The power of music – an interview with Simply Red’s David Clayton

Ivana Nikolic April 30, 2020
The power of music – an interview with Simply Red’s David Clayton

Simply Red keyboard player David Clayton is creating free personalised healing music for anyone going through difficulties such as hardship, loss and depression.

Despite working on new Simply Red and solo albums, David finds time to help through his music charity, Healing Centre. People tell him their stories and he creates a bespoke track for them or someone close to their heart. His patience and compassion are incredible.  

Perhaps this pandemic is the perfect time for his genuine acts of kindness to come under the spotlight. It seems the world needs people like David more than ever.

Magnesium

Many people find his debut solo album – Magnesium – heartwarming too. It features 11 exquisite piano and synth chill tracks with one of the tracks, Sherbet, featuring Simply Red sax player Ian Kirkham.

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David Clayton’s debut solo album, Magnesium. Image by Jon Russell

What makes the album special is all the tracks have been inspired by David’s friends and their life stories. It is available in digital format as well as on white vinyl.

Promoting the album remains low-key, however, with David planning his solo breakthrough next year. He is currently occupied with Simply Red’s new album, Blue Eyed Soul, and the band’s forthcoming European tour.

Illustrious career

David is one of the most talented keyboard players of our time. During his illustrious career he has worked with many wonderful artists including George Michael, Depeche Mode, Robbie Williams, Take That, U2, ABC, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Paul Rutherford, and The Human League.

Alongside its sheer beauty, Magnesium showcases his incredible talent and extraordinary experience but what makes David so special is how humble and warm he remains, a true English gent.

The interview

How did Magnesium’s journey begin?

I was practising and recording in hotel rooms a lot while on tour and during moments of peace and solitude. The first track I wrote was Salvation, which I wrote for friends who were leaving the UK to return to Minneapolis.

I enjoyed the process of just playing the piano and, as one of my ambitions was to make a solo album, I decided this was it!

What are your plans for Magnesium and your solo career?

After the lock-down I’ll continue preparing for live shows. The second album has already started and will include more special guests.

Simply Red. Image used by permission of Simply Red

You are very busy promoting the new Simply Red album, Blue Eyed Soul. What is the story of this album?

The inspiration was to revisit the joy of making a live full-band recording. We had the great pleasure of recording the album together in one of the best studios I’ve ever worked in – British Grove, which is in Chiswick, London, and is owned by Marc Knopfler of Dire Straits.

We’ve done lots of promotional work on prime-time radio and television. You can find all those performances on YouTube.

How are you, Mick and the other Simply Red musicians spending time during the pandemic?

Everyone is spending time with their families, writing music and probably spending too much time on the internet!

You’re also engaged in your music charity, Healing Centre, writing free music for those in hardship. What is it about and how can our readers contact you?

I’ve written quite a few pieces of music for people to try to lift their spirits. All you have to do is contact me via my website and tell me a bit about yourself and your situation to give me inspiration.

You have worked with many incredible artists. Who made the greatest impression or influenced you?

Italian artist Pino Daniele inspired me to “play music bigger than I was”, while ABC taught me the meaning of “don’t fight the pop”. Tim Simeon (Bomb the Bass) inspired me to “think outside the box”.

Depeche Mode contributed to 18 months of proper rock ‘n’ roll, while George Michael kept me on my toes in terms of excellence of performance. U2 taught me no matter how popular and successful you are, there’s always room to be kind and generous to everyone you encounter. Simply Red has contributed to all these qualities combined, and more.

What are you currently working on?

The Mighty Monks’ new album. Our first gig was due to be Glastonbury 2020 but that has been postponed to, hopefully, 2021. I’m also preparing for the European tour with Simply Red. Today I’m working on a new track for my second album. I haven’t decided the title yet!

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