The roller coaster of 2020 has not stopped our faves from creating some amazing art, and Cloe Wilder is no exception. Cloe describes her style as one that romanticizes her years as a teenager; every small experience is no longer brushed under the rug or forgotten, but expanded and reminisced upon, creating songs that speak to the teenage experience from the eyes of an up-and-coming starlet.
Though she has quite the discography already (including “Crying When I Shouldn’t," mixed and mastered by the team behind Billie Eilish's biggest hits), there are even more relatably heart-wrenching tracks on the way. The 14-year-old singer-songwriter is gearing up to drop her upcoming EP written with Ezi, Sam Nicolosi and Jackie Young, titled Teenage Lullabies, and she is making a romantic, emotional pit stop on the way with her latest single, "It's True."
"It's True" sounds much like a love letter from Cloe to her teenage years, wishing to experience the milestone moments of youth while having a career that sometimes creates challenges in making connections. Cloe gets real about feeling lost and isolated in the song, singing, "I see visions, plans we’re making, every time I close my eyes/ I don’t make friends, cuz I’ll break them/ what a teenage lullaby."
We get the sense that Cloe won't be feeling lonely too much longer; her supporters are in for a treat, because the vid for "It's True" premieres right now—exclusively on GL.
GL caught up with Cloe to talk about creating an EP during quarantine, the inspo behind the "It's True" aesthetic and gearing up for life as a high schooler. Check out our full convo below!
How's quarantine been treating you for the last few months?
It's actually been pretty good. I've been quarantining with my mom, mostly. We've been going back and forth between Florida and California—we have a house here, too. I’m in California right now. I’m having a good time!
Are you excited to get back to school? Do you have the pre-high school jitters?
I’m very excited, because being able to tell people you're in high school is such a big difference than being able to tell people you’re in middle school, so I feel like this is gonna be better for me!
Have you been making music from home? Have you been in the studio? What has your music process looked like for the last few months?
I've been making music exclusively in my bedroom with just a couple of co-writers and producers and a very small crew of people. I finished my whole EP during quarantine, so that was honestly really cool. Musically, I’ve honestly been doing better than ever.
That's really exciting. Did you start your EP during quarantine, or had you been writing before quarantine started?
I started in March, so right before quarantine started. I got a few songs in before complete lockdown, and then the rest of it was pretty much finished during lockdown.
Did you write all of the tracks on the EP? Or did you co-write on all of them?
Yeah, I co-wrote all of them. We all wrote them together, it's pretty inclusive. We all work together pretty well.
Can you walk me through a day in the life of making music with you? What does your process look like doing this from your bedroom?
It’s very chill, because obviously, we're in my bedroom, so it's a very comfortable space. And normally, Sam will just lay down a track and then I like to do melody passes, where everybody in the room gets up on the mic and muffles melodies and lyrics, then we just take it from there. We find the melodies we like and decide what we want to say; we also have a big therapy session before and find like a common experience or something that we can all kind of relate to, or something I've been feeling, and then we write about that. So it's very natural, and there's never been like an off day with these people. I honestly have surrounded myself with so many great writers and producers. It’s very natural and it flows out really well.
Do you find that the music making process is therapeutic to you?
Absolutely. Because there's so much that you can't really talk about with people, but it just helps to write about it. Like I said, I surround myself with really great writers and producers that I feel comfortable with and it feels like family, so it's very therapeutic for me. And I get a song out of it, so that’s cool!
That’s true! What drew you to start making music?
I've always been obsessed with singing, and I realized that writing is a really good outlet for me. And I realized that I was good at it, too! It’s just an outlet for me and I never really had something like that, that could actually help me feel better, and writing is definitely that for me.
Is that music making process the same process that you used when you were creating “It's True”?
Oh, yeah, for sure. We all just sat down and I talked about how I was feeling, and then all the melodies came out in the first melody pass, which was super cool and doesn't always happen. That one was very natural and happened really fast!
My understanding is that it was the first song that you wrote for the EP. What inspired you to sit down and write that song?
I was definitely feeling pretty lost at the time. I had just started traveling between Florida and California and, basically, between these two lives. When I'm in Florida, I don't write as much music there, there’s not a lot of business for me there, and I feel like I’m so serious when I’m here. It's kind of hard going back between those two, so I was talking about how I'm worried that I'm missing out on my normal teenage years, which isn't really a bad thing, but I definitely get concerned sometimes that I’m missing out on these important experiences.
You're about to enter high school, these are supposed to be really formative years for you in the “big picture” way. How do you think that finding music and becoming a pop artist has influenced this tween to teen transition that you're facing right now?
It's definitely made it a little bit more interesting. I can't imagine not being able to write about all these little teenage things that happen to me, so I'm really glad that I have this outlet. Teenage years are very important, and I feel like another way to express that is just really cool. I know that it's different, and I don't have a lot of people that really relate to it. It’s only influenced me well; I would not have it any other way. But I definitely do think about what if? What would it be like if I wasn't in this scenario? But I don't really like to think about that, because I really like it this way.
That is such a positive outlook on what you're doing! One of the things that you mentioned is that you wrote “It's True” during this period of feeling lost, struggling with connecting. Do you have any advice for teens who are in your position and are feeling lost and are having the same struggles with connecting to people around them?
Your relationship with yourself is the most important thing, and that's honestly what I've realized as time has gone on because I was worried that I wasn't surrounding myself with enough friends that I wasn't making enough friends and that I was in the wrong environment. And honestly, if you feel comfortable with what you're doing, and you feel comfortable with yourself, that's the most important thing. You can work on the friend thing later, when you're ready to.
I'm a big believer in “love yourself before you love anybody else.” And that's what I think I had to realize because I was so upset about not having as many friends as I did; you definitely lose people when you start something like this, because it's so serious and not a lot of people take it seriously in your life. If you do have something that you're passionate about, then that is your business, and you should focus on that and focus on yourself.
I feel like I needed that advice! You mirror that internal monologue in the song. You sing, “It won't last/ But they say that it's the best time of our lives,” which is a very deep and introspective lyric. When you're “It's Time” and you're thinking this is supposed to be the best time of our lives, how do you think that your experience as a teenager has mirrored that so far?
I'm honestly having such a great time and I just love what I'm doing so much. I shadowed a regular high school in my eighth grade year, and I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than what I'm doing right now. It was weird, it felt uncomfortable. I think I’m creating so many experiences.
That’s what people always tell me, people who have no business telling me this, they're always like, “You're just going to miss out on so many experiences!” But really, I’m performing for crowds of people, I’m doing all this stuff that I just think is so special. I think I have such a special thing going and I wouldn't trade that. I know it’s special, and that's what matters.
The song itself is wonderful, very introspective, and then there's the video. The video is very moody, it feels like the viewer gets to be in your mind, your heart when you're singing about this. Did you provide some creative direction for how the visual panned out?
I'm a big believer in Pinterest boards. I always use Pinterest boards, and this one was definitely more visual and it has a storyline to it. Also, this whole project, especially “It's True,” is really just me romanticizing my life as a teenager. I've been a teenager for two years and I'm making it sound like a big thing, and that's what it is for me right now. Every little thing is a big thing. So, I definitely wanted to romanticize and that’s why I think it’s so ethereal and moody looking.
Also, I think it’s funny because I think that's what people imagine when they imagine missing out on high school, I think they think it's so sad and so awful and so moody. That's what people think I am right now, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
That's really amazing, too. What inspired the romanticizing concept?
I definitely think it’s just how I feel as a teenage girl, because I don't have a lot to write about, in reality, so I just take little things that happen to me and made them super big in my head. And that's why I was like, “Okay, this can totally be my brand. I could just romanticize every little thing that happens to me.” That's kind of what I'm doing, and I think that’s cool. I think we should all be romanticizing every little thing that happens to us and make it all dramatic.
Listening to the first track that you've ever released to now, “It's True,” what has it been like seeing your evolution as an artist?
“Overthinking” and “It’s True” are very different, for sure. It's been crazy because you don't really realize how much you're growing until somebody brings it up or you listen or watch something from a year ago… Imagine what it's going to be like in five years, 10 years. It's really cool because growth is so inevitable and I love it. Before I listened to the older stuff and be like, “Wow, I was not that good then.” But now I look back and I’m like, “Wow, I was good then, and I'm even better now.” It's really cool. It’s so cool that I’m in a position where all of it is documented and I can constantly look back at myself.
You have an EP coming out soon! Can you tell us like what we can expect on like the tracklist and what this kind of like new era of music is looking like for you?
The EP is called Teenage Lullabies, and it is very teenage, it’s very romantic. “It’s True” is a very good first single because it does go really well with everything else. It’s a very cohesive project. It really helps that I made it all with Sam Nicolosi, he’s such a great producer and he made them all together so well. It's very romantic, very ethereal, kind of dark, kind of moody. And the fact that we made it all in my bedroom is just so perfect for it!