Following the release of her latest
single “Is It Me?” and EP 3AM earlier
this month and with her hit song “Blinding Lights” having already been streamed
more than 50,000 times on Spotify, there’s no doubt that Crystal Clayton is
certainly well on the way to making quite a name for herself. As she looks to a
bright future, ThisIsTheLatest caught
up with her to chat artistic inspirations, the power of social media and what,
many years from now, she’d most like to be remembered for.
TITL: Please introduce yourself in a few words.
Crystal Clayton: My name is
Crystal Clayton and I am an independent pop music recording artist/ songwriter
TITL: Has music always been the career goal for you or did you have
other ambitions before embarking on this journey?
CC: I’ve wanted to be a
singer since I was a kid. When I was young, I was constantly dancing and
singing around the house. I wanted to have a voice like Celine Dion. As I grew up, I started taking voice lessons
and performing in theaters and shows. I began writing songs when I was a
teenager and I was hooked. There has never been a plan B. I’ve always wanted a
career in music.
TITL: Which artists and bands are you most inspired and influenced by,
and what is it about the music they make that you like so much?
CC: I try to be unique and
true to myself, but there are several artists I’m very much influenced by. Growing up, like I said, I was obsessed with
Celine Dion and also Mariah Carey. I just loved powerful voices and I tried to
emulate that. Over recent years I have been heavily influenced by Rihanna, Lady
Gaga and Beyonce. Right now I’m listening to a lot of SZA and Banks! I think I
take bits and pieces of what I listen to and create my own version of the music
TITL: Is there one particular artist you might say you’re in any way
CC: I had a gentlemen with Music Is My Radar review my new project
and he said the most relatable artist he could think of would be Rihanna. But I
think this project is definitely more R&B/pop than some of my previous material
that has been much more strait forward pop. I really can’t pin-point one
specific artist that I’m like.
TITL: If you had to give one reason as to why you stand out among your
artistic counterparts, what would you say?
CC: What I love about the
music I create is that it is catchy and it is pop music, but I give the lyrics
life and authenticity. My lyrics are emotionally driven because I am a very
emotional person. I like to infuse my love of R&B with my love of pop
TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music
and song-writing? With that in mind, could you choose what you feel is the
greatest song ever written?
CC: Growing up my parents
had me listening to a lot of classic rock. I loved Boston, Led Zeppelin, Queen,
The Eagles… I believe hands down that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the best song
ever written. The range of emotions in intonation, vocally and instrumentally
is one of a kind. There is a lot of
current music that I often think to myself “I wish I had written that
song”. Rihanna’s 2016 album, ‘Anti’
is a masterpiece. I also really love
Kehlani’s new album ‘While We Wait’ as well as ‘CTRL’ by SZA. I like to think
that my musical taste is well rounded…I just love music. I’m influenced by
oldies and also current music.
I’m also very much influenced
by my own life experiences. I can easily look back on situations from my past
and draw from those experiences. Even if it’s been a while since the
relationship or event took place, my empathy and ability to feed on those emotions
helps me write.
TITL: What made you choose “Is It Me?” to be your lead
single? Is there a particular story behind the song?
CC: “Is It Me?” was
actually a very easy song for me to write. It’s about that excited feeling you
get when you believe in what you’re doing and you know that good things are in
the future. It’s just a feel good song with feel good vibes. I was able to
share that excitement with my producer and team and we just made a happy
I think I chose “Is It Me?” because it resonated well with a lot of
friends I shared it with. They liked the energy of the song and it’s also a bit
more pop than some of the other songs on this project.
TITL: This is also your first release since moving from Kansas City to
LA. Why did you decide that now was the right time to do so and how have you
found the transition?
CC: I was actually hoping
to put the project out before I left Kansas City, but things were not coming
together quickly enough, and I wanted to wait until after the holidays. I just
figured, this is a new beginning for me, so why not release a new project that
somewhat re-brands what I’ve done so far.
I found myself very
stagnant in the Kansas City music scene. I was born in LA and brought to the
Midwest when I was very young, and I had always dreamed of moving back out
here. I got to the point where it was like, ‘just take that risk! Just follow
that dream, what do you have to lose?’ The transition has been an adventure! I
still haven’t fully immersed myself into the LA music scene, but it’s coming
along. I’m still the new kid trying to get the hang of things around here.
TITL: “Is It Me?” features on your new EP 3AM which came out earlier this month.
For those who haven’t heard it yet, how would you sum it up?
CC: 3:AM has many different
layers to it. I think it’s an extension of myself, as a young woman, coming
into her own. There is a common element in a lot of my music that has this
sense of reaching towards aspirations, and big dreams that you can’t seem to let
go of. I think that some elements of 3:AM also have that. There’s the
confidence of ‘Is It Me?’, the sexiness of “Mine” and “Falter”, the heartbreak
of “3:AM”, and then there is “Pieces” that show’s my vulnerability. In that
song I’m really just saying, sometimes I’m not okay and really I’m just barely
keeping this all together, but I HAVE to keep going. I think that a lot of
people can relate to this project and that’s what I strive for.
TITL: Do you have a favourite track on the collection and if so, which
is it and why?
CC: It’s hard for me to
pick a favorite because each one is special to me in its own way. Each song
captures a different moment and experience. I think, for me, “3:AM” is one that
really resonates well. I think that song is my best work lyrically, and that a
lot of people can relate to it. We’ve all been in relationships that we know in
the back of our minds will not last, but we continue on because we’re in love.
TITL: Will you be/are you touring/performing in support of the EP and
if so, where can people come and see you?
CC: I haven’t started
planning a tour yet. I have been focusing on promotion of the project and performing
around my new city, LA. You can keep updated with performances and music by
following me on social media and my website; @criddleclayton and www.crystalclayton.com.
TITL: Given that your hit song “Blinding Lights” has so far
been streamed more than 60,000 times and your audience online is growing
considerably, how do you feel about social media? Do you think society and the
music industry is perhaps too reliant on the likes of Twitter and Facebook, or
do you believe such platforms are now vital tools, given the
technology-obsessed world we live in?
I’m really proud of how
well “Blinding Lights” has done. I think that social media and streaming helped
‘Blinding Lights’ get the attention that it has. I do believe as a society we
spend too much time on our phones and on social media. The internet completely
lost it when Instagram went down for a day a couple weeks ago. But, it is the
way of the future and it’s not going anywhere. I think as a business person – and
music is a business – it’s smart to find ways to use these tools to your
advantage and engage with people through social media. It’s such a huge market
and you can reach people you probably never could have before. It’s vital to a
music career in 2019.
TITL: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
CC: The rest of this year
I’m hoping to release some music videos, perform at some awesome shows here in
LA, release some more new music later this year, and hopefully do a small tour
TITL: Finally then, as you continue to make your mark on the industry,
looking many years down the line, what’s the one thing you’d like people to
remember or recall when they think about you and your music? What message or
legacy do you want to leave for the current and future generations?
CC: I just hope that people will remember authenticity from me. My music is vulnerable and real. I write music for myself, and what I like; and I hope that people can relate and resonate with it.