September 18, 1979 |
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Occupation(s)||DJ, record producer, singer-songwriter, rapper, recording artist, television personality, radio personality, actor, director, writer|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, drums, guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, programming|
|Associated acts||Eminem, Ludacris, Lady Gaga, Diddy, Plies, Akon, Pitbull, Rick Ross, Bun B, Mike Posner, Kanye West, Big Sean, Travie McCoy, Macklemore, 2 Chainz, T.I., Snoop Dogg, Kardinal Offishall, Busta Rhymes, Leighton Meester, JoJo, LMFAO, Riff Raff (rapper), Juicy J, Icona Pop, Nelly, T-Pain, Jim Jones (rapper), Ty Dolla Sign, Sage the Gemini, Ya Boy, Bad Rabbits|
Clinton Sparks (born September 18, 1979) is a Grammy nominated American DJ, producer, songwriter, radio, television personality and recording artist. He has worked with Lady Gaga, Akon, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Tyrese Gibson, T-Pain, The Game, Some of his songs include Lady Gaga's "Bloody Mary," Akon's "Sorry, Blame It on Me", Pitbull featuring T-Pain and Sean Paul's "Shake Senora," Ludacris' "Call Up the Homies," Pitbull's "Shut It Down," Plies' "She Got It Made," and T-Pain's "Kiss Her."
Sparks hosts an award-winning, worldwide syndicated radio show, "Get Familiar w/ Clinton Sparks" (formally known as SmashTime Radio), which first aired in 2000. It was ranked #1 on WJMN Jam'n 94.5 Boston. In 2004, Clinton co-founded the world's largest mixtape website, MixUnit.com. On Sept 9th, 2014 Clinton released his first major label EP titled, ICONoclast featuring Snoop Dogg, T.I., Macklemore, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, Ty Dolla Sign, Sage the Gemini & D.A. on Photo Finish/ Republic Records. This project is the first major release showcasing Clinton as a vocal artist clashing his influences from Rock, Pop, EDM, Hip Hop, R&B & Punk music.
Life and career
Childhood and youth
Clinton Sparks was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts by his single mother. After becoming infatuated with remixes he heard on the radio, Clinton stole his first set of turntables at the age of twelve and began manipulating his favorite parts of recordings to create entirely new songs. Throughout his youth, he entered and won numerous talent shows in and around the greater Boston area as a rapper and dancer. Clinton sharpened his musical production and marketing skills by working with local artists. After Clintons troubled childhood & constant run ins with the law, his mother sent him to live with his father in Randolph, Mass where he graduated from Randolph high school.
As a teenager, Clinton would produce mixtapes, driving along the East Coast to distribute them in whichever way that he could. He cunningly pretended to have a successful online radio show, luring major label artists like Eminem, Common, Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, Kardinal Offishall, Mobb Deep, and Cam'ron to visit his studio (in his mother's basement) and record verses over his beats.
Career beginnings and E! News
Soon after his "online radio show", Clinton established himself as a radio DJ and had both hosted and DJ'd four different radio shows live in four states every week (Hot 977 Boston, Hot 937 Hartford, Shade 45 New York, and 92Q in Baltimore). Later, he would host and DJ Eminem's weekly, successful Sirius Satellite Radio channel, Shade 45.
Sparks released his first official self-produced mixtape to retail stores via Koch Records in 2005 entitled "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed", with the lead single, "Run This City" featuring Diddy and Miri Ben Ari. This led to his first song placement on a major label: "Hold Ya Head" by Notorious B.I.G. featuring Bob Marley off of Biggies' "Final Chapter" album.
In 2008, Ben Lyons contacted Clinton, offering him a role as music correspondent and television personality for The Daily 10 on E! News. This transcended to several other opportunities including music correspondence for Yahoo! Music and the weekly "Smashtime Party" in Las Vegas at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which hosted guests including The Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Ne-Yo, Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee, and other celebrities. Three years later, Clinton decided to take his weekly party by signing a residency deal with The Palms Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, renaming the event "My Awesome Party." At the grand opening, Clinton made his entrance by being lowered from a helicopter through the retractable roof of the hotel onto his DJ set.
Mixtapes and bootlegs
Best known for his influence in the hip hop world, Clinton has released countless mixtapes and bootlegs featuring artists such as Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Ne-Yo, Fabolous, Sean Kingston, Common, Talib Kweli, Eminem, Too Short, Kanye West, E-40, Tyga, Jadakiss, Styles P, Ray-J, The Clipse, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Lloyd. In 2011, he started a series of mixtapes titled "My Awesome Mixtape," which opens with various celebrities introducing Clinton including Diddy's extensive co-signing and Samuel L Jackson altering his famous biblical passage from Pulp Fiction by replacing the Lord's name with "Clinton Sparks."
In 2012, Clinton produced several official remixes including Usher's "Scream," Chris Brown's "Don't Wake Me Up," Pitbull and Chris Brown's "International Love," and Girl's Generation featuring Snoop Dogg's "Boys." In the same year, he also added his vocals and released a string of bootlegs with moderate success including Wolfgang Gartner's "Redline" (Got Me Started Again), Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso "Calling" (This is My Life), and Porter Robinson's "Language" (Let's Drive).
Producer, songwriter, and recording artist
Clinton produced and co-wrote Pitbull's song "Shut It Down" featuring Akon, Lady Gaga's "Bloody Mary," and Akon's "Sorry, Blame It On Me." In 2010, he wrote and produced "Inevitably" for Beyoncé, which was later changed to "Forever to Bleed." The song was to be on the I am... Sasha Fierce album, but was pulled due to being leaked onto the internet.
He has produced music for Ludacris, Plies, Soulja Boy, Jordan Knight, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Colby O'Donis, Leighton Meester, Fabolous, Jim Jones, Jermaine Dupri, Diddy, Bun B, Game, Common, Lloyd, Slim Thug, Warren G, DPG, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé, Far East Movement, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, Clipse, Trey Songz, Ne-Yo, and Mike Posner. In 2011, Clinton signed a record deal with Interscope as a recording artist and released his first single and video titled "Favorite DJ" featuring Jermaine Dupri and DJ Class. Several remixes were done by Benny Benassi, Green Lantern, and Supa Dups, which featured Sean Paul, Game, Jim Jones, Ricky Blaze, and Bun B. This song was the first song introducing Sparks' as a singer & It was also featured on the DJ Hero 2 video game for Xbox 360.
As an artist, Clinton gained popularity with several of his songs including "Sucks to Be You" featuring JoJo and LMFAO and "Ambiguous" featuring Big Sean and Mike Posner. In September 2012 Clinton released a single through Strictly rhythm records titled "Watch You" featuring Pitbull and the Disco Fries (with additional writing by Benny Benassi). Feb 2013 Clinton produced & released a record accompanied with a self-directed video titled "Boston Bass" representing his Irish heritage & using a sample from fellow Irish band, Dropkick Murphys. In the video, Clinton plays an Irish underground bare knuckle brawler & ends the video with a stand off with professional fighter, Shawn Baker. In 2013, Clinton signed a record deal with Photo Finish/ Island Def Jam records and began working on his next project, an extended play (EP) titled ICONoclast. Its lead single "Gold Rush" Features Superstars 2 Chainz, Macklemore & D.A. Wallach of Chester French & made its radio debut on Tues May 21 on Jamn 94.5 in his hometown of Boston. The same day it made its online debut accompanied with the cover artwork on Fader.com. The viral video features actor comedian, Nick Swardson & actor Simon Rex. He also sang on and directed the video for the Disco Fries' single "Killer," which garnered success on international dance charts.
Recently, Clinton recorded in the studio with Riff Raff, producing one record for Riff and one for himself featuring Riff Raff titled "Stay With You Tonight" which is available on iTunes & they shot & released a video for it written by Clinton & features a cameo from Lil Debbie & actor Jay Giannone.
On July 2014 saw the release of his mixtape entitled Digital Detox, with not just DJ remix's but unreleased original solo material as well as exclusive music from his upcoming EP ICONoclast, which is due for release September 9, 2014.
Publicity and business ventures
In 2004, Clinton co-founded the world's largest urban ecommerce store MixUnit.com, which specialized in mixtapes and introducing the world to artists and DJs. This has helped to catapult the careers of artists ranging from DJ Khaled to Dipset. Since 2009, he has been in partnership with Karmaloop, a Boston-based streetwear clothing company. He is also a brand ambassador for Cîroc vodka and coined the phrase "Cîroc Star" subsequently collaborating with Chester French, Diddy, and Jadakiss on a song and video with the same name, and (from 2007-2010) Pepsi Cola. In 2012, Clinton was featured in Esquire magazine and on the front page of The Boston Globe.
Awards and nominations
BMI Songwriter Awards
Boston Music Awards
- 2012 - Outstanding Achievement Award
Mixshow Power Summit Awards
|2014||Clinton Sparks, T.I.||ICONoclast||Producer, Writer of "UV Love"|
|2014||Clinton Sparks, Riff Raff||Non-album single||Producer, Writer of "Stay With You Tonight"|
|2013||Clinton Sparks, Macklemore, 2 Chainz & D.A. Wallach||ICONoclast||Producer, Writer of "Gold Rush"|
|2012||Clinton Sparks, Pitbull||Non-album single||Producer, Writer of "Watch You"|
|2011||Jordan Knight||Unfinished||Composer, Producer of "One More Night"|
|Lady Gaga||Born This Way||Keyboards, Producer of "Bloody Mary"|
|Pitbull, T-Pain, Sean Paul||Planet Pit||Composer, Instrumentation, Producer, Programming of "Shake Senora"|
|Big Sean, Mike Posner, Clinton Sparks||Finally Famous Vol. 3: Big||Producer, Writer, Featured Artist of "Ambiguous"|
|Clinton Sparks, LMFAO, Jojo||MyAwesomeMixtape||Producer, Writer, Featured Artist of "Sucks to Be You"|
|Rick Ross, Ne-Yo||Ashes to Ashes||Producer of "She Crazy"|
|2010||Soulja Boy||The DeAndre Way||Producer of "Boom"|
|Pitbull||Armando||Composer, Producer of "Vida 23"|
|Plies||Goon Affiliated||Composer, Producer of "She Got It Made"|
|T-Pain||Non-album single||Producer of "Kiss Her"|
|Ludacris, Rick Ross, and Bun B||Producer of "Down In the Dirty"|
|2009||Pitbull||Pitbull Starring in Rebelution||Composer, Producer, Programming of "Shut It Down"|
|Tyrese||Non-album single||Producer of "Take Me Away"|
|2008||Ludacris||Theater of the Mind||Composer, Score of "Call Up the Homies"|
|Bun B||II Trill||Producer of "II Trill"|
|Colby O'Donis||Colby O||Audio Production, Producer of "Don't Turn Back," "Sophisticated Bad Girl," "Follow You," and "Thinkin' Bout Ya"|
|2007||Akon||Konvicted||Composer of "Sorry, Blame It On Me"|
|2005||Clinton Sparks||Maybe You've Been Brainwashed||DJ, Primary Artist Producer|
|The Notorious B.I.G.||Duets: The Final Chapter||Audio Production, Producer of "Hold Ya Head" feat. Bob Marley|
|2003||B.G.||Livin' Legend||Remix Producer of "Hottest of the Hot"|
- TV.com. TV.com (2007-02-18). Retrieved on 2011-05-30.
- Clinton Sparks Bio. Tv.com (2007-02-18). Retrieved on 2011-05-30.
- Artist Direct Credits. ArtistDirect.com 2012.
- AllMusic Discography. Allmusic.com 2012.
- iTunes. iTunes.Apple.com 2012.
- WJMN Hosts. jamn945.com 2012.
- MixUnit. MixUnit.com (2012-11-23).
- All American Speakers. Allamericanspeakers.com 2013.
- Interview with JustDoHits. Justdohits.com 2010.
- The Situation UK. Thesituation.co.uk 2011.
- The Boston Globe. Bostonglobe.com (2012-11-07).
- Shade 45 Anniversary Collection. Mixtapetorrent.com (2006-11-07).
- AllMusic Album Credit. AllMusic.com (2005-02-22).
- Official Vimeo for Hold Ya Head. vimeo.com (2009-11-04).
- Las Vegas Weekly. Lasvegasweekly.com 2012.
- Clinton Sparks Official Website. Clintonsparks.com 2012.
- Just Do Hits. Justdohits.com (2011-07-20).
- Hip Hop Magazine. Hiphopmagazine.com (2011-03-23).
- Hot New Hip Hop Mixtapes. Hotnewhiphop.com (2012-07-14).
- iTunes Don't Wake Me Up Official Remix. iTunes.Apple.com (2012-07-20).
- Official Clinton Sparks SoundCloud. Soundcloud.com 2013.
- Let's Drive Bootleg Official Music Video. Fistintheair.com (2012-07-27).
- AllMusic Artist Credits. AllMusic.com 2013.
- Forever to Bleed YouTube Audio Leak. YouTube.com (2011-01-30).
- TV.Com People. Tv.com 2011.
- Gemm.com. Gemm.com 2010.
- Karmaloop TV Trailer. Karmalooptv.com 2011.
- XBOX 360 Review of DJ Hero 2. Ign.com (2010-10-19).
- MTV Buzzworthy. Buzzworthy.mtv.com (2011-06-13).
- Watch You Official Song. Clintonsparks.com (2012-08-15)
- iTunes song for Killer. iTunes.com (2011-08-13)
- MixUnit. MixUnit.com 2013.
- Karmaloop TV Clinton Sparks & Chester French. Karmalooptv.com 2012.
- Cîroc Star feat. Chester French, Diddy, & Clinton Sparks. Worldstarhiphop.com (2010-01-26).
- MTV Newsroom. Newsroom.mtv.com (2008-08-01).
- Photo Spread from Esquire Magazine. Clintonsparks.com (2012-03-06).
- Boston Globe Full Article & Cover Page. Clintonsparks.com (2012-11-09).
- BMI Latin Songwriter Award. Bmi.com 2012.
- Music Drives Us Boston Music Awards. Musicdrivesus.org (2012-12-02).
- Official Grammy Nomination. Grammy.com 2012.
- Clinton Sparks my STORY. Clintonsparks.com 2012.
- RapWorlds.com. RapWorlds.com (2006-10-15).
- Watch You iTunes Single. iTunes.com (2012-08-15).
- Jordan Knight Billboard Unfinished Album. Billboard.com (2011-05-24).
- Born This Way Album Credits. AllMusic.com (2011-05-23).
- Billboard Song Database. Song-database.com 2011.
- DJ Enferno Song Talk & Remix. Djenferno.com 2011.
- DJ Booth Review. DJBooth.net 2011.
- She Crazy First For Music News. NME.com 2011.
- The DeAndre Way Bonus Tracks. Rhapsody.com (2010-11-01).
- Vida 23 AllMusic Song Credits. AllMusic.com 2010.
- Plies AllMusic Album Credits. AllMusic.com (2010-06-08).
- Kiss Her SoundCloud. SoundCloud.com 2011.
- Down in the Dirty Music Video. DailyMotion.com (2008-01-28).
- Pitbull AllMusic Album Credits. AllMusic.com (2009-08-31).
- Take Me Away AllMusic Song Credits for Remix. AllMusic.com 2009.
- Ludacris AllMusic Song Credits. AllMusic.com 2008.
- II Trill AllMusic Song Credits. AllMusic.com 2008.
- Colby O AllMusic Album Credits. AllMusic.com (2008-05-20).
- Konvicted AllMusic Song Credits. AllMusic.com 2007.
- Clinton Sparks Discogs Credits. Discogs.com (2005-03-22).
- Notorious B.I.G. AllMusic Album Credits. AllMusic.com (2005-12-20).
- Remix Producer B.G. AllMusic Song Credits. AllMusic.com 2003.