Earlier this year, I was introduced to New York-based artist Cautious Clay through a friendly suggestion that just happened to come at the perfect time. Similar to the legend his name plays off of, Cautious Clay entered with a forceful debut on last month's release "Cold War." The production is smooth, and his voice is relaxed but there's nothing about the track that sounds like the product of a rookie. It's apparent Cautious Clay already has a clear vision and knows exactly what lane he wants to create for himself.
Today, Cautious Clay follows up the impressive debut with yet another strong single—this time with some inspiration stemming from his real name, Joshua. On "Joshua Tree," Cautious Clay shies away from the difficult juggling act of simultaneously trying to give your all to someone you love and give your all into a dream you're striving for.
The 24-year-old singer is only just beginning, and leading off with a great head start. Cautious Clay is a name you'll want to keep on your radar.
Listen to "Joshua Tree", and get to know Cautious Clay better below.
First of all, can you introduce yourself?
Hey, I'm Cautious fka Josh.
How did the name Cautious Clay come about? Are you a big Ali fan or was it just a clever idea?
Yeah, that was honestly a coincidence because I’ve always been selective (.i.e. cautious) about my music choices and tastes so that initially inspired the name. Ali is also the GOAT so never a bad thing to be associated with.
"Cold War" is a really strong debut, how long have you been making music?
I've been writing and producing for about six years on and off. But played flute and saxophone growing up a bunch so that was a great foundation for my wiring.
This track kind of describes the fatigue brought on by dating in your 20s, what was the writing process like?
Anytime I was pissed or felt like all I had was myself, was when I could really get into my head about these woes of relationships. I usually write all the lyrics separately from the production and fit them together later because the production aspect and the writing aspect feel like two separate parts of my brain.
How would you personally describe your sound?
Cody Chestnutt's "Boylife in America" + Andre 3000’s The Love Below album = Cautious Clay
Explain the meaning behind "Joshua Tree," how did that song come together?
"I don't wanna be loved" in the chorus is how I feel trying to have personal goals in life while also loving someone; feels really hard to do both. I am Joshua so a "Joshua Tree" is like my growth in life so the song is exemplifying me.
I saw that you play a couple of instruments, how many do you play?
I can shred on flute and saxophone and I dabble in keys, bass, guitar, and drums.
You previously mentioned traveling to South Korea to produce music for Beasts and Natives' artist E-Sens, what was that like? Do you produce all of your music as well?
Yeah! Really crazy story behind that. I was basically over in Seoul for a week producing for E-sens and the XXX on songs for their EPs. We got about 4 songs done; one of which just came out on E's project last month and another with Kim Ximya of XXX, which just released over the weekend. I will be heading back to link back up with them soon, no doubt.
Are you performing your own music live yet? If so, how have those experiences been?
I haven't had any live shows with this project material but you can definitely expect it in early 2018.
What artists would you say inspire you the most?
On an individual level, I really dug SZA's last album, Billie Eilish has also been doing her thing. I am really inspired to see so many artists putting new and different subject matters out there giving people something to actually relate to other than just a "vibe." Which is important, I just think you need both elements to really be killing it for me.
What do you want people to take from your music?
I want people to be able to listen casually but also be able to really dig into the what I'm saying/creating sonically if they want. That’s the best of both worlds for me.
What plans do you have for the rest of 2017?
Working on a “Cold War” video. Also putting out one more song before the end of the year.