Interview with Clay Turner of Strummingbird
Greetings Mr. Strummingbird! Please take a few sentences or more to introduce yourself!
Hi there! My real name is Clay Turner, and I’m from Spartanburg, South Carolina. I hold the title of “Nicest Weird Person.” For most of my life, I’ve been making things. Before music, I would spend my weekends making really crappy Claymation movies with my friend Adam. God, those were terrible, the audio sucked, nothing lined up, and they never made sense.
Over the past few months, your videos have been popping up on my Facebook. How long have you been producing music?
I’ve been writing and playing music since I was fourteen years old. Honestly, about the same with recording. I downloaded Audacity on my family’s computer and started recording the worst demos you’ll ever hear. The equipment has gotten better. What’s kinda funny, I’m still recording music in the same spot I was ten years ago. I’ve only really been diving deeper into the process of production and sound design within the last year. My friend Josh Kurtz (Saturna) was my inspiration to really start focusing on that side of music. He helped me produce six full-band songs. Four are out as singles, and two of them I just keep for myself. Every song I’ve released in the last few months, I’ve mixed and mastered to the best of my untrained abilities.
You seem to be getting great reach on Facebook. How do you promote your work? On what other social media sites can people find you?
Facebook ads. Understanding marketing has been the biggest key to my success. I asked a handful of people, who do I sound close to and I went from there. I wish my career’s beginning was just playing music, going to bars, and meeting hot chicks, but in actuality, it’s been a lot of me, alone in my room, editing videos, recording music, planning marketing strategies. As for social media, you can find me the most active on YouTube. I’m on Instagram and Twitter trying to do those right, but I’m still learning how to really use them, so I just post random things there mostly. If you want to chat with me there @strummingbird for IG @strumming_bird for Twitter.
Do you play in any bands? Or just solo?
Currently, just solo. Sometimes at open mic nights around my town, my buddies J. Stephens (former drummer of EleventySeven) and Michael Krell will hop up and play one of my funky songs with me. With the studio versions of July and Long Drives and Cigarettes, my buddy Josh killed it with his guitar work, he added a progressive flair that I couldn’t have done on my own. My friend Brett and I are attempting to start an acoustic sad boi duo to fill the unwanted need for emo music in our town. Self-diagnosis is the working name we’ve got so far.
What are your biggest inspirations as an artist?
The idea that we all start from nothing. That we are all seeds that have so much potential. Seeing people around me doing what they love to do and sharing it with the world, each one of us trying to leave our mark. That every little thing we do as an artist has a chance to change a life and spark the start of a journey for someone else. That’s what keeps me going, moving forward every day. Musically speaking, my inspirations come from so many places. I listen to different types of music and really what I’m digging at that moment, I try to add a flair of that into my style. Five years ago I was really into Christian metalcore so Josh and I produced one. Sometimes you can’t think and you just have to make. Everyday life is full of lyrical ideas too, you just have to look for them.
How did you come up with the title ''Strummingbird''?
I was in Allenwood, PA visiting my grandparents. I was sitting outside playing a song that I wrote about that area and how peaceful being there was. I believe it was the first good song I really had written. Because of that, I wanted to come up with a name that meant something deeper to me and my family. My grandmother loves hummingbirds, she has three feeders hanging up around the porch and she will always point out when they fly by to eat. The name just made sense to me and Strummingbird has been the name I use for everything. Plus it wasn’t taken!!
If a 200 foot tall Ellen Degeneres (she can shoot lasers out of her eyes) and Godzilla (the real one, not that American rip-off) got into a fight, who do you think would win?
My mom said it would be a tie. I think Ellen could just cringe Godzilla away.
Any final comments?
For anyone that wants to start making music. Just do it. Record some demos on your phone, slap them on Soundcloud and share them with your friends. Don’t overthink it and just jump in. Don’t go quitting your job just yet, but just start making the things you like, even if they suck. They won’t ten years down the road.
Can I do my catchphrase? Well, I’m gonna do it anyway.
Alright, everybody! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day! Remember to enjoy life to the fullest!! Peace!
Thanks for speaking with me Clay. Much love and god speed with your music! The talent is strong with you!
-Devin Joseph Meaney