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Associated with soft, intimate vocals, daydreamy atmosphere, and rumination, Clairo is the stage name of singer/songwriter Claire Cottrill. Often coloring keyboard or guitar accompaniment with samples and sound effects, the Boston native began sharing dozens of her stylized but sparse, melody-driven recordings to music-sharing sites as a young teen in 2013. She eventually had a minor viral hit with 2017′s “Pretty Girl,” and a bigger one with “Flaming Hot Cheetos,” whose video garnered millions of views in 2018. Officially dropping the “bedroom” from bedroom pop, Clairo made her full-length debut with the Rostam-co-produced Immunity in 2019. Her more richly arranged sophomore album, 2021′s Sling, was co-produced with Jack Antonoff.
After releasing dozens of accumulated home recordings in 2013, Clairo issued the EP do u wanna fall in love? in 2014. She followed it with more EPs in 2015, including have a nice day, late show, AQUARIUS BOY, and moth girl. In May of that year, the full-length metal heart offered a collection of spare acoustic recordings with notable tape hiss. Meanwhile, she became active on social media with video posts that included acoustic guitar covers of songs by the Cure, Frankie Cosmos, and Alex G, among others. The year 2016 brought the creased laundry EP and the six-track brains a bus station, which introduced new equipment including electric guitar, various keyboard voices, and drum samples. In July of that year, she also delivered a split EP as Claire Cottrill with English lo-fi musician Keel Her.
In December 2016, the song “How Was Your Day?,” a collaboration with Mellow Fellow, presented a richer indie pop sound with extended chords and a full arrangement of guitar, keyboards, drums, and vocal harmonies. Further establishing herself as a proponent of dreamy reflection, Clairo was featured in 2017 on no less than three atmospheric indie electronic pop singles: “Girl” by Brennan Henderson, “You Might Be Sleeping” by Jakob Ogawa, and “Froyo” by Hans. Also that year, her like-minded song “Pretty Girl” was featured on the Father/Daughter Records cassette compilation The Le Sigh, Vol. 3, and she had a second viral hit with the keyboard ballad “Flaming Hot Cheetos.” Both songs received a commercial release by the FADER Label in mid-2017. An official video for “Cheetos” followed in March 2018 and was covered by such media outlets as Pitchfork, NPR, and Billboard. Still in her late teens, Clairo followed it a month later with a funky, more fully produced single, “4EVER,” which saw her collaborating in the studio with Ashwin Torke, Deaton Chris Anthony, and Burns Twins. Singles including “Drown,” a collaboration with Cuco, and “Heaven,” from the soundtrack to Skate Kitchen, arrived before the end of the year.
Retaining intimacy while adopting a sleeker pop sound, Clairo co-produced her first official album, 2019′s Immunity, with Rostam, bringing in guests including drummer Danielle Haim and a children’s chorus. The single “Sophia” represented her first appearance in the Billboard Hot 100, and Immunity reached number 51 on the album chart. An arena tour in support of Khalid accompanied the release and was followed by a headlining tour. Adding further texture to her sound with components like vintage keys, Moogs, and layered vocals, Clairo’s second full-length, Sling, was co-produced by Cottrill and Jack Antonoff. Released in 2021, it marked her debut for Republic Records. ~ Marcy Donelson