The challenges of the Naval Academy are vastly important in shaping many young people, and Clanton seeks a similar challenge within the Annapolis music scene. “I want to listen to a person or group and think to myself 'damn, I need to go practice some more.'” Not one to be outworked, Clanton feels he has a good shot at becoming a well known face around town if he can avoid becoming trapped in a specific genre or at a specific skill level. He's constantly putting free time into his project, and wishes it to grow in the next year. “If I can get 100 people to buy my music or come to a show, I can call that a success for me right now.” But at the end of the day, it's the journey that counts for Clanton. Anywhere music decides to take him is a good place.
Clanton cites UK R&B crooner Ed Sheeran as a prominent influence on the type of performance he'd like to emulate. Artists like Trey Songz and The Weeknd act as templates for the mood he wishes to convey through his craft. J. Cole's work is where Clanton goes to draw from the inkwell. “Lyrically, he's a great story teller. He can vividly paint a picture of his thoughts and emotions throughout his songs.” Even Justin Bieber's “Journals” makes Clanton's list of influence as a “guilty pleasure.” But if Clanton had a chance to play alongside anyone, it'd be piano legend Ray Charles. “There’s no one that can match his ability, or the passion he put in his work.”
Mark Clanton is a frequent performer at Jimi Haha’s Ajar Mic Knight (Open Mic Night) at Metropolitan, and chances are if you come to the show, you'll hear him play his favorite song to cover: “Wayfaring Stranger.” The Navy Men's Glee Club will be at Preakness this year on May 16th, and as always, singing at the USNA Commissioning Ceremony on May 22nd.