by Jessica Nicholson
Darius Rucker recently collaborated with singer-songwriter Portia Clark on the song “Ready To Fall.”
Rucker met Clark backstage during a gala to raise funds for the Starkey Hearing Foundation in 2013. Clark had already written and recorded “So the World May Hear,” which became the organization’s themesong.
“I’ll never forget; he handed me a Corona like I was just ‘one of the guys.’ Half jokingly, I asked him if he would be willing to sing a song with me and to my surprise, just like that, Darius agreed,” Clark recalled in her official biography.
Rucker and Clark reconnected a few months later in Sydney, Australia, and in July 2018, Clark flew to Nashville to record “Ready To Fall” with Rucker. The song is part of Clark’s album Chapters of my Soul.
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The intensely personal project shares Clark’s story of rising above poverty and abuse. According to her biography, Clark was born Portia Thanjekwayo in Zambia, and is the daughter of a freedom fighter for ANC, the party for Nelson Mandela; her father was killed when Clark was a year old. She and her family lived in poverty, and Clark began singing in church around the age of eight.
When she was 17, she entered a relationship with a man who later proved to be both physically and emotionally abusive. She soon gave birth to a daughter and later took refuge in her mother’s home. At 19, she took a job bagging groceries at Shoprite Checkers. The company held a national singing competition called “Top Stars.” Clark entered the contest and rose through the competition rounds, ultimately being named Top Female Vocalist. She flew to Cape Town to perform in the 2011 Top Stars finals. Weeks later, while performing for a different engagement, she met Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Brendan Clark. He became her biggest musical champion, and they wed in 2017.