Where Neon Goes to Die explores a complex relationship full of highs and lows. From sultry pop to heart aching ballads, the album retells Clark's travels through the city's nocturnal fantasy land through hooky, R&B-infused synth pop-file it alongside Prince and Frank Ocean - that (maybe ironically) could fill the floors at the same clubs he's singing about.
But of course when Clark writes about his city he's really writing about himself. Where Neon Goes to Die retells Clark's travels through the Miami's nocturnal fantasy land. At its core, it is the story of a musician casting aside the distractions of his youth and discovering not only a new level of maturity, but a new level to his talents. After a string of mixtapes and EPs, and his 2015 debut LP The Lonely Roller, Clark's making music more confidently than he ever has before, sliding effortlessly between effervescent future disco on "Feel This Way” to purple-tinged slow-burn soul on "Easy Fall," a duet with Gavin Turek.
Whether it's someone searching or someone who doesn't want to be found, we can't help but be drawn to the drifters. Steven A. Clark is that next stranger to roll into town, a restless artist recasting R&B. He's a straight-talker in a genre filled with wish-fulfillment, whimsy and cliched beats; think the Outlaw Josey Wales raised on N.E.R.D. and 808s & Heartbreak.
A lone wolf in a world of ego and fantasy-driven R&B, Steven A. Clark makes music from a place that is personal yet universal, mining his own experiences with love and heartbreak to create songs that are inherently relatable. Raised in the '80s and '90s - a time when artists like Michael Jackson, Sade and Seal were shattering music's racial boundaries with their distinctive sounds and global appeal - Clark makes music for that same utopia, but with a distinct, contemporary twist.
"My music is real because it has to be, it's about my life because it has to be," Clark says of his approach. "I don't see any other way."
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Steven A. Clark grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a military town best known as the home of the Army's Fort Bragg. Naturally introverted - he was named "Most Quiet" in his high-school yearbook - Clark found his outlet while studying at North Carolina's High Point University; music took hold of his focus.
Sensing that his artistic opportunities in small-town Carolina were limited, Clark chased his ambitions to Miami and began to explore and challenge his boundaries. The creative result of this period was an EP called Stripes. While Clark was gaining musical footing, he found himself on a personal precipice, falling in and out of love. He channeled the emotions from that relationship and subsequent breakup into his next release, Fornication Under Consent of the King. Behind the playful, suggestive title was an even more mature and coherent effort, bonded by Clark's own ethereal production and frank, inward-looking lyrics.
After some time in the studio and much soul searching, Clark is stepping back out with LATE a 3 song EP for Secretly Canadian. As with previous releases, Clark wrote all of the music and self-produced the majority of it, bringing in composer Sam Hyken to add string arrangements to songs such as "Lonely Roller" and "Just Ride." Dancing in the spaces between a young Peter Gabriel's transparent, generous vision for musical pop art, and Anthony Hamilton's classically tinged R&B, LATE is just the beginning for Clark, a prelude to his fresh, captivating perspective.
"I'm growing as a musician but in the way I live my life, I'm still kind of wondering and searching," Clark says of the new project. "I still feel like I have to share this part of my life... These records are a personal story of true love for the first time, and not being ready for it, and not wanting it. They embody how I feel about love, and my approach to life and making music."