Clay Mottley

Songwriter. Musician.

What's the appeal to music?

I love playing music.  It's the one thing I love to do that has never grown out of me.  It's also something I can do on some level for the rest of my life.

Who were your influences growing up?

I grew up listening to great songwriters; the Beatles, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Paul Simon.  You know, the people who crafted these great, timeless songs.  And I was drawn to the idea that you could write a song that comes from yourself but moves others as well.
When I started playing, it was in local garage bands, but I seemed to always be surround by top-notch musicians, who I thought were way better than I was.  They constantly showed me tricks and licks and chords and anything I wanted to know.  Once I started playing out in public, it was book stores and coffee houses as an acoustic trio, or local bars as a rock band.

Every writer has a go-to songwriting process.  What's yours?

It's usually a lick or chord progression I stumble upon.  Sometime the lyric will come first, but usually it's the main lick of the song.  Once I get something that can be the meat-and-potatoes of the song, then I'll play around with lyrical ideas, a chorus, a bridge, or whatever seems to fit the mood of the song. 

What have you been working on lately?

I'm recording songs for my fourth album, the real way.  My last album was just a collection of things I had laying around - not really a recording process.  This time, I'm bringing in musicians I've played with, but never recorded with, some old friends from the past albums.  I've got some older songs I've never recorded, and I've also written some new songs I want to hear.  It's funny, when you write a song, you hear the finished product in your head of what it could sound like, but it's never as good as the first time you actually hear the recording.  That's really exciting, and probably why I keep wanting to do it.