Clay Hollis is an emerging country artist from San Antonio, Texas and certainly has our attention! His twangy vocals, full sound, and energetic delivery really come together on his recently released, self-titled debut EP and judging by his 750+ monthly listeners on Spotify, we’re not the only ones who think so! His current single, “Look Who’s Hurting Now” is quickly moving up the radio charts and our spotify chart, and already has over 5K streams! We had the chance to chat with the neo-traditionalist about all of the excitement and here’s what he had to say!
Texas Music Pickers: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Clay Hollis: I’m From San Antonio, TX. I have been playing music for for as long as I can remember, however I have only been playing music professionally for about 5 years.
TMP: Who would you describe as musical influences?
CH: My musical influences are very widespread. I would hear a lot of Rock and Roll from my dad. Growing up and appreciating artists like Todd Rundgren, Tom Petty, Emerson Lake And Palmer, YES. Country was a big part as well. Learning from my grandpa and mom, growing up on people like Glen Campbell, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and George Strait.
TMP: Tell us about your recently released self-titled EP.
CH: My self-titled EP was released this past summer and has been doing great! Its filled with great, high energy songs that I considered to be traditional country sounding with a modern edge or flare. We recorded this record in Nashville,TN back in May. My whole team is really proud of this project and we are anxious to already go back and cut a “B-Side” to this project sometime next summer.
TMP: With this being your debut record, what are you hoping to accomplish with it?
CH:With this being my debut record, I am really hoping it will open some bigger doors for me. I am trying really hard to break out of the San Antonio/ Central Texas area of gigging. With this new EP, I am hoping that we will start to stir up some action in all areas of Texas. Being able to go and play different markets such as West Texas, North Texas and East Texas are all on my mind, and with this great sounding EP, I think those opportunities will present themselves soon. Those are just a few of my hopes with this new EP. At the end of the day, all I really want is for fellow artists and people to hear my record and say “Wow! This is really good, who is this?” that would make me happy knowing people are digging the music.
TMP: Tell us what it was like to work with Mario Flores?
CH: Mario Flores is a great person! He has been like my 2nd dad for as long as I have known him. The relationship that we have is truly one of a kind. He understands me and I understand him. He is the type of person you can always pick on because you know he is going to do it right back to you. I think this is why we were able to pump out a great record. He produced this EP and did a great job. A lot of his knowledge comes from the experience he already has from three of his own successful albums which he recorded with Nashville producer Bart Butler. Mario is great friend, and I encourage people who have not yet heard his music to go check it out. He is also the PD at Rebecca Creek Radio. All of these things combined makes him a well know person and has given him great notoriety in this music business. If you ever have the chance to work with him, do not pass it up!
TMP: One of our favorite tracks is “Call It a Night”. Can you provide us with some background on it?
CH: I’m glad everyone at Texas Music Pickers likes “Call It A Night”. I really enjoyed cutting this song myself. The song came to me by way of email. I happened to check my inbox one night and I had received an email from my buddy Bart Butler (Jon Pardi’s Producer) who had forwarded me the demo of this song. The track was written by three great songwriters: Trey Wilson, a Texas native and outstanding songwriter who actually just celebrated a number #1 with his Kevin Fowler cut “Texas Forever”, Drew Baldridge and Brinley Addington who just celebrated his big cut from Lee Brice called “ I Should Go To Church Sometime.” Knowing that this song had three big writers on it, I knew right then and there I wanted to cut it, so I did! I’m glad it’s responding well!
TMP: If you had to pick just one song from the album, which song are you the most proud of?
CH: I’m not sure if I can narrow it down to just one song. If I had to pick my top two favorite songs on this record, they would be “Hard Headed Heart” and “Can’t Let A Good Thing Get Away.” These two songs stand out to me because I love big, loud-sounding guitars especially when the songs have catchy riffs that will get stuck in your head. I find myself humming or whistling the hooks/melodies of these songs quite a bit. “Hard Headed Heart” was written by Jon Pardi and Bart Butler, and “Can’ Let A Good Thing Get Away” was written by Gabe Garcia, Bart Butler, and Davy Ulbrich. All the more reason as to why i like these songs so much. I mean come on, it’s not every day that you get say “oh yea… I have a Jon Pardi cut and a Bart Butler cut on my record.” Both who have a made a name for themselves in this cut throat industry. I know that name dropping these people doesn’t mean much to the everyday listener, but for those who like to read credits and see who all is on a record, I think it’s pretty darn cool. So, there you go! You now know why these two songs are my favorite on my new EP.
TMP: How did the album release go? How have things been different since releasing the album?
CH: My album release was great! Nothing has really changed other than that my band loves playing these tunes. Only thing that changes is me trying to figure how to better our live show every time we play.
TMP: The lead single “Look Who’s Hurting Now” has had a pretty good response on the radio charts and our Spotify chart so far. Tell us a little bit about that song and how it was chosen as the lead single.
CH: “Look Who’s Hurting Now” is my lead off single for this EP. My team and I sat down and all we agreed we felt that this song was a good fit for my debut single. It was a good choice for radio to hear for the first time. It was written by Gabe Garcia and Bart Butler. They wrote it about a friend’s ex- wife, so the story behind the song is completely true.
TMP: So far, who has been the biggest performer you’ve opened up for? What was that show like?
CH: I have opened up and shared the stage with many artists. People such as Jon Wolfe, Kevin Fowler, Bri Bagwell, Jake Worthington, and Joe Nichols are a few names to share with you! My favorite show was the Hurricane Harvey Relief concert held at John T. Floores Country Store in Helotes, TX. We all song swapped on stage and it was to an almost sold out Floores Country Store; it’s definitely one I will remember.
TMP: What’s on the horizon for Clay Hollis?
CH: On the Horizon for Clay Hollis? You know I really want to expand my writing capabilities and want to have a few of my own cuts on the next record. I am going to try and burn up the road and tour as much as possible. I look forward to seeing all my music family and friends at the Steamboat Music Festival this coming January and most important, I plan to go back to Nashville, summer of 2018 and cut a full length album!
TMP: Is there anything else you want your fans to know?
For all my current fans and new fans to come, I want to thank you each and everyone of you. If you can’t see me at a show, then promise me one thing, that you will go support Texas music where ever you can. It doesn’t matter who or what, just go see music and support it. God knows we need all the help we can get! Thank You all! Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat @Clayholliscountry and Twitter @Clayhollismusic . Hope to see you down the road somewhere!
If you haven’t taken a listen to the EP yet, be sure to do so, and in the meantime take a listen to the current single, “Look Who’s Hurtin’ Now” below!
You can also hear Clay Hollis’ single, “Look Who’s Hurtin’ Now”, as well as, plenty of other great Texas/Red Dirt tunes here on our TMP Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/texas_music_pickers/playlist/4X1EDu99kIPVqHleQfLen2
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.