Artist Spotlight - Clay Crosse
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Clay Crosse - The FedEx Driver Turned CCM Singing Sensation

It's the storybook tale of a boy from the small town of Memphis, Tennessee, who made it big in the world of contemporary Christian music.

Clay Crosse was born Walter Clayton Crossnoe in Memphis, Tennessee. The youngest in a family of five children, Clay never dreamed of fame and fortune with a singing career. In fact, Clay did not sing in public until the age of fourteen. "The song was 'Pillar of Ages,' and I was very nervous, but the people {at his church} were very encouraging." As Clay grew up, his interest in singing grew. Unfortunately, one thing stood in his way. Clay had terrible stage fright. A stint as performer at a local theme park erased many of his fears. As his confidence blossomed, Clay recorded a demo tape. This demo found its way into the hands of Terry Hemings, the former president of Reunion Records. "When I listened to the demo, I knew we would sign him."

However, visions of fame didn't cloud Clay's mind. He had recently married his high school sweetheart, Renna, and Clay could not rely on a possible music career to provide for his family. So Clay continued to work as a deliver for FedEx. But Clay's days as a FedEx worker were numbered.
Clay's first album, "My Place Is With You," catapulted him to the forefront of the CCM community. Clay performed at numerous concerts and appeared on numerous television programs. Two Dove Award nominations secured Clay's place in the CCM elite. Clay Crosse had arrived.

The next two years signified a time of growth for Clay. He recorded his second album, "Time to Believe," and watched his songs climb up the CCM charts. His wife, Renna, also gave birth to their first child, Shelby. Reunion Records' golden boy was enjoying a truly golden life.

When it came time to record his third album, "Stained Glass," Clay decided to stretch his musical muscle. Clay decided to pen two songs, and the experience enriched him as an artist. "I think listeners see more of an artist, when they know he writes {his own music}. On this album {"Stained Glass,"} I co-wrote two songs - from nothing on two albums to being a part of two songs on this one. It may not look like much to an outside observer, but to me it's a giant leap."

Clay Crosse's most recent release is a best-of album, aptly named after the song that first brought Clay to the limelight. "I Surrender All (The Clay Crosse Collection, Volume One") marks a turning point in the career of Clay Crosse. "I want to always change the way I look at things, and be prepared to change the way I approach my music."


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All pictures (C) Crosse Tours, Inc./Reunion Records, 1998-1999

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