Clouds is the second track on Prince's 37th album Art Official Age, and was released five weeks earlier as a pre-order download for the album when it was announced on 25 August 2014 (along with Breakdown, which had previously been released as a single). A Clouds promo CD was also made available in Europe the week before the album.
While specific recording dates are not known, initial tracking is believed to have taken place in Spring or Summer 2014 at Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA. British folk/soul singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas, who appears as a vocalist on the track, gave an interview in late February 2014, in which she stated she had not yet recorded with Prince but would love to, indicating that the track, or at least her portion of the track, had not yet been recorded. La Havas appeared live with Prince in March and July 2014, and it is possible they worked together on the track then (along with Affirmation I & II, Way Back Home and Affirmation III), but this is purely speculative.
A snippet of the track was premiered over the PA prior to a live show, 26 July 2014, Paisley Park Studios, Chanhassen, MN, USA, along with snippets of several other songs from Art Official Age.
Joshua Welton remixed the track in 2014 or early 2015 but the remix was developed into a distinct track, Mr. Nelson, which was then included on Prince's next album, Hitnrun Phase One.