Sue Clayton is a seasoned folk artist with a passionate point of view on the art of creating music. Sue Clayton is the sonic persona that songwriter, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Morgan Kibby created to create a personal diary of music. Clayton’s debut album Rookie was released this past friday, showing off the musician’s far-spanning talents in a blend of folk, country, and orchestral sounds.

“I wanted to rediscover making personal work outside of composition with one goal in mind: the pure joy of creating,” shared Clayton on the making of Rookie. “So often our passions that become our work can lose a thread somewhere along the way. I wanted to rediscover the joy I have always held deeply with songwriting and particularly singing.”

Photography by Samantha West

After previously creating music under the moniker of White Sea as well as writing and producing for the likes of Lorde, Lady Gaga, and Harry Styles, just to name a few, Kibby’s debut album as Sue Clayton takes the musician for a spin as she writes for herself. The album itself is nothing short of intimate, as Clayton shows off her killer voice in a diaristic writing style.

“The album came together in two intense weeks with my producer Butch Walker,” Clayton shared. “I was in the desert. My life in a state of upended free fall; and the unwritten words of the last decade of my experience as a woman growing older bubbled up. It was a flash flood of creativity, of honesty, and the record was written in what felt like the blink of an eye because there were no stakes. It was a god transmission. It wasn’t me. It was definitely a cliched channeling of sorts.” 

Photography by Samantha West

The desert most definitely is a gold mine for Clayton, an environment that allowed her to tap into her deepest emotions, free from any and all expectations. With such a storied career in pop, Clayton’s pivot to a singer/songwriter sound is one that truly allows for the musician to thrive.

“I hope this record moves people not because it’s trying to be anything but slices of life I think we can all relate to. A collection of those small life moments that should perhaps mean nothing, yet hopefully when communicated properly, stay written in stone in our minds because of their raw intimacy and tenderness. I especially want women my age to know I see them and I am holding them as many have held me.”

All photography by Samantha West (Provided courtesy of The Oriel)

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