Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Terri Clark, “Now That I Found You”

“Now That I Found You”

Terri Clark

Written by Paul Begaud, Vanessa Corish, and J.D. Martin

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

July 17, 1998

A Canadian superstar tops the U.S. chart for the first time.

The Road to No. 1

Born in Montreal, Quebec and raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Terri Clark is the third generation of a musical family.  Her grandparents were country musicians and her mother was popular on the Canadian folk scene.  Clark gravitated toward country music at an early age.  Inspired by the new traditionalist sounds of the Judds and Reba McEntire, Clark moved to Nashville after graduating high school.  Soon, she was a popular draw in downtown Nashville, becoming a regular at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  She found an early champion in Keith Steagall, and when he became an executive at Mercury Records, he signed her to the label.

Initially pitched as the first female hat act, Clark’s success was immediate.  Her self-titled debut album produced the top five hits “Better Things to Do” and “When Boy Meets Girl,” as well as the top ten hit “If I Were You.”  The album went platinum, as did its follow-up, Just the Same.  That set featured her signature cover of Linda Ronstadt’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me,” which went top five, as well as the top ten hit “Emotional Girl.”

Her third album, How I Feel, demonstrated tremendous artistic growth, and the first two singles from the project became her first No. 1 hits in America.

The No. 1

Terri Clark does rave ups so damn well that it’s easy to forget that she’s also an extraordinary balladeer.

“Now That I Found You” has a line in the chorus that instructs her entire performance: “You hold me like a prayer.”  She holds the lyric the same way, delivering it with a quiet tenderness that heightens its emotional impact.

This is such an intimate record, with every production and performance choice reinforcing that intimacy.  It’s meant to be a private conversation between two lovers, and it feels so much like that it’s almost like the listener is eavesdropping, bearing witness to something that is really just between her and her partner.

How wonderful that her first stateside chart-topper was such a successful departure from her rockin’ cowgirl persona, revealing depths to her artistry that had only been hinted at before.

The Road From No. 1

Her next single will close out 1998 on the Billboard chart and spill over to 1999, the final year of this feature.

“Now That I Found You” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. Love this song so much! It’s surprising that Terri didn’t get her first number one in the States until her third album, but I’m sure glad it was with this one. I have so many favorite songs from the Summer of 1998, but this may be my very favorite one of them all. It just brings on so much nostalgia from that time period for me from the first note of the opening guitar, and it feels like I’m instantly back in that time each time I hear it. :)

    While I enjoy her first two albums and the concept of her being a female neo-traditional hat act in the mid 90’s, I also love her more mature and contemporary music from the late 90’s and early 00’s. This song alone was quite a departure from her typical style, and I noticed that from the first time I saw the video on GAC. There’s definitely an R&B feel going on here, especially with the beat and opening guitar. And I just love how smooth and classy this entire production is! Keith Stegall proves here that not only can he produce traditional country well (Alan Jackson, Terri’s previous work)) but he’s also a master at more contemporary styles. Even the beautiful sounding steel guitar by Dan Dugmore throughout adds to its smooth contemporary feel and is such a nice touch.

    And as you’ve already mentioned, Terri’s tender performance is flawless on this track and it’s so soothing, even. I love her singing throughout the entire record, but I especially always liked how she sounded on the low key verses. I have to admit, hearing her beaming with joy as she sings “I see the heavens open…” in the chorus also still puts a smile on my face. :) It’s just very refreshing to hear such a tender, vulnerable, and soul baring performance from her compared to the more tough/and or lighthearted side of her on her more well known uptempo material.

    Lyrically, this is another one of my personal favorite love songs of the 90’s, because it’s another one in which the narrator is “saved” by love and has finally found the right partner. I especially always liked how the theme/sentiment of “You see the real me” is featured twice: First in the opening verse, and then later in the bridge. And I especially love how the bridge ends with “You believe in me.” That comfort of finding a partner who sees and loves her for who she really is and believes in her makes the song even more meaningful, and that feeling is also reflected very well in Terri’s performance.

    This video for “Now That I Found You” couldn’t have been more perfect, either. The opening shot of Terri and her partner pulling up to the lodge sets the mood very well. However, it’s the shots from inside the lodge that I love the most with the dark, romantic atmosphere and the green tint featured throughout with really matches the song’s dark and low key feel very well. I also love the shot of Terri in her black cowboy hat and duster as she sings “I see the heavens open…” in the first verse with the beautiful looking sky and mountains in the background. Even the playful interactions between her and the actor playing her partner are charming. I guess this video has just always really stuck with me, because I still love it especially if this song happens to come on my iPod when the sun is setting and the day is getting darker, just like how it’s at sunset in this video. Even better, is if we happen to be staying at a hotel, which has actually happened more than once! Hats off to whoever chose the beautiful location and time of day to shoot this video!

    As I mentioned, earlier this song instantly reminds me of the Summer of 1998, which was such a great, fun time for me with the all the great movies we saw, the vacations we took, us getting a new car, and even the new Doom wads/mods I was downloading and discovering for the first time (especially Simpsons Doom, lol). The first time I heard “Now That I Found You” was when I first saw the video on GAC at the very tail end of my 6th grade year. I started hearing it much more after Summer vacation started.

    The first trip it reminds me of is when my dad, mom, and I went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania not long after I graduated from 6th grade and stayed there for two nights on the weekend. It was a rather short trip, but it was everything to me being around there for that long for the first time, and it’s a time I still look back very fondly on. It pretty much got the ball rolling for us going back to Pennsylvania more frequently from that point on. It was even the first time we met a dear friend of ours who worked at the QVC store in Rockvale Outlets, and we remained good friends until he, sadly, just recently passed away. “Now That I Found You” was playing one afternoon while Dad and I were in the car parked in the back side of the Rockvale building waiting for Mom to come out of the QVC. I even still remember my dad singing along to the chorus. :)

    The vacation “Now That I Found You” also reminds me the most of is when my step dad, mom, and I went to California later in the Summer of ’98 in late August. At that point, it was still getting tons of recurrent airplay, and I remember hearing it on several occasions as we drove around Orange County, which is where we stayed. It especially reminds me of when we heard it on a beautiful afternoon when we were on our way to my mom’s cousin’s house and going through their neighborhood. Speaking of the weather there, it was noticeably a lot cooler and less humid than what we were getting in Virginia, which was so refreshing! Besides the vacations to Maine and Pennsylvania, this is another one of the trips we took in the 90’s that still holds a very special place in my heart, especially since I was now 13, and I was old enough to fully appreciate and enjoy it. :) “Now That I Found You” has still been known to take me back to Orange County in 1998 when I hear it today.

    How I Feel is one of my personal favorite albums from Terri, and I love how it was stylistically a bit different from her previous two records, while still keeping a bit of that familiar traditional sound, as well. Some of my other favorites on it are “That’s How I Feel,” “This Ol’ Heart,” “Getting Even With The Blues,” “That’s Me Not Loving You,” and “Cure For The Common Heartache.” I especially adore the title track with its very relatable lyrics (for me, at least) and its California pop/rock feel and unique melody.

  2. I love this song, and this piece well articulates the reasons why. Between the melody, performance and production, it’s one of those records where all the pieces come together just right. And I have this feature to thank for reminding me just how good Terri Clark is. Ever since I read it I’ve been listening to the How I Feel album almost nonstop and it feels like seeing an old friend again.

  3. Terri Clark never truly received the accolades and recognition she deserved for a remarkably consistent career. She always played a more traditional second fiddle to what the other Canadian female artists was doing at this time. She is such a great artists and a compelling personality. I picked up two Terri Clark cds (2005’s “Life Goes On” and 2011’s “Roots and Wings” ) at a used record shop in Kingston, Ontario after seeing this post!

  4. Terri Clark never received the accolades or attention she deserved despite a consistent run of stellar performances like this one. She played second fiddle to the other Canadian female artist setting the charts on fire at the time. Like Ben, this feature compelled me to reconnect with Clark’s music. I recently picked up two of her later cd’s (“Life Goes On (20005) and “Roots and Wings (2011))at a used record shop in Kingston, Ontario. So good!

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