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Updated: May 2

Westleaf Staff

What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is artist, Souda CLay. Clay reps Virginia and his melodic barsy raps paint a vivid picture of his urban reality. We can definitely see Souda performing on stages such as Rolling Loud or Coachella. The VA based MC is making moves in his town so we had to tap in with him! Check out the interview below.

Westleaf Staff: What's up, Souda? Your sound is dope. When did you start making music?

Souda Clay: I started making music around the age of 7/ 8. I would always be on my pop's computer with my older brother, up late nights, rapping on his beats and everything.

Westleaf Staff: That's dope! What city do you represent?

Souda Clay: I’m based out of Virginia Beach, the 757. I was born in Portsmouth, Virginia but I’m from Phenix City, Alabama.

Westleaf Staff: Shoutout to Alabama. So how did you create your stage name?

Souda Clay: I just recently changed my original artist name from Cjxnez to Souda, as in Souda Bay, Greece. Greece was where I accomplished one of my favorite performances. I fell in love with the natural scenery there. I feel that my sound is best found when that exotic, melodic, and thriller feeling is within. I combined that with my name Clayton so when people hear Souda Clay, they’re gonna be introduced to a new era of sound.

Westleaf Staff: I like that your name has meaning. So how did your early life shape your interest in music?

Souda Clay: My interest in music grew early in my childhood years because I was in a choir and grew up in the church. I was a part of the Franchise Missionary Baptist Church choir in Phenix city Alabama. My older brother was in the band, so I watched him play the trumpet. My Mom also played old school Sade tracks when I was younger, and we went to jazz festivals on the riverwalk in Columbus, Georgia.

Westleaf Staff: Dope! So who is your biggest Musical influence?

Souda Clay: Michael Jackson because of his music and the way he was seen as an icon.

Westleaf Staff: Great choice. Mike is a legend. So what makes you a unique artist?

Souda Clay: Through the characters I create in my music because every song has a story or plot behind it. I know I have 3 to 4 minutes to tell the story but I want the listeners to actually pay attention to the lyrics.

Westleaf Staff: Dope! Much respect. So what does art mean to you?

Souda Clay: The world …. art is the world from my perspective. Everything that moves and makes sound is art. From the loud murmurs of the people in the city and moving cars in broad daylight to the sound of chirping crickets on the streets at night. My interest in art grew from an early age as. When I went to Glenwood highschool, I received 2nd place in State assessments for a skyline painting of NYC. A cover for one of my upcoming albums was a self portrait titled ‘Sovereign’ by Christian Robinson which was then gifted to Javicia Leslie, actress (Batwoman) this past Christmas.

Westleaf Staff: That's deep! Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?

Souda Clay: Over the next few years I can visualize my music booming overseas. We’re already in the works of going international…This is what I got out of the Navy to do. It will happen because I put too much work and dedication in my music just for it to stay local. I want my music to be heard everywhere.

Westleaf Staff: I wish you much success this year! Before we go, describe music in three words.

Souda Clay: Timeless, Transcendent, and Therapeutic.

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