From YouTube cover artist to breakout Indie-pop girl
Claire Cottrill, or better known as Clairo by her fans, is a 21-year-old Massachusetts native. Like many young and aspiring artists, Clairo took to YouTube to start her career by uploading covers and original songs. In 2017, she uploaded an original song titled “Pretty Girl” with very simple production and a video description stating the inspiration behind the song was a bad relationship. However, this video launched her career and went viral and currently has over 38 million views, which she credits to YouTube’s algorithm.
Clairo has released her first full-length album titled Immunity and its wistful yet melancholic sound matched with the common act of delicately enunciating has her fitting right in with her fellow indie-pop peers. The album starts off on a somber note with song “Alewife” which alludes to a suicide attempt through her lyrics “But you know you saved me from doin’ something to myself that night.”
The album has soft acoustic sounds, understated keyboards and also includes synth elements and slight ’80s influence. The focus of her music seems to be the vocals and lyrics, as there are many songs on the album where she experiments with vocal effects. In “Closer to You” and “I Wouldn’t Ask You” she makes use of auto-tone and echo sound effects to add an almost haunting effect to the songs. Halfway through “I Wouldn’t Ask You” she changes the melody and beat a bit, which really draws in the ear of the listener. “Bags” was the first single from the album and was a good choice as it’s a more upbeat vibe from the rest of the album but manages to maintain that gentle, melodic sound that she’s becoming known for.
Her song “North” perfectly encompasses the feeling of a new connection, new romance and with lyrics like “I never let anybody in / Somehow you got under my skin” that border on sounding cliche. She displays her relatability and honesty that isn’t so easily found in popular music nowadays. Perhaps the ultimate example of her raw honesty is displayed in her song “Sofia” that includes the lyrics “Sofia know that you and I/ shouldn’t feel like a crime/ you know I’ll do anything you ask me to/ but oh my god I think I’m in love with you.”
Immunity has sounds that fit perfectly into both a bumbling cafe atmosphere and in any coming-of-age indie film. In typical indie-pop fashion, the album does a fine job of leaving you with a peculiar feeling of nostalgia for a love you possibly never had.
Clairo is involved with the writing and production of her songs. Her vulnerability and genuine nature shine bright in her debut album. The dreamy, unearthly sounds hint at a possible Lana Del Rey influence, while the gloomy, heavyhearted words and tones are akin to Billie Eilish or Birdy’s sadder songs. As someone who has been accused of gaining her career through nepotism, it’s evident Clairo’s working hard and will continue to do so to prove just how much she deserves her success.