Gerald was born on May 11, 1984 in Utrecht, The Netherlands and moved to the United States at a young age. He graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) in the summer of 2002 and received a Bachelor's of Music from the Jazz Studies program at USC in the Fall of 2006.
Gerald grew up in a musical family (his father is bassist/composer John Clayton and his uncle saxophonist Jeff Clayton) and was exposed to a variety of musical styles from a very young age. He studied classical piano with Mrs. Linda Buck and jazz piano and composition with Shelly Berg, Kenny Barron and Billy Childs.
Gerald was the winner of the 2001 Music Center Spotlight Awards and received the 'Outstanding Soloist' Award during the Monterey High School Jazz Competition in 2001 and 2002