Artists YOU NEED to Know – Clayton Stroope – Thriving Ivory Frontman Coming back to See You

I am from the lovely little bubble of Pleasanton California. There have been a few notable milestones in my life growing up, most of them relate to music and the concerts I attended. My dad was a big fan of rock and took me to see Foreigner, ZZ Top, and Rush very early on. Listening to these early rock vocalists helped form my idea of how I rock singer should look and act on stage.

I don’t think I ever really had a conscious inclination to pursue music as a full-time job. That being said, I never really had any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up or finished college either. It’s pretty ironic that the very day I received my college acceptance letter I called to tell my mom and dad that I wasn’t going to accept the offer because I wanted to pursue music full-time. They were surprisingly supportive and encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Thriving Ivory itself was founded in Santa Barbara. I had headed down there one weekend to party with some friends and ended up meeting Scott Jason, my musical counterpart. We started writing simple songs at first and began getting attention from the local students and girls mostly. We soon formed the band and really just started playing local shows and at parties. These early days were pretty hectic and we really had no idea that it would ever become anything more than just a fun way to meet girls. Things started to get more serious as we started to play in Los Angeles and San Francisco and really began building a local following. One of the highlights was when Live 105 in the San Francisco Bay area started playing our first single Angels on the Moon in heavy rotation. This followed with shows at the Great American Music Hall, Slims, and eventually for the Fillmore. All of this attention built up and helped us to get our record deal with Wind Up Records.

Things are a little trickier now having a family and kids. In the early days I really only had to worry about myself and how I was going to pay my cell phone bill and fill my car with gas. This made spending all of my time on music pretty easily. Now having a family to support and kids to play with, it makes my music life a bit more complicated.

There’s a long list of bands young and old that I would love to collaborate with. I think some of the coolest collaborations come from combinations of artists that are completely outside of each other’s genre. But I’ve always been a huge U2 fan and a Maroon 5 fan, and I think something with the two of them would be amazing.

Probably one of the toughest things about fronting a band is my own insecurity. I’m definitely my own worst critic and I pay attention to every little thing about myself on stage. This is only amplified by having hundreds or thousands of eyes on you but once the show gets started I usually forget this aspect and get lost in the performance. That being said, it’s always awkward watching yourself in videos or hearing your own voice. I can always pick out a wrong note or a missed step on stage.

One thing I definitely think about more than once on stage is whether or not I’m going to hit myself in the mouth with a microphone. There has been more than one occasion where instead of using a tripod mic stand, I used a circle based mic stand. A few times I’ve stepped on the base of the mic stand and have flung the microphone straight into my face and chipped my tooth. It seems ridiculous, but ever since then, I’ve had this crazy fear of smacking myself in the face onstage with the microphone again. I’m definitely on high alert.

One of my proudest musical moments was headlining at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It is such a historic building where so many amazing talents have played. Just standing backstage and sitting on some of the couches in the backstage rooms, you felt like you were becoming a part of history itself. I’ll never forget those shows and would love to play there again.

There are a few things that people might not know about me. When I was a kid I used to do voiceover work for children’s video games. Once recently while in the library with two of my kids I actually noticed my three-year-old playing one of the video games that featured my voice on the library computer. She had no idea, it was a trip. Also, I’m a fairly good beatboxer. I hate doing it on stage, but I used to back in the early days when I thought it was cool.

Right now we’re focused on writing and recording and releasing songs. You catch BRAND NEW Thriving Ivory on Spotify, iTunes, and other digital outlets. Out NOW!th. To learn more about their new album check out this interview.

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