Clayton Gardner ’17 is a senior agricultural leadership and development major from Fort Worth, Texas. Gardner grew up with a primary interest in athletics, but that changed while he was a sophomore in college. At that time, Gardner realized he had a natural talent for songwriting.
Gardner took a break from classes to focus on his music. He released two albums — which reached the Top 20 — and quickly became a Texas Country favorite. He has opened for greats like Cody Johnson, Aaron Watson and Casey Donahew. Though Gardner did not always want to play country, he found inspiration from country legends such as Keith Whitley, Garth Brooks and George Strait.
When Gardner decided to re-enroll in Texas A&M University, he chose agricultural leadership and development as his major.
“Leadership interests me because it’s an everyday practice in business,” he said. “It’s a necessary quality to be successful.”
Gardner has played for large crowds at Hurricane Harry’s and the Texas Birthday Bash Festival in Navasota. His favorite song to perform live is “Table for Two,” which graced the Texas Music Chart Top 100 Songs of 2014. He feels it has all of the values a true country song should have.
Gardner’s advice for his fellow Aggies is to finish their degrees so they can chase their dreams after graduation.
“That way, you have a solid foundation in knowledge to add to your ability of chasing your dream,” he said. “Always follow your dreams. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid of failure. It’s not about whether or not you’ll fail — it’s how quickly you get back up after you fail.”
Gardner’s music can be found on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud. He often plays acoustic shows at The Tap as well. His most recent album, “Under the Lights,” was released in 2015 and the single “Buy You A Drink” reached Top 10 of the Texas Country charts.
By Michael Catarineau