Callista Clark ‘Real To Me: The Way I Feel’ – Debut Album Review

Callista Clark’s debut album, Real To Me: The Way I Feel is out now, October 14th on all streaming platforms. Take a listen and read our full review below.

Callista Clark may only be nineteen years old, but she’s wise beyond her years. With an evocative and soulful voice, the Big Machine Recording artist is both a talented singer and a gifted songwriter. Produced by Nathan Chapman, Clark’s debut album, Real to Me: The Way I Feel, features ten songs co-written by the talented teen alongside some of Nashville’s biggest names. Songwriters featured here include Chris DeStefano, Liz Rose, Sarah Buxton, Jimmy Robbins, and many more.

On her debut album, Real to Me: The Way I Feel, the follow-up to 2021’s Real To Me EP, Clark does what very few female artists can. She bends genres, telling tales of heartbreak and growing up in a way that’s endlessly powerful yet relatable. 

On the ten-track collection, heartbreak is a prevalent theme, showing that despite her young age, Clark has experienced many of life’s most poignant moments. The Georgia native weaves her way through love lost on songs like “Gave It Back Broken,” “Don’t Need It Anymore,” and “Heartbreak Song,” while she’s feeling more empowered on tracks like “It’s Cause I Am,” “Brave Girl,” and “Sad.”

The album opens with “It’s Cause I Am,” a jazzy and soulful track that finds her channeling her inner Joss Stone as she asserts her own positive attributes over a guy who can’t deal with a complex and strong-willed woman. On this empowering anthem for every woman, she knows who she is and what she’s worth and if the guy can’t handle it, that’s his loss.

“I can’t help that I’m one of a kind // I’m more than meets the eye // If I ain’t what you like // Well, that’s alright // You want a one-dimensional woman // It’s okay, I understand If I seem too complicated for ya, mm // It’s ’cause I am // Don’t beat yourself up about it baby // It’s ’cause I am // Don’t beat yourself up about it baby.”

Likewise, “Change My Mind” is a twangy declaration of what a man has got to do in a relationship with her, while “Brave Girl” is a piano-driven letter of encouragement to her younger self, punctuated by ethereal background vocals.

Much of the album finds Clark dealing with heartbreak, including on the stunning “Gave It Back Broken” and “Don’t Need It Anymore.” On both tracks, she is struggling with the loss of a relationship, and she’s not quite sure her heart will ever be the same. “I gave you my heart with no missing pieces ‘cause you promised me you would hold it, So don’t you feel bad that you gave it back broken?” She asks on the first track, while the second finds her wondering if her heart still works the way it should. “This heart’s useless, worthless ’cause it // Just doesn’t work like it did before // You stole the meaning it’s not beating // You can keep it I don’t need it anymore.”

Meanwhile, “Wish You Wouldn’t” has her leaning into her soulful side on the R&B-tinged track, while “Heartbreak Song” sounds like an old Chicks classic. “Worst Guy Ever” has her channeling her inner “If I Was a Boy,” as she muses that she’d be a terrible dude, while “Sad” finds her anything but.

‘Sad’ is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written,” reveals Clark in a statement. “It’s super lighthearted and perfect for summer. I wanted the lyrics of this song to be fun and sarcastic – the exact opposite of how I was feeling while going through a heartbreak. Manifesting not being sad.”

Finally, the album concludes with the moving “Real To Me,” a track that finds Clark validating her feelings and experiences, as she proclaims, “The way that I feel is real to me.”

“They say go be free but I’m too caged to fly // They say spread your wings but the wings don’t fit right // They say that it ain’t as bad as it seems // But the way that I feel is real to me, oh // Blue still feels blue // When you’re green on the vine // Real tears in your eyes // And rain, it’s still rain // Even if you haven’t felt it a thousand times.”

While Callista Clark may be young in years, she’s certainly wise in experience, as evidenced by her debut album. Like the Taylor Swifts, Miranda Lamberts, and Kelsea Ballerini’s before her, this album is sure to enrapture female fans of all ages.

Callista Clark – Real To Me: The Way I Feel Track List:

  1. “It’s ‘Cause I Am” | Callista Clark, Cameron Jaymes, Laura Veltz
  2. “Gave It Back Broken” | Callista Clark, Emily Shackelton
  3. “Change My Mind” | Callista Clark, Dan Isbell, Jonathan Singleton
  4. “Worst Guy Ever” | Callista Clark, Jordan Reynolds, Emily Weisband
  5. “Brave Girl” | Callista Clark, Ben Johnson, Emily Landis
  6. “Wish You Wouldn’t” | Callista Clark, Emily Falvey, Lalo Guzman
  7. “Heartbreak Song” | Callista Clark, Chris DeStefano, Liz Rose, Emily Shackelton
  8. “Don’t Need It Anymore” | Callista Clark, Cameron Jaymes, Melissa Peirce
  9. “Sad” | Callista Clark, Sarah Buxton, Jimmy Robbins
  10. “Real To Me” | Callista Clark, Casey Robert Brown, Laura Veltz

Country Swag Picks:

  1. Gave It Back Broken
  2. Heartbreak Song
  3. It’s ‘Cause I Am

Callista Clark’s brand new album, ‘Real To Me: The Way I Feel’ is out now.

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Real To Me: The Way I Feel is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.