During his weekly performances at Ash Creek Saloon on Wilton Avenue in Norwalk, city native Clarence Percy invites people to come up on stage and sing with him and his band, the Clarence Percy Project. His motive is simple: to get local talent and audiences fired up about the music scene in Norwalk.
"Especially in the R&B world, there wasn't a lot going on around Norwalk," Percy said. "I feel strongly about trying to bring that feeling of there actually being a music scene back into Norwalk.
"That's why, with my shows, I try to make it as inclusive as possible. Anyone that has any talent, I encourage them to come up on stage and sing with me."
About a year ago, Percy approached his childhood friend, Pauline Edwards, the bar manager at Ash Creek Saloon, and asked if he could put a gig together. With Edwards' support, the Clarence Percy Project is now a regular on Thursdays from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
"We are trying to create a cool experience for folks to come out and enjoy on Thursday nights," Percy said. "I would classify it as feel-good R&B music, both old- and new-school in variety."
Since he's been performing the Thursday night gigs, Percy said that he's been fortunate to meet a whole lot of new people and experience things musically that he had not been able to before.
His biggest musical influence was his late father, who sang in the church choir.
"He was the first voice I ever heard and he was the reason I always wanted to sing," Percy said.
A graduate of Brien McMahon High School, Percy was in the school's orchestra and choir and he participated in theater.
"I always was fortunate to be around music, being in orchestra and playing upright bass and being in the choir," Percy said. "The choir director dragged me into the choir after he heard me singing in the halls one day.
"I didn't want to sing in the choir because I didn't think it was going to be cool enough, but I found out I didn't have a choice," he added, with a laugh.
What Percy finds cool now is touching people's lives with his music.
"I like to give folks an uplifting experience," he said. "Music has the potential to be very healing and very soothing. You never know who you will touch through the course of a performance.
"Someone could be having a horrible day and you are able to actually change a feeling or emotion. When we do our thing, we want people to feel the love we have for music."