CAUTIOUS CLAY: PERVASIVE LANGUAGE. SEXUALITY. AUTHENTICITY. ATTENTION TO DETAIL.
As movies and records are characteristically stamped with a rating or disclaimer, rising artist Cautious Clay has branded his visuals with a CC logo and the interest-piquing words above. It’s almost like a personalized copyright symbol, and as copyright protects a unique creation, Cautious Clay’s music is certainly notable for its artistic value and originality. Although the downtempo, R&B singer has only released two original songs, they both pack as much of a punch as the boxer whose name we’re reminded of.
Brooklyn based singer, songwriter, and producer Josh Karpeh, aka Cautious Clay, turned a lot of heads in the music industry with his debut single, “Cold War.” Prior to the release of “Cold War,” Karpeh only had one cover and one remix on his Spotify channel. The single has nevertheless racked up over 850,000 streams on Spotify since its September release and topped the Hype Machine Popular Charts, rather impressive for a debut. The track is the first glimpse of what Karpeh has to offer, and we love what we hear. His smooth voice glides over a minimal production of a bassline, rich saxophone, and occasional appearance of a reverb-laced electric guitar. Ethereal background vocals in the chorus add a touch of nostalgia to the soulful track, and who could resist such culturally relevant lyrics as “welcome to the days when we’re broke and shallow” and our personal favorite, “only swipe right if you fuck for follows”
His second and recently released single, “Joshua Tree,” is sonically poised to garner the same success as “Cold War.” Cautious Clay has already begun to carve his own path and identity in the music scene—while many singers focus on an idealized love or the chase for love, Karpeh expresses almost the opposite in “Joshua Tree.” He opens with the line, “I take fear in those who love me,” and it’s immediately clear that he’s positioning us for the pain that comes with vulnerable, emotional connection. “So I don’t want to be loved/No, I don’t want to be loved,” he sings in the chorus, supported by the same airy background vocals. Love comes with its own forms of drama, and knowing full well what may ensue with love, Cautious Clay attempts to avoid it altogether. The pop/R&B song has almost a hip-hop touch to it with Cautious Clay’s distorted vocals, and it’s layered production presents a more sophisticated release that is an exciting precedent for what is follow from the new artist.
With just two incredible singles released, we’re going to stay on the lookout for more from Cautious Clay. We highly recommend you do too and keep up with him on all his socials below: