It’s easy to connect with Cautious Clay’s music.

Texturized and diaphanous, it can snap with precision alongside quippy surf-rock guitars (“Cheesin”) or float effortlessly above reverberating R&B instrumentals (“Sidewinder”).

It’s clear from the first few moments talking with him that 27-year-old Josh Karpeh is completely unaware of how talented he is. Just three years ago, Karpeh worked in real estate and loosely balanced his creative pursuits with his day job. But as of 2020, he’s been praised by The New Yorker, credited and sampled by Taylor Swift, contributed music to the Insecure soundtrack, and maintained a steady creative relationship with John Mayer, all while he averages around two-million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Even with these accolades, Karpeh won’t go as far as to say that he’s made it. “I’m hopeful,” he told me.

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Posted in: Pop