American born pianist, singer, arranger and professional performer since 1980. Currently based in Japan since the 1990s and performing at such upscale venues as the Ritz Carlton in Osaka as well as hotels and dining establishments in Kobe, Japan. Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I’m working on using this page to provide information and an independent outlet for my music.
Born in Brooklyn, New York,
Although recordings of his unique voice and arrangement style have just begun to surface with the 2002 release of his first album, “Perfect Love,” Walter Clark has been on the music scene, performing for audiences around the world for over 30 years. He has become a fixture at such upscale hotels as The Ritz Carlton in Osaka Japan. With a repertoire of over 500 songs spanning multiple genres and decades he has been able to excite and satisfy listeners of varied backgrounds and maintain a career exclusively as a full-time performing artist since 1980.
Unique and non-traditional in his approach to harmony and arrangement Clark's music has also been described as healing and soothing.
Sometimes called “the singer with the bedroom voice,” he covers music that has a positive message timelessness and staying power.
Through a wide variety of musical genres and original arrangements Walter imbues every performance with a jazz ambiance delivering relaxing renditions of ballads and love songs.
"My latest CD Night And Day, has an emphasis on love songs. Its a collection of recordings made from 2001-2020, some from old CDs and vintage live recordings, others are more recent, since my rebuilding and relocation of the studio. Although my preference is to make the emotional quality of music more important than technical aspects, I do my best to faithfully serve the original writers of the songs."
“Whatever the genre, my goal is to present music which is relaxing and uplifting.”
Music has always been an important part of my life. My earliest memory of the effect of music was sometime after my first year of age. It was a sunny afternoon in our apartment in New York and Nat King Cole came on the radio. I don't remember the exact song. All I remember was the dreamy look in my mother's eyes as the music washed through the room. The sun seemed to be brighter and the room seemed somehow warmer. It was truly a magical moment that gave me a sense of wonder and awe.
One day my family went into a piano store. I couldn't have been more than five years old. I remember the rows and rows of pianos of all shapes and sizes. Usually my parents were very strict with me when it came to my behavior inside stores but for some reason let me roam freely around the store. I decided to try my hand at playing one particular piano that had a chart, a color chart with corresponding notes for each color. What a pleasant surprise it was to find out that by playing in a certain sequence a song could come out. Later that evening they asked me if I would like to have a piano in the house. I was surprised and pleased at the prospect.
"Do you think you would like to play piano?"
"Yes, I would, I really would."
"You would have to take lessons and not give up."
I couldn't believe that they were giving me this chance and promised not to give up and to learn to play. The idea of practicing sounded like nothing but fun to me. I had no idea how much time and effort would be involved but I was encouraged by my first music teacher, an Italian named Mr. Spina who had a music store on Market street. After my first visit to him for his evaluation he sent a note back to my mother saying that I was talented and he would agree to teach me. I had no idea what the word, 'talent,' meant, only noting the pleased look in my mother's eyes when she read the note and feeling hopeful that we would be keeping the piano."
Clark studied classical music for 10 years in Philadelphia, under various neighborhood teachers as well as a brief stint at Settlement Music School in South Philadelphia.
beginning music study
Classical music influence
"Classical music was interesting, beautiful and challenging but music theory was stressed at Settlement. Theory bored me to tears and also revealed the fact that I had been learning mostly by ear. Instead of paying attention to the notes I would always listen to my teacher's preliminary demonstration of a new song and let that be my guide. I could read notes but I wasn't really deep into the process."
" I started losing interest while I was a Settlement. I was struggling at Central High, a complete departure from the colored schools in the neighborhood. High school was very demanding, and then taking the subway down to south Philly for music school as well as having tutors just to get me up to speed at Central started taking its toll."
Clark took a U turn in his studies in the late-sixties and decided to pursue more popular music, learning by ear tunes of some of his favorites popular artists from Motown as well as Ramsey Lewis and The Beatles.
" In high school I got a taste of being in a group, a four piece band. We called ourselves The Starlights and we did a bar mitzvah or two. It really felt good, playing with others. Later on in college my interest in jazz greats like McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. I dabbled in various R&B groups in Philadelphia but had all but given up on a musical career until a fateful meeting with John Lennon in the early 70's."
He attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where he formed The Last Musicians, an avante-garde group of poets, actors, and musicians who produced films, soundtracks, concerts, and appeared in radio programs for the university for two years. Walter found Philadelphia a difficult place to find steady work, especially since most of the music which he was writing at the time was what would probably be categorized today as “New Age Music.”
He had all but given up on a musical career until a fateful meeting with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the early 70's at the Drake Hotel in Philadelphia. After talking, drinks, and an impromptu jam session in the lounge John fervently urged him, “Don't give up on your music, man.” But it was a long road back, and he spent most of the 70's surviving by working various jobs: truck driver, taxi driver, construction worker, armed guard, and occasionally finding work on weekends with the local R&B bands.
The late 70's was a difficult time for me. I lived in some dark and dangerous places in North Philly. I would work as an armed guard or taxi driver and scan the want ads for music jobs, which were few and far between. I started singing in an unexpected way. It was at my sister's wedding. I wanted to attend but having been in the survival mode for most of the 70's, I barely had a suit to wear let alone a dime for a present. Someone suggested that I sing a song with the band. I sang, "Love Won't Let me Wait." After we settled on a key and began to perform I was surprised to notice a wave of emotion pass through the faces of the audience. When the song was over they went wild. I couldn't even understand why, but there seemed to be something there and they gave me a standing ovation.
"Sometime around 1978 I found an opening in a Philadelphia based band, and although it didn't lead to any full-time work, it yielded some surprising information. The leader spoke of a friend of his, a keyboard player who was working in the Washington D.C. area and making between $1000 and $1500 a week, and he was working full-time! The idea of being able to work full-time and make an above average living was very compelling. Even given the possibility that the wage he quoted was an exaggeration, it was still something worth looking into."
Walter eventually relocated to the Washington, D.C. area in 1979, and decided after the death of Lennon to put all of his energies into becoming a full time musician. “From the moment I made that decision, everything changed. Before that, I had been content to work various day jobs and gig at night, but now Lennon's words came back to haunt me. I realized that over 7 years had passed since the meeting and I still had not made a firm and complete commitment to my art, and had made no progress. It was time to make a choice. It was very scary to just up and quit my job, but little by little, positive things started happening to me.”