Singer/Songwriter, Aaron Clafton, Talks New Release “Spare Key”

Congrats on the new single, “Spare Key.” How does it reflect where you are in your life and what’s the story behind it?
Thank you!“ Spare Key” is about still holding on to hope that an ex will have a change of heart after a break up. This isn’t something that I’m currently going through, but I think this is something that a lot of people either have experienced or are currently experiencing.

Why did you choose to record at The Amber Sound in Hermitage, TN? A few of my friends have recorded projects there. I listened to some of the tracks that Ryan had produced and thought that he fit the sound I was looking for.

When can fans expect a EP or full album? I’m not sure yet. Right now I’m focusing on growing as a writer/artist and will probably release a few more singles this year.

Did you always want to be a musician or was there a specific moment that something happened that made you think “this is what I want to do with my life.” If so, what was it? I was always drawn towards music growing up. I remember being able to memorize songs really quickly and was constantly singing and making up songs. But, when I was fifteen I randomly entered a songwriting contest sponsored by CMT and made it into the top 64 entries. It was fan voted, so my dad typed up a press release and sent it to our local radio stations and newspapers. They all ran stories and had me on air which was so cool. After that experience I thought this could be much more than just a hobby.

Is there anyone in your family that you can credit as being instrumental in your decision to go into the music field? My grandpa was a huge influence for me. He played piano and accordion for a few country western bands in Grand Rapids, MN. He was the one who inspired me to take piano and eventually guitar lessons.

Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now? Growing up some of my influences were Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, and Brad Paisley. Once I was in High School/College I discovered Eric Church and he has continued to be one of my biggest influences as a songwriter and artist.

What has been your greatest challenge in music business? My greatest challenge so far in the music business has been having confidence in myself. When I first moved here in 2016 it was really hard for me to dive into the music scene because I was intimidated by how much talent was here. It took me a year and a half to really start co-writing and playing shows. I wish back then I had the confidence that I have now.

What excites you most about the Nashville music scene right now? I love that everyone here is so supportive and that there are no limits on genre.

Can you remember your first trip to Nashville? Yes, I first visited Nashville for a family trip when I was 16. What really sticks out from that trip was going to the Grand Ole Opry and seeing Little Jimmy Dickens, writing my name on the wall at Tootsies, and eating all the biscuits and fried chicken at Loveless Café.

Now that you have been in Nashville awhile, if you designed your own food tour, which restaurants/bars would be on your list of places to visit? I feel like I haven’t even made a dent in the Nashville food scene, but my tour would consist of brunch at Party Fowl, ice cream at Jeni’s, beer and pizza at Tailgate Brewing, bar hop on Broadway (The Stage, Roberts, and AJ’s are my favorites), and then finally a hot dog from Daddy’s Dogs.

Coming from Minnesota to Nashville, how would you describe the different food scenes? Growing up some of my favorites were walleye, wild-rice meatballs, and tater-tot hot-dish (casserole). Minnesota has a strong Scandinavian, Nordic, and German heritage and I think a lot of the food is influenced by those traditions. It’s hearty and warms you up in the brutal winters.

Which three things are always in your home refrigerator? Stok Cold Brew coffee, Brussel sprouts and a case of beer.

Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? I would want to be sponsored by Leinenkugel’s Beer because I love summer shandy and their other beers. I also love that they’re a Midwest company!