Clara Rose Keen, Texas Christian, didn’t grow up with dreams of being in the music industry despite being the daughter of musician, singer-songwriter and entertainer Robert Earl Keen.
After graduating from Texas Christian, she had planned to attend graduate school to pursue art history. But a stint shadowing Kate Richardson, a publicist at Richlynn Group in Nashville, Tennessee, inspired her to go into the music industry and changed the course of her career.
Clara began working for her dad, Robert Earl Keen, in the fall of 2017, and knew she needed to get a better feel for the industry and their business. She packed her bags and returned to Tennessee. “When I got to Nashville, I was blown away,” says Clara. “I fell in love with the work, the fast-paced nature and the dedication of nearly every individual working in the industry.”
Today, Clara is the Creative Director of Keen Productions located in Kerrville, Texas, where her main responsibility includes coming up with new and creative outreach projects outside of music production and performance.
Most recently, this has included the production and launch of her and father’s new project, Americana Podcast. Americana Podcast is the platform where Robert Earl Keen interviews other musicians involved in the music scene, discussing their discography, influences and thoughts about what Americana music is and where it’s going. The podcast launched on Tuesday, April 30, and garnered more than 3,000 downloads in 24 hours.
“My job has allowed me to meet a lot of really incredible and creative people as I am constantly on the lookout for new musicians that could be potential interviews for the podcast,” says Clara. “It’s those people and those experiences that push one to be on the cutting edge that really make my job incredible.”
The idea for Americana Podcast originated at a coffee table in November 2017. Clara had just told her dad that as someone who laid the groundwork for Americana music becoming an identified genre in the ‘90s, he should be the one facilitating the discussion around it with other musicians.
Clara’s dedication to making the Americana Podcast successful is evident in her preparation for each episode. She begins with scheduling artists via their publicists or managers, and then schedules the space where they will record. Clara then begins reading anywhere from 10-25 interviews that the artist has done previously to get a feel of what should be discussed in each episode. She creates a playlist of that artist’s discography with three songs from every record they have ever made, allowing her and her father to get an idea of how their production has changed over time.
Fast forward to a week before the interview and you can find Clara and her father creating 75 possible questions for the artist, enough to be able to maneuver through depending on how the interview progresses.
After the interview is recorded, Clara carefully makes cuts to the interview based on what the audience wants to hear, adds in music and then sends the final cuts to their sound engineer. After Clara’s detail-oriented work and with the help of her team, the episode is then ready for publishing.
With many different jobs and kinds of people, it can be intimidating to jump into an established industry, and Clara is no stranger to that. Everyone experiences days where they may feel they have nothing to contribute. But Clara quickly realized, thanks to her Tri Delta experience, that you have to be bold enough to know who you are.
“As an individual, you have to be brave to establish that you’re working hard and are dedicated to not only what you do but who you are,” says Clara. “I would not have learned this if it weren’t for my experiences in Tri Delta, and I am really fortunate to have Tri Delta as a part of my identity.”
Clara’s advice to others interested in a career in the music industry is to be all in. “This industry is very fast-paced and everyone is trying to get ahead. You don’t have to know what you want to do right away because there is always opportunity to figure out what part of the industry you want to be in, but you just need to recognize that you are a part of it.”
Read more about Tri Delta Stars in Entertainment in our latest digital issue.