Who is Clairo?
Clairo is an artist who is known for making her music in the four walls of her bedroom. She has stated that it was never her intention to make “bedroom pop” music and that she wants to expand into Lo-fi, a genre that comes from “low fidelity,” meaning it captures the flaws recorded during recording and production, often with the sound being lower quality compared to contemporary standards.
She considers herself as someone who is awkward, overwhelmed by having a fanbase, and a sufferer from a pretty rough case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Just a year or so ago, she was in high school, making music in her bedroom ever since she was 13. Now, she is a traveling artist who’s opened up for artists like Tyler the Creator. She is a prodigious YouTube star with over 40 million views, being managed by the same individual who helped thrust Chance the Rapper to fame. Her vocals are soft, soulful and dreamy.
Her real name, Claire Cottrill. She is a 21-year-old artist who was born in Atlanta but grew up in the suburbs of Boston. Once her song “Pretty Girl” went viral on sites like YouTube and SoundCloud, she signed with the NYC-based boutique label Fader. She recorded the song while attending Syracuse University for a indie rock compilation benefiting the Transgender Law Center within the university. It was her first original. Prior to “Pretty Girl,” she sang and made videos of herself covering popular songs.
According to an interview she did with Fader back in 2017, she recalls the creation of the hit as a time in her life looking back on a toxic relationship she was in. In this affair she felt as though she needed to be perfect and how it can be damaging to go through.
The song was originally about a relationship I had and [how] I felt like I needed to be a pretty girl for someone else. I felt like I needed to change a lot about who I actually was to be perfect for them instead of just being who I am genuinely. I was writing a song about how messed up that is and how that shouldn’t be a thing in relationships and about how we should always be confident in who you are to begin with.
The video took her merely a half hour to record. She goes on to detail how she rolled out of bed, hair a mess and makeup from the evening before. She looked in the mirror and decided this was it. It was the perfect moment to make the video and to show the world that she didn’t need to be a “pretty girl” to be herself.
It was something that was so quick and stupid. But yeah, it ended up being really cool, actually.
There is no doubting her talents, that’s for sure, but if you ask around about her recent successes, you may catch some opposing opinions. On a lengthy Reddit thread, a user who goes by @monetize_nostalgia says they’re local to the Boston area and is extremely familiar with Clairo and her family. They claims that Clairo’s father had a major part in her recent successes.
Cottrill’s father, Geoff Cottrill, is a marketing god. The user describes him in the thread as a “Donald Trump-like figure who is fraught with greed, power, a void that can only be filled with currency.” He has performed as a vice president of marketing for major brands like Proctor & Gamble and Coca Cola. He is currently the vice-chair of MusiCares, a philanthropic organization associated with the Grammy Awards, and the president of MullenLowe Lintas Group. In 2010, he was named Brandweek’s “Marketer of the Year.” He’s also worked directly with Converse’s record label, Rubber Tracks.
It’s no secret that he’s got industry connections and wealth, one of those connections being Fader’s co-owner, Jon Cohen, but who’s to say whether or not he’s the reason Claire Cottrill is making waves. Even so, in this day and age, who cares? Everyone needs someone to get far these days, and if that person happens to be her father, then so be it.
The town that Clairo resides in outside Boston is the town of Carlisle, MA. It’s a small town with a dainty population of just 5,000 people. Earlier this year, she came out as bisexual via her Twitter profile. Now that it’s out there, she has said that she has finally come to terms with her sexuality. She feared being open regarding her sexuality in her small town. It wasn’t until meeting gay friends in college that she felt comfortable and open to figure herself out. She lyrically describes some of her self-discovery in her debut album, Immunity, released this past summer.
Immunity was co-produced by Clairo and Rostam Batmanglij, formerly from Vampire Weekend. The album runs approximately 40 minutes with 11 tracks. It’s striking, full-bodied, and completely different from the bedroom-pop Clairo we’ve known the past few years. It’s the most vulnerable she’s been thus far and compelling. I can’t pinpoint the feel or genre exactly. It’s an individual and everything all at once. For that alone, it feels compelling, posh and exclusive, owned by her and her only.
This year she hit some mega-milestones. Of course, she released her debut album, but she also performed at big-time festivals such as Coachella, Reading, Pitchfork, Governors Ball and Bonnaroo. She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and was Yahoo‘s Artist of the Month. She’s got a strong backing, rooted talents, and a flair unlike others. She joins a list of brilliant Generation Z women. That list includes artists like Lorde, Billie Eilish, Alessia Cara and Dua Lipa. I am expecting to hear more and more buzzing of Clairo on the airwaves soon.