CLOE WILDER // INTERVIEW
INTERVIEW BY: Emily May
Cloe Wilder has emerged on the scene this year as what many are describing as a breakout artist. At just 12 years old, the Florida native is being praised for her ethereal and pure voice and sad, dark songs that express a pain and sadness that should be beyond her years. With a talent for songwriting, her melancholic but relatable songs discuss topics and emotions that many people can identify with. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, Halsey and The 1975, she highlights mental health issues, advocates for equality and embraces imperfection. Having done covers of WHAM’s “Last Christmas”, and more recently “Breathin” by Ariana Grande, Wilder has begun to transition into writing original songs. With plans to release more covers and original music through 2019, Wilder says this will be the year she truly starts her career and she couldn’t be more excited! I have no doubt that her popularity and fan base will continue to grow in the coming months as more people start to discover this talented artist. You can follow and stay up-to-date with Wilder, as well as stream and purchase her music via the links below. Check out her covers of “Last Christmas” and “Breathin” below.
How did you get your start in music? Did you grow up in a musical family and always know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I have no idea why, but I was basically born an artist. I’m the only musician in my family, and everyone’s still really lost as to where all of my abilities came from. I was raised in an artistic atmosphere, though. A few of my family members do have a love for music, and have shown me a lot of my current favorite artists. My sister is in the fashion industry, and is an amazing artist. For myself, however, music has been my life since the beginning. I’ve really just continued to build off of it, and eventually find my dark and dreamy sound.
Who would you count as some of your biggest musical influences? Who are you listening to right now? Are there any particular artists that you are hoping to share the stage with or collaborate with in the future?
I draw inspiration from several artists, but the first time I was asked this question, my immediate answer was Lana Del Rey. The first time I listened to “Video Games”, was one of the few times I had ever felt a song - I didn’t hear it, I felt it. I fell in love with her concept, and kept building off of it. This later stemmed into other artists like Billie Eilish, Halsey, and many others. At the moment, my music is being influenced by Billie Eilish, AURORA, Conan Gray, gnash, EZI, Halsey, Lykke Li, Sasha Sloan, The 1975, and too many others to list. I would love to perform with Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, Halsey, or The 1975 - Their performances seem straight out of a dream, and it would be amazing to perform on the same stage as them. Their movements, their music, and everything else they do just causes an audience so much emotion, and that’s the way I want to perform.
You have some pretty great songwriting skills! What would you say is the main inspiration for your lyrics? When did you discover your talent for writing and what is your songwriting process?
Thank you! The main inspiration for my lyrics is really just my own mind. I have so many thoughts, and I overthink anything that comes across to me. I go through periods of time where everything’s dark, and that’s when some of my best lyrics are written. I’d always written, but it definitely wasn’t always complete songs. When I first was asked to record original music, I got to work with a lot of talented people. I wrote with them, and realized that songwriting was something I could really keep doing. My current songs are written in the corner of my bedroom or at my piano - I make a basic melody, and record short clips of everything on my phone. I think about what type of emotional state I’ve been in, and tend to write about that. Sometimes, it’s expressed in the form of a broken relationship, or any other sort of concept I create in my head. I play the clips over and over until I find lyrics, and then I play it through. I write everyday, so my process is something I’ve been through many times.
You have mentioned writing sad music that you say is dark but relatable. In what ways do you feel music has allowed you to express your feelings and explore the dark parts of your mind that you say you often feel trapped in? Are there any specific artists whose lyrics speak to you on a personal level?
Writing sad music is taking the parts of my mind that terrify me the most, and turning it into something artistic. Whatever I’m feeling can become a song, and it normally does. It’s really my only outlet, so I’ve just found ways to turn my thoughts (no matter how dark they may be) into music. Every artist I listen to gives me a completely different feeling. Halsey, Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, and everyone else I listen to gives me different emotions.
You did a cover in December of WHAM’s “Last Christmas”. What inspired that cover for you? It was really beautiful!
Thank you so much! "Last Christmas" really is a sad song. It has a deep meaning to it, and we knew that we could make the song sound how the words feel. Basically, we sat down at the piano, and made it sound like a song I would've made. It speaks about having your heart broken at a specific time of year, so that time will always be associated with heartbreak. All it needed was a key change, and someone with a sad soul to show what the song could be.
You recently released a cover of “breathin” by Ariana Grande. You have mentioned that when you do covers, you take the song and turn it into something that sounds more like you? What is your process for choosing covers to sing and for transforming them into your sound?
Yes … I need to connect to what I’m singing. I pick covers based off of lyrics, and whether I feel like I can bring out the emotion in the lyrics. For these covers, we sat down at the piano, and I sang with it. Eventually, we ended up with my type of darkness, and I had a connection with it.
You have mentioned always feeling a connection with the piano. When did you first start playing and what do you feel it is about the piano that resonates so strongly with you?
For my entire life, there has been a piano. My piano has lived in my house longer than I have. It was my first instrument, and it always stayed with me. I feel like the piano can always match my emotion, no matter how intricate.
You have started creating original music recently! What was your inspiration in making the transition to original music? What do you love the most about creating original music? Do you have plans to still release covers, as well?
My transition to original music was very fast and intense - I was asked to record originals with a producer, and we ended up with twelve songs mastered. It was amazing, and I got to work with some really talented people. Everyone I was working with seemed to really understand everything I was feeling, and could put it into words. I just love the whole concept of it. I will still be releasing covers consistently throughout 2019.
Have you faced any specific challenges in trying to navigate the industry and jumpstart a career in music, especially at such a young age?
I’m just starting, so I haven’t had to face a lot of challenges … but, finding the right people to work with has been difficult. I do have a lot of amazing people behind me, so I’ve been able to navigate through that. Right now, I have an insanely talented and invested team.
What are your thoughts on the current connection between music and social media? Do you feel that social media has helped you to get your music out there more easily and grow your fan base?
Social media continues to play a major role in my music, because in this generation, reaching people through anything else is nearly impossible. Talking to people that have a connection with my music is insane, because I get to do it everyday. Social media is such a wide platform, and has given me the ability to reach so many people.
What were some highlights for you of 2018 and what are your plans and goals for 2019? What’s next for you?
Just getting to actually start my career as an artist was the highlight of my year. I released my first cover, and I’ve loved being able to connect with people through it. I wrote and recorded music, and I get to keep doing that. This year, I will be consistently releasing more covers along with videos. I loved being able to twist songs into something personal to me. I will be releasing original music, with a similar dark vibe. This year is going to be the year I really begin my career, and I can’t wait to release everything.