th birthday celebration of the Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 9, 2010.

Roy Clark performs during the 85th birthday celebration of the Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 9, 2010. Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, left, and Charlie McCoy perform a tribute to Jimmy Dean during the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony at the Hall of Fame on Oct. 24, 2010.

Roy Clark, left, and Charlie McCoy perform a tribute to Jimmy Dean during the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony at the Hall of Fame on Oct. 24, 2010. Sanford Myers / The Tennessean

Roy Clark performs during the 2011 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville on June 12, 2011.

Roy Clark performs during the 2011 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville on June 12, 2011. Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, performs with Buck Trent during the CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville on June 12, 2011.

Roy Clark, right, performs with Buck Trent during the CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville on June 12, 2011. Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean

Roy Clark, right, performs on the "Larry's Country Diner" TV show Feb. 4, 2013.

Roy Clark, right, performs on the “Larry’s Country Diner” TV show Feb. 4, 2013. John Partipilo / The Tennessean

Roy Clark gets applause from the audience of "Larry's Country Diner" during a taping session at NorthStar studios Feb. 4, 2013.

Roy Clark gets applause from the audience of “Larry’s Country Diner” during a taping session at NorthStar studios Feb. 4, 2013. John Partipilo / The Tennessean

Roy Clark laughs with the audience of "Larry's Country Diner" during a taping session at NorthStar studios Feb. 4, 2013.

Roy Clark laughs with the audience of “Larry’s Country Diner” during a taping session at NorthStar studios Feb. 4, 2013. John Partipilo / The Tennessean

Roy Clark arrives on the red carpet for the ACM Honors

Roy Clark arrives on the red carpet for the ACM Honors event at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 1, 2015. Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

Roy Clark gets a standing ovation after performing

Roy Clark gets a standing ovation after performing “Yesterday When I Was Young” during the ninth annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 1, 2015. Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

Roy Clark walks the red carpet during the Country Music

Roy Clark walks the red carpet during the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony on Oct. 16, 2016. Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform during the CMA Awards

Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform during the CMA Awards show Nov. 2, 2016. Larry McCormack / tennessean.com

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‘I saw people I really trusted turn into monsters…’ – Music Business Worldwide

Four years ago, Kiesza was on the verge of becoming one of the world’s biggest new pop artists.

That’s certainly what her New York label, Island Records, was telling her – and for good reason.

In April 2014, the Canadian singer/songwriter’s smash hit Hideaway climbed to No.1 on the UK Singles Chart.

In the months before this feat, it had won influential backing from BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, who made the then-independent track a staple of her on-air shows.

Hideaway went on to go multi-Platinum in Italy and Canada, Platinum in the UK and Germany, and Gold in the US – not to mention becoming one of Island’s rosiest commercial triumphs of 2014.

Written entirely by Kiesza with her producer, Rami Samir Afuni, the track has now been streamed more than 700m times across YouTube and Spotify alone.

Kiesza, often cited as a streaming-first case study by Spotify at the time, had the world at her feet; she was forward-thinking, self-writing, hitmaking artist with the global backing of a $6bn-a-year corporation in Universal Music Group.

But then, the wind changed.

Despite bursting out of the blocks with one of 2014’s smashes of the summer, and being backed as a priority global artist by a US major label, Kiesza’s commercial stock soon began to slip.

Her follow-up to Hideaway, Giant In My Heart, was released four months later in August 2014.

It became a UK No.4, but promotion and radio support, especially in the States, noticeably tapered off.

In October 2014, the album from which both tracks were taken – Sound Of A Woman – arrived, but it underperformed, coming in at No.40 in the UK and No.42 on the Billboard 200.

Something was going wrong.

Today, less than five years on, Kiesza is fresh out of her deal with Island Records, and fully independent. 
She is optimistic, too, having recently joined forces with Carl Hitchborn, founder of British independent label High Time Records, who is committing to the singer/songwriter like no-one has before.

Kiesza, then, finds herself in an unusual position.

She is full of positivity for the second phase of her career, but also free to tackle a difficult question – one which which major-signed acts typically never get to publicly answer: 
How did a bright new talent get so buried, so quickly, after contractually committing herself to the upper echelons of the music business?

The answer is a cautionary tale for any self-starting artist with a label contract in their hand – and/or any wisp of naivety about the hard-hearted expectations it may contain.

Initially, Kiesza created and released Hideaway – including its award-winning, one-shot video – entirely independently.

The record was signed to Lokal Legend, the indie label of her producer and collaborator, Rami Samir Afuni, who also happened to be an A&R at Island.

Once Annie Mac started backing the song, however, major labels started to circle.

A meeting was taken with Atlantic, but – at the behest of her producer and other team members, says Kiesza – “it was always going to be Island”.

“From that day forward, I didn’t hear another honest word from my label.”

A deal was struck in early 2014 with Island, then run by David Massey. It was agreed that Hideaway would remain quasi-independent until it reached No.1 in the UK, at which point the global Island machine would engage.

“We agreed a deal for a single EP and two albums,” says Kiesza today. “With Hideaway No.1 and blowing up everywhere, I was being told, ‘You’re going to be the biggest star in the world… you’re the next this, you’re the next that.’ That was exciting – as it would be for anybody.”

“But from that day forward,” she claims, “I didn’t hear another honest word from my label.”

The problem, according to Kiesza, was rooted in divergent ambitions: Island wanted “another Hideaway”, to prime the EDM-hungry pump of US radio; Kiesza, in contrast, wanted to lay the pathway to becoming a varied career artist – one able to shift across, and indulge in, multiple genres.

This ability to flit between different styles had previously served her well in writing rooms, and caught the attention of Stellar Songs/Sony/ATV – where she signed for publishing in late 2013.

But in Island, she says, she found a label whose focus on US pop radio left little space for anything that wasn’t “more of the same”.

“When things are successful in this business, people start to change – they start to grab.”

“Hideaway was like a unicorn – it wasn’t a normal situation,” she tells MBW.

“When things are successful in this business, people start to change – they start to grab, and they show their true colors. And when something goes as quick as Hideaway, they can change in an instant.

“I saw people I really trusted turn into these monsters – almost overnight. The whole experience was very stressful and frightening.”

This growing tension between artist and label was made worse, says Kiesza, by a management company which was keen for her to plough a Hideaway-like dance-pop furrow.

When Kiesza presented follow-up single Giant In My Heart to her team, she observes, “everyone got terrified”.

“Because Hideaway was still going so fast, the label was like, ‘It needs to go straight to radio [in the US],’ instead of building it organically and allowing some time for the sound to crossover,” she says.

“I knew it was too soon to go that hard that quickly on radio, and different states would need time to adjust to a house song.

“[Giant In My Heart] researched poorly despite Shazaming at No.1, and they stopped plugging it, almost as soon as it began.”

At this point, Kiesza started to suspect people within her label were deliberately passing responsibility for her campaign – particularly, making money available for videos – to one another, leading to a sense that nobody could sign off on the backing she required.

“everyone at the label took the glory for its success.”

“They all freaked out because it wasn’t Hideaway,” she says. “I told them it was going to take longer, because we’d started to notice that it was gradually becoming a super-fan favorite; many of my fans connected with Giant in My Heart on a deeper and more personal level than Hideaway.

“But the label insisted on the exact same strategy for Hideaway, repeated – even though we told them it wouldn’t work. We knew the only way it was going to [break] was with time, to let people organically live with it. And when the song didn’t build as fast as Hideaway they just panicked and did nothing.”

Kiesza says she and her choreographer, Ljuba Castot, began independently promoting the track at club nights in the UK and New York, attaching it to pop-up performances of Hideaway – a move she believes was instrumental in its Top 5 UK performance.

“After hitting No.4 in the UK,” she says, “everyone at the label took the glory for its success.”

She adds: 
”I haven’t met anyone in the music industry who isn’t the nicest person I’ve ever met. They hug you, embrace you, and talk about all these plans.

“Then you leave their office… and then they send you a text or email telling you why what you asked for can’t happen. Or they just pretend like it was never even discussed.”

Things went from bad to worse when Kiesza pressed for the label to promote Sound Of A Woman, a strings-led dramatic ballad, as her third single.

“They didn’t want to create any kind of new strategy, least of all for a ballad,” she says. “Behind my back, they remixed it, and didn’t send me the remix. They put a drum and bass beat behind it. I found out at the last minute and I couldn’t believe that they did that without my knowledge.”

She adds: “They took my art and they changed it without my agreement! And then they got really mad with me when I told them no.”

Sound Of A Woman was eventually released, with muted support, as Kiesza’s fourth single on May 2015 – over a year after Hideaway had taken charts and dancefloors by storm.

“one day, when I was in the studio, I got a text which said: ‘I don’t think your vision for you is in alignment with ours.’”

The artist was in despair. She was beginning to feel her career slipping away from her – and had twigged that her record company now viewed her as a problem signing.

The lowest point came in the months following Sound Of A Woman’s release.

She claims: “[Island] weren’t backing any of my music – by this stage, they wouldn’t even send out the simplest thing as a marketing email. I was funding my own videos – but I knew I was stuck with them.”

She adds: “I was working with a new product manager, because [Island] blamed my old product manager and A&R for why things weren’t working. And one day, when I was in the studio, I got a text which said: ‘I don’t think your vision for you is in alignment with ours.’

“I was crushed.”

‘I don’t think your vision for you is in alignment with ours.’

There’s no getting around the fact this is a pretty manipulative thing for someone to say to a young woman who, by nature of her career, holds a microscope up to her self-image more than your average Jane.

Yet, to her credit, Kiesza continues to see the argument from both sides.

“None of these people were bad people – I think they were completely ruled by fear when things were new or uncertain.

“It was the same for the label, my management and on tour: you start getting treated like a porcelain doll, or a baby. People don’t want you to get upset, so they hide what’s going on from you.

“It’s very lonely and isolating when your entire social circle relies on you for income… You start getting treated like a porcelain doll, or a baby. People don’t want you to get upset, so they hide what’s going on from you.”

“It was really stressful, walking into rooms when there’d clearly been an argument going on – at which point it would fall silent. Once, on tour, I was even asked to leave a meeting which was about me. It’s so strange.

“I think it’s because, while everyone wants you to do what they want, they’re also kind of afraid of you – there’s this fear on every level.

“It’s very lonely and isolating when your entire social circle relies on you for income. You’re travelling the world with these people, you sometimes spend 24 hours a day together, and yet on some level, they all remain strangers.”

Kiesza credits David Massey with introducing her to Stuart Price, who is now working with her on new material – including new single Phantom Of The Dancefloor, out August 10, which ambitiously mixes operatic trills, gothic meltdowns and a deep-wobble house chorus.

Massey’s recent departure from Island to Arista, says Kiesza, enabled her to break away from the Universal label; there was a ‘key man’ clause in her original deal which permitted her to go when Massey did.

Eventually, Kiesza also decided to leave her second management company, after growing tired of “calls going unanswered”.

“I wrote over 100 songs [at that time] but only had one of my own songs – that wasn’t a feature or collaboration – released,” she claims. “It went out without a proper plan, and in every business in the world, planning is everything.”

“No-one from the team called or touched base with me afterwards. It was unbelievable.”

After three-and-a-half years of working together, and having already presented a complete concept album, Kiesza terminated her agreement with Crush.

“I couldn’t get my manager on the phone, so I ended things through a text message,” she says. “No-one from the team called or touched base with me afterwards. It was unbelievable.”

She adds: “Essentially I waited three-and-a-half years for nothing. I think that was my biggest heartbreak in this industry: I put all my faith in them, and believed they had my back.”

Today, however, Kiesza has good reason to believe in the future – and a new, effusive champion in Carl Hitchborn.

As per High Time’s standard artist deals, Kiesza will now see her management, label, branding, sync and live activities all handled by a single global team.

“Kiesza’s experience is a clear example of how the traditional music industry is not really designed for artist development – it’s designed to focus on quick hits,” argues Hitchborn (pictured with Kiesza). “There is no consideration for the human element of a person’s career.”

“I believe she’ll be in arenas within three years and stadiums within five years.”

Hitchborn and Kiesza are now working on an initial “two-year plan” which, in the first instance, focuses on re-engaging her social channels with just a slice of the millions of people who have downloaded, streamed or pirated her music over the years.

Says Hitchborn: “I’m stunned at how great Kiesza’s new music is, and how she creates these amazing videos herself. I’ve not only met an incredible artist, I’ve met the most creative person I’ve ever known.”

He adds, without hesitation: “I believe she’ll be in arenas within three years and stadiums within five years.”

As for Kiesza’s past? She’s learned harsh lessons she says she’ll never forget.

“If I could go back in time, I never would have signed to a major label,” she comments.

“I can’t say there aren’t people being innovative and attempting to change the system from within – I have a friend running Columbia Records now [Ron Perry] who is changing things because he’s creative and from an independent background. But, in general, that whole system needs to evolve – especially because consumers today want so much, so often.”

“when you take an artist and you roadblock their creativity, you are destroying them.”

She adds: “When you’re Drake, you can do whatever you want: the big players are getting all the funding, and all the attention from everyone in the industry.

“But I worry about the other 99% – there are hundreds of those artists out there stuck in a system that isn’t fair and doesn’t listen to them.

“Here’s what often gets forgotten: when you take an artist and you roadblock their creativity, you are destroying them – in essence you are suffocating their soul.

“Creativity is very often the only way they know how to connect themselves to the world.”Music Business Worldwide

Kane Brown Reunites Military Families In Tear-Filled “Homesick” Video – Country Music Nation

For his brand new video, this popular country music artist showed one of the most bittersweet sides a military family often faces during their time serving the country: a long-awaited homecoming.

Kane Brown has been a vocal supporter of our nation’s military and often expressed his gratitude for servicemen and women. In this truly beautiful music video, he doubled-down on that promise with a vast collection of beautiful reunion videos and a dedication to the men and women of our armed forces.

Notre Dame basketball player surprised by military brother in emotional reunion | @FoxNewsInsiderhttps://t.co/31gBbZzd5Qpic.twitter.com/3eQcyRabkR

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) December 21, 2016

His video, for “Homesick” is one of the first for his forthcoming record Experiment which will debut later this fall in early November.

Submitted videos include never-before-seen heart-wrenching moments and even some that have gained national media attention.

Among the latter is a story about a Notre Dame basketball player who was surprised on-court by his brother’s return and they broke down in tears as he raced across the court to hug him.

Matt Farrell thought his brother was coming home from Afghanistan in February… he was wrong. pic.twitter.com/kp8GVik7Si

— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) December 20, 2016

As the roll of film clips play at various parts of the video, Brown is filmed in front of a helicopter in a hangar with a group of California Army National Guard members surrounding him and his band watching him sing this heartfelt new song.

YouTube/Kane Brown

Watch Kane Brown’s latest music video that was created as a tribute to our nation’s heroes below and share with us your thoughts and feelings below.