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Cautious Clay

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Cautious Clay
Background information
Birth nameJoshua Karpeh
Born (1993-01-30) January 30, 1993 (age 31)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • saxophone
  • flute
  • guitar
  • bass
  • keyboard
  • drums
Years active2015 – present
LabelsIndependent, Blue Note

Joshua Karpeh[1] (born January 30, 1993), known professionally as Cautious Clay, is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer.[2][3][4]

Early life and education


Karpeh was born on January 30, 1993,[5] in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Benedictine High School.[6] He graduated with a degree in International Affairs[7][8] from the George Washington University in 2015.[1] His maternal grandfather is an obstetrician who performed as a percussionist while studying as an undergraduate exchange student at Lincoln University in Chester, PA in the 1950s. He is of Kru ethnicity from Liberia.[9][10] Karpeh worked as a real estate agent in New York City for two years and in advertising for a year before pursuing music full-time.[1]



Karpeh learned music production at George Washington University by remixing beats for friends.[4] His music style is influenced by hip-hop, organic and electronic sounds.[3] He plays multiple instruments including the saxophone, flute, guitar, bass, keyboard and drums.

Known by his stage name Cautious Clay, Karpeh, on September 22, 2017 released "Cold War", the first single from his debut EP Blood Type, which was first released on February 21, 2018,[3] and then re-released on April 13, 2018 with the additional single "Stolen Moments".[11]

Karpeh's second EP Resonance, was first released on May 30, 2018 and then re-released on August 22, 2018 with the additional song "Crowned".[12][13] His third EP Table of Context, was released on March 27, 2019.[14]

Karpeh played at the 2019 Billy Reid Shindig in Florence, Alabama.[15] He also featured on the soundtrack of 13 Reasons Why: Season 3 with the song "Swim Home".[16] Swim Home is one of two collaborations with John Mayer, the other is "Carry Me Away", featured on Table of Context.[17]

"Cold War" was sampled on the song "London Boy" for Taylor Swift's seventh studio album Lover (2019).[18]

Karpeh released his first studio album, Deadpan Love, on June 25, 2021, which included previously released singles "Agreeable," "Roots," and "Dying in the Subtlety," and was accompanied by a music video for song the "Karma & Friends".[19] A deluxe version followed on February 11, 2022, featuring four new songs and an additional four tracks of existing songs now featuring strings.[20] In support of the album he embarked on his Karma & Friends tour across North America and Europe.

On November 11, 2022, Karpeh released his fourth EP Thin Ice on the Cake, a collection of three singles previously released throughout 2022 with three new songs.[21]

Karpeh released his second studio album, Karpeh, on August 18, 2023.[22]



Studio albums

  • Deadpan Love (2021)[23]
  • Karpeh (2023)[22]

Extended plays

  • Blood Type (2017 and 2018)[4]
  • Resonance (2018)
  • Table of Context (2019)
  • Thin Ice on the Cake (2022)


  • "Cold War"
  • "Joshua Tree"
  • "Stolen Moments"
  • "French Riviera"
  • "Crowned"
  • "Reasons"
  • "Sidewinder"
  • "Swim Home"
  • "Erase"
  • "Cheesin" (with Cautious Clay, Remi Wolf, Still Woozy, Sophie Meiers, Claud, Melanie Faye & HXNS)"
  • "Agreeable"
  • "Dying in the Subtlety"
  • "Roots"
  • "Karma & Friends"
  • "25/8"
  • "Ohio"
  • "Another Half" (featuring Julian Lage)

Songwriting credits

Title Year Artist(s) Album Credits Written with
(featuring Khalid)
2018 Alina Baraz The Color of You Co-writer/Producer Alina Baraz, Khalid
"Devil in Paradise" Cruel Youth Co-writer Teddy Sinclair, Willy Moon, Michael Tighe, Stelios Phili, Jacob H. LiBassi
"Hey Nice to Know Ya" LP Heart to Mouth Co-writer/Producer LP, Patrick Morrissey
"Matches" 2019 Quinn XCII From Michigan with Love Quinn XCII
"London Boy" Taylor Swift Lover Co-writer Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, Sounwave
"Sober" Sebastian Thirst Sebastian, Bakar
"Actions" 2020 John Legend Bigger Love John Legend, David Axelrod, Sebastian Kole, Oak Felder, Keith "Ten4" Sorrells, Alexander Niceforo
"One Life" John Legend, Anderson Paak, Jeff Gitelman
"Bigger Love" Co-writer/Producer John Legend, Toby Gad, Ryan Tedder, Zach Skelton
"Pluto" 2023 Melanie Martinez PORTALS Co-producer


  1. ^ a b c Ramirez, Erika (December 6, 2018). "Cautious Clay is Rising Fast and Keeping His Balance". Complex. Archived from the original on December 6, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Cautious Clay takes us on a dream sequence in SIDEWINDER Michael Marottaon, Vanyaland, June 18, 2019
  3. ^ a b c WANG, STEFFANEE. "Meet Cautious Clay, the flute-playing Brooklyn soul singer who's become a semi-big deal". Thefader.com. The Fader inc. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Nattress, Katrina (March 5, 2018). "Cautious Clay Talks New EP 'Blood Type,' Working With Petit Biscuit & Shaping His Identity". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Dwyer, Kate (July 16, 2021). "Cautious Clay Makes Music About Love in the Digital Age". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  6. ^ Davies, Hayden. "Australia, it's time to get across Brooklyn's Cautious Clay". pilerats.com. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  7. ^ Herwees, Tasbeeh (March 2019). "First Look Friday: Cautious Clay Wants to Find the Purpose in All Things and Nothing". Okayplayer.com. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  8. ^ Hillware, Amanda (October 2018). "Alumnus, R&B artist Cautious Clay takes on All Things Go Fall Classic". Gwhatchet.com. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Enos, Morgan (August 8, 2023). "Cautious Clay's 'Karpeh' Is & Isn't Jazz: "Let Me Completely Deconstruct My Conception Of The Music"". grammy.com.
  10. ^ Reyna, Luna (May 23, 2023). "Cautious Clay reveals a new record deal with Blue Note Records + more". rizeentertainment.com.
  11. ^ Bote, Joshua. "In Cautious Clay's 'Stolen Moments,' A Lament Crooned Too Late". NPR. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Kramer, Jason (May 30, 2018). "EP Premiere: Cautious Clay "RESONANCE"". KCRW. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  13. ^ Thomson, Zangba (August 22, 2018). "Cautious Clay releases a delicious soul tune, entitled, "Crowned"". Bongminesentertainment.com. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Ingvaldsen, Torsten (May 27, 2019). "Cautious Clay Shares First Project of 2019, 'Table of Context'". HypeBeast. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Shindig Archive". Billyreid.com. Retrieved August 18, 2023.
  16. ^ "13 Reasons Why [Explicit] (Season 3) by 5 Seconds of Summer & YUNGBLUD & Alexander 23 on Amazon Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  17. ^ LeDonne, Rob (September 11, 2019). "How Cautious Clay Linked Up With John Mayer and Scored a Credit on Taylor Swift's 'Lover'". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 12, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  18. ^ Bernstein, Jonathan (September 10, 2019). "How Cautious Clay Ended Up on Taylor Swift's 'Lover'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Hussey, Allison (April 15, 2021). "Cautious Clay Announces Debut Album Deadpan Love, Shares Video for New Song "Karma & Friends"". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  20. ^ Major, Michael (February 11, 2022). "Cautious Clay Releases Deadpan Love". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  21. ^ "Cautious Clay shares EP Thin Ice Cake". Gratefulweb.com. November 21, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2023.
  22. ^ a b "Cautious Clay - Karpeh Album Reviews, Songs & More". AllMusic. Retrieved August 19, 2023.
  23. ^ Hussey, Allison (April 15, 2021). "Cautious Clay Announces Debut Album Deadpan Love, Shares Video for New Song "Karma & Friends"". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved April 15, 2021.