interview by Michael McCarthy
Pop singer/songwriter Chlöe Howl has been on my radar since she released her addictive 2013 single “No Strings.” And while she’s yet to release a full-length album, she’s continued to churn out fantastic singles and exquisite EPs aplenty. Last year’s Work EP, for example, is particularly infectious and a great introduction to her music. The song “23” in particular is one of my favorites, though I’d be hard pressed to find one of her songs that I wouldn’t consider a fave. She just seems to have that Midas touch, turning everything she comes into contact with to gold. Her current single, “Millionaire,” is a veritable earworm, tickling your brain – in a pleasant way – every time you list to it. Chlöe has said that it’s “about making someone realise that they already have everything they ever wanted.” (If she figures out a good way to do that, we’d love to hear it.) If you like pop music with potent beats and edgy lyrics like Betty Who, Robyn or Dua Lipa then you’re going to howl for her. Listen away as you read this fun e-mail interview we did recently.
Has the accent mark on the ö in your name been there since you were born or is that something you added later yourself? And if you added it yourself, when and why did you do so?
• the accent is on my birth certificate! My parents put it over the wrong letter so it technically makes no sense but legally, that’s my name.
You’ve stated that “Millionaire” was inspired by US-based trap style rap music. Who are your favorite trap artists? (Or name a few of your favorite trap songs or albums if you don’t have favorite artists per se.)
• I mean we weren’t going too deep into trap. The beat was just influenced by a lot of US rap which happens to all be influenced by trap elements at the minute. Torey Lanez, Travis Scott, Rae Sremmurd etc.
Your publicist helped launch Dua Lipa, who’s pretty much become a household name in much of the world. Do you strive to become as popular as she has or does that level of fame where you’re frequently recognized in public sound overwhelming to you?
• I don’t think you should strive for your journey to look the same as someone else’s. You shouldn’t tread a beaten path, you should forge your own! I’ll figure out what I want and how success looks for me along the way.
Your song “No Strings” sounds a lot like “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People. Is this a coincidence or did you sample or interpolate them?
• wasn’t a sample and wasn’t interpolated. I was 16 so wasn’t that involved in production. Guess it was just a coincidence!
“No Strings” was on the Kick-Ass 2 soundtrack in 2013. Had you already released it as a single before that or did it debut on the soundtrack? If it wasn’t released before, was it something you wrote specifically for the soundtrack?
• No strings was the first single I put out when I was 17 and it got picked up for the soundtrack a year later!
Did you get a big push from being on the Kick-Ass 2 soundtrack?
• urrrrrrr not as far as I saw. Was cool to see my name in film credits tho haha.
Has Spotify, or any of the other streaming services, promoted you on any of their curated playlists?
• a few times! It’s a very saturated sought after environment at the minute but yeah. I’ve been on NMF in a number of countries a few times.
Your song “Rumor” is on Spotify, but the rest of the EP is not. Why is that? It’s a great EP!
• you LURV the old songs don’t you? Haha. I dunno. My old label took em down when I left them for some reason. So it’s kinda a clean slate for me.
“Rumor” seems to be your most popular song with nearly three million streams on Spotify. What do you think it is about that song that’s made it so much more popular than your others?
• apart from the fact I was a priority act at a huge major label? A lot of this comes down to budget and opportunities. I am independent now and have to create my own luck which is great, but the build is a lot slower and harder and grassroots, so looks less instant from the outside looking in but I’m working harder and am more involved now than I ever was back then.
From what I could gather, you started releasing music in 2013, but you’ve yet to release a full length album. Why not? When might we finally see an album from you?
• I had a crazy journey! I was signed to Sony and then went well and then a wild chain of events brought things to a halt and I needed time to recover and learn to love music again and figure out what I wanted. I believe in putting out good music in the way that feels right for the art at the time and when that feels like an album, I’m sure I’ll release one.
I know you’ve worked with many different producers and co-writers during the past few years. Can you tell us about some of your upcoming singles – or other music – and who worked on them with you?
• I work mostly with a producer called Chris Zane who I’ve worked with since Rumour. We know each other incredibly well and he ties a bow on all my music and makes it sound cohesive and “me”.
How do the collaborations with your producers usually work? Do they create the music then you create the vocal melody and lyrics or do you create the music with them or… how does the magic happen?
• it changes every time! Sometimes i have track ideas going in, or they have on ready that they think suits me, or I come in with a lyric, or sometimes nothing at all and we just feel the session out as we go. It’s always evolving!
If you could collaborate with any three producers alive today, who would you like to work with?
• I literally have no idea. I can never answer this question. It changes all the time.
There was a three year period where you went without releasing any music. What were you doing during that time? Was there ever a point where you’d decided that you didn’t want to do music anymore and did something else?
• of course. Music sucks sometimes. It’s really hard and can feel like an uphill struggle. But I always come back to creating and performing – I can’t help it! So here I am.
Have you written songs for other artists? If so, have any of them been released yet? If you haven’t written for other artists yet, is that something you’d like to do in the future?
• I have but none have been released. It’s definitely something I’d be up for doing more!
Tell us what you have planned for releasing music and/or touring this year.
• I have just released my new single Millionaire and the Video is out now too! I have another track out later in the year as well as some shows towards the end of 2019!
Special thanks to Chlöe for taking the time to answer our questions and to Tasha Anderson for connecting us!
Chlöe Howl networks:
I love Chlöe Howl. she continues to amaze me with her high quality tunes that always have something to say.
I didn’t understand why people were making such a big deal about her when she first came out but I guess having a major label pushing her is why.However, these songs aren’t bad.Kinda good actually.