Introducing music producer and recording artist, Claire Georgeby KC Orcutt | |
Creatives in Conversation: Recording artist Claire George on finding identity through taking a leap into the unknown
A common musing, especially in the creative field, is the idea that figuring out what you want to do is half the battle. While there may be a degree of truth in that, as clarity can help dictate focus, occasionally those moments of recognition unfold on their own timelines and in their own curious matters. For singer-songwriter and producer Claire George, that moment of realizing she wanted to pursue music didn't click until well after college. While working for a prominent accounting firm, she decided to curb the boredom she was experiencing by way of spontaneously joining a band on Craigslist. While such a venture may sound like an absolutely terrifying pursuit, especially for someone with no prior musical experience, Claire knew it was exactly the push into the unknown she had subconsciously been manifesting for quite some time prior.
In the time that followed, Claire went on to further realize her passion for music, finding inspiration in moments on stage and in the studio. After achieving various exciting milestones with the band, which was based in the Bay Area, Claire decided to relocate back home to her native Seattle, where she turned to discovering her own voice as an artist to get through some truly trying and difficult times. With a strong foundation in place stemming from her time collaborating with other musicians, Claire continued to hone her talents, dedicating her time to teaching herself the ins and outs of music production. During this process of discovery and introspection, Claire created an EP and soon realized how invigorating it is to push past fear and put her music out into the world independently. After receiving a placement in a mixtape by the French fashion brand and label Kitsuné, her career began unfolding in ways she could only have daydreamed about previously.
Currently based in Los Angeles, Claire can be found in the midst of recording what will be her debut album, set to be released sometime later this year by the label Cascine. Her sound is rooted in the magnetizing world of electronic pop music, accented by emotive vocals and lush, kaleidoscopic instrumentals. Claire's music is deeply personal, as is her decision to share her journey so transparently in her lyrics and interviews alike, unveiling a side of her that is as vulnerable as it is powerful. Needless to say, her music is genuinely compelling, inviting listeners to tap into their own sense of wonder and identity as well.
During a recent conversation with DropLabs, Claire spoke more about her decision to pursue music for the first time, how her creative process thrives in solitude and her advice for her fellow creatives, especially during uncertain and difficult times.
What do you do for a living and what helped you get started?
It's kind of a funny story... I went to school for accounting at USC and then after graduating moved to the Bay Area. From there, I was working at one of the largest accounting firms and was like, I'm so bored. I joined a band on Craigslist, just for fun. I had never done music before until after college. That band actually ended up playing Outside Lands and having a pretty decent local following in the Bay Area. We put out two EPs. Amidst a bunch of family drama, I went through a big breakup and during this time, the band was also kind of falling apart. I moved back home to Seattle after the band broke up and I had been interested in kind of playing around with learning to produce electronic music. I spent a year taking classes online and learning to do that and, in the meantime, I did some consulting work on the side just to survive.
I ended up finishing my EP and a friend helped encourage an opportunity with Kitsuné, which is a label and a French fashion brand. Back when I was in college, they had a really big moment and were putting out a lot of mixtapes and indie pop stuff. At the time, they were looking for unsigned artists, so I submitted my first track that I produced by myself. They selected it and it was a really affirming moment. Over the years, a lot of interesting moments kind of happened like that. I reached out to a lawyer to look over the contract for the Kitsuné mixtape and they ended up sending my EP to my now-label, Cascine. They ended up putting it out and then I toured that album, which was a crazy and amazing experience to tour by myself around the country all last year. I also currently do set design so I'm kind of all over the place [Laughs].
Given your decision to join a band on Craiglist in such a spontaneous and brave way, can you recall a moment of recognition where you felt clarity in pursuing music?
I think I was always kind of a trapped little artist. I think just based on the family I grew up in and the world that I was living in, it wasn't really an option for me to be an artist. Or at least, it felt that way. Once I moved to San Francisco and had a chance to begin again, I felt like it was impossible for me to hide that side of myself anymore. So that moment was even before I did music, you know? I think I just knew deep down that there was something missing and that was a part of who I am. And then once I got a taste of actually playing shows and performing, that's when I was like, oh, yeah, this is for me.
What type of environment or setting do you feel the most creative in?
LA is all about doing sessions but I have a bit of a hard time writing lyrics around other people. It's something I've been trying to work on but I'm also accepting that maybe that's just how it is for me right now. I really work well in solitude. I'm learning a better process for myself because I want to work with other people and collaborate, but I think the initial spark of an idea or the original songwriting comes from me. I work best when I have the house to myself, like recently when it was raining here in LA. That's kind of the perfect environment for me. When I was making my EP, I was up in Seattle during the winter and was able to go out into nature and then come home. Being in solitude and being able to sit down in my space; that's when the best work comes for me. I know a lot of people do really well writing in front of other people. It's just not my thing.
What surprised you the most about trying out DropLabs EP 01?
I think for me, I'd say how much I really felt it throughout my whole body and how it felt like I was hearing my music on stage basically. It was a cool experience because, for example, when I'm making a song in my bedroom and listening to it on headphones, or even with my monitors, you don't get the same feeling you do when you're on stage. But with DropLabs, it's like the bass is really intense and you can feel it in a similar way. That was cool for me to think about how I can simulate what it would be like to play a certain song live. Sometimes when you show up to sound checks, you can feel so overwhelmed by the bass in the song without realizing it.
Would you say you could use DropLabs Technology as a tool to aid your artistry as a producer?
A lot of producers will use tactile sound products while they are working because it gives you a sense of how the bass is actually reacting because a lot of times, the low end of the sonic spectrum is a lot harder to hear and the waves are bigger. If you're in a small space, you can get the wrong sense of what they sound like. So having something that vibrates helps indicate the level of the bass a little bit more, so it is definitely a tool that you can use, which is really awesome.
How would you describe DropLabs EP 01 to someone who hasn't tried them before?
I would say they're cool-looking; they look kind of like streetwear shoes, but they're actually a tool. At least, that's what I would consider them. You can get a sense of the bass frequencies and you can actually feel the music in your whole body. It's definitely an experiential product.
I know the current circumstances of navigating coronavirus has changed course for a lot of artists, but do you have any projects you're currently working on or any 2020 goals you'd like to share?
I feel so tremendously brokenhearted for my fellow artists who were gearing up for this to be their big year, like playing Coachella for the first time or debuting their first album and touring it. It's so heartbreaking. I had a small big year last year--but a big year for me--with launching my solo career. It was a lot. I was in a relationship but touring a lot, so I didn't feel like I lived in LA. I made a commitment this year to stay in LA and work on music. I was touring so much that I didn't really get much music made and so that's my main goal and plan for this year. I didn't make plans to go SXSW this year; I don't have plans to tour. I really just want to make my album and sit still. Right now, I have about 15 songs. I like to work from a lot of quantity so I'm going to keep making demos and ideally in the next month or so, I'd like to work with one other person to shape them up.
What are some topics or themes you're touching on with this project?
I've been through a hell of a six months. I lost my ex-boyfriend and went through a really rough breakup... My first EP was pretty dark, so it's like guess the album is going to be dark too [Laughs]. Even though the themes are about addiction and heartbreak and loss, I do want it to feel like a dancier album. I'd describe it as a dark, dark dance album. I have been touring by myself but I am starting to explore having a band again and thinking about what that might look like. I don't know if that's going to be for my first album or the one after that, but I definitely am exploring the idea of a more live sound, such as potentially playing guitar and incorporating other instruments. That part, I'm still toying with and it's up in the air, as are most things right now.
Do you have any important mantra that you live by that you'd like to share with fellow creatives?
First of all, just trust your intuition. A lot of times when I'm writing and working creatively, I'll try to force something or I can feel when I'm ignoring what my intuition is telling me. That's why being alone is really good because you're not influenced by anyone else but yourself and you can be a little bit more aware. Also, a lot of times when you are feeling fear, in a creative process, it usually signifies that it's important to you and so observe that fear and pay attention to that. You can miss a lot of opportunities because you're afraid of succeeding. I think that's something a lot of artists struggle with.
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