Clayton Senne and The Unfair Advantage

Clayton Senne and The Unfair Advantage

 Orlando, Florida, USA
BandPopSoul

On his debut album, Wonderland, Senne wants people know who he is, remaining remarkably modest about his own soulful pop. Helping him to introduce himself is MTV, who has already picked “Cry” and “The Sun Will Rise” for their hit series The City and “Wonderland” for The Real World: Brookly

Biography

The way Clayton Senne sees it, a songwriter’s work is never done and that’s just how he likes it. Onstage for the fifth night in a row, he plays his crowd-favorite “Walk Out The Door,” but this time adding in just enough tweaks and twists to keep it fresh and fun - not just for his fans, but every bit as much for himself. Such is the life of a singer/songwriter who loves the road and plays a different show each night, even if the set list remains the same.

“I’m constantly tinkering with songs, even after they’re recorded,” he explains. “I’m not making these major, sweeping changes, but maybe I’ll alter a certain emphasis or chord. They’re still living, breathing parts of me and are always going to grow and morph and change.” For Senne, whose songs are built around the fluidity of feelings and emotions, it’s only natural that they shift shapes during live sets whether they be his own headlining gigs or opening slots for Marcy Playground, Eve 6, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers or Vertical Horizon. “As a fan, I think it’s incredible to go to shows and say, ‘oh cool, it was recorded like this but the performer killed it in another fashion.’ And I don’t want to shortchange myself musically, I want to feel that freedom onstage and not be confined to completely duplicate the recorded version….if ‘Cry’ is really flowing one night and the crowd is really into it, yeah, we’ll toss a couple of extra lines in there. I’d do myself and them a disservice to just say ‘hey this song is 3:42 and I can’t go a second over.’”

It usually takes the spirit and ability of a seasoned professional to approach each concert with this kind of casual confidence, not a youth whose peers are still taking shaky, tentative steps toward adulthood and careers. But Senne started on his journey decades ago while growing up in Kansas. The son of working musicians, he describes a childhood of piano lessons (from Dad, of course) that began before Kindergarten and of being “a five year old kid in the bars at 3am watching my parents play.” Their artistic influence runs deep, explaining how he can channel such deep blues and soul in each of his songs. And their professional influence is even more obvious - becoming a songwriter and musician was a natural, and extremely supported, choice for their son.

Despite such a seasoned approach to his work, Senne remains remarkably modest about his own soulful pop. On his debut album, Wonderland, he aims to just let people know who he is. “I want it to be something I can have confidence behind and use as a great foundation. I want to hand it to people and maybe open some really cool doors as much as I want my niece or nephew to love it.” And those doors are indeed swinging open, including the front gates at MTV, who picked both “Cry” and “The Sun Will Rise” for their hit series “The City” and “Wonderland” for The Real World: Brooklyn.

Wonderland is a personal tome, a collection of songs that reflects his life, songs that tell of the heartbreak and mutual destruction of a 3 year relationship that was headed toward the altar. “A lot of the lyrics on the album are about my (and friends’) experiences, but recently when the audience starts singing along with me at shows it’s been making me hear them from a whole new perspective,” he laughs, “and it makes me want to be an even better writer.”

While Senne is a multi-instrumentalist and a complex songwriter, he chose to include two tracks on the album that are stripped down, pairing his vocals with only a piano. “There’s that temptation to squeeze too much into a song, just to sort of say ‘hey look at all this cool stuff I can do,’ and I won’t lie – I certainly went through that phase,” he admits. “But I’ve grown so much and feel so comfortable in my own abilities that I don’t feel like I have to overdo it.”

While working on the album, Senne penned “The Sun Will Rise,” a slow ballad that actually brought him to tears as he wrote the lyrics. “I’m amazed that even with all the emotion I put into the song, I think it’s the album’s best crafted one, too, totally stripped down to chords, melody and lyrics.” His emotion breaks through again on “Cry,” the first song Senne’s stepfather gave his stamp of approval on. “He’s an incredible musician,” Senne raves, “a real bluesman and when he said ‘dammit son, I wish I had wrote that, can my band cover it?’ it was the height of my career. I learned so much about what it means to feel each note or word in a song from him.” Wonderland has its share of fun, too, with songs like the title track, an uptempo, fun crowd-pleaser where he strives to create something broad enough for his audience to love while bringing even the most cynical songwriter to his feet right alongside them.

From a songwriter who is working on 20 new songs at any given moment (“my ADD is very prolific,” he laughs) while reworking his entire repertoire whenever he hits the stage, Wonderland is every bit the calling ca

Lyrics

The Apartment Underneath

Written By: Clayton Senne

Well she was pounding on the floorin
It was four o'clock in the mornin
I was loud, she needed sleep
Prob'ly had to get up early
I convinced myself don't worry
I would apologize when we meet
See I was beating my piano
A whipping boy for all the
Demons that keep my company
There were words only she was hearing
Permeating her ceiling
An unwilling party to my grief
-Chorus-
She heard me cheer, heard me weep
Heard the secrets for my pen to keep
My best friend a total stranger to me
She heard joy, she heard pain
She knew it all she knew everything
The girl in the apartment underneath

Depression's dancing with the devil
One foot on earth, one in hell
I was trying to stay one step ahead
Well she had to have been listening
Cause I sure as hell wasn't whispering
When I yelled in the mirror
'You'd be better off dead'

-Chorus-

The next day, I found that letter
Outside, unsealed
Getting abused by the weather
In caring cursive the envelope said
A few notes for the music man

It read
I've heard you cheer, heard you weep
Heard the secrets for your pen to keep
I know all about you eventhough you don't know me
I've heard your joy, felt your pain
Don't make a mistake and end everything
Signed, the girl in the apartment underneath

She heard me cheer, heard me weep
She heard the secrets for my pen to keep
My best friend, a total stranger to me
She heard my joy, felt my pain
And stopped me from ending everything
I was saved by the girl in the apartment underneath

Floodgates

Written By: Clayton Senne

It started as a trickle, like any other bad day
I smiled despite the sadness, I kind of missed the rain

The water’s falling
The clouds come storming in
Just wanted to dance in the rain
But somehow ended up weathering the storm again

Close out the world, let nobody know you’re down
It doesn’t feel as deep when nobody else is around

The water’s rising
Should I sink or swim
I’m going under
What’s the point in breathing if I’m only gonna drown again

Should I take one last breath
To feel the air to feel anything
The current’s gotten so swift
I fear the floodgates are flowing

I hear all is quiet once you accept the inevitable
Though I might struggle for a while, when it ends I’ll be peaceful

The water’s advancing
And my thirst for life’s run dry
Mama I’m not ok with dying
But atleast I’ll finally know what’s waiting on the other side
And if I can I’ll be waiting for ya on the other side

Not taking one last breath
To feel the air to feel anything
The current’s gotten so swift
I fear the floodgates are flowing

Though sometimes fighting’s worth the cause
Next time before I draw arms, I’ll pause
Cause I was never water-tight
A baby born beneath the falls

Not taking one last breath
Cause I don’t wanna feel anything
The current’s gotten so swift
I fear the floodgates are flowing

Are You Happy Now

Written By: Clayton Senne

Nine to fiver lifer, trying to climb climb climb
Works harder than any other, putting in 30 hours over time
So he can pay the bills for two cars and his little white fence
Got a wife, two kids counting on him to survive

Are you happy now?
Or did you see things a little bit differently?
Are you happy now?
Or is this the way you want life to be?
Tell me are you happy now

Mercedes is a dancer
Has good parents, had a nice place
That club is gonna be her cancer
The less she wears, the more she makes

So she can pay the bills
Maxed credit cards and a habit of pills
If she don't pull up now
She isn't coming out of this dive

-Chorus-

Can't stop you now, can't change your ways
But what would the kid in you say about you today?

Are you happy now?

Tonight (Can You Feel It)

Written By: Clayton Senne

Tonight, we're going out in style
There's no point to denying why we're here
Your short skirt and submarining neckline's
Got me wondering what you're hiding under it

Loose lips, the drinks are saying what we're thinking
Our bodies mirror the words we're speaking

Can you feel what I'm feelin too?
I know you need me, like I need you

The bass pumps, our bodies move in locomotion
The friction's growing, there's no slowing, we're making steam
Your hips answer all my carnal questions
The morse code music's sending signals
I've got the key

Translating, both anticipating
It's gonna be a long one tonight

Music, Sweet Music

Written By: Clayton Senne

Little boy after school all alone
He had a house and a family
But he never felt at home
He’s been through more than his fair share
Between divorce abuse and drugs
But came out quite nice considering
He got fists instead of hugs

And when times got bad
The only thing he had was

Music, sweet music

Little boy fell in love as a young man
Well she’s the rhythm of his heartbeat
The melody in his hands
She’s the touch on his fingertips
The words on his lips
Not even Adam and Eve ever felt like this

The only one who’s been there through it all
…and her name is

Music, sweet music
He fell in love with music, sweet music
And he falls deeper everyday

She drives him crazy
But all the good ones do
When he thinks he’s given her everything
She says ‘ I need a little more from you ‘
Well I’m all tapped out
And I’ve got just three things left
So I made the call, gonna give it all
Take my life, my soul, my breath

I love you music, sweet music
I need you music, sweet music
And we fall deeper everyday

She loved that boy and who he turned to be
A man before her eyes what a sight to see.

Discography

2008 - Wonderland EP
2011 - ...and her name is Music

Set List

Set list varies, depending on venue and set length but are available upon request. If covers are needed, CS&UA know many current and old hits.