Oh and I personally think he'd make a great guest on the Rick and Bubba Show.
God has gifted John with an amazing musical talent and song writing ability, but he is so incredibly humble about it. He has such a heart for Christ and worship and serving others. His self released album Masterpiece is a collection of songs inspired by the hope that God has spoken to him over and over.
John is trying to win a contest to perform at Celebrate Freedom in Atlanta on September 4th and so I wanted to share his original song with you here to see if the Alabama Blogger community could help out. He also agreed to do a little interview here with me. So keep reading and please listen to his song. The more views his song gets on You Tube the better chance he has. I also have a giveaway for you at the end.
Amy: So give us a little biography about yourself. Where were you born, raised, college, family, etc.?
JC: I was born and raised in Alexander City, AL. Pretty small town but approximately an hour away from anything you want to do in Birmingham, Auburn or Mongtomery. Both of my parents were born and raised in Alex City as well. I have two sisters: one is younger than I am and the other is older. They are both incredible people and, along with my parents, have been an amazing source of support for me.
Amy: When did your parents or you first realize you had the gift for music you have?
JC: I'm pretty sure my mom knew early on that all of her kids had some talent in music. I can barely remember it but she tells that when we used to go on trips, whether it was shopping for clothes, or the the dentist's office, or anything, we would all be singing in the car. That's when she taught us to sing harmony with each other. We would take turns singing the melody of a song and she would teach the other two how to sing harmony parts to that. So my mom knew pretty early that her kids had talent and she got to work molding it pretty quickly.
Amy: I know you’re trying to get as many views on YouTube of a song you’ve written to be a part of Celebrate Freedom in Atlanta in September. Can you share a little more about that?
JC: Yeah. The Fish 104.7 out of Atlanta is putting on a contest that will allow the winner to be the opening act for the concert at Celebrate Freedom in Atlanta. It's a big production every year and the opportunity to open for that concert is unbelievable. It's great exposure and you get to share the stage with some of the big dogs in the Christian music industry. They take the top 5 view videos from YouTube (based upon the number of views) and those are the 5 finalists that will compete for the spot of the opening act. The song is called "Favorite Part of Me" and it speaks to the fact that it doesn't matter what our circumstances are or what we've done in our life, God is still there and still loving us with this amazing and unfailing love. The link can be found on my website at johnclaybrook.com or you can go straight to YouTube and view it by clicking here.
Amy: I know your faith in Christ is the biggest part of who you are. Through some of our conversations we’ve talked about how the legalistic tendencies of some churches can have a negative impact. Did you have a moment at some point in your life where you realized your worth in God wasn’t based on following a man made set of rules?
JC: About two years ago God began a process of freeing me from something that I think we have all struggled with at some point in our life -- Approval Addiction. I was so consumed by trying to make sure that everyone approved of the things that I was doing that I was neglecting the relationship that had already given me approval. I got so lost in trying to do the "right" things and make the "right" decisions that before I knew it, I didn't know who I was anymore. So this journey....that I call "Discovering Me" has shown me that God already approves of us and what more approval do you want? I think that message is the one that we are forgetting to share with others. God wants us to love Him and to love others. Notice He never said to seek approval from others or that others should seek approval from you! Just love God and love people.
Amy: When did you record your first album Masterpiece?
JC: We started tracking on that album in April of 07 and finished with production and mix down sometime around August 07. It was a process for sure but I was glad to see the fruit of all the hard work.
Amy: My favorite songs on the album are Hold Me Jesus and Reign Over Me. Which song is your favorite on Masterpiece? Or is it hard to choose a favorite one?
JC: If I'm choosing a favorite it would have to be either "Reign Over Me" or "In Your Arms". It's difficult to name just one of those tunes though because each one of them has a special place to me. They were each written in a particular time in life and have a different yet significant meaning to each one of them.
To me there seems to be a theme on Masterpiece of God being our refuge, holding us in times we are struggling. At what sort of place were you in life when you wrote these ?
JC: When I was writing the tunes for Masterpiece, I was hurting. There were several things happening that I didn't understand but I knew that I couldn't change. It seemed like things were spiraling downward at such a whirlwind pace that I knew I was going to land on rock bottom and quickly. But I knew that amidst all of that noise and confusion that my God said He would never leave me or forsake me. Life was rough and I didn't understand all of the things that were happening to me but I knew (and this is important)....I didn't have to understand. I heard very clearly "Be still and know that I am God". And out of that brokenness God just began to put these words on my heart like "Hold Me Jesus" and "Reign Over Me".
Amy: I think anyone who creates whether it be writing or painting or anything they can get in a rut. What is your process when you feel like you’re stuck creatively when it comes to writing new songs?
JC: I try to write something everyday. Even if it's the worst thing to ever be put on paper, I write. Sometimes that method works and most days it doesn't! I'll tell you another thing that helps when I am stuck creatively is to read. The bible, or inspirational books or the newspaper or whatever. There is always a story waiting to be told in some new and fresh way. So when I'm stuck and can't come up with something as simple as 'Mary had a little lamb', I read and look for stories that need to be told.
And just for my own curiosity did your mother have to tie you down like I do my child to get you to practice your music when you were a child?
JC: I learned to play a lot of stuff by ear and that drove my piano teacher up the wall. She wanted it played the way that it was written on the page and I wanted to play it the way that I "knew" it was supposed to go! So when it came to those songs and lessons, yes, my mom had to give me some "strong encouragement" to sit down and practice. However, outside of that, I did most of my practicing without really ever being prompted to do so. Music just came naturally to me and I knew I loved it so it was easy for me to sit down and teach myself things on the piano and guitar or whatever I wanted to learn at the time. God blessed me with a gift and I simply try to do my best to give it back to Him.
To learn more about John and find out how your church or event can contact him by clicking here.
Now are you ready for the giveaways? John has graciously offered 3 CDs of his album Masterpiece. Here's how to enter:
1. Listen to his newest original song in the video above and leave a comment.
For Extra entries leave a seperate comment for each of the following:
2. Follow John on Twitter by clicking here and leave your twitter handle in your comment.
3. Tweet the following to see if we can get John on The Rick and Bubba Show: "@rickandbubba, @SpeedyCalvin, @bigvox, @BillBubbaBussey we'd like to see and hear @jclaybrookmusic on your show."
4. Like John's page on Facebook by clicking here and leave your Facebook name in your comment.
(I received no compensation for this post. Nor did I receive merchandise for review purposes.)
This giveaway ends end at Midnight Saturday, August 28th. The winner will be announced Monday, August 30th.