Anthony John Clarke was born in Belfast on 18th October 1956. He started songwriting at the age of nine inspired by the sixties but it was only when he left Ireland and came to England that he pursued his passion for writing with any vigour. Lacking belief in his work he languished in the shadow of others for too long but the creator of "Irish Eyes" and the beautiful "Seven In Ireland" was destined to make a mark on the British contemporary music scene. Living in Liverpool and being managed superbly by Sheelagh McGovern for many years afforded Anthony John the opportunity of performing his songs far and wide. Seven tours of the East Coast of the USA ensured him a small but loyal following there which remains loyal to him to this day. Bookings at clubs up and down the UK and recent developments including the vocal collaboration with Elizabeth van de Waal increased his popularity and made him an established folk name.
There are very few places in the UK and Ireland that Anthony John has not played. His supporters are loyal and many, and the tributes he receives from his peers bear witness to the talent and hard work of one of the folk scene's nicest guys. He retains his reputation as one of the top songwriters on the scene and his hard work and dedication to his craft are a credit to him. For him, songwriting is indeed a craft.
"The songwriter has a responsibility. It's not enough to put a tune to some words or some words to a tune. The song is a vehicle for a notion that the writer has about something. If it wasn't, then the song would have no beginning, middle or end. It's not complicated. The notion is what starts the process and the completed song is the fruition. It invites others into the notion, the idea, the feeling, the celebration, the private moment. And if you can provide a laugh or two along the way it gets my vote."