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JD Clayton on Going Against His Family’s Wishes To Pursue Music

JD Clayton stopped by The Bobby Bones Show for the first time to share how his dad being a pastor played a role in his music career, why he was not encouraged to pursue a career in music, perform and more!  

JD Clayton and Bobby Bones first met a few months ago at a charity show they were both performing at in Arkansas. Clayton is from Fort Smith, Arkansas and currently still lives there with his wife and daughter and they have another kid on the way. Clayton got his start in music in the church. His father was a pastor and taught him how to play guitar. His father hired a music director for the church, but he left, so since Clayton was the only one there who knew how to play piano and guitar, he took over the role. His grandfather was also very influential on his musical upbringing. He was a bluegrass player and would go around to different prisons and play. Clayton would spend every Friday night with him and learn the basic chords.  

In college, Clayton was a marketing major but was eyeing up Nashville and the music scene. His goal was to make music, but his family frowned upon it. Where he is from it’s not a career people choose because it seems too Hollywood and could lead to alcohol and drugs. But all throughout college he started dedicating himself to writing songs. He would skip class on Friday and drive to Nashville to write songs and dip his toe in the music scene. His friend encouraged him to play at their graduation and after that he got the bug and began playing at the farmers market in Fort Smith. After his parents saw his show and heard songs he wrote and recorded in a professional way, they became more supportive of his music dreams.  

Clayton graduated when his wife still had a semester left of college as a nursing major. They got married their sophomore year and moved to Nashville for three years as Clayton pursued his music dreams. He called his experience in Nashville strange though. As soon as he got to town, COVID happened, which forced him to start working for a landscaping company. During that time, he felt like his music wasn’t going anywhere, but he was able to gain a new perspective that led him the right way. He and his wife chose to move back to Arkansas to be closer to family, and he felt like it was the perfect time because he was feeling secure in his career and like things were starting to fall into place. Clayton has been playing shows for many artists like Parker McCollum, but he shared the coolest opening gig he’s had was for Hank Williams Jr. at a theater in Alpharetta, Georgia. The show was extra special for him because it’s where he and his wife saw a Jack Johnson concert, and he is one of his biggest musical influences.  

While in studio, he played one of the first songs he ever wrote called “Brown Hair, Blue Eyed Baby,” and his song “Beauty Queen.” He is currently working on new music and is almost done mixing his second record which he hopes will come out in a few weeks.  

For more information, follow him @JDClaytonoffical and visit