Bonnaroo Artist | Cautious Clay
Bonnaroo History | Newbie
Stage & Time | Friday | That Tent | 5:00-6:00pm
As we’ve been doing for the past several years now, we’re making it our mission to help you get acquainted with many of our favorites acts from Bonnaroo‘s 2021 lineup. However, to say that this year’s Bonnaroo is a bit of an unconventional one would be an understatement. Postponed from 2020, moved later into the summer, and with a lineup, schedule, and enhanced Covid-19 precautions all only announced and finalized mere weeks from the fest’s Sept. 2-5 weekend, we’re starting our preview coverage later than usual now that we have the full rundown, and will only be highlighting a handful of artists we want to make sure are on your radar this year, reflecting the full gamut of the festival’s days and stages, and even some performers from the plaza lineup. Additionally, look out for our full list-style lineup guides for each day of the fest, with many other artist recommendations, to help you navigate Bonnaroo’s stacked and sprawling 20th-anniversary slate.
Tickets for 2021 sold out in record time, but if you already have yours, or you manage to snag some from a reputable 3rd party, we hope you’ll do everything you can this year to keep yourself and your fellow Bonnaroo attendees safe throughout the fest, and to behave as cautiously as possible after to limit your risk of exposure to others. We’re thrilled to have music back, but, as the Delta variant fuels a rise in Covid cases, if we want it to stay back and stay safe, we all need to take care of one another. That said, we’re hoping this year’s Bonnaroo marks another important milestone on the road to normalcy, and some welcome solace for those in attendance. To help you get ready, read on for our Bonnaroo Artist Spotlight.
The most recent addition to this year’s Bonnaroo’s lineup (replacing Omar Apollo, who we’re bummed to lose, but extremely happy with this substitution), Brooklyn by way of Cleveland breakout r&b artist Cautious Clay has had an unbelievably buzzworthy several years since springing onto the scene with “Cold War,” one of the most impactful debut singles in recent memory, in late 2017. Clay- born Joshua Karpeh- began his musical journey at age seven, when he learned to play flute, eventually moving onto guitar and a host of other instruments, before trying his hand at production and beat-making while in college, soon leading him to flex his own vocal prowess and begin crafting original music, something he quit a stint in New York real estate to pursue full-time as his music began to take off. Fusing classic and contemporary r&b and soul music, hip hop, indie pop, jazz, and rock, and elements of electronic and organic production, all tied together by his angelic and soulful voice and heartfelt songwriting style, Cautious Clay remained fiercely independent as he honed his sound across three EPs, Blood Type, Resonance, and Table of Context, from 2017-2019, lighting up the blogosphere along the way, before dropping his highly-anticipated first full-length, Deadpan Love, earlier this summer, featuring a notable cadre of co-writers like Tobias Jesso Jr., Jim-E Stack, Daniel Nigro, Jesse Shatkin, Ammar Malik, and Sir Nolan. In just the few short years since finding breakout success, Clay has earned praise from countless outlets and influential figures like Zane Lowe, collaborated with artists like John Mayer and Remi Wolf, written for John Legend, remixed Billie Eilish, and had his own single “Cold War” sampled in Taylor Swift’s “London Boy.” An artist all but guaranteed to return to Bonnaroo in a few years as a top-line performer, there’s never been a more exciting time to catch Cautious Clay live!
WATCH | “Wildfire”
LISTEN | “Cold War”