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- Genre: Rock, Hip Hop/Rap, Electronic, R&B/Soul, Hip Hop, Neo Soul, Rap, Soul, Dj
Clinton Sparks (born September 18, 1979) a is a Grammy nominated American DJ, producer, songwriter, radio, television personality and recording artist. He has worked with Lady Gaga, Akon, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Tyrese Gibson, T-Pain, The Game, Some of his songs include Lady Gaga's "Bloody Mary," Akon's "Sorry, Blame It on Me", Pitbull featuring T-Pain and Sean Paul's "Shake Senora," Ludacris' "Call Up the Homies," Pitbull's "Shut It Down," Plies' "She Got It Made," and T-Pain's "Kiss Her."
Sparks new single single "Saturday Night" is featured on actor/ comedian Kevin Hart's "What Now" movie soundtrack released October 14th, 2016. He also produced Kat Deluna's latest single "Waves" which went #1 on the charts in Japan October 2016. Sparks hosted an award-winning, worldwide syndicated radio show, "Get Familiar w/ Clinton Sparks" (formally known as SmashTime Radio), which first aired in 2000. It was ranked #1 on WJMN Jam'n 94.5 Boston. In 2004, Clinton co-founded the world's largest mixtape website, MixUnit.com. On Sept 9th, 2014 Clinton released his first major label EP titled, ICONoclast featuring Snoop Dogg, T.I., Macklemore, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, Ty Dolla Sign, Sage the Gemini & D.A. on Photo Finish/ Republic Records. This project is the first major release showcasing Clinton as a vocal artist clashing his influences from Rock, pop, EDM, hip hop, R&B and punk music.
Life and career
Childhood and youth
Clinton Sparks was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts by his single mother. After becoming infatuated with remixes he heard on the radio, Clinton stole his first set of turntables at the age of twelve and began manipulating his favorite parts of recordings to create entirely new songs. Throughout his youth, he entered and won numerous talent shows in and around the greater Boston area as a rapper and dancer. Clinton sharpened his musical production and marketing skills by working with local artists. After Clinton's troubled childhood & constant run-ins with the law, his mother sent him to live with his father in Randolph, Mass where he graduated from Randolph high school.
As a teenager, Clinton would produce mixtapes, driving along the East Coast to distribute them in whichever way that he could. He cunningly pretended to have a successful online radio show, luring major label artists like Eminem, Common, Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, Kardinal Offishall, Mobb Deep, and Cam'ron to visit his studio (in his mother's basement) and record verses over his beats.
Career beginnings and E! News
Soon after his "online radio show", Clinton established himself as a radio DJ and had both hosted and DJ'd four different radio shows live in four states every week (Hot 977 Boston, Hot 937 Hartford, Shade 45 New York, and 92Q in Baltimore). Later, he would host and DJ Eminem's weekly, successful Sirius Satellite Radio channel, Shade 45.
Sparks released his first official self-produced mixtape to retail stores via Koch Records in 2005 entitled "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed", with the lead single, "Run This City" featuring Diddy and Miri Ben Ari. This led to his first song placement on a major label: "Hold Ya Head" by Notorious B.I.G. featuring Bob Marley off of Biggies' "Final Chapter" album.
In 2008, Ben Lyons contacted Clinton, offering him a role as music correspondent and television personality for The Daily 10 on E! News. This transcended to several other opportunities including music correspondence for Yahoo! Music and the weekly "Smashtime Party" in Las Vegas at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which hosted guests including The Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Ne-Yo, Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee, and other celebrities. Three years later, Clinton decided to take his weekly party by signing a residency deal with The Palms Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, renaming the event "My Awesome Party." At the grand opening, Clinton made his entrance by being lowered from a helicopter through the retractable roof of the hotel onto his DJ set. Clinton's latest 2014/2015 residency in Las Vegas is at 1 Oak inside The Mirage hotel.
Mixtapes and bootlegs
Best known for his influence in the hip hop world, Clinton has released countless mixtapes and bootlegs featuring artists such as Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Ne-Yo, Fabolous, Sean Kingston, Common, Talib Kweli, Eminem, Too Short, Kanye West, E-40, Tyga, Jadakiss, Styles P, Ray-J, The Clipse, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Lloyd. In 2011, he started a series of mixtapes titled "My Awesome Mixtape," which opens with various celebrities introducing Clinton including Diddy's extensive co-signing and Samuel L. Jackson altering his famous biblical passage from Pulp Fiction by replacing the Lord's name with "Clinton Sparks."
In 2012, Clinton produced several official remixes including Usher's "Scream," Chris Brown's "Don't Wake Me Up," Pitbull and Chris Brown's "International Love," and Girl's Generation featuring Snoop Dogg's "Boys." In the same year, he also added his vocals and released a string of bootlegs with moderate success including Wolfgang Gartner's "Redline" (Got Me Started Again), Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso "Calling" (This is My Life), and Porter Robinson's "Language" (Let's Drive).
Producer, songwriter, and recording artist
Clinton produced and co-wrote Pitbull's song "Shut It Down" featuring Akon, Lady Gaga's "Bloody Mary," and Akon's "Sorry, Blame It On Me." In 2010, he wrote and produced "Inevitably" for Beyoncé, which was later changed to "Forever to Bleed." The song was to be on the I am... Sasha Fierce album, but was pulled due to being leaked onto the internet.
He has produced music for Ludacris, Plies, Soulja Boy, Jordan Knight, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Colby O'Donis, Leighton Meester, Fabolous, Jim Jones, Jermaine Dupri, Diddy, Bun B, Game, Common, Lloyd, Slim Thug, Warren G, DPG, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé, Far East Movement, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, Clipse, Trey Songz, Ne-Yo, and Mike Posner. In 2011, Clinton signed a record deal with Interscope as a recording artist and released his first single and video titled "Favorite DJ" featuring Jermaine Dupri and DJ Class. Several remixes were done by Benny Benassi, Green Lantern, and Supa Dups, which featured Sean Paul, Game, Jim Jones, Ricky Blaze, and Bun B. This song was the first song introducing Sparks' as a singer & It was also featured on the DJ Hero 2 video game for Xbox 360.
As an artist, Clinton gained popularity with several of his songs including "Sucks to Be You" featuring JoJo and LMFAO and "Ambiguous" featuring Big Sean and Mike Posner. In September 2012 Clinton released a single through Strictly rhythm records titled "Watch You" featuring Pitbull and the Disco Fries (with additional writing by Benny Benassi). Feb 2013 Clinton produced & released a record accompanied with a self-directed video titled "Boston Bass" representing his Irish heritage & using a sample from fellow Irish band, Dropkick Murphys. In the video, Clinton plays an Irish underground bare knuckle brawler & ends the video with a standoff with professional fighter, Shawn Baker. In 2013, Clinton signed a record deal with Photo Finish/ Island Def Jam records and began working on his next project, an extended play (EP) titled ICONoclast. Its lead single "Gold Rush" Features Superstars 2 Chainz, Macklemore & D.A. Wallach of Chester French & made its radio debut on Tues May 21 on Jamn 94.5 in his hometown of Boston. The same day it made its online debut accompanied with the cover artwork on Fader.com. The viral video features actor comedian, Nick Swardson & actor Simon Rex. He also sang on and directed the video for the Disco Fries' single "Killer," which garnered success on international dance charts. Clinton also recorded a record for Afrojack's album titled "Be With You" that leaked on the internet and consequently didn't make the album. In August 2014 Clinton produced and wrote a record with the band, The Mowgli's titled "I'm Good" which was used as a record for the Band Together Against Bullying campaign.
Recently, Clinton recorded in the studio with Riff Raff, producing one record for Riff and one for himself featuring Riff Raff titled "Stay With You Tonight" which is available on iTunes & they shot & released a video for it written by Clinton & features a cameo from Lil Debbie & actor Jay Giannone.
On July 2014 saw the release of his mixtape entitled Digital Detox, with not just DJ remix's but unreleased original solo material.
September 2014 was the release of Clinton's first major label EP via Photo Finish/Republic records. The EP was titled "ICONoclast" and showcased Clinton as a vocal artist having guest features from Snoop Dogg, T.I., 2 Chainz, Macklemore, Ty Dolla $ign, T-Pain, Sage the Gemini & D.A.
Four music videos spawned from this EP. 1. UV Love Featuring T.I. with cameos in the video from Mike Posner, Chanel West Coast, Andy Milanokis, Jay Sean & The Janoskians. 2. Gold Rush Featuring Macklemore & 2 Chainz with cameos from Rock legend Tommy Lee & Actor/Singer Tyrese. 3. Stay with You Tonight Featuring Riff Raff and 4. The Reaper featuring Snoop Dogg & Problem. This video was written & directed by Clinton Sparks and shed light on the world of sex abuse & Human Trafficking.
December 2014, Clinton produced a record for Teen sensations Jack and Jack titled "Right Where You Are" that went #1 on the iTunes charts in 4 hours after its release.
Publicity and business ventures
In 2004, Clinton co-founded the world's largest urban ecommerce store MixUnit.com, which specialized in mixtapes and introducing the world to artists and DJs. This has helped to catapult the careers of artists ranging from DJ Khaled to Dipset. Since 2009, he has been in partnership with Karmaloop, a Boston-based streetwear clothing company. He is also a brand ambassador for Cîroc vodka and coined the phrase "Cîroc Star" subsequently collaborating with Chester French, Diddy, and Jadakiss on a song and video with the same name, and (from 2007-2010) Pepsi Cola. In 2012, Clinton was featured in Esquire magazine and on the front page of The Boston Globe. In March 2015, Clinton became the President of PingTank, a tech startup company with an app that created animations to layer over photos and videos. In June, Clinton resigned from the position at PingTank and became CCO/Creative Director at IC Realtech. A company based out of Pompano Beach, Florida that made a name for themselves in the security & Surveillance solutions market. They have since developed a 360 full Immersive technology that will be introduced to the consumer market via the ALLie cam.
Awards and nominations
BMI Songwriter Awards
2012 - Co-Write/Production for Pitbull featuring Akon's "Shut It Down"
Boston Music Awards
2012 - Outstanding Achievement Award
2012 - Album of the Year for Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"
Mixshow Power Summit Awards
2004 - Radio DJ of the Year
2016: "Saturday Night" (with Chocolate Droppa, & Joey Bandz) on (Kevin Hart: What Now? (The Mixtape Presents Chocolate Droppa))