Love is Real is the latest track from Clifford, and despite what the title made me think, it is not a cheesy love song. It is a melodic, acoustic composition that offers a mature, rounded take on love that changes everything in life.
Clifford is a newcomer to watch out for: the multi-lingual multi-instrumentalist has already put out diverse music. The exposure to varying kinds of global music gives Clifford ana ability to switch styles with ease. And each track has unique elements, may it be the hip hop vibe, or in this case, the nostalgia of 90’s acoustic pop. The talented artist produces much of his own music, and that’s how he keeps the genre-bending tunes coming. He is constantly striving to make music that is uplifting, inclusive, and encourages positive change and diversity.
With a voice that reminds me of Noel Gallagher, Clifford has me in all kinds of feels. Love is Real is about the natural course that loves takes. When love is real is pervades every last sense and engulfs you fully and completely. Doubts and uncertainties leave you, and the changes around you only ascertain these feelings.
In conversation with Clifford
Ques. How did you get started on your musical journey?
Clifford: I began playing drums at 8, acoustic guitar at 12, my first band at 13… and never stopped adding instruments including piano, and of course vocals.
Ques. You’re multilingual and have US/UK citizenship. How is that? Where did you grow up, and what place do you associate most with?
Clifford: My father is from London, England and my mother is from Maryland, USA. Although I was born and raised in Maryland, I have taken many trips to England throughout my life and I feel the same sense of belonging in England as I do in America, both feel like home. My language studies began with French, followed by Arabic. I’ve been told we use the same part of the brain to learn languages as we do for music, so I think that’s why both feel natural to me.
About his music
Ques. How did Love Is Real come about? What fueled this creation, and what does it mean?
Clifford: Love is Real began with wanting to write an acoustic song. One that would be intimate and personal, which of course brought me to the topic of love. The lyrics describe my biggest hopes in a relationship and I wanted to express my frustrations about the difficulties of dating during a pandemic. But I also wanted this song to be a bit ambiguous so that someone already in a relationship would relate to the song as well.
Ques. Your music is hard to confine into a genre, how did you develop your unique style? What are some musical influences which have inspired you?
Clifford: I credit my genre-blending to musical exploration. I grew up listening to anything from Mozart to Bowie, then in my teens from Cash to Eminem. I was never one to only listen to what my peers listened to and in adding language studies, my music listening expanded to music by Fairouz, Stromae, Amr Diab, Yo-Yo Ma, and so many others. These amazing artists have created an explosion of music diversity in my head that I can’t help but include in my music arrangements. Other influences include The Temptations, Blind Willie Johnson, Drake, Kool & The Gang, Parliament, and xxxTentacion.
Ques. What are your future plans from here on, and what direction do you want your career to take?
Clifford: My future plans are to continue growing creatively. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include finding a way to monetize my music in a music industry currently undergoing many changes. In a perfect scenario, I see myself working with many different artists and producers to enhance all of our collective creativity.