Rock diva defends evolving music style, discusses collaboration with Ice Prince on 'Cheap happiness'

Clay is a female rock musician who has grown her craft in the scarcely favoured genre earning her a position of prestige among her peers.

She is part of a bunch of young Nigerian musicians who despite their amazing talents have remained in the trenches of spotlight - the show openers as opposed to being the main cast and that is due to the low enthusiasm when rock music is the subject.

Only recently has the music sphere opened up from its tight-lipped corner and strict preference for mainstream music to now accommodating the Rock & Alternative Music and Clay is looking to find her perfect spot in the circle - an appropriate reward for hard work done so far.

Her EP, "Roadless Travelled" dropped earlier in the year 2017, but the amount of buzz it generated has been meagre compared to the high excitement that used to greet her in the presence of fans who seem to feel left behind based on the singer's interest in exploring new sounds though still maintaining her brand as a rock artiste.

Clay explained to Pulse News in an October-held interview that the difference in her style is actually a progression. All she needs from fans who claim to enjoy her art is to keep up. Her intention when she released her EP was to have them access all her works in one pool.

Her performance at the 2017 edition of the rock music festival,  Rocktoberfest held at the Freedom Park, Lagos, was a reminder of why her audience fell in love with her in the first place.

She took a soulful stance like the British singer Adele, while performing one of her tracks at the musical event. It was a response to listeners who have doubted her focus, expecting her to adhere strictly to the sounds of a heavy guitar. According to this charmer, rock music is an evolving genre and requires constant creativity - an element that describes her identity as Clay.

"For my brand, I am actually an Alternative rock artiste. And under Alternative rock, there is so much. I do mostly Alternative rock music then I do Pop rock. Then I say Afro rock too because we are trying to fuse that in. But I am an Alternative rock artiste and under it there is a lot of branches.

"So if you are expecting to just hear heavy metal guitars in my songs always, no you will be missing it because I am an Alternative rock artiste," she told Pulse while defining her current brand.

Rock music like every other genre has been going through some changes while the musicians who patronize it make conscious efforts to popularize their craft. Clay who is part of an elite league of singers exploring the category wants fans she regards as "snubs" to understand this. Using American rock band, Linkin Parkas an example, the singer thinks loyal followers should continue in their support of their favourite stars no matter the style they have chosen to adopt on their respective projects. This act will truly be the basis of their followership.

"People hated their last album, Linkin Park because they thought it wasn't rock enough, but this is the direction they have decided to take and it is rock music for today. So if the snubs are expecting me to do what they want me to hear always, it is not gonna work because as an artiste I keep recreating myself.

"So today I might feel like this is what I want to do, this is how the music comes to me. So if you are a fan, you should find some ways to appreciate it."

Reacting to questions about her transition which has been getting raised brows due to her switch in style, Clay brought the attention to her name which she linked to the prowess of getting better - her adopted principle since becoming a musician.

Her assurances bordered on a commitment to constantly recreate herself in order to be appealing to all types of audience.

"I am Clay, this is who I am. I will give you good music but I will always be better and better. Like I will not remain on the same spot. If I am any different from last year or two years ago, it is because I have grown a bit. I have grown better somehow with my performances, with my music, with how I think, how I write," she retorted while reacting to the subject concerning fans who have questioned some of her recent inputs.

Her desire to continually serve her admirers with the best formed part of the motivation for a planned project expected to be released in November. The anticipated work is a video to one of the tracks listed on the "Roadless Travelled" EP. She however opted to keep her cards close to her chest when probed for a comment regarding her plans. A wild guess will likely be one of the most appreciated songs on the recent project, possibly 'Ochukwu' or 'Cheap happiness'

Collaboration with Ice Prince

'Cheap happiness' in particular has enjoyed a good amount of buzz, gaining the attention of Super Cool Cats rapper and former Chocolate City music executive, Ice Prince, who considered the jam good enough to drop some barz alongside Kayswitch in a remix also included in the EP. The collaboration was a surprise to her but it also points to the high quality that has characterized her music.

Though her peers may find getting prominence in the Rock & Alternative Music genre a difficulty, the ground has become a bit softer for Clay whose remarkable talent has seen her gain acceptance among mainstream artistes.

A few more collaborative efforts with known musicians and a fully equipped management team may fetch her a home among the leaders of Nigerian music in the coming year 2018.

When this happens, it would have been a hard and well fought battle and certainly one she deserves, having dedicated her soul to the growth of rock music in Nigeria. The days when Clay begins to enjoy monetary value for her drive might be near.

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