Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Humbert Luna (Biz 3)
Ant Clemons spoke with Okayplayer about his latest album, Happy 2 Be Here, fostering a closer relationship with God, and working with Kehlani.
Ant Clemons is well on his way to becoming a household name. This year, he won his first Grammy for his work on Kanye West’s Jesus Is King. In the past two years, the New Jersey singer has become known for his songwriting ability, having worked with the likes of Beyonce, Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremih, and countless others. He even contributed to H.E.R.’s stunning sophomore album Back Of My Mind which arrived a few weeks ago.
During the pandemic, Clemons released his debut album Happy 2 Be Here, which dissects his inner thoughts on infatuation, dating, and maneuvering through love. The release displays his vocals but it also exposes that he enjoys writing about love. “I love writing about love. So you can always look for love topic and love songs,” he shared over Zoom.
In 2021, Clemons has been focusing on building his artistry and working on his forthcoming project. In addition to working on new music, he mentioned that he’s been centering fostering a closer relationship with God. His physical and emotional health were also areas he paid close attention to while COVID-19 spread throughout the entire globe. The artist evaluated whether or not he was truly focusing on his true calling amid the nation’s shutdown, and also shared that he’s strengthened his closeness with God over the course of the past three months.
Clemons expressed that he’d asked himself: “Am I doing the things that God asked of me? Or am I just doing the things that I’m asking God to do?” His way of working through this question was to get an understanding of how he can help people. Additionally, he took up boxing, would meditate on scriptures, and also talk to God every day.
For his next release, his dedicated fans can expect to hear songs about love. Thematically, the album will dig more into who he is as an artist and human being. “A lot of the different stories I’m sharing are common stories that I think that anybody can relate to — the stories from the heart, like stories of trying to get over love, stories of trying to find new love,” he said. Clemons also shared that this ongoing album process has been difficult but fun. The hardest part for him has been deciding which version of himself he’d like to present through the songs that will be on the final version of the album.
Out today is a new single with Kehlani, “Section,” that Clemons recalled recording back in 2019. The track features a low tempo feel throughout and is injected with sensual lyrics. In the process of recording the track in Malibu with producers Ambezza and Partizio Pigliapoco, he knew he loved it. But, he also felt something was missing. Since he was already working with Kehlani on a few other songs, she decided to hop on it as she also loved the sound of it.
“Literally the next day, I think I came back and she cut her verse right in person,” he said before adding, “Not only [is she] a true talent, but [she’s] like a real sister.” He spoke candidly here and expressed that the singer/songwriter constantly checks in on him and asks him how he’s doing.
What’s next for Ant Clemons? His next album will be released at some point later in the year. Beyond that he’s also getting ready to head on his Happy 2 Be Here tour slated to start on July 29. Chicago, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York City will be stops on the eight-city tour.
“I’m really excited. I didn’t get a chance to actually go out and tour Happy 2 Be Here when it dropped,” he said. “So it is going to be super fun to the fans, and show them some of the new songs.”