The 15-year-old singer/songwriter Cloe Wilder creates the most iridescent and soothing indie-pop that can light up a room instantly. Originally from Clearwater, Florida, her luminous voice already enables her to intertwine with her incredibly relatable sound. From starting piano lessons at an early age, and thus beginning to pursue her artistic talents, it ultimately led to discovering her passion for singing, surprising her family and anyone who watched her.
Among the songs Cloe Wilder has covered that led up to where she is today include those of Halsey, Alessia Cara, Billie Eilish, Sasha Sloan, and more. Her big break came upon her with her track “Crying When I Shouldn’t”, following the release of her first album in 2020, which was produced and mixed by Grammy Award winners Rob Kinelski and David Lang. Now, with a resumé of emotionally resonant records like “You & Lonely” and “I Wanna Be Alone With You”, there is no telling what Cloe can whip up as a musician.
We had a lovely time sitting down with Cloe Wilder, herself over Zoom to talk about her recent touching and illuminating single, “We’re Not Special”, as well as what motivates her as a singer-songwriter and creator in today’s music industry. Her energy will definitely move you to listen to her glistening stories.
THT: Can you take us all the way back and tell me how you got started with a career in music?
Cloe Wilder: “I’m 15, and I have always been obsessed with music, but I was very classically obsessed with music. I was receiving vocal lessons and piano lessons, and those are all things that I was interested in myself. It wasn’t like my mom was like, ‘All right, Cloe, you got to go take these lessons’. I was very excited and interested in all of that, and I wanted to know everything, Even though I originally wasn’t a songwriter, I have always loved music and grew up listening to different genres. I was invited to my first writing camp when I was 12, and that’s where I met a couple of songwriters and producers. Then I got introduced to more and more people after that and started spending more time in LA, which was very helpful and beneficial for me. Networking and meeting more people have helped me establish my career big time and it happened so naturally because it just started with a genuine love for music and then going to this writing camp.”
How would you describe some of the little highlights and milestones you have experienced in your music career?
“Well, the funny thing about the camp was, I actually didn’t realize it was a writing camp as I originally thought I was going out there to record covers. I wrote some songs while I was there, and even though it was just my first time ever really doing that, it was a pretty cool first experience. That is one highlight as that is where I started writing music for the first time, and I can very clearly remember what that felt like. I think that that was really just it because I fell in love with writing straight away.”
“We’re Not Special” provides a very intensely emotional yet simple sound. Can you tell us the story about how “We’re Not Special” came to life and what the production process was like for this particular project?
“I wrote it with Sam Nicholas back in September, as we have been working together for a very long time. I write all my songs with him, and we just have a great writing relationship right now, as he also helped produced and co-write on my EP. I’m in a very comfortable space of songwriting right now, which I’m super grateful for and I’ve got a style of writing that’s my very own. We had been working on the song for a couple of days and we were just playing guitar and singing and while he was sitting there playing the guitar, I was singing some melodies. From there, it just felt like it was easy and when I kept singing that special line, I realize that I kept bringing back that theme. From there, we figured out what it meant and where it was coming from, and then we had the verse melodies, and then the chorus. I don’t know what we were trying to do originally, but it ended up manifesting into something very cool. I just want to go back to my sad little songs as I am working on my project now. That’s really what feels the best to me, and I think I have a way of doing it. Once we got the “We’re Not Special” line, it just became instant, and then we recorded the whole thing that night, which is rare to write it and do it all on the same day, but it was amazing!”
Can you highlight your favorite element in “We’re Not Special” and why it stands out?
“I enjoy the messy and double vocal style of it, as that’s the first song I’ve released. I’ve been recording songs that are a lot similar to that, but that’s the first one I’ve released where we record my vocals like that, and it’s becoming one of my things now. I think the softness makes it sound so much more intimate and almost like I’m crying in certain spots. That’s my favorite element – the intimacy of the vocal recording. It definitely took it to a different and more alternative space to do that and it just sounded a lot more warm and conversational and in your face. I definitely had a combination of both putting it together and whatnot, but still even separate elements, putting it together definitely stand out for sure in such a good way.”
Watch the music video to “We’re Not Special” down below:
As a songwriter, how do you decide what type of music you want to create?
Cloe Wilder: “It just comes naturally. I’ve been going back to the music that I grew up on and things that affected me in different places of my life and feel like I’m taking it back right now. I think you have to try a lot of different things, but what you’re naturally writing and singing is very important. Right now, I’ve really been enjoying guitar and writing on the acoustic guitar and layering and doubling. I’ve also been listening to a lot of folk music, too, and I don’t know how that’s translating, but the folk alternative world has been making me really happy! I feel like that’s really it just like making music that makes me happy, and that’s trying different things, and it’s not happy songs, but when I listen back to them, they make me happy. And I feel like that has some truth to it. I feel like also as a strong writer, the energy has to resonate. I don’t know how to say it but it weirdly directs me towards some sort of music in order to unlock may be some ability to write or discover that type of music? That’s what I’m trying to do in my newer songs – writing about very detailed experiences that I’ve had and writing about me in a way that sounds like me. It’s not romanticized where a lot of my music had been in the past. It’s just genuine and how I feel.”
Who is one particular artist that draws you to want to work with them?
“Lana Del Rey, because I just feel like if I say it enough, it will happen! She’s been my inspiration since I have started writing music, as I’ve been listening to her at such an alarmingly young age. When I went to that writing camp, she was all I brought with me. She was the first artist I fell in love with within the sense of, it was just her. I love her visuals, her art, her writing. I loved all of it before I even knew that that’s the direction I wanted to go in. She really sparked my interest in all of that. When I saw her live for the first time, I was like a puddle. I literally couldn’t stand up straight. She affects me so deeply, and I don’t know what it is, but she musically raised me in that way.”
Can you tease the listeners/readers about what to expect with your upcoming album?
“I’m going to be putting out singles every month up until the album which will come out later this year. It’s the most honest work I’ve ever done, and it showcases a colorful me. I’m just delivering it in a way that is the most genuine that I could possibly present it.”
Follow Cloe Wilder on her social outlets below to stay up to date on her upcoming album: