Clayton Senne
Clayton Senne The way Clayton Senne sees it, a songwriter’s work is never done and that’s just how he likes it. “I’m constantly tinkering with songs, even after they’re recorded,” he explains. “I’m not making these major, sweeping changes, but maybe I’ll alter a certain emphasis or chord. They’re still living, breathing parts of me and are always going to grow and morph and change.” For Senne, whose songs are built around the fluidity of feelings and emotions, it’s only natural that they shift shapes during live sets whether they be his own headlining gigs or opening slots for Marcy Playground, Eve 6, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers or Vertical Horizon. “As a fan, I think it’s incredible to go to shows and say, ‘oh cool, it was recorded like this but the performer killed it in another fashion.’ And I don’t want to shortchange myself musically, I want to feel that freedom onstage and not be confined to completely duplicate the recorded version….if ‘Cry’ is really flowing one night and the crowd is really into it, yeah, we’ll toss a couple of extra lines in there. I’d do myself and them a disservice to just say ‘hey this song is 3:42 and I can’t go a second over.’” It usually takes the spirit and ability of a seasoned professional to approach each concert with this kind of casual confidence, not someone who’s barely into his twenties. But Senne started on his journey decades ago while growing up in Kansas, the son of working musicians. He describes a childhood of piano lessons (from Dad, of course) that began before Kindergarten and of being “a five year old kid in the bars at 3am watching my parents play.” Their artistic influence runs deep, explaining how he can channel such deep blues and soul in each of his songs. On his debut album, Wonderland, Senne just wants let people know who he is, remaining remarkably modest about his own soulful pop. Helping him to introduce himself is MTV, who has already picked “Cry” and “The Sun Will Rise” for their hit series The City and “Wonderland” for The Real World: Brooklyn.