Clairo

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Clairo
Birth nameClaire Cottrill
Also known asDJ Baby Benz
Born (1998-08-18) August 18, 1998 (age 20)[1]
Atlanta, Georgia [2]
OriginCarlisle, Massachusetts
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Years active2012–present
LabelsFader
Associated actsSG Lewis
Websiteclairo.com

Claire Cottrill (born August 18, 1998), known professionally as Clairo, is an American recording artist from Carlisle, Massachusetts who wrote "Pretty Girl" (2017), a lo-fi-produced song that attracted over 32 million views on YouTube. She credited her sudden popularity to the website's algorithm system.

Claire was born the daughter of Geoff Cottrill, a marketing executive who has held major positions at companies such as Coca-Cola. Under the names Clairo and DJ Baby Benz, Claire started posting music to Bandcamp while in high school before beginning to post covers and songs in addition to DJ mixes of rap music on SoundCloud. She also maintained a YouTube channel where she would post covers and short films. According to her, "Pretty Girl" was inspired by 1980s pop music, and that although she was tagged with the "bedroom pop" label, it was not her intention to make that style of music.

After the popularity of "Pretty Girl", Clairo signed a record contract with the help of her family's connections with The Fader magazine[5] and her presentation of herself as a "do-it-yourself" artist was questioned amid some online controversy.[4][6][7] In 2018, she released her debut record Diary 001 on Fader Label.

Background and "Pretty Girl"[edit]

Claire Cottrill grew up in Carlisle, Massachusetts. She is the daughter of Geoff Cottrill, a marketing executive who formerly held top positions at Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Converse,[8] and MusiCares (a philanthropic organization associated with the Grammy Awards).[9] Between 2015 and 2017, he was president of American operations at MullenLowe Lintas Group.[8] Claire began recording covers at the age of 13 and taught herself guitar from Internet tutorials. During this time, MTV contacted her to record a song to be used as background music for one of their shows, but the song was never used.[10] Under the names Clairo and DJ Baby Benz, she began posting music to Bandcamp while in high school before beginning to post covers and songs in addition to DJ mixes of rap music on SoundCloud.[10] She also maintained a YouTube channel where she would post covers and short films.[3] In 2017, she began attending Syracuse University.[10]

Clairo first drew wide attention in late 2017 when the video for her song "Pretty Girl" went viral on YouTube.[3] The song was recorded for an indie rock compilation benefiting the Transgender Law Center.[5] According to her, she recorded the track "using the resources around me which were pretty shitty. I used like a little keyboard that I had and I was really into ’80s pop music — my mom is obsessed with it — so it kind of inspired me to do something like that."[11] She attributed the interest in the video to YouTube's algorithm system.[5] The video also became popular on vaporwave-centric Facebook groups.[11] Another video that was uploaded to YouTube a month earlier, "Flamin Hot Cheetos", garnered 3 million views by July 2018.[6]

The success of "Pretty Girl" led to interest from major labels such as Capitol, RCA, and Columbia. Clairo signed a 12-song record contract with Fader Label. According to The New York Times, this was made possible by her father's connection to Jon Cohen, co-founder of The Fader and an executive at the publication's marketing agency, Cornerstone. He signed Clairo to the magazine's associated record label and introduced her to Pat Corcoran, manager of Chance the Rapper. Corcoran's talent agency Haight Brand enlisted her as a client near the end of 2017.[5]

Career[edit]

[The] whole 'do-it-yourself' attitude is everything that I'm about. [...] I think it's really important to be genuine and authentic with everything you do.

—Claire Cottrill, 2017 interview with Fader[11]

In October 2017, an article about Clairo was published by Fader, in which she stated that she was most inspired by Brockhampton, and cited their "do-it-yourself 'attitude'" as her ethos.[11] Some online communities criticized her comments as disingenuous, arguing that her professional career was borne from nepotism, and thus she should not be considered a true DIY musician.[5][7] They accused her of being an "industry plant", in other words, an artist who has backing from the music industry to advance or kick-start their careers, but are deceptively presented as an independent start-up.[5][7] Such discussion appeared mostly on Reddit.[7] One of the widely shared posts lamented that, although the user enjoyed her music and thought she was an "inspiring" songwriter, they could not fathom why none of her articles and interviews acknowledged her father's significant industry connections.[6]

Clairo described the "industry plant" accusation as sexist and denied that there was "a man behind my success".[5] The Ringer contributor Lindsay Zoladz commented that it would have likely been more difficult for Clairo to get a record contract without her father's connections, and that "it is impossible to imagine Clairo's success in a Gen X world, so vital is the internet to her appeal."[6] Of the "bedroom pop" tag, Clairo stated that she had "a love-hate relationship" with the term, as it was not her intention to make that style of music, and surmised that "what makes this wave of artists different or special is the fact we've created a community among ourselves."[12]

On May 25, 2018, Fader Label released Clairo's debut record, titled Diary 001.[13] In her review for Pitchfork, Fader contributor Sasha Geffen wrote that the EP ought to subside the "legions of naysayers who dismissed her as a one-hit fluke or an industry plant."[14] By then, "Pretty Girl" had amassed more than 15 million views on YouTube.[5] A piece written by Joe Coscarelli of The New York Times said that the work: "bridges both worlds, building on the coy, understated bedroom pop of 'Pretty Girl' and 'Flamin Hot Cheetos' toward sturdier numbers like '4EVER' and 'B.O.M.D.'".[5] That same month, she announced a headlining tour throughout North America, opening for Dua Lipa on multiple dates.[15] Her July performance at the Bowery Ballroom in New York was a sold-out show.[6] In October 2018, she performed at Lollapalooza.[16] She is scheduled to perform at Coachella 2019.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Cottrill was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 17. Of her sexual orientation, she said in 2018 that she is "not entirely" heterosexual.[7]

Discography[edit]

EPs[edit]

Singles[edit]

As lead artist

Year Title Album
2017 "Get with U" Non-album
"2 Hold U"
"Flaming Hot Cheetos" Diary 001 EP
"Pretty Girl"
2018 "4Ever"
"Better"
(with SG Lewis)
Non-album
"Drown"
(with CUCO)
"Heaven" Skate Kitchen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2019 "Sis" TBA
"Bubble Gum"
"Throwaway"
(with SG Lewis)
Dawn EP

As featured artist

Year Title Album
2015 "Thinking Abt U"
(Noah Burke featuring Clairo)
Non-album
2016 "Queen"
(PHF featuring Clairo)
9MM
2017 "How Was Your Day?"
(Mellow Fellow featuring Clairo)
Jazzie Robinson
"Girl"
(James Deen featuring Clairo)
Never Been Cool
"You Might Be Sleeping"
(Jakob Ogawa featuring Clairo)
Bedroom Tapes
"Froyo"
(.hans. featuring Clairo)
Non-album
2018 "Midnight"
(Maxwell Young featuring Clairo)
Daydreamer
"Conducta"
(Osquello featuring Nofunbuster and Clairo)
Non-album
"Blue Angel"
(Danny L Harle featuring Clairo)
"Where Do We Go from Here?"
(Matt & Kim featuring Clairo, Kevin Morby and Fletcher C. Johnson)
Almost Everyday
"sum1 else"
(forgetmenot featuring Clairo)
Non-album
2019 "Are You Bored Yet?"
(Wallows featuring Clairo)
Nothing Happens

Bandcamp releases[edit]

  • Do U Wanna Fall in Love? (2014)
  • Have a Nice Day (2015)
  • Late Show (2015)
  • Aquarius Boy (2015)
  • Metal Heart (2015)
  • Moth Girl (2015)
  • Growing (2015)
  • Creased Laundry (2016)
  • Brains a Bus Station (2016)
  • Keel Her Split (2016)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cottrill, Claire (18 August 2014). "lil birthday cover 4 u — Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. ^ Wilkinson, Matt (28 December 2018). "Clairo: Growing Up, Love Songs, and Travis Scott - Beats 1". YouTube. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Moore, Jacob (29 September 2017). "Meet Clairo, the Lo-Fi Bedroom Singer/Songwriter Who Went Viral By Being Herself". Complex.
  4. ^ a b c Caramanica, Jon (7 March 2018). "The New Indie Pop: Off-Kilter, Handmade, Whimsical and Emotional". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Coscarelli, Joe (23 May 2018). "Clairo's 'Pretty Girl' Went Viral. Then She Had to Prove Herself". New York Times. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e Zoladz, Lindsay (25 July 2018). "The Curious Case of Clairo". The Ringer. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e Cliff, Aimee (27 November 2018). "Clairo IRL". Dazed Digital.
  8. ^ a b Coffee, Patrick (1 May 2017). "MullenLowe Boston Parts with President Geoff Cottrill After One Year". Adweek.
  9. ^ "MusiCares Announce New Board". GRAMMY Foundation.
  10. ^ a b c Moreland, Quinn (January 16, 2018). Meet Clairo, the YouTube Star Turning Teenage Awkwardness Into Viral Gold, Pitchfork
  11. ^ a b c d Tanzer, Myles (19 October 2017). "Clairo on "Pretty Girl" and making chill pop songs for the whole internet to enjoy". The Fader.
  12. ^ "Don't Call it Bedroom Pop: The New Wave of DIY". Complex. 7 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Clairo Announces Debut EP, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. 27 April 2018.
  14. ^ Geffen, Sasha (21 May 2018). "Diary 001 EP". Pitchfork.
  15. ^ Kim, Michelle. "Clairo Announces Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  16. ^ Legaspi, Althea; Klinkenberg, Brendan (4 August 2018). "Lollapalooza 2018: Tyler the Creator, Bruno Mars, Lizzo Highlight Day Two". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  17. ^ The Boston Globe (4 January 2019). "Meet Clairo, the Carlisle native who's playing Coachella". The Boston Globe.

External links[edit]