Photo by Serena Brown
The lockdown has put the world in a precarious situation - with many things more or less coming to a halt.
As I start speaking to Clive, the conversation naturally reels off into what’s transpired for the past few months and how this has affected his creative process. “I won’t lie, it’s helped and hindered the process. But it’s not until you’re in lockdown like this and not interacting with people, going out, do you realise it’s all stimuli for your creativity.”
Amidst it all, Clive is staying creative premiering the video for his new track ‘Westside’ released by Polarface Records, an indie label based in London.
Westside follows the story of couple who meet in West London, and though both chasing money, they’re not both willing to go to the same illegal extent. With a role reversal, Westside illustrates an interesting story as it’s the woman who’s pressuring her partner to sell drugs to get money. As the camera changes its shooting mode almost as if the protagonist is vlogging his experience, it makes his internal conflicts and confusion that much more intense.
You can attempt to liken Clive to other artists and melodic styles, but you’ll struggle to box him in. Speaking to Clive, I asked him how he would describe his sound to a foreign listener ‘My sound Is just a story of me’ he puts effortlessly. We’ve seen this with artists - both fresh and mature. When they go beyond the musical box they’ve been placed in, they’re quick to get comments from fans saying they’ve changed. And respectively, Clive doesn’t want to be contained to one sound or genre, ‘It’s a mixture of grime and hip hop. It’s introspective yet flamboyant and party-going. I’ll listen to Erykah Badu one day and Young Thug the next’.
Clive’s eclectic music taste is influenced by the sounds he heard growing up. From Channel U to the Top 40s, Clive’s ear was everywhere. With a deep affinity for 50 Cent, young Clive recalls going to a market with his Dad and trying to get him to buy 50 Cent’s, Get Rich or Die Trying. ‘He took one look at the cover and was like no. I think I got a Justin Timberlake one instead’.
Despite having always loved music, for a long time, Clive opted to stay on the peripheries and behind the scenes of music; ‘I was really into rapping but first I was into videography. I’d record my friends doing their music, take photos of them. I’ve always had an interest in music, especially growing up. I just didn’t have the confidence to put myself in front of the camera’.
Now Clive is the star of his own show and is very intentional about every aspect; ‘Everything has to have a story’. He’s focused on linking concepts so his listeners can have a journey, ‘Westside looks at how Melly influences the characters and the name of his mixtape is How I Met Melly’.
Asking Clive about his corona-adjusted plans, there’s an element of deflation but more determination than anything to keep going ‘Just making a lot of music and I know if the mixtape gets the recognition it deserves, it’ll influence the UK scene’.
‘Westside’ by Clive Mercury out now on all streaming platforms!