Born and raised on a farm in Beaumont, Clay fell in love with country music at an early age, after his father gave him a guitar at age nine.
At age 16, he got his first taste of radio airplay when he took a tape of a song he had written by the local radio station, KATD. "I had just gotten my driver's license, and I drove to the station at 2 a.m. and handed the D.J. my tape. Unfortunately. It wasn't formatted to fit their equipment. I was heart broken, but what I didn't realize is that they were just trying to blow me off!" he laughs.
But Walker didn't give up, coming back a week later with the tape properly formatted. "They took it, but they told me they might never play it, and I was crushed. But as I was driving away, they played it. I couldn't believe it! I had to pull my truck over. I have to say, at that point, there was no doubt what I was going to do with my life."
After graduating from high school, Clay pursued a musical career full-time, playing concerts across the US and Canada. Acting as his own manager, Clay toured and went to school for three years, taking courses about music business.
While performing as the house singer at the Neon Armadillo in Beaumont, producer James Stroud heard Walker and offered to work with the singer. Stroud helped Clay secure a contract with Giant Records in Nashville and the pair worked together on the vocalist's multi-platnium debut album.
"This album is more versatile and has more variety of musical styles than my past albums," he states. "It does have traditional country songs, but I reach out into blues and rock. We did some shows recently with REO Speedwagon and the same cowboy hat-wearing crowd enjoyed their music and our music.
"It boils down to good music is good music, no matter what kind it is. Music is about how it makes you feel. And if a tune makes you feel good, I think it can work in any music format, country, blues, rock, pop.
"I think what country music has done in the last five years is broaden out. George Strait's Pure Country album brought a lot of people to country music. He did songs on it that were different -- like on 'Heartland' with the big drum sound and the more distorted guitar. He helped make it OK to have that kind of sound on a country record.
"George was able to reach out and add new sounds. But by using that wonderfully traditional voice he kept things true to what he had always done.
"What you see happening now in country music is a payoff to what George and Garth have done. Because of them, I can do a song like 'Once in a Lifetime Love' and new acts and established acts can go beyond traditional sounds with their music. They opened things up.
"I'm truly living, laughing and loving every moment -- and it feels great. It makes me complete."
|Clay Walker (1993)||Born: August 16, 1969|
|If I Could Make A Living (1994)||Nee: Earnest Clayton Walker|
|Hypnotize The Moon (1995)||Wife: Lori|
|Self Portrait (1996)||Daughters: MaClay (B. Jan. 14, 1996)|
|Rumor Has It (1997)||& Skylor (B. May 1999)|
|Greatest Hits (1998)|
|Live, Laugh, Love (1999)|