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George Clanton: From Vaporwave God to True Frontman

George Clanton: From Vaporwave God to True Frontman

WHO IS GEORGE CLANTON?

No, his name isn’t a reference to George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic fame — George Clanton is, in fact, his real name. He’s also an incredibly multi-talented artist with a penchant for smacking listeners across the face with nostalgia while both singing AND producing his tracks, making for an introspective and dreamlike sound. Having begun his music career more or less by accident, he’s grown from making a name off the Internet-beloved genre of vaporwave to becoming a fully-fledged producer/singer/songwriter/frontman in his own right.

Lately, Clanton’s profile has been raised more than ever following the release of his newest album, Ooh Rap I Ya, in July. So how did this Virginia native get on his journey toward musical prominence? And how did he go from a niche vaporwave artist to a full-on electronic dynamo, all while remaining strictly DIY?

Photo: George Clanton/100% Electronica

HOW GEORGE CLANTON GOT ON THE MAP

Having grown up on punk rock, George Clanton’s musical identity strays quite far from that world, but music has been a part of his life since he was young. Born in Ridgeway, VA, Clanton started his career as a musician after accidentally downloading a mislabeled song by the Brian Jonestown Massacre on LimeWire. Once that sudden event led to him discovering a whole bunch of music he hadn’t heard before, he decided to become an artist himself. 

Having occasionally made music under other pseudonyms like ESPRIT 空想, Kid’s Garden, and Mirror Kisses, Clanton has discographies under those pseudonyms dating as far back as 2007, when he was only 19. Clanton has gained experience and attention partly through making music in the vaporwave genre. However, his more recent material recalls old-school British genres like baggy and Madchester, as well as trip hop, chillwave, dream pop, hypnagogic pop, and alternative dance.

Clanton’s debut album under his birth name, 100% Electronica, was released in September 2015 on his own indie label of the same name. The label hosts releases from his own projects, as well as other vaporwave artists. The album was initially meant as a Mirror Kisses release before deciding to put it out under his own name, as he no longer liked the Mirror Kisses moniker. His 2018 sophomore effort, Slide, adds live drums and electric guitars to his sound, while still remaining true to his trademark vaporwave identity. Currently, Clanton is riding the wave of his newest album, Ooh Rap I Ya, which boasts the anthemic singles “Justify Your Life” and “I Been Young”, the latter being inspired musically by ‘90s acts like Seal and Savage Garden.

Photo: Alex Bienaime

GEORGE CLANTON’S KEYS FOR SUCCESS

Known not just for being an artist but a record label head, George Clanton seems to pride himself on his DIY approach, marketing his music while remaining fiercely independent. He’s also taken opportunities to promote his own record label, 100% Electronica, which he co-founded with his wife and fellow artist/Virginia native Neggy Gemmy. 

Clanton has hosted and curated his own music festival, 100% ElectroniCON, since 2019. The following year, he got a chance to work with the lead singer of one of his all-time favourite bands/the first band he ever saw live: Nick Hexum of 311. The duo released their collaborative album in July 2020, and was completed thanks to email exchanges between the two, never actually meeting in-person during the making of it.

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Not satisfied with simply being known as a vaporwave act, Clanton would diversify his sonic palette significantly with the release of his second album, Slide, in 2018. His ability to build up anticipation for his upcoming releases also arguably plays a role, as he went five years between releasing Slide and Ooh Rap I Ya. Although his social media presence still has some growing to do, Clanton has more than 61,000 Instagram followers and nearly 340,000 monthly Spotify listeners.

Photo: Brian Hamelman

WHAT’S NEXT FOR GEORGE CLANTON

George Clanton has been spending much of 2023 on tour, first as an opening act on Caroline Polachek’s North American tour before playing a run of headlining shows in Europe during the summer. Clanton would then tour Australia before returning to North America for his own headline tour in September, which is still ongoing. His run of American gigs will end November 29, when he performs in Brooklyn. According to his label, 100% Electronica, his touring schedule for Ooh Rap I Ya is “the most extensive of his career.” For all further updates about future releases and tour announcements by George Clanton, be sure to look through his social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud, TikTok) and his artist page on the website of his record label, 100% Electronica.

FAQS ABOUT GEORGE CLANTON

Where is George Clanton from?

George Clanton was born and raised in Ridgeway, VA.

How old is George Clanton?

George Clanton is 35 years old, and was born on January 12, 1988.

What is George Clanton’s full name?

George Clanton’s full name is George Wayland Clanton Jr.

Who is George Clanton signed to?

George Clanton is signed to his own independent record label, 100% Electronica.

What was George Clanton’s breakout song?

George Clanton’s first two tracks to break him out to a wider audience are “Livin’ Loose” and “Make It Forever”, the opening two songs on his 2018 sophomore album, Slide.

Who influenced George Clanton’s music?

Among George Clanton’s musical influences are 311, Seal, Savage Garden, New Order, and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, while also taking influences from genres like grunge, shoegaze, house, acid house, trip hop, baggy, and electro-pop.

What’s next for George Clanton?

George Clanton is currently in the middle of a tour of the United States, which ends November 29 in Brooklyn, NY. No other tour dates or plans for new music have been announced as of late.

How can I stay updated with George Clanton's music?

You can keep up to date with George Clanton and his future plans for new music by checking his socials (Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud, TikTok), his artist page on the website of his label, 100% Electronica, as well as his YouTube channel and any streaming platform.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave MacIntyre
As a student in the journalism program at Concordia University in Montreal, I specialized in both print and broadcast journalism. At the moment, my key strokes are busy writing content for Cult MTL, Exclaim!, RANGE and many others.

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