Post Malone knows exactly what he’s doing and you better pay attention. CLEVER, his latest signee to Posty Co., has a true rags to riches story and is known as the music industry’s best-kept secret. CLEVER has accumulated 100+ million streams and has worked with a long list of artists including David Foster, Snoop Dog, Justin Bieber, Juice WRLD and most recently Chris Brown, who is featured on his latest single Rolls Royce Umbrella.
I had the opportunity to question CLEVER and listen to Rolls Royce Umbrella prior to it’s release. Here’s what I discovered about the Alabama native;
You have mentioned in other interviews that you began this journey writing poetry at first. When did that transition into adding music and how did you go about doing that actually?
CLEVER; I was actually in school reading the lyrics from a CD insert of a rap group that my buddy was listening to- and I compared their lyrics to my poetry and I honestly felt like they couldn’t write as well as I could. I was only 11 years old and I always sang in church as a child and I just gave it a try. I started writing poetry but with a melody and I started developing my style and here we are.
Did you have a particular artist that inspired you to take the path of a music career?
CLEVER; I was a huge fan of Jay-Z. I remember mimicking his delivery and I was blown away by his wordplay and punchlines and all his different rhyme schemes. I was also raised on 70’s rock and was influenced heavily by Robert Plant- and I really think you can hear both of those artist in my music today. It’s not necessarily what I’m aiming for- but I can definitely hear it.
Photo of Joshua Tyler Huie AKA “CLEVER”
As a kid that was writing poetry and exploring music, did you have a group of other friends and artists doing the same that helped push you at all?
CLEVER; I definitely had a few friends in school that started writing lyrics back and forth with me. There was also an artist that was a senior when I was a freshman that was selling his CD’s and at the time it felt like rocket science to have your own album.
Many parents want the best for their kids and think college or the usual 9-5 career is what is best. Were your parents/family supportive in your pursuit in music?
CLEVER; At first, my parents of course wanted me to have a Plan B in case it didn’t work out- but I would say they were always supportive. They bought me an electric guitar at an early age and my mother always instilled it in me that I could do anything I set my mind to- and I really believed it. My dad would always stop the cassette tapes in his truck and say “did you hear what he just said” and then he would tell me the lyrics and we would get a kick out of it- it was one of those moments that really inspired me to write songs- just knowing the kind of impact it could have- the bond that it could create. And on down the road my dad would be using a clicker to count heads going in the door at my shows to make sure the owners weren’t screwing me over. It became obvious at some point that there was no Plan B.
When was the name “Clever” born and how did that come about?
CLEVER; It came from a battle rap competition I did at 14- where this guy kept throwing “W” lines at me. He was referring to a win. “I’m gonna take the W” and so on- and I remember trying to counter his verse with a bunch of “L” lines. Like I would give him a loss. and I threw out a line that said “you can call me CLEVER cause I won’t C an L EVER” like I won’t see an L.. or see a loss.. and after the show I had a guy come up to me and say “what did you say your name was? did you say Clever?” and at first I said no- but then I told him I really liked it- I was a big fan of Common and it reminded me of that- and I was only 14 so I didn’t feel like it was too far down the road for me to change my name.. and it stuck ever since.
You have written for many other artists in multiple genres. How and at what point did you realize you could do this as a full-time career? Were you assisted by a publisher or manger, etc?
CLEVER; I’ve definitely had a great manager that’s helped me grind for years- but no publishing help as of yet. I’m still looking for a pub deal- weighing my options. But I’ve had a big local hometown following and could sell out small venues within a 100 Mile radius from home for quite some time. The love that I would get from the crowd let me know that I was made for this.
When was that first “Oh shit” moment when you realized that music was going to pay off for you?
CLEVER; I was writing songs for big artists back in 2014 and felt like I’d find my way in regardless of how it came. I eventually got signed by Lil Bibby at Grade A Productions late 2018- I was featured on Juice WRLD’s sophomore album early 2019 and I think that was definitely the turning point. Juice had such a strong buzz that it really opened a lot of doors for me.
Let’s get to Post Malone and Juice Wrld. How did these relationships begin and in what capacity are you working with Post Malone now?
CLEVER; Juice was posting about me on Instagram- he heard some stuff of mine and wanted me on his second album and was reaching out to his fans to tag me in a post he made posting my music. I flew out to LA and the first thing he said to me was “sometimes loyalty comes with a lawyer fee” which was a quote from one of my songs and he said “you really said some shit right there” and then he drove off on a dirt bike down the road outside of this Beverly Hills Airbnb. Later that night he was dancing on the couch and standing on the kitchen island popping champagne bottles.
With Post Malone, people were tagging me for weeks in videos of him listening to my music- one video from backstage at one of his concerts and other videos of him in a car listening to it. One day I get a facetime call from Tyla Yaweh’s phone and there’s Post Malone sitting their telling me he likes my music. We had a mutual friend in Tyla and I flew out to Minnesota to link up with them at their next show. We immediately clicked and next thing I knew we were discussing business.
What would your conversation be with Juice Wrld today?
CLEVER; Wow.. that’s a tough one. First I would tell him that I miss him- the world misses him- that we took a loss the day he left- and I would tell him that I wished that he could have seen this. He knew about me adding Post Malone to the team as another label to collaborate on this project but he never got a chance to actually see it as a done deal. I would tell him I wouldn’t be here without him and that I really wished he could have seen this.
How does it feel to be releasing “Rolls Royce Umbrella”? Personally, I feel like when any artists exposes their work it’s like revealing their soul to the public. I have mass respect for that and I’m curious how you feel when putting your music out there for people to judge.
CLEVER; That’s the way it is- you put it out there to be loved or hated- and you can’t have one without the other. But I don’t think you should approach it in fear that the world may or may not like it- you just got to put yourself out there and just know that the ones who love it are the ones that matter. To focus any type of attention on the ones that don’t matter- takes away from those that do. You just gotta do what you love and know that there’s a group of people out there that will like it the same as you do. Just put your head down and get to work
What else is in store for Clever in 2021?
CLEVER; I’ve got some big features on this album.. Juice WRLD, Post Malone, Lil Baby, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Isaiah Lyric. I’m going to be featured on Chris Browns next album as well as Post Malone’s next album also- so there’s definitely big things in the works. But I guess you’ll just have to see for yourself. Follow me on instagram for more @crazy