Feeling the love
I met a lovely couple, Don and Alexandra Clayton, in the studio at Island 92 with Dr. Soc. The Claytons spend about four months a year on Sint Maarten, when they are not back home in Asheville, North Carolina, or travelling the world.
A successful hotel developer and charter-company owner, Don recently retired and finally has the time to get back to his first passions; writing, creating and recording music. He sings about loving his wife, life and appreciating the good things in the world. With so many horrible events happening around the world, Don’s music puts a smile on your face and takes you to a happier place.
When did you set foot on Sint Maarten?
Don: In late 2001 I came to Sint Maarten for business and instantly thought: “Well this would be a nice place to work!” One of the things I really loved about the island was the international presence. There are so many nationalities living together, and I truly experienced it as The Friendly Island. The more we visited, the longer we stayed, and when I retired, living on Sint Maarten for part of the year was a must!
Alexandra: Don brought me to the island around 2009. The first thing I fell in love with was the crystal clear, enticing water; it captured my heart! The food, shopping and people also turned out to be fabulous. I have more of a social life here than back in North Carolina!
Describe your music.
Don: Caribbean Country that makes people smile!
Tell us about the inspirations for your music.
Don: My music is about love! I am in love with my wife, life, sailing and so much more. I want people to embrace the good things they have going on in their life. Not to be naïve, but just to appreciate the positive, instead of putting so much focus on the negative.
Alexandra: People are so disconnected nowadays. It is important to elevate your thoughts and take a moment to truly cherish who is and what is happening around you.
Don: I aim to create songs that build awareness.
How do you create these songs?
Alexandra: It’s a collaboration. Don normally comes up with music, a melody or general feeling.
Don: I often have this broad vision of this song I want to create; and Alex, with her vast imagination, matches the imagery to this idea.
Alexandra: He then compresses this story we have envisioned together to song-lyrics.
You recently shot three music videos on our island. Tell us more!
Don: While we were in Sint Maarten, last March, during our “winter break,” we thought, “Now that we have the time, lots of friends and the perfect setting, let’s bring our video-crew down.” So we flew the crew down and shot enough footage for three videos.
Alexandra: You can see one of the videos called “Lucky Man” on YouTube today; it features island artists and our favourite activities to do on the island; such as kissing and drinking champagne.
Don: The two others – Sailing and Smooth Sailing – will be released in the next few weeks.
Alexandra: We have so much to be grateful for. These three songs are about creating a sense of peace, wellbeing and being grateful for what we have. When you listen to these songs and watch the videos, we hope that people experience these emotions and feelings.
What is next for the Claytons?
Don: New songs of the new album will be released every week or so for the next few months, a bit different than releasing the whole album at once. In September, Alexandra and I are travelling to the Toamotus for an epic adventure of spiritual introspection and writing. Another project we are looking forward to being more involved in is musical education for the underprivileged, which we will be focusing on as soon as we are back.
To hear Don’s music and see Sint Maarten featured in his music videos, surf to www.donclaytonsongs.com or find him on facebook or YouTube.