West Volusia continues to unveil its artistic and talented community-builders. Cassius Clay, of Cassius Clay Productions, a former resident of West Volusia, returned to his humble beginnings this past week for musical inspiration.
He spent much of his time producing and writing new music for fellow artists.
A national music producer, songwriter and artist developer, Clay, who visited his sister Starr Woods in Orange City this past week, has worked with artists such as French Montana and Lil Wayne.
Clay chose his producer name, he said, because of his admiration for the famous boxer.
“Not only was he strong in his sport in the ring, but he also showed amazing strength for what he stood for,” Clay said. “He donated millions to charity organizations and helped to feed the hungry. He stood for greatness. He is a hero in my eyes.”
Inspired by Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali), Clay said he designs his musical beats to have a message of hope and greatness.
“My drums are loud and powerful like him. My music is a source of inner strength for all who hear it,” Clay said.
He most recently produced the first song, “World Is Yours,” on the new Rich the Kid album, which went gold on the charts. After many years, Clay has now received his first gold plaque and recognition for work in the music industry.
As a child, Clay — then Clay Hillman — lived in Deltona with his parents and siblings. Although the family moved away when Clay was still young, he called Deltona home every summer while visiting his grandparents.
This visit was his first return to the area after 10 years. He currently lives in New Jersey, and has recorded there and in New York and Los Angeles.
“I wanted to tap into my feelings and emotions from this area before heading to Los Angeles to make more music,” Clay said.
While here, he spent time at Blue Spring State Park to be closer to nature and to find love and inspiration for future productions.
Deciding to record in the area for the first time, Clay came in contact with a local recording studio, and was able to spend much of his remaining visit working at The Palace Recording Studio in Orange City. There, he produced music with Contra Saturn, co-owner of Palace.
“I was blown away with the music scene and amazing talent in Orange City. This place has great energy and is a professional studio. I want to do whatever I can to share with others,” Clay said.
“I admire Clay’s introspective melodies and touching beats that are full of emotion, transcend genre stereotype, and are timeless. When you listen to a Cassius Clay beat, you are filled with inspiration and truly molded by Clay,” Woods said.
— Dr. Primrose Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org