Questions with Artists We Admire: Clayton Reilly
Clayton Reilly is a trumpeter extraordinaire, a song writer, and an all-around talented musician. Notes & Melodies caught up with the three-time Grammy nominated musician and producer a few weeks before he makes the trek up to Rochester for Maxfield Music’s “Business of Music” event. Clayton has a diverse music background, having worked with artists such as John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae, Stevie Wonder, Ne-Yo, Kanye West and Rochester’s own Kristen Maxfield. Notes and Melodies is excited to have him back in the Roc again to school us all on the ins and outs of the music business.
When did you first pick up a trumpet?
CR: I first picked up the trumpet when I was ten years old. I was in fourth grade and we could choose any instrument to play. My friend, who was a year older, had been playing the trumpet for a year and liked it so I decided I would try it. Cut to 22 years later I’m still playing. And loving it.
What resonates more with you today: playing or songwriting or…?
CR: I can’t choose! I love them both, for different reasons. The energy of the crowd as well as the energy of the musicians I’m playing with are what makes playing so incredible and joyful. Music is a language and to be able to hold a musical conversation with other players is an amazing feeling.
What I excites me about being a producer and a songwriter is the whole process a single song goes through. Starting with the first chords, creating the right melodies, finding the right words, recording the vocals, and then hearing the final product we’ve worked so hard on. That’s everything!
What was your first song-writing experience like?
CR: I was 12 years old and my family just got our first piano. I started fooling around on it trying to learn some chords that sounded good. From there I started humming a melody to the chords and eventually some words came out from that. I decided to grab a pad and pencil and started to write my first love song. Needless to say it was cheese and the form was all wrong but it was a start.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone wanting to work in the music industry, what would it be?
CR: This game is a marathon not a sprint. You have to be prepared for failure because it something you will encounter frequently on the path to success. What makes one truly succeed is how you react to that failure. People will criticize your work, tell you it’s no good, tell you you’re no good and you can either believe them or use their criticisms constructively and grow. That’s what I’ve done and keep on trying to do.
How do you prepare for a show right before you step on stage?
CR: I always thank God for the talent He gave me. I’m so grateful for the experiences I’ve had and continue to have.