We were lucky enough to catch up with the formidable artist Clifford following the release of his superb single ‘Close To Me’. Enjoy the full interview now!
Hi Clifford, tell us about yourself?
Whenever I talk about myself, I feel like I’m preparing my CV, haha! I’m a US/UK citizen and multilingual through studies and travel in English, French, Arabic. Languages and music have always been second nature to me, and it’s understood they go hand in hand, so for me, I guess it’s true.
What is your songwriting process?
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 are more like marathons (or so they feel when I’m going through them, haha).
Tell us about your latest release, ‘Close To Me’?
It’s supposed to be a whimsical, sweet song…a person making the best out of turmoil. When the world is turned upside down and life’s complicated, awkward and bitter…we still need sweetness in our lives. The lyrics speak of the mind (figurative) and body (literal), “I can’t feel my legs no more, no more, I can’t feel my mind no more, no more…and that’s how it’s supposed to be.” But where the song lives is with the most important ingredient, the soul (heart).
Michael Jackson spoke of this when he said that the worst thing to do while dancing is to think. I believe the mind, body and soul are three energy releases that need to be satisfied within us to keep us stable.
Your music is available on Bandcamp but not on Spotify, was there a reason to stick to Bandcamp?
What I love about Bandcamp is it gives people a chance to listen to your music with a rich quality sound, as you intended it to be heard, and then offers them the option to purchase it as well. Today sustainability has become a huge issue within the music industry, and Bandcamp seems to be a really good option for artists right now.
You are based in Westminster, MD; what is the music scene like?
I’m about 45 minutes to Baltimore and a bit further to DC. The area I actually live in is somewhat rural, where country music is a favourite. That’s why sometimes I refer to my singing as having “twangs of rural Maryland”, haha!
The music scene here is influenced by a very diverse fanbase. The DC area is multi-national, and both DC and Baltimore provide opera/classical music, indie, hip-hop, R&B, Country, Go-Go music, and everything in between. This region brought us Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington, Chuck Brown, Ian MacKaye, Talking Heads, Dave Grohl and Wale, to mention just a few.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
My message, I hope, encourages progress, change, equity, inclusivity, and diversity. I try to write music that’s relatable regardless of who you are.
Who are your non-musical influences?
My parents, hands down. They saw my potential in music before I did.
‘Close To Me’ is an awesome electronic-pop song; what draws you to the genre?
Dancing! I think it’s pretty easy to tell from my previous songs like “3 AM”, “I’m So Bored”, and now “Close to Me” that I find dancing to be an incredible way to release energy. I don’t know what I’d of done the last couple of years without dance…not that I’m an expert, haha!
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
Sustainability, venues and sustainability!
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Find that spot within yourself where your mind and soul meet cuz that’s probably where your creativity lives.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
In a perfect scenario, I see myself working with many different artists and producers to enhance all of our collective creativity. Which I’ve been fortunate enough to have already begun doing. Wish me luck!
FVMusicBlog March 2022