“Ohio” touches upon Cautious’ early experiences growing up in Cleveland. The song struts to a buoyant fat bassline reminiscent of 1970s-era Isley Brothers as Cautious’ emotive tenor voice floats through a dreamy soundscape with lyrics depicting a young Joshua exploring his options in a vast heartland.
Growing up, Joshua’s parents would play classic R&B and jazz around the house. At age seven, he decided to learn the flute. His teacher Greg Pattillo—who later became a YouTube viral music star from his “Beatbox Flute” series—showed Joshua how to approach the instrument in a creative, contemporary way. In high school, he took up the saxophone and played in the school jazz band, as well as jazz groups and rock bands around town. Joshua moved to Washington DC for college where he majored in International Affairs and minored in Jazz at George Washington University. He also began to write and produce tracks himself, honing his own musical identity as Cautious Clay on Soundcloud.
Cautious began receiving wide recognition with the release of Blood Type in 2018 featuring his breakthrough single “Cold War,” a naked call for emotional honesty and transparency that resonated deeply with listeners and has since been streamed more than 150 million times. The song was featured on Issa Rae’s hit HBO TV show, Insecure, and Olivia Wilde’s movie, Booksmart, and was interpolated by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff on “London Boy” from the pop star’s album Lover. Cautious’ other outside writing and production credits include working with Billie Eilish, John Mayer, John Legend, Khalid, Kavinsky, Melanie Martinez, Remi Wolf, and more.
Following two more EPs—Resonance and Table of Context—Cautious released his debut full-length, Deadpan Love in 2021, delivering on his early promise with an album that centered on the balance between oneself and others. With his Blue Note debut, Cautious Clay offers an even more intimate glimpse inside his highly biographical artistic vision. Visit www.cautiousclay.com/tour for full 2023 tour updates and routing list.