Previously published in the 2019 Ouachitonian yearbook
For Clay Mobley, a junior music industry major from Wylie, Texas, music is much more than a mere performance; music is a way of life.
“I grew up singing in church choir, and I grew up watching my dad singing country music opries,” said Mobley.
It was only natural that Mobley decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I auditioned for an opry when I was 12,” said Mobley. “I started singing Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, stuff that was in my range, which at that time was pretty high.”
He continued through the opry circuit from there and eventually started performing on his own.
“At age 14, when I was entering high school, I started doing gigs,” said Mobley. “I taught myself how to play guitar and do stuff by myself and tried to make money doing it.”
Initially, as a child, Mobley sang more than just country.
“I was involved in this thing called Searching for a Star,” said Mobley. “It taught me stage performance and stage presence, and we sang a lot of different genres, whether it was country, rock, pop or some musical theatre stuff. I could sing just about whatever I wanted to at the time.”
However, Mobley’s heart remained with country music.
“It was that main influence of growing up watching my dad sing and just loving country music on the radio,” said Mobley. “I loved singing it, and I loved the storytelling in the songs. It was fun to write, and once I learned guitar that just made it that much easier.”
Mobley had a wide variety of musical influence growing up, including his family.
“My dad is obviously one of them,” said Mobley. “I grew up listening to him and my grandma sing in church, and my grandpa, who can play just about every string instrument, taught me later on how to play guitar.”
Mobley started his own songwriting and recording career as a country artist. The process of songwriting was not as easy as one might assume.
“It was definitely something that I didn’t pick up on super quickly,” said Mobley. “I tried doing it myself a few times, and I probably wrote about four or five simple songs before I started taking classes on it and trying to learn from other people.”
Outside of learning from others, for Mobley, the best tool for writing songs comes from within.
“The process, for me, just comes from having an idea in my head,” said Mobley. “I turn that idea into a chorus and a melodic line for it. I always like to write my chorus and kind of build out – while sitting at a piano or playing guitar – what my first and second verses are. The second verse is always harder for me. I always go ‘chorus, verse one, bridge,’ and I can always get those down pretty well, but that second verse always gets me.”
For Mobley, music is something to be enjoyed.
“It’s definitely something where you want to love what you do,” said Mobley. “Do what you love as long as you’re doing it for either the glory of God or because you think you have a purpose doing it.”
By Mitch Colburn
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