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Clark reaps the rewards of hard work

Over the past few years Stacy Clark has gone from a do-it-herselfer – writing her own songs, releasing her own records, booking her own tours and handling her own publicity – to landing a record deal, appearing on numerous television shows and touring internationally.

The Buffalo, N.Y.-born, California-based singer/songwriter attributes it all to honest and earnest hard work.

To finance her first album, “Apples and Oranges,” she worked full-time while moonlighting as a musician.

“I was working mainly in sales. I was selling paper to offices so I pretty much hated my life. But I paid off my debt and paid for the album,” Clark said during a telephone interview.

“You have to go through the bad to get to the good. And I worked every job under the sun. I worked in sales, as a waitress, a housecleaner, a nanny, a designer, a director of marketing, I worked in corporate and regular jobs – everything – just to keep the dream alive, which is hard to do when you’re trying to fund a tour and make music a career, especially in corporate, when you only get two weeks vacation. I used sick days and vacation to tour.

“But I believe without risk and taking that leap of faith, you’re not going to get the reward you want.”

Self-released in 2007, “Apples and Oranges” contained songs that were featured on MTV’s “The Hills” as well as series on CBS and ABC Family, and in hotels, movie theaters, restaurants and retail outlets such as Victoria’s Secret, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Nordstrom.

That led to a deal with Vanguard Records (Indigo Girls, Diane Schuur, Merle Haggard).

While “Apples and Oranges” centered on Clark’s migration from the Big Apple to Orange County, her 2010 follow-up, “Connect the Dots,” was informed by her new life on the West Coast.

“ ‘Apples and Oranges’ was fun and exciting pop. ‘Connect the Dots’ is about how different life is after you make the journey, and making sense of what’s in front of you,” Clark said.

“It’s honest and raw. It’s not overproduced. When everything is stripped away, hopefully, it comes down to the songs and lyrics.”

The new song “White Lies” made “Single of the Week” on iTunes with more than 420,000 downloads, beating out Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. The album has been nominated for four Orange County Music Awards.

Clark recently returned from a tour in Singapore, and is readying herself for more touring through 2011.

“I’ll be making a music video soon, touring more and traveling,” she said. “I still handle my own booking, so I feel like a travel agent. The work never stops.

“But it’s like they say, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.”