Cloe Wilder talks her latest EP, being the youngest in the room, and performing in empty venues
Cloe Wilder is a name you should get to know now. Her melancholic songs are extremely relatable and it’s hard to believe that this reliability can be achieved by a 14-year-old girl. “Teenage Lullabies” is her latest EP and covers topics that each teenager experiences in their life from crushing on someone to tackling the concept of death on “In the Next Life.” I got to chat with Cloe over Zoom earlier this month and talk about her experience as a musician and her writing process that led to an incredible debut.
Congrats on your EP! I listened to it right before to get in the mood and I loved it. The chilled-out vibes are both delicate and powerful. How does it feel to have it out in the world?
Thank you! It feels so real. I’ve had this project since March and it didn’t really feel real yet since it was sitting in my notes. Now that’s it actually out for other people to hear, it feels right. I feel really really happy about it.
That’s honestly incredible. I couldn’t even imagine how excited you must be for right now.
I really am! It just feels so good to have this album out there because I feel like it’s the most accurate representation of how I wanted to show myself as an artist. It feels like a proper introduction so I’m really happy that it’s out there.
Okay, for someone who’s never heard your music can you describe it in 5 words or less?
Right now, I feel like I actually have a sound. Before I was putting out random singles so now I have it down. So I’d say that it’s ethereal, delicate, definitely romantic because I romanticize everything that happens to me, dramatic, and sensitive with a dash of bedroom indie.
I love it. I feel like that describes it perfectly. You’re only 14 right?
So being on the younger side of the industry, what inspired you to start making music and doing this?
Well, I’ve always really enjoyed music, but I don’t come from a musical family, so I wasn’t nurtured into it. I always liked singing so I took vocal lessons and piano lessons and did recitals and school talent shows. I didn’t know that I could take it seriously yet. When I was 11, I found a studio and I went there and recorded a few covers. I had them on physical CDs and I sent them around to producers. One producer liked them and I flew to the Cayman Islands where his studio was and I went to my first writing camp. I did 2 writing camps in the Cayman Islands and that’s where I met some of my current team. And from there I fell in love with making it myself.
That’s incredible going to these writing camps and doing all of this.
Yeah, it’s so fun.
Are you one of the youngest people there when you go?
Yeah, I was the only artist there. There were producers and writers and I was definitely the youngest there. They were all in their 30s, which is still kinda how it is for me. I’m the youngest pretty consistently. I mean I like it because it doesn’t feel weird. It feels right to me. I kinda like it that way, but I’m always the youngest in the room.
Do you feel like that gives you a different perspective on things?
I would say so. The conversations I have with people - I hear so many different perspectives from adults and adult writers. What’s helped me the most is I've literally created my writing process from adult co-writers writing processes and I learned how I like to write. I’d definitely say that I learned a lot from them because I wouldn't know what I was doing if it wasn’t for the help of those people. Just sitting in and watching somebody write a song helped me so much. I have really good conversations with everyone. I'm really close with everyone and it’s very familiar.
A lot of your music feels really mature too. Do you think that it comes from being able to see all these adults writing too?
Maybe. I’ve always have been this way though. My sister is 11 years older than me. I was just around older people a lot. I also come from a family of all women so I feel like that contributed. Yeah, I’ve just kind of always been this way and that’s probably why I feel so comfortable writing with adults. I don’t feel like I’m not on their level. I’d definitely say that they helped me get a mature sound, but I think it would’ve been mature to a certain extent either way.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Are a lot of your songs based on your own personal experiences?
All of them that I have out. I’ve been getting into more storytelling and providing more visuals and that’s kind of a harder thing for me to do from my own experiences since I don’t have many of them. Everything that’s out right now is from my own personal experiences. On this EP I just romanticized everything. I think the most interesting one is I have a song called “Layla,” on the EP and Layla’s a real person. I just changed her name. So I just make everything sound a lot cooler than it was but it all comes from me and how I felt and I just twist it.
You mentioned “Layla,” and I wanted to ask: do you have a favorite song that you wrote?
It changes like every day. But I think my favorite song on that project right now it’s “In the Next Life” because I haven’t really tackled the concept of death before in my other songs. It’s just such a heavy thing to write about. I haven’t experienced many deaths in my life and the couple that I have it was really therapeutic to write about them. It was also so heavy that I liked figuring out how to write about it in an angelic and ethereal way so I think that one’s my favorite, but I have a love for all of them. My favorite one to listen to is “I Want To Be Alone With You” because it was so out of my comfort zone. You can tell when you listen to it like ‘oh this is definitely different for her’ and I think that’s why I had so much fun with that one. That’s when I realized I can basically write anything. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone on this one. “Layla” is definitely more alt-R&B, which is nothing like anything I’ve ever done before. So yeah, it changes. I’m pretty pleased with how the whole thing came out too.
When I listened to it, it was great. Each song felt different but it worked with each other.
Yeah, cohesiveness is very important to us.
So what’s something people don’t know about you?
Hm. You know, I think I put it all out there if I’m being honest. I feel like everyone knows everything about me if you really listen to my music. I was doing an interview the other day and they were like “You’re so bubbly in your interviews, and your music is so sad why is that?” I said that the way that I write is a more accurate representation of the way that I think and that surprises people. Because like this is how it comes out and I’m happy, but I think the way I write is the way I process things because I'm so emotional, so I just say that that’s like that more me. I think that’s something that surprises people.
Yeah, I was thinking that too. I wouldn’t pick you out of a lineup to write these songs after talking to you.
I get it. I totally get it. It’s weird for me too because this is obviously me and this is how it naturally comes out, but I think I’m in my truest form when I’m writing so I think that has to be the best representation of me.
What are you listening to right now? What do you have on repeat?
Hold on let me go on my Spotify. I’m listening to Phoebe Bridgers, The Cure, Lana Del Ray Maggie Rogers, Cage the Elephant, Fleetwood Mac, Arctic Monkeys, the Goo Goo Dolls, The Neighborhood, Clairo, Frank Ocean, the 1975. Yeah, I’ve been all over the place and if I’m being totally honest with you my most recently played is my EP. So I’ve been listening to her too. It feels kinda cool to listen to her on Spotify.
Yeah, that’s wild.
It’s really cool cause I download them to my notes but I like listening to it on here cause it feels so real. So she’s my most recently played.
You released this whole body of work, what’s next for you? Are you looking to perform it somehow right now? Or do music videos?
I’m definitely going to ride this EP wave for a long time. I want to see what song people like the most and then I’m planning on filming a music video for whatever that one is. I just want to let it have its moment and see what people are drawn to. I definitely want to film more visuals. I’m also going to keep doing virtual performances. I love performing - I would preferably have people in the venue but I’ve been performing in some empty venues in LA and filming it and that’s fun. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing but to a greater extent. I’m writing new music right now so I’m going to be putting that out at some point, but I’m definitely going to stay on this for a little bit.
Yeah, of course. It must be so weird to perform in an empty venue.
It is, but honestly, I haven’t performed in enough full venues to really know the feeling. I did recitals when I was younger, but I’ve only done 2 live shows. I know the empty venue isn’t natural, but it’s cool though. I performed at the Troubadour and it was empty and that was pretty cool. So I'm really excited for when I can perform to a crowd of people now that I’ve established myself and some people know my music. I think it’ll be fun to perform to a crowd of people that actually know the words. I think something I struggled with in the beginning was performing for new people who didn’t know me. It was fun and they were still into it but they didn’t know the words so I’m excited to perform for people who listen.
STREAM TEENAGE LULLABIES ON ALL PLATFORMS HERE