After two super-solid EP’s – one self-production and one produced in conjunction with Germany’s Silly Walks Discotheque – UK singer and songwriter Clay finally reaches a second chapter in his career with a debut album.
With Art & Soul Clay is back on his own again. Instead of working with multiple producers he worked alone in his home studio, where he wrote all 14 tracks and composed and produced 12 of these.
This is a heartfelt album from start to finish and the album title is something of an enigma. It should of course have been labeled Heart & Soul. Maybe a stereotypical title, but it fits this effort very well.
This is slick and polished contemporary reggae with grand harmonies and beautiful backing vocals. Clay is at his best when performing with a slightly more aggressive approach, as showcased on album opener Chat and Gwaan Bad or the sharp Espionage.
Criminal and Cyah Get Enough, which features Beenie Man, are other fine examples of fiercer style, whereas an acoustic ballad like I’ll Miss You is an example of a gentler touch.
An honest and heartfelt debut.
UK-based singer and songwriter Clay dropped his debut EP last year and was soon picked up by one of Germany’s premier production crews – Silly Walks Discotheque. Their first collaboration was Only Love on Silly Walks’ Clock Tower riddim and now they’ve dropped an EP together, a set that’s also produced in collaboration with Jr. Blender and Bigdreams Production.
Clay:List collects five tracks and collects a number of tasty relicks, for example a version of Bob Marley’s So Much Trouble and the classic Stars riddim.
Clay is an emotional singer with a deep feel for catchy melodies and infectious choruses, which was showcased already on his debut. And Clay:List continues in the same vein.
Clay – a producer and songwriter that has now also turned to singing – has just released his solid debut EP 1st Chapter, a seven track set with traces of nyabinghi, contemporary roots and R&B.
Clay is a classically trained pianist with drums as his second instrument and guitar his third. He has previously established himself as a powerful source in the music industry with productions for successful urban artists like dancehall superstar Sean Paul, rapper Chipmunk and R&B singer Starboy Nathan.
Born in Jamaica some 30 years ago he now lives in the UK. His debut set doesn’t sound like UK reggae in general. No dubstep, no aggressive bass lines and no bashment. 1st Chapter leans more towards sounds coming from Germany, France and Italy. It’s well-produced and slicka contemporary one drop, with especially well-crafted vocal arrangements and infectious choruses.
It’s easy to fall in love with parts of this set, particularly the melancholy and darkness that is expressed in the more conscious cuts. Haunting album opener Shadow After Dark sticks like glue, and so does evocative and up-tempo tracks like Exodus and Fire.
Clay has stepped out of the shadows and is now an artist in his own right showcasing his passionate and vibrating vocal style. He has so far only put out the first chapter in his story and I’m certainly keen to hear more.