Gary Lee Clark Jr., a blues guitarist, was born on February 15, 1984, in Austin, Texas, to Sandy Clark and Gary Clark Sr., a car salesperson. Clark acquired his first guitar, an Ibanez RX20, for Christmas when he was 13 years old. He graduated from Austin High School in 2002 after reading music studies books from the Covington Middle School library.
Clark was cast as a young musician in the 2007 film Honey dripper, starring Danny Glover as the owner of a traditional blues club that is struggling financially and on the verge of closure until he hires a young guitarist who engages and attracts large audiences.
He signed with Warner Brothers Records in 2011 and released The Bright Lights EP. Clark was named Spin’s Magazine’s breakout artist for November 2011 and received the magazine’s “Golden Corndog Award” for performing at numerous major North American music festivals in 2012. Later that year, he released Blak and Blu.
Clark received global recognition in 2014 when he won “Best Traditional R&B Performance” for “Please Come Home” from his Warner Brothers Records debut album Blak and Blu. It reached number six on the Billboard 200 album chart and number one on the Blues Albums chart. In addition, the album Live peaked at number 26. In 2015, he released The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart.
Clark performed at the annual Paléo Rock Festival de Nyon in Nyon, Switzerland, as part of JamBase’s celebration of African American Music Appreciation Month that year. He was also asked to appear on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
Clark had an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in 2016. Clark married model Nicole Trunfio from Australind, Australia, on April 17, 2016, at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, California. They have a son named Zion Rain and two daughters named Gia Leblane and Ella Wolf Clark.
Clark appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Howard Stern Show in 2019. He returned to Europe to play at Pigalle’s famed La Cigale in Paris, France. He appeared in Australia at The Forum Melbourne, Thebarton Theatre Adelaide, and Perth Concert Hall.
Clark received “Best Rock Song” and “Best Rock Performance” at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards for his song “This Land.” In addition, the song was nominated for “Best Music Video” and chosen for “Best Contemporary Blues Album.”
The album peaked at number six on the Billboard Top 200. Clark’s television appearances for 2020 included “Good Morning America,” “The CBS Morning Show,” and “The Today Show,” in addition to composing award-winning scores. Clark will perform at the grand opening of The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2021. At the theater, he performed three songs: “Bright Lights,” “Travis County,” and “Nextdoor Neighbor Blues.”