The spotlight is on Steamboat teen singer Adia Clark Lay
Adia Clark Lay recalled her younger self “always wanting to be the center of attention.” From the time she first picked up a guitar in second grade, the 18-year-old has become just that. Now a staple on Steamboat’s live music scene, Clark Lay has made a name for herself locally since moving to Routt County five years ago.
She started at the Main Street Steamboat Farmer’s Market each weekend in the summer where she was noticed for her pure singing voice and soulful tunes. From there, she began appearing at open mic nights, playing at bars and restaurants, and is frequently asked to sing the National Anthem at sporting events.
But, she said, it all started with an idol – Taylor Swift.
“I was a big fan of Taylor Swift which is why I started playing guitar and writing music,” Clark Lay explained. “I’ve always looked up to her because she started young, so that inspired me to start young as well.”
She began writing her own songs drawing on her own experiences with her friends and relationships. And when she’s not singing those, she’s covering Taylor Swift – naturally — and another favorite, Tom Petty.
Spanning genres, playing everything from rock to country, Clark Lay cites the musical community in Steamboat as one that has helped her improve throughout her years here.
“My parents aren’t musicians so I had to get that knowledge elsewhere,” she said. “In Steamboat, people have always been very open about offering me advice. Women who are a little bit older than me, in their 20s and 30s, are so willing to tell me about their own experiences – where they have gotten to and how they got there. This community is very open.”
In the past five years, Clark Lay has performed in Steamboat, Clark and Hayden, playing happy hours at Aurum and The Press, doing New Year’s Eve shows at Yampa Valley Brewery in Hayden, and even competing in Opera Steamboat’s Voices of Steamboat competition. She did it all while attending high school full time.
Sunday, April 17 – The Press, 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
May 1 – The Press, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
June 11 – Steamboat Lake Outpost (formally known as The Roadhouse), Time TBD
June 30- Yampa Valley Brewing Company, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
“I think my parents taught me from a young age how to prioritize,” she said. “As a student, that’s your full-time job. My part-time job was as a musician. I would do my schoolwork and then put together my set and practice it so that I could perform on the weekends or after school.”
Clark Lay, who also took classes at Colorado Mountain College, recalls rushing from the college to Aurum to play after class. Her dedication and time management skills served her well as she graduated early and was subsequently accepted early to her “dream school,” Berklee College of Music. She will head east to Boston at the end of the summer to study songwriting there.
In the meantime, she is writing songs, working on a music video and will spend the summer performing in the Yampa Valley.
“People are starved for live music,” she said. “They really enjoy that in Steamboat. To be able to give that to them is really invigorating. The fact that people can connect to my music makes me so happy because that’s what music is – a connection.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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