“Every feeling is temporary”: Clarence James Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles & Isolating Tendencies on “Flake”

Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Texan artist Clarence James shares highly relatable anxieties and mental health struggles on his new single “Flake,” with warm, scratchy, emotionally charged vocals skating over glistening electric guitar.
Stream: “Flake” – Clarence James




I feel like the social standards that we settled for in this modern age have warped some sense of genuine connection.

Clarence James’ captivating “Flake” has a line in that will have you instantly thinking, I know the feeling.

I’m sorry for not hitting you back. I’ve been going through it.”

Anyone who has been through hardship in their lives, especially mental health struggles, understands that all too well. Dealing with those issues, sometimes we worry the ones around us may not get it or that we are just bringing them down. This can result in one retreating, but that extreme hibernation is not always healthy. James deals with this challenge and expresses it seamlessly in the emotive release. The song is entitled “Flake,” as he articulates a feeling of not wanting to do much, in turn becoming a bit of a flake.

Flake - Clarence James
Flake – Clarence James

Flake can often have a negative connotation. Someone may say, “Oh my god she/he is such a flake.” It is rude to consistently bail on people, but we do not always put ourselves in the other person shoes. Maybe they are inconsiderate, but in other cases they could just have a lot on their plate.

“I feel like the sentiment of the song is a popular one among my fellow neurotics,” James confides. “I’ve been struggling to navigate the mental systems that are keeping me from staying in touch with my loved ones. Personally and societally, strong community units are somewhat of a commodity. I personally tend to dwell on it and form bad habits centered around anxiety. These habits far too often lead to self-destruction, and it’s important to understand the positive significance of relying on people.”

Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Clarence James © Anna Elaine



With enough time and awareness, the brutal but comforting conclusion we always reach is that every feeling is temporary.

It can be difficult finding the balance between making sure you are surrounded by a strong support system, yet also taking the much needed time for yourself. That is why “Flake” resonates so deeply.

James is a Texas native boldly fusing indie rock, jazz and hip-hop to create a unique concoction that sets him apart. At just 16 years of age, he picked up a guitar and began dabbling in various fingerpicking styles. Now he is on his way to sizable success touring with bands such as Joy Again and Luna Luna. “Flake,” released March 29th 2024, is off of his upcoming album WHY WOULD I MAKE PEACE WITH THIS DEMON?

The name alone truly demonstrates just how far he’s come.

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:: stream/purchase Flake here ::
:: connect with Clarence James here ::
Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Clarence James © Anna Elaine



A CONVERSATION WITH CLARENCE JAMES

Atwood Magazine: I really dig your sonic palette. It’s such a captivating fusion of indie rock, Jazz and hip-hop. How did you develop such an eclectic quality?

Clarence James: I’m just a big audiophile. I’m able to find a little appreciation in most things I hear. I know what scratches my itch and keeps me interested, so I just do what makes sense with whatever inspiration has integrated into my workflow. I like to think we’re moving toward a post genre society for the most part. To my knowledge, no rules were formally written.

Mentioning your musical style, are there any artists that really inspired the development of your sound?

Clarence James: Standing on the Corner, Slauson Malone, L’Rain, Jerry Paper, Dijon! Mk.Gee, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Thundercat, Brittany Howard, Frank Zappa… I won’t know where to stop.

Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Clarence James © Anna Elaine



Your latest release “Flake” details a path of self-destruction due to strong introverted behavior. Can you talk about the single’s message in more detail?

Clarence James: I feel like the social standards that we settled for in this modern age have warped some sense of genuine connection. Being a human whose image will be perceived online before being perceived personally is a blow to that sense of true connection. I don’t want this sentiment to be seen as inherently negative as these things can be positively applied. But, for me personally, I feel like the modern attitude around some of our social expectations makes me avoidant to a fault.

Oftentimes when dealing with mental health we tend to want to be alone, separating ourselves from others. How have you managed to combat that need for extreme isolation?

Clarence James: I try to be extremely realistic with myself. In times of isolation there’s usually pretty intense feelings that are causing it. With enough time and awareness, the brutal but comforting conclusion we always reach, is that every feeling is temporary. Another aspect of realism is the consistent and unarguable fact that you are not alone.

You suffer from intense anxiety, as do many others, making the track deeply relatable. What is your best advice for those that struggle with similar issues?

Clarence James: It’s hard to find concise solutions for a specific person because anxiety is so situational. But it’s really helpful for me to meditate/contemplate on the comforting aspects of impermanence.

Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Clarence James © Anna Elaine



It’s really helpful for me to meditate/contemplate on the comforting aspects of impermanence.

How has coming from Texan and growing up in the countryside influenced the music you put out today?

Clarence James: Texas is so vast that it’s easy to tap into your individualism if you mind your business. Although growing out of my comfortable, small town mindset was crucial for development. It was a funny reference point to have during the rise of the internet era, being a consciously diverse youth from the country.

Your upcoming album, Why Would I Make Peace With This Demon? portrays a true vulnerability and transcends personal bias. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Clarence James: I’m trying to artistically dissect myself in most of the tracks. When I’m venting my resentment, anger, or sadness in this album, I’m always trying to make it known that it’s a me against myself battle (at least in terms of the “truth” that I’m accepting internally) The title being a question is a huge sentiment to the message. It seems to me that in the deepest moments of our love or anguish, the sentiment of a question feels the most appropriate. A question – the grasping for an altruistic expectation of our insight, it’s the collaborative nature of our inner projections. When I look at the scope of my own influence in this world of opposites, how could we get to the bottom of this duality if not by perpetual questioning?

Clarence James © Anna Elaine
Clarence James © Anna Elaine



You know how to play a few different instruments such as piano and guitar. What is the instrument you feel most connected to?

Clarence James: Although piano drew me in, I fell much deeper into my musical obsession with guitar. I feel like when I started playing, it was an instrument with many obstacles. But breaking them down has always proven to be fulfilling.

What’s on the horizon for Clarence James?

Clarence James: Love, Growth, Prosperity

Any artists or bands on your current playlist you could recommend to our readers?

Clarence James: Most of the previously mentioned inspirations are always in rotation. Got some homies and more niche acts I’m rotating a lot as well – Xaviyer, We Don’t Ride Llamas, Shrink, Maurice II, Contour, Mockjaw, Phrog, The Irons, Saya Gray, Shafiq Husayn.

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:: stream/purchase Flake here ::
:: connect with Clarence James here ::
Stream: “Flake” – Clarence James



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? © Anna Elaine

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