May finding success with Cole Swindell

Published 12:56 am Thursday, November 15, 2018

Andalusia native Clint May has been traveling across the nation performing on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and several other stadium performances.

May said that he has always been around music, thanks to his father.

“My father was the pastor for the Church of Christ in Andalusia and we always sang a capella,” May said. “So ever since I was about three or four, we would have family get-togethers and we would all be singing four-part harmonies.”

May was inspired by his father and his brother to pursue music.

“My dad played guitar and kind of had this James Taylor thing where he would play harmonica and guitar because he can’t sing that well,” May said. “So he got me an acoustic guitar when I was 8, but I didn’t really get in to it at that time. When I was 9 we moved to Andalusia and my buddy next door and I would always be listening to music. A group of our friends decided to ask for instruments for Christmas and after that we just started jamming.”

May said that his brother always pushed him in the musical direction.

“My brother is 10 years older than I am,” May said. “So he would always come home and show me a song and say, ‘Only real guitarists can play this song.’ Looking back, I can see how he was pushing me to be a better musician.”

After graduating Andalusia High School in 2006, May joined the LBW Community College Ensemble for a year and a half. That is where he met Martin McDaniel, a country music musician from Opp who is in Nashville.

“When I was in the LBW Ensemble I wanted to start branching out with my music,” May said. “That is when I met a couple of guys and Martin. We formed a band and started playing more classic rock and country music.”

May said that McDaniel pulled the trigger first and moved to Nashville, while he stayed back and moved to Auburn.

“I didn’t really know about moving to Nashville,” May said. “But I knew I wanted to pursue music, so I moved to Auburn thinking that it would be bigger and have a better music scene.”

After two years of playing in Auburn, May got a call from McDaniel.

“He told me that he had a spot lined up and it was waiting for me if I was interested,” May said. “I was in Nashville the next day.”

May played with McDaniel until 2014 when he met Cole Swindell.

“I had been in Nashville for four years and was at the point where I had to play whatever gig I could get,” May said. “I knew some of the guys in Cole’s band and they invited me to play a gig so I sat in with them. After listening to a couple of his original songs, I knew that he was the real deal.”

After playing a showcase in Georgia with Swindell, May was traveling all over the nation for a radio tour.

“We played a showcase in Georgia and a record label heard us play and liked us,” May said. “We started touring all over the nation performing on radio shows and trying to get record labels to sign us.”

May said that they performed more than 200 dates the first couple of years they were on the road. They were opening for huge country star musicians like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Dierks Bentley.

Now, Swindell and the band are headlining for their first-ever tour.

“It has really been a ride,” May said. “I never thought that I would be doing this, especially from being from such a small town. Since Cole’s music has taken off, it has been such a whirlwind and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It just happened so quick.”

May said that performing on television is a lot more nerve wracking than performing in an arena or stadium.

“We have been performing in arenas and stadiums for the past five years so we have kind of gotten used to it,” May said. “You know the crowd and what to expect. With television, it is a completely different experience. I had no idea what to expect and the pressure is crazy, but it was the best experience.”

Through all of the fame and performing, May still makes sure to check in with people in his hometown.

“The people here have been so supportive,” May said. “Of course the first couple of years I had people contact me and say they were proud of me and all of that, but it amazes me how people are still here supporting me.”

In his off time, May likes to work on bettering himself in the music industry and spend time with his family.

“I am always trying to learn and get better,” May said. “I’m trying to get into producing so I’ve been doing a lot of that. Whenever I am home I also try to give my wife a break. We have a four year old, so I spend most of my time trying to catch up on being a dad.”

May and his wife, Regina, have been married for four years. He is the son of Ben and Bonnie May.