Music should be perceived as a literal piece of art. Lyrics are like paintbrushes, and the way an artist approaches a record ultimately determines what type of painting will come out towards the end of the song..
Va-native, Clayt, created something like a Corey Barksdale painting with his lyrical strokes across the canvas of his new Honesty-assisted tune, "Ashtray". How convenient that this soulful new track comes at the heels of the anniversary of his latest EP, New Paint.
Clayt offered a few words as insight into his new release:
"I had already been wanting to touch on some things I never spoke on in my music and Dre gave me the perfect canvas. My Mom really did get robbed at gunpoint inside her home in Virginia on Christmas Eve 2014. She had e-mailed me since they took her cell phone, and ripped out the house phone from the wall. I just remember freezing in place at work, in disbelief after reading the message. I had already moved to Atlanta, so there was nothing I could really do about it. I called Dre and had him ride over since he lived down the street, and really had to talk to her using his cell phone just how I mentioned it in the second verse. Since he was right there holding us down, it feels good to have collaborated on a song with the message for us to all let whatever happened in the past go, and to move forward. Honesty really brought out the soulfulness with her vocals and it turned into something everybody can smoke to and reflect with."
To celebrate the anniversary of his latest collective, New Paint we had a brief conversation with the now ATL-resident and asked him to shed light on his works. See below for the full script:
Q: So today you debuted a new record. Talk about the inspiration behind your new drop..
A: I had been wanting to make a song I could just chill and reflect with, to share a story most people haven't heard yet, and when Dre sent me the beat I already knew this was going to be the one. I've had some crazy things go down the past few years that I've never actually put in music, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity to start. In the song I spoke on an incident a couple years ago when my Mother was robbed in her home at gunpoint on Christmas Eve, of all days. Once I heard what happened I actually called Andre to go see her so that I could talk to her on the phone, since they took hers. It was a really frustrating experience since I was all the way in Atlanta and she's back home in Newport News. I was just relieved that she wasn't harmed and decided to see it as more motivation to get her out of that area I grew up in. Expressing my feelings about it on the song has definitely been therapeutic and helped me see it as just another thing we've overcome.
Q: You frequently collab with the featured artist on this track, Honesty. What's the musical chemistry like between you two?
A: Our chemistry is great. It's really natural since we have a lot in common as far as our tastes in music and just how we see the world. Ever since I started working with Honesty at the beginning of the year, I could tell we could have some really dope collaborations. I've been featuring her on a lot of my new music and I've even been doing some writing and producing for her too. I'm excited to have her with me to push this resurging soul sound. I want to do a whole EP with her when the time is right.
Q: Let's step back a bit.. Your last project "New Paint" came in the form of an EP. You could have easily dropped an album or a mixtape being that you haven't released a body of work in a few years.. tell me a little about your blueprint with this project now that we've embarked on its 1-year anniversary?
A: Well New Paint was originally supposed to be a project of songs that didn't make the cut for an album I was working on. It turned out to actually be more than just a layover proejct once I put it together and it's gotten the best reception out of anything I've dropped before. For me it really just represented a new start in life since I had just moved to Atlanta from Newport News, and just that spirit of wanting to create more and more. I felt like I was bringing a new sound to the table compared to the music I was making before so the title and the concept all just fit my life at the time.
Q: Do you feel that it's been received in the way that you originally desired or do you have any further plans for it?
A: No not at all. I feel like it definitely still deserves to be heard by more ears. People have to be given the opportunity to listen though, so that's where I'm at with it now. I'm planning to continue to promote the EP since I think it's timeless music, and to keep growing the New Paint Initiative page, an Instagram I created @new.paint_ to showcase work from various artists. Hopefully as the page grows and I continue to spread the music, then I can start partnering with event planners and art foundations to really give back to different communities, especially back home in VA.
Q: You've been very consistent with releasing new material with this now being your second drop within weeks.. are you planning something leading into the new year?
A: My plan is to really just keep consistently dropping new music and keep growing my fanbase. I feel like at this point I'm just in a space where I don't see working on another project as something I necessarily need to do. I'm at a point in my life, and just my development as an artist where I'm ready to just experiment and explore and just have fun with what I'm doing. I feel like I see too many artists getting pressured into doing things they think they have to do to in order be relevant to a certain crowd. I'm just going to keep creating and sharing and see where it leads for now.
Q: What are you looking for fans to grasp from the new material you've released?
A: For the people who've been following me and for the new listeners, I'd like them to just see that I've become a versatile artist, that can speak on real situations and still be entertaining, without copying somebody else's formula. I think I've really separated myself as far as having my own sound and the type of songs I can make. I feel like people are going to be very surprised with some of the songs they hear from me next year. This is just the introduction.
Q: Any last words?
A: Everybody should definitely check out the "New Paint" EP if they haven't already had the chance and stay tuned for more new releases. I'm doing a contest right now as well to win some free art. If you go to the instagram @new.paint_ you'll see the post with instructions on how you can win. Keep creating and supporting the arts.
Listen below to Clayt's new offering, "Ashtray," featuring Honesty, produced by Andre Joyner. If you haven't had the opportunity to hear his EP, "New Paint," Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/cl8thegr8/sets/new-paint