Soulful Clay announced as the latest winner of the Hunter’s X Jacquel Culture House (JCH) talent incubator
Written by HYPE Staff, Photos: Supplied
Clayton Damons, 23-year-old Capetonian artist, singer, songwriter and producer better known as Soulful Clay, is the latest winner of the Hunter’s X Jacquel Culture House (JCH) talent incubator. His success aired on the fourth episode of the MTV Base show on the 27th of September 2022 evening.
Coming from a musical home, Clayton has lived and breathed music his entire life and was always encouraged by his parents to pursue music on his terms. He picked up the guitar at 14, and has not looked back since. With a relatively successful three-year professional music career, he has already released multiple hit songs such as ‘Undeniable’ with Paxton Fielies and ‘I’m Fine’ with Gemma Fassie. Clayton embraced the Hunter’s X JCH platform to share his music with the nation and to receive some strategic career guidance.
“It honestly feels like the win I needed. Every creative reaches a point where we need some form of validation from an established musical figure and the broader public. I have always had confidence in my craft, but this win has cemented that I am on the right track. This opportunity comes when I need empowerment and knowledge to take my career to the next level. Also, business-wise TRESOR is a good source of intellect,” says Clayton.
His music narrates the human complexities the youth experience whilst hustling to fulfil their ambitions in a competitive space filled with temptation and distraction. The sound is a fusion of neo-soul, Afro-jazz and house beats into a layered electronic production of smooth jams. “My sound always has warm chords. The jazz influence from my parents, who took me to concerts of greats like Jimmy Dludlu, will always shine through. Drums are essential. The rhythm should be groovy and in the right pocket with the bass. We call that ‘meat and potatoes’,” says Clayton.
As a result, his style is also a fusion of the best traits of his favourite musical inspirations. Jimmy Dludlu’s mellow jazz guitar musings, Eric Clapton’s velvet bassline and AKA’s digital dancehall experimentalism are all foundations for Clayton’s interpretative sound. On AKA, he shares: “He is my biggest musical inspiration. I am obsessed with his production, he had the biggest impact on my career trajectory, and his album Levels shaped my music.”
On highlights from the initiative, Clayton says, “I enjoyed being able to connect and make music with my mentor TRESOR. It was such a great experience, I felt like I was chilling with one of my boys. It felt organic and not forced at all. Energy is everything when you are in a session. You have to connect in some way to share musical ideas. Even though TRESOR has produced music for greats like Drake, he has no ego. TRESOR is a little crazy, just like me. I think that is why we got along so well. Definitely cannot wait for our next session.”
“Amped Studios is also such a cool space for creatives in JHB. Seeing the SSL board in the Main Control Room made my day. The masterclass in Cape Town was unmatched as Robin Kohl pulled up a mixing session from one of AKA’s tracks which made me go crazy.” Post this initiative, Clayton hopes to work with more creatives on big projects that make an impact. “I have always focused on making money off music, but the impact will forever be the main goal,” continues Clayton.
In conclusion, he sent a special “awe” to the City of Cape Town for always supporting him throughout his journey. “I want to show my people that it’s possible. You can be great regardless of your background or current status,” he concludes.