By Joey Lopez
VANCOUVER – Joshua Karpeh, known professionally as Cautious Clay, has made quick work of his dreams and made them into a reality. Just last year, Clay was working in marketing for a real estate agency, making beats in his Brooklyn home whom he shares with 12 other people – embodying the true artist’s life style – before making the leap into full-time producing and songwriting. The decisions have proven fruitful as Clay has been touring throughout North America all year, playing his first show in early 2018 and is now preparing himself for a series of headlining performances and festivals in 2019. With the release of his debut EP, Blood Type, Clay has seemingly found success over night. In reality, his success is a long time coming, toiling away at music for most of his life, starting with the flute.
“Alladin was my intro into playing the flute. I saw the snake charmer and I was like ‘Oh my God, I totally want to be a snake charmer now.’ I was just really into that idea and I think it might have also been this artist Herbie Mann. My mom would play a lot of Herbie Mann. He was a flute player. I was really into it because it was jazz flute, but I’m always looking for new things with music and trying to stay inspired by something.”
Never letting go of the inspiration that was born within him at a young age, Clay stuck to the grind, honing his skills until he was eventually ready to take it to the next level.
“There’s so much noise nowadays, it’s just cool that I can put out music and get people’s attention. It’s cool that I can inspire that organic sharing of my music and people are connecting with it. It’s kind of surreal and I didn’t expect it happen so fast, but I was prepared for it. I was confident in my ability and my sound and I knew what I could do with it. I even played my first show earlier this year and I’ve played about 34 shows since then. It’s so interesting. The first couple shows were definitely very informative for me, but now it’s just about my mood. If I’m in a great mood I’m going to have the best show of my life every night. I think I just have to be in a good mindset and focused with my band on things. I feel like I’ve played in such a variety in situations now and I feel a lot more comfortable on stage. I’m just excited for my first headline thing.”
Clay’s humility has made him instantly likable. His intelligence is apparent and he speaks like someone who knows exactly what he’s doing. He forged a path and followed it until he got to where he wanted to be. A source of this aspect of him seems to come from his mother, someone who believed in him from a young age and pushed him to excel. A lot of Clay’s talents and successes appear to have been seeds planted within him a long time ago. Six years ago, when he was still performing as Josh Karpeh, working on beats and releasing them on Soundcloud, he found himself collaborating with future pop superstar Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’ Connel,
“That’s funny to me because I can’t believe some people remember that. I guess we were tapping into something. Great minds think alike, you know? They were just really cool because they hit me up when they had just a small profile on Soundcloud at the time and they were equally on their own tip. I think they’re really incredible artists, so that’s a testament to where our mindset was at the time.”
Cautious Clay has cocooned, making music beneath our noses and is now spreading his wings to achieve great things.
Cautious Clay performs January 17 at the Fox Cabaretcautious clay, The Fox Cabaret