Clayton Savage began singing shortly after he began speaking.
More importantly, he began plucking melodies and harmonies from songs he heard instantly and began to play them on any instrument that was within his reach from a very early age.
Fast forward to 14-year old Clayton going down the “wrong” path and his sister’s then boyfriend Kenneth Gardner putting a guitar in Clayton’s hand and asking if he wanted to learn to play. Clayton amazingly started to play chords and melodies and no one believed he’d never had lessons. Best of all, he began to write his own songs rather than simply mimic the hits of that time, songs influenced by many greats including Cameo, Switch, Hall & Oates, Prince, and The Commodores, just to name a few. He began singing in an inspired falsetto and developed his style of songwriting and storytelling.
Clayton and Kenneth, who was two years his senior, put together their first band called Nitro. They played the local and military base clubs and developed quite a following. By the time Clayton was 16, he’d recorded in the area’s largest studios and developed the reputation as a talented perfectionist when it came to his instant recollection of every nuance of each instrumentalist’s performance.
In an effort to prove himself to his fellow band mates he produced and performed most of the instruments on his debut cassette, simply titled Clayton Savage. He then flew to New York and New Jersey one week after not receiving return calls from the labels he’d sent his demos to and eventually ended up at the legendary Sugar Hills Records in Englewood, NJ.
Clayton moved in as studio secessionist and producer and was introduced to the lineup, which included the Grandmaster Mele Mel of the GM Flash Camp. Aside from writing and recording with many of the legends, including Kool Moe Dee, Sugar Hill Gang and Sequence, it was a cut from Clayton’s solo album titled “WE DON’T WORK FOR FREE” that caught Sylvia Robinson’s ear and she suggested that Mele Mel add a rap to the song. This led to the song moving from Clayton’s solo album and to his becoming a member of the Furious Five. This also marks the first top 20 R&B rap song.
Clayton toured Europe and abroad with the Furious Five, developing a fan base of his own as he had solos within their performances and performed many vocals and instruments on the rap group’s then current release. He’s even featured in two of their videos, including the single “Pump it Up”, a Treble Funk remake.
In spite of his success with the Furious Five, Clayton was a soloist and dedicated to releasing his own album. Finding no support at Sugar Hill, he left and was signed by Gerry Griffith (who discovered Whitney Houston) to Capitol Manhattan Records and was the youngest male at the time to have been given the reigns of producer independence.
Clayton was the first male featured on the cover of Black Hair Magazine and can also be seen on the cover of Aretha Franklin’s Freeway of Love album. His single “Palm of her Hand” was the opening song for BET’s historic Video Soul television show, which showcased the new generation of artists, prior to Jesse Johnson’s theme.
A failed marketing attempt by Manhattan Records discouraged the young Savage and he left NY for Minnesota. He performed with Westside, the area’s top band at the time, recorded an album for the group and left after 5 years to return home to Virginia.
Clayton had been working for years in Northern VA as a Computer Programmer and Graphic Artist when his friend Albert Parker suggested that they get some equipment together just to have some fun. This awakened the dormant Savage and a wealth of material began to flow. Even though he hadn’t touched an instrument for more than 5 years, he not only started to play, he began recording and constructing with a seamless gap from his previous years.
The original style is even more evident as Clayton has moved into a total electronic recording arena, using the latest technologies, which allow him to capture and record his ideas and bring them to sonic fruition quickly.
The savage one returns with his own R&B, Soulful, and funky mixture. The vocals are tight and his music takes you back to a time when the airwaves were dominated by unique sounding male vocalists instead of today’s cloned stylings.
With artistic control still paramount, he now records on his own label: Red K Records.
His music, always ahead and somehow constantly in vogue, Virginia’s first son returns!