Two years ago, as a college freshman, country singer-songwriter Liddy Clark began writing papers on the relationship between country music and the NRA. In one essay, she pondered what it might take for country music to take a stance that strayed from the “pro-Second Amendment, ‘don’t take my guns away’ type of stuff.”
“Everyone’s always been a little afraid to say something,” says Clark, who hopes to change that with her latest single, “Shot Down (Stand Up).” Clark, who grew up in Parkland, Florida — and graduated from a neighboring high school of Marjory Stoneman Douglas — wrote the song as a plea to help and a call to action for a generation of students plagued by gun violence. “But there have been so many tragedies that have happened that slowly, people are willing to talk about it and more willing to have their voice heard and take a stand.”
Clark originally wrote “Shot Down” after being invited to perform at a “Wear Orange” gun violence prevention concert in Parkland. “I don’t think the song is that controversial,” she says. “When I was writing the song, I wanted to make sure I had time to look at the topic from all sides. The song is about making sure people have a conversation and are open-minded.”
Last month, Clark released a video to accompany “Shot Down” that included an opening monologue about her inspiration: “If we can’t have a conversation where everybody doesn’t get mad and defensive,” she asks, “how are we ever going to fix this?”
Popular on Rolling Stone
That Clark, a 20-year-old singer who has received support from outlets like Radio Disney Country, has released a pop-country single about gun violence only speaks to the degree to which the issue has become a central concern for present-day students and children.
“It’s been great to reach a generation of kids who are into country music, but this is definitely a very different country song,” she says. “From a songwriting perspective, having that ‘we’ in the song was really important. It’s for everybody listening to the song. The whole point of the song was to think, ‘Maybe I should be a little more open to other people’s viewpoints.’ Or, ‘Maybe I should have a conversation with that relative who I don’t necessarily see eye to eye on this issue with. Maybe we could talk it through. Maybe my congressman would be willing to have a coffee and sit down and talk about this.’ There’s endless opportunity to make change in this world and this country.”