Clifford is a singer-songwriter from the United States, whose prior hits include “Love Is Real” and “I’m So Bored.” Clifford has proven he can manage a variety of genres, including acoustic pop rock and dark trip-hop, by building his style with synths and carefree vocals. His willingness to explore and experiment with his sound is the only thing we can count on from him. And when he says something, he means it.
Today we had a chance to interview Clifford about his journey into the music industry and his freshly released song, “Close to Me”.
- How did you first get into music?
I began playing drums at 8, acoustic guitar at 11, first band at 13…and I’ve never stopped adding instruments since then. I’ve always had music in my life but it wasn’t until an unfortunate soccer accident where I tore my achilles heel that eventually lead me to music. I was laid up for 13 months, during which time I began a Twitch channel. Other than playing games I sang covers for people. Eventually I found all my followers tuning in for the music more than the gaming. I tried creating music while streaming but that was impossible for me. So I began solely making music…that was 3 years ago.
- What instruments can you play?
I play multiple guitars including acoustic, electric, steel guitar (slide), and bass. As for drumming: acoustic drum kit, darbuka, djembe, and riq. I also play piano, do vocals and I’m trying to learn cello.
- Where do you see your musical career in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself collaborating with other musicians and producing.
- Which instrument is your favourite to play?
Honestly, if it’s melodic, I’ll enjoy playing it.
- Which instrument is your least favourite to play?
ONLY because I’ve yet to get it right, bagpipes. Haha!
- What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?
My greatest strengths are my emotional nature, motivation to learn and tenacity.
- What would you say is your greatest weakness as an artist?
Over thinking! I know I’m not alone here when I say “stop and walk away before you ruin it!”
- Who is your favourite musician?
There are so many amazing artists that have created an explosion of music diversity in my head: The Temptations, Fairouz, Blind Willie Johnson, Aretha Franklin, Stromae, MIA, Drake, Kool & The Gang, Shakira, Jerome Brailey, xxxTentacion, David Bowie, Rihanna, Mozart, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, Eminem, Amr Diab, Beyonce, and Yo-Yo Ma and so many more.
- What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician?
Recently I’ve begun collaboration with a Grammy award winner.
- What interests or hobbies do you have outside of music?
Film, photography and fitness.
- What is your creative process when making music?
My creative process is full of multiple sprints. When I have ideas I work on them for short periods of time. The last stages of mixing/mastering is more like a marathon, or so it feels that way. Haha!
- Take me through how the song idea came about, the writing and production process.
I genre bend and each of my songs have a story to tell. I choose the genres most suited to tell that story. “Close to Me” is an electro-pop song where I used a fusion of pop and house music. The production experiments with dance beats, a light bass and deep kicks. It’s a whimsical, sweet song…a person making the best out of turmoil. With that in mind I chose the idea of dancing in a club and disappearing…house music seemed just right.
- Do you prefer to work alone or collaboratively?
Working alone thus far has helped me really hone in on who I am as an artist and that’s been great. But now I’m expanding by working with other artists. Without others you can only progress so far.
- What inspires you as an artist?
Maintaining a positive attitude and accepting that not everyone is going to like your music, and that’s okay.
- How do you nurture your own creativity?
Fitness. Sometimes I sing when I work out to strengthen my ability to sing. My workout regime includes boxing, rings, calisthenics, and jumprope.
- How do you think of your previous song comparing to this newly released?
Actually both “Close to Me” and “I’m So Bored” are similar in that they’re dance songs. Where they differ most are their individual genres. “Close to Me” is a House/Pop song, and “I’m So Bored” is really a homage to drum and bass music while incorporating a sort of tribute to Marc Bolan (T.Rex) via the vocals.