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Clinton Kane isn’t afraid to cry. He’s also not afraid to ask questions, laugh, scream, speak his mind, or push the envelope. He might ponder God in one song only to wonder what the fuck went wrong with a relationship in the next. For as wide-ranging as he may be lyrically and conceptually, he’s also a highly disciplined and self-taught singer, guitarist, pianist, drummer, and producer. Heartbreak, nights sleeping on park benches, and an unbelievable trip to the brink of adulthood inspired his 2022 full-length debut album, MAYBE SOMEDAY IT’LL ALL BE OK [Columbia Records].
“If I’m being honest, I was really crying for all of these songs,” he states. “I wanted to talk about the story of my life, all of the good memories, all of the bad memories, and all of the emotions of heartbreak, loss, and love. I’m not a teenager anymore; I’m a little bit of a young older person. It essentially ties together in the story of growing up. After going through a tough time, everyone asks, ‘Is it ever going to be better?’ These songs tap into hopelessness, but also hopefulness. You know someday everything is going to be okay.”
As far as the story is concerned, Clinton bounced around from Perth, Australia to The UK as a kid. On a teenage sojourn to Santorini and beyond, he lived out of a backpack as he gained traction with a series of independent releases before signing to Columbia Records. In 2019, he served up the this is what it feels like EP before guesting on “Drown” by Martin Garrix in early 2020.
Building an international fan base, he generated over 1 billion-plus streams across a catalog highlighted by “Fix It To Break It,” “i don’t want to watch the world end with someone else,” and “remember the mornings.” Plus, he sold out successive headline tours and incited the applause of NME, Billboard, and more in addition to landing on Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Asia.” Along the way, he carefully assembled what would become MAYBE SOME DAY IT’LL ALL BE OK in Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Throughout 2021 and 2022, he preceded the record with two gold-selling singles “CHICKEN TENDIES” and “I GUESS I’M IN LOVE” as well as “GO TO HELL.”
When it came to decide the title, a phone call with a friend proved rather illuminating.
“Over the last year, I lost three family members, and my outlook on life changed,” he recalls. “I was having a conversation with one of my best friends on the phone. The call ended with, ‘You know maybe it’ll be alright’. When that was said, I immediately got chills. I knew exactly how the album was going to play out from there.”
He officially introduced the record with his latest release “14.” Originally spawned at 2am one night, acoustic guitar creaks beneath his emotionally charged vocals as he confesses, “I wish I was somebody else just to feel like I’m enough for myself.”
“It discusses the different stages in my life at 14, 17, 19, and 20,” he reveals. “It references doubt and self-esteem issues. Being Filipino-Norwegian, I’d go to the Philippines, and I wouldn’t feel accepted. I’d go to Norway, and I wouldn’t feel accepted. With this Australian accent, it gets even more confusing. It talks about me not wanting to be who I was. There’s a lot of self-hatred, insecurity, and embarrassment. I didn’t feel like I related to people or fit in.” Elsewhere, “ONE MORE DAY WITH YOU” sees him deal with the aftermath of “the recent passing of a very special person.”
Then, there’s the finale “I WISH I COULD HATE YOU FOR BREAKING ME AND CALLING IT LOVE.” Airy production underlines raw vocals uplifted by distortion and a breathless scream, “You keep on fucking me up in the head.”
“You might hear it and think it’s another song about a girl,” he says. “In reality, it’s about my mom. We had a very complicated relationship growing up. I was on my teenage angst phase. You can tell by the title.”
In the end, Clinton might just make you feel strong enough to let your emotions out too.
“When you hear this, I hope you take away comfort and peace,” he leaves off. “I want you to know you have a friend going through the same thing you’re going through, so you don’t feel so alone in the world.”