We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Clay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I honestly don’t think I could have done anything else. I find that pursuing beauty is often the most meaningful thing to pursue. There’s a notion that beauty comes from something beyond ones own thoughts and emotions, and I find that very compelling, as creating it is always a journey. So I find that journey meaningful, exciting.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love making music that moves an audience in a profound way: creating music that can overwhelm an audience, open new doors in their consciousness, challenge and delight them, but something that speaks to the depths of their souls. I hope people leave from a performance different from when they came in. I am probably most proud of not allowing my setbacks to crush me – keeping going. You will fail and not achieve everything you set out to. But I believe great art comes from teaching for what is just out of reach, and when you fail, keep reaching. Failure is an opportunity to learn more about yourself. And it’s never easy to fail, but neither is actual growth as an artist: it’s often true for me as an artist that the best thing for me to do is the most difficult thing I know I should be creating. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to face adversity with a sort of humility about where I am, without a resignation to stay there. It’s that continual teaching for more beauty, for a deeper communication with an audience. That keeps me coming back to pieces I’ve played, refining what I’m working on, and listening more intensely to the sounds I am creating and seeking to create. The soul has to be stirred, or the music is pointless. If the world is to know me, it’s to know that I’m a seeker: I stand on the edge of what I know and hope to be surprised. I hope to immerse myself in the mysteries of new manifestations of beauty that transcend my current experience. Music should be opening new doors in the minds of its creators and listeners, stirring up those fearful and neglected corners of the left and the right brain. My art is about connecting the seemingly disconnected, and finding transcendent beauty in those connections.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would probably take them to the museum district. There is so much to see at the Menil Collection, the Museum or Fine Arts, and those various museums. Also, the Miller Outdoor Theater is a great place nearby to picnic, and get some fresh air. I would have taken them for a drink at the Black Labrador, and seen their giant chess set, but that is sadly closed. I think the Arboretum is a great place to go feel connected with nature, and go to “the woods” without leaving the city. The Waterwall is a must stop, as it is something one must experience to understand what it’s all about. I enjoy things like that that feel larger than you, and sort of make all the problems you toss around in your head feel small. Rice Village is also quite fun. Of course, with my son, I might spend a lot of time at parks too, or just at home, just having deep conversations, listening to music, or discussing film/psychology/ideas. I could do that for hours/days.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Many many people deserve credit in getting me where I am. Certainly my parents, as they always encouraged me to pursue my passion for music, to think creatively, and express my thoughts and emotions in meaningful ways. I’ll also dedicate this to my brother, my loving wife, and the many folks who formed me, Mr. Paul Jurick, who taught me to think critically and encouraged me to grow as a musician, Ms. Darlene Pate taught me piano in my formative years, Dr. Dean Shank who took me into his studio a year before I went to college, and always spoke to me like an intelligent musician, when he was clearly a genius, Dr. Ed Gates, who truly freed me to play piano, and my grandparents who gave constantly and lovingly, including moving their upright piano to my parents’ home, where I began lessons with my mom. It goes without saying that my parents probably deserve the biggest credit in allowing me to get to where I am today. More recently, I am thankful for my son, who stops me in my tracks and teaches me to love better and be a better person, which makes one a better artist.
Photos by Michael Stratigakis, and Pin Lim.