WESTAMPTON, NJ -- Grammy nominated artist/songwriter Ant Clemons moved across the country from New Jersey to Los Angeles just a few years ago in pursuit of his dream, a career in music-- and it has paid off.
Clemons has come a long way from his humble beginnings as a Willingboro native and graduate of Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT). While attending BCIT, Clemons majored in Advertising Art & Computer Graphics. Mr. Haney, his Ad/Art instructor, fondly recalls Clemons as a fun-loving, positive and friendly young man. “He was always dancing and singing. Ant is now putting all that energy to good use doing what he loves. I am very proud of him! Mr. Nagy would be too. Go get that Grammy!”
This past week, Clemons popped into BCIT for a virtual visit to inspire the students to pursue their own passions and dreams. His message to students is to stay focused and never give up on your dreams. Clemons credits BCIT for catapulting him to where he is today--and his words of wisdom are sure to leave a lasting impression on the students.
Ms. Gebhart remembers Clemons having a passion and drive when it came to music. “His energy and enthusiasm was contagious - whether he was performing or just talking about music - you could tell that it was a major part of who he was and who he would become.”
Dr. Ashanti Holley, Assistant Superintendent of BCIT, who was responsible for coordinating Clemons' virtual visit, recalls being his teacher and Student Government Advisor. “I knew even in middle school that Ant was going to be a star. He had the charisma, talent, drive and work ethic. He participated in every Talent show and never missed a rehearsal. He loved impersonating Michael Jackson.”
In 2018, Clemons began the year by writing a song a day in exchange for a place to sleep. By June of that year, he landed a feature performance as the iconic voice behind Kanye West's hit single "All Mine" and quickly found himself atop the Billboard charts. Clemons' overnight success is years in the making. As the epitome of a “rags to riches” story, the artist spent nights on park benches, couch hopping and using songwriting as a means of currency. Today, he is recognized as one of the most in-demand songwriters and upcoming artists due to his work with Beyonce, Camila Cabello, G Eazy, Pharrell, and other popular artists.
In February of 2020, Clemons released his debut EP, "Happy 2 Be Here," which is currently nominated for a Grammy for best R&B album for 2021. Most recently, Clemons released his single "Better days" featuring Justin Timberlake, which they performed together at the 2021 Biden/Harris Inauguration.
“I am reminded of the words of Nelson Henderson who once said that 'the true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit'. This could not be truer today with the phenomenal interview with former BCIT Graduate Ant Clemons," said Dr. Christopher Nagy, Superintendent of Schools. "He truly shared with our students and staff some great life lessons and advice based on his personal journey to which he attributed his perseverance, love for music writing and singing to his Entertainment Technology Program at BCIT and the teachers who took an interest in him and provided him with life skills. Ant is a candidate for our Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement and he is also in line for a Grammy - there is no better compliment to an exceptional young man.”
BCIT is a career and technical school in Burlington County that provides students with the opportunity to discover their potential and earn stackable industry credentials, up to two years of college credits, an apprenticeship and school-to-work experiences with little or no debt and be positioned for the workforce, college or postsecondary education immediately after high school.