At just 14-years-old, Cloe Wilder is quickly establishing herself as one to watch this year. Her recent release – Debut EP “Teenage Lullabies” – has not left our playlists thus when we had the chance to chat with her about all things music and her love for Lana Del Ray – we jumped at it!
Afoma: The EP is finally out!! I’ve been really wanting to talk to you today.
Cloe: I’m so excited to be here.
Afoma: I have noticed that people often compare you to older artists such as Billie Eilish, Halsey, and Cara..but I want to know in three words, how would you describe your sound?
Cloe: In three words, I would say dramatic for sure. Um, dramatic, romantic, I always say it has like a little dash of bedroom indie cause I make everything in my bedroom.
Afoma: hmm, that’s a new one, describe to me what’s bedroom indie?
Cloe: [Laughs] Well, it’s just like a very specific sound. It’s kind of like you can tell it was made in somebody’s bedroom and not that it sounds like poorly made, but that you can tell it was kind of made in like an intimate space, probably at home. That’s where I made my whole project because of mobile restrictions. I just have a little studio in my room and I just had everybody come there. I was only riding with like two people, so I think it just naturally became a bedroom indie.
Afoma: Take us all back to where it all started, how did you first get into the music?
Cloe: Well, I’ve always really enjoyed music. I’ve been singing for a really long time, but I don’t come from a musical family, so I wasn’t really nurtured into it. It was never something I thought I would be able to take seriously, at least not until I was 18 but when I was eleven, I recorded a few covers in a studio and it was like the first studio I’ve been in. I sent them out to a few producers. One producer liked them and I flew to the Cayman Islands to his studio for a writing camp, and I did two writing camps there. I just kind of took the writing from there cause that’s where I realised that I can make this myself. That’s when I knew that this is what I wanted to do.
Afoma: Is it true that a Lana Del Rey cover secured you a record deal?
Cloe: [Laughs] Not signed to a major label but yeah kinda. I recorded a cover of Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful, Lana covered Blue Velvet and I covered the cover so yeah, I technically did two Lana Del Rey covers and that’s how I got signed to like my developmental label.
Afoma: And what about your original material. How did that transition from covers to originals come about? Did you just think one day, you know I can make my own.
Cloe: I kind of held on to a bunch of original music and started only doing covers so that I could kind of casually introduce myself without throwing my original music in people’s faces.
Afoma: Were there any little tricks that you picked up from writing those early songs that you brought into your writing sessions now?
Cloe: I guess I learned when I was first writing, I was really trying to be trendy because, you know, I’m still so young, but especially then I was already kind of uncomfortable and feeling like I didn’t really belong in certain rooms with certain people because I was so brand new. So I guess I’m just really learning…I mean it sounds cliche, but writing what you feel is really the key. I think because I wasn’t doing that.
Afoma: Have any of those materials made it onto the EP or even like one of your recent singles?
Cloe: Older songs didn’t make it onto the EP because the EP was like made from scratch. I had like 8 sessions making the EP and seven out of those eight songs made it onto the EP so it was pretty consistent.
Afoma: Your Ep – Teenage Lullabies is finally out and has been garnering positive reviews. How do you feel about it?
Cloe: I feel so real like it didn’t feel real when it was just, you know, sitting in my phone and I would just listen to it myself and I mean I’ve had this project since March 2020. It just feels so real and it feels like my proper introduction to the industry because you know, when I was putting out these cover videos, it didn’t necessarily feel right. When I was putting out random singles, it still didn’t really feel right but this actually feels right and it’s really the first release where I can say that and so it feels real. I feel like a real person now, yeah.
Afoma: What comes first, is it the words or the music?
Cloe: The music for me, unless I almost always have a concept like ohh this is how I’m feeling. This is the direction I want to go in but yeah I do these things called melody passes like if we already have the track built or if we’re writing an acoustic guitar, either way, we already have the track built. I then like to get up on the mic and just mumble random melodies and lyrics until the kind of a direction I want to go in comes out.
Afoma: Speaking of instrumentals, did you get to play a few chords?
Cloe: Sam Nicolosi did literally everything because he’s so talented and was so perfect for this project that I was like…you know what? You just do all of it please but yeah, I definitely love the piano, so I’ll totally get into that when it comes to live shows.
Afoma: From the EP, what song would you say you have on constant repeat?
Cloe: It changes every day. One of my current favourites to listen to is In the Next Life because I think it’s like such a heavy topic.
Afoma: I’m happy that you mentioned In the Next Life cause that is a very mature topic to delve into.
Cloe: I was definitely looking deeper into my life and the only important death I’ve ever experienced was my grandpa’s. I didn’t know him that well, but seeing how like it affected everybody around me – my family and even myself, even though we weren’t that close, it was just like, really interesting. Obviously sad, but interesting to look at and see how we all kind of like crumbled after that. I think it’s really cool that we as human beings when somebody passes we’re like, oh – it’s just comforting to think that we’ll see them in the next life, even if that’s not really what we believe. That’s kind of where that came from because I don’t know if I believe that that’s what happens. But it’s just nice to think that.
Afoma: When it comes to family, how are managing to balance your music career with life at home?
Cloe: Well, I mean everybody is so supportive. I’ve cut out basically anybody who wasn’t supportive, so it’s pretty ok now. I know I just have to remember why everything is important because I tend to get caught up in the music and lose sight of family and friends and school. So I just have to remember why everything is important and you know they were there before.
Afoma: What are the plans for this year? I know we in a panoramic, but would you be doing online concerts or?
Cloe: Yes, for sure. I’m gonna ride this EP wave for a little while, so that will definitely include more virtual performances and live streams cause I think those are the best alternatives right now. I think those are the way for sure. I’ll keep doing that while some more visuals are released and put out some more music last.