“Anytime you get to play on the same stage as your idols, it’s a huge honor and opportunity to hone your craft. Watch and learn from the best of the best.”

The above statement has rung true for and applies to so many new artists in country music today. It’s probably the most obvious, but also truest piece of guidance a new artist can be given, and no doubt helps them become the rising country stars they are today. Clayton Anderson is one of those artists, has taken his own advice and is using it to his advantage. The young singer has already been fortunate enough to open for major artists over the years, such as Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton and Jimmy Buffett. During his time on the road for his own tour, he’s taken what he’s learned from those A-List entertainers and used it to help perfect his own dynamic stage show.

“It’s all about high energy and crowd interaction. I feed off them so much,” Anderson replied when I asked about his live show for those who have never seen him perform before. The Indiana native definitely appears to have a stage presence that seems to be resonating with fans, as Anderson has gained quite the assemblage of supporters over the years during his time on the road who continue to show up. And lately they’re showing up and singing along to Anderson’s latest EP he released in November of last year entitled Only to Borrow. The six-song project is the 2nd EP and 3rd music release overall by the Hoosier singer, and it absolutely reflects who Clayton is as an artist, more so than his previous albums do.

While Anderson’s sound is certainly Midwestern country, he no doubt pulls inspiration from artists like Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and Bob Seger. These influences are heard throughout Clayton’s music, but especially on his Only to Borrow EP. Musically, it’s full of upbeat tempos and solid guitar riffs; lyrically, each song tells its own feel good story with small town themes of love, life and everything in between.

“I loved 90s music growing up. You just find yourself trying to emulate your heroes and that’s where they are a part of your music,” Anderson explained to me in an email interview. It’s definitely clear on this EP that Anderson was channeling his inner Springsteen and Mellencamp. Each song on Only to Borrow manages to capture that feeling of enjoyment we all feel when we hear a good song. Whether those songs are about spending time with our special someone or reminiscing about fun times had, Anderson captures it all in these 6 songs. The song and current single fans seem most excited about at shows is the groovy track that strays a little from Clayton’s usual sound.

“In The Dark” was a song that I had the melody for stuck in my head for a good while. It’s a little different from previous works of mine, much more produced. But I love it and it seems others do too! And heck, iTunes even put it as one of their top 50 country tracks of 2016. It’s just such a fun catchy little song.”

Although Anderson isn’t currently on tour, he does have a few spring and summer shows already scheduled, including the Indy 500 Legends Days Concert with Keith Urban and Dustin Lynch, he did tell me in our email interview that he is working an upcoming tour he’ll hopefully be able to announce soon. Even though being a new artist can sometimes be challenging with everyone and their brother using social media to promote their music, Clayton does well and doesn’t hesitate to give credit to his fans for that.

“Luckily, I’ve got some of the best fans in the world on there with me trying to get the word out.”

Clayton Anderson is definitely one up and coming artist to keep your eye on this year. His story is the epitome of what his songs are about, which is no doubt why they’re so good. He’s country music’s small town hero, and he’s winning over more and more fans with every show he plays and every Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat post he makes. While some new artists can struggle to find their place and their sound in the country music genre today, make no mistake Clayton Anderson knows who he is and isn’t afraid to share that with people. In a genre that is constantly being ripped apart from the inside out by critics, fans and even certain artists, Clayton has some simple words of wisdom for his fellow artists.

“If it feels good and sounds good and ain’t hurting anybody… Let it rip.”