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Terri Clark hunts for commercial success and artistic freedom

Terri Clark's bus chugs toward Baltimore, the final leg of her exhaustive 2001 tour through her native Canada and cities across America. It's been a busy year, full of accolades and accomplishments - but she's not dwelling on the past. Her thoughts are clearly looking to 2002 as the pivotal point of her career.

"I think I'm still evolving as an artist," says Terri. "I want my next record to throw a fresh perspective on who I am as a songwriter and an artist, so this becomes a very important year for me."

And the year will hinge on her new, as-yet-untitled album, due this summer. Terri's coming off her critically lauded Fearless CD, which landed on many critics' year-end "best" lists. It also earned Terri the most prestigious Canadian Country Music Award: the Fans' Choice Award. And she took home the CCMA video honor for "No Fear," her album's opening track.

But at the same time, Terri admits that Fearless didn't exactly fly out of stores. "It was probably not the most commercial thing I've ever done," she concedes. "It did well, but didn't sell a million or anything like that. Still I'm proud of that album as a body of work - it's my favorite! I believe it's had a more positive effect on people than anything I've recorded."

Terri admits that bridging the gap between red-hot sales and critical praise is no easy task. "It's hard sometimes for it to work both ways," she says. "Artists often have to wait several years into their career before they can make the album that they really want, that has depth and substance and the sales."

Terri hopes her upcoming album will strike gold on both fronts. "With this new record, I just have to find that happy medium," she says evenly.

Read the entire story behind Terri's latest venture in the current Newsstand Issue!