Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stevenson Clark challenges himself and succeeds in gospel music and radio

Stevenson Clark loves a challenge. He took the reigns of a fledgling Christian radio station in Southaven, Miss., retooled it to compete in the marketplace, and increased the ratings significantly after three months.
     “I proved that I could do what I’d never done before,” said Clark, the general manager and program director at AM 1240 WAVN Radio. “People didn’t believe that I could to it.”
     Clark was a neophyte in radio to some degree, but it didn’t take him long to adjust and learn everything that he needed to know about the business – including sales, administration and management. He even cut his teeth as an on-air personality from 3 p.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Stevenson Clark at AM 1240 WAVN Radio.
     “I had no idea that I would be where I am today,” said Clark, 47, who first started with a 30-minute, three-day show on WAVN until Dr. George S. Flinn Jr., the sta- tion’s owner, offered him the management position in 2009. He has been at WAVN for 8 years now, 5 1⁄2 in his current position.
     “I wear several hats,” Clark said, including those of a prolific songwriter, arranger and singer.
     Clark started singing when he was 2 years old and dropped his first CD in the marketplace when he was 5. “I still have a copy of the two songs,” he said, “‘I Believe There’s a Heaven Somewhere’ and ‘God is Able.’”
     In 8th, the spritely youngster started playing the piano. Also during that time, he directed and taught adults vocal lessons. He is the oldest of the Rev. Denville and Verdie Clark’s six children, who blended their voices as “The Clark Family.”
     Clark attended Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Miss., his hometown. He sang with the Hamilton High School Choir and, after graduating, received a scholarship to attend Ittawamba Junior College in Fulton, Miss.
     Clark didn’t finish Itawamba. He had other plans, opting to sing instead with the renowned Grammy Award-winning Mississippi Mass Choir, one of the most successful traditional gospel choirs in the music industry.
     “I sang my way through high school and college,” said Clark, who toured with the choir for five years. In 1993, he headed to Memphis and took jobs at Methodist Hospi- tal as a lab technician and at the Marriott Hotel as a server.
      “After I arrived in Memphis, I furthered my singing in churches. It’s my life and I decided I’d pursue it more,” said Clark, serving then as the minister of music for Mt. Ararat Baptist Church and the musical director for Pilgrim Baptist Church.
     Clark eventually recorded his first cd in Memphis entitled “All the Praise.” A promoter in Italy heard the CD, and the group, Stevenson Clark and Friends, would cut a swath across Italy from 1996 to 2009 spreading the gospel through their music.
     During his travels abroad, Clark was ascribed the moniker “The Little Prince of Gospel Music.” His second cd project, entitled “My God is Truly Blessing Me,” was recorded at Brown Missionary Baptist Church in 2000.
     Clark has sung with gospel artists such as the late Frank Williams, Leann Fayne, Vickie Winans, Evelyn Turrentin-Agee, Lee Williams, and most recently on the CD of one of Memphis’s most reknown quartets, “The Mighty Kings of Harmony,” singing “I’m Not Tired Yet” and “Touch Me Lord.”
     Broadcasting is now Clark’s portal through which his voice is heard. After assuming the duties as general manager and program director, he has pumped up WAVN to a level of respectability. The station is now ranked one of the Top 5 most-listened radio stations in the Memphis and the Mid-South area.
     “I love the challenge,” he said, adding, “I want to eventually own my own FM gospel station and reach the top in my singing career. I want to record songs that will bless people in life and keep traditional gospel music alive.” 

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