Clairo started off as the face of the bedroom pop movement that occurred during the late 2010s, and primarily took place on SoundCloud. Now, she's blossomed into a seasoned singer/songwriter who blends in with the current sapphic sad girl wave. She's worked with the likes of Jack Antonoff, Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers, and most recently with the band Phoenix. She's had a great start to her career, and despite two studio LPs to her name and several more EPs, we know there's more room for her to grow.
Clairo (real name: Claire Cottrill) was born in Atlanta and raised in Massachusetts. She began posting music to the internet at age 13 and uploaded her work to Bandcamp under the stage names Clairo and DJ Baby Benz. She went on to post covers and songs in addition to DJ mixes of rap music on SoundCloud. She also maintained a YouTube channel where she would post covers and short films. It wasn't until 2017, when she posted the music video to her viral hit "Pretty Girl," that she became popular. Soon after, she signed a record deal with Fader Label.
Although she may be a younger artist, Clairo has already had several different eras of her career. The 10 songs we've listed below encompass both her early days and more mature works. Get cozy in your bedroom and listen to our Clairo faves!
10. "Get With U"
This is one of those songs you have to listen to late at night in order to properly feel its vibe. "Get With U" is an early single from Clairo made during her SoundCloud days. It would eventually hop to major streaming platforms in 2017, and is a song we feel went under the radar when she first started to gain traction in her career.
The lyrics may be repetitive, but the longing feeling of wanting to do something more than just sitting at home – and also wanting to be more than friends with someone – is very much there. This song reminds us of the lackadaisical college nights that happen in your late teens and early 20s.
A romantic disco hit from Clairo? Yes, it's been done before – thanks to a great collaboration with SG Lewis! “Better” marks the first team-up between the British electronic artist and Cottrill. They first met and made this song on the same day. "Better" presents an iridescent, synth-bop appeal that is irresistibly catchy. You'll feel like a bedroom pop version of John Travolta when boogieing to this.
Moreover, the song’s cool music video pays homage to Hype William’s use of the fish lens in the late 90s. It conjures a nostalgic aesthetic similar to William’s music videos with artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, Mase, and Missy Elliott. Need your day to feel better? Just listen to "Better."
"Hello?" is a clever tune that uses the sounds and lyrical themes of phones in order to tell its love story. It was released as the opening track of Clairo's 2018 debut EP, diary 001. It also contains a feature from Irish hip-hop artist Rejjie Snow.
In the song, Clairo sings about a passionate romance strained by physical and emotional separation, while Rejjie reminisces on the relationship’s origins. The self-produced instrumental features a simple two-chord synth loop and a bouncy drum beat. It's that classic bedroom pop instrumental sound she was known for during the beginning of her career. A perfect opener to a great debut EP.
7. "Bubble Gum"
A fan favorite ballad made during Clairo's early days. "I think the first song I wrote that really meant a lot to me was 'bubble gum.' I wrote that when I was 15." Clairo once revealed during a 2019 Beats 1 interview. "That was the first song of mine that actually 'blew up'."
"Bubble Gum" is a song expressing the feeling of regret. When Clairo sings “Cause I swallowed the bubble gum,” it means she's regretting to say or doing something. When you swallow gum, the tale is that it gets stuck in your stomach – a similar feeling to holding a regret. In particular, Clairo is expressing her regret at not taking a chance in a relationship. "Sorry I didn't kiss you / But it's obvious I wanted to," she croons in the tunes very first verse.
"bubble gum" started off as a SoundCloud hit and is included within Clairo's collection originals. On February 22, 2019, both “bubble gum” and the track “sis” were released onto major streaming platforms, where they found new life with fans.
A song that will make you nostalgically look back on good times with your high school and college friends. "4EVER" is a heartfelt coming-of-age bop created by Clairo when she was feeling pre-college anxiety. It's another hit from diary 001.
"I wrote this song the night before I left for college," Clairo revealed on Genius. "I don’t really know where the idea came from. I was about to go on this huge journey of going to school, and the song kind of talks about this existential, all the question I’m asking can be applied to not only a relationship, but life in general. I was having a moment with myself, and I was like “I don’t know what’s going on. Is it ever gonna change? Am I gonna feel this way forever?” I didn’t know if I liked the school. I didn’t know if that was the right fit for me, so the mood was kind of just me being really confused. I’m confused a lot of the time."
We love the heavy and totally dance-y synths on "4EVER," and adore the fact Clairo hired Deaton Chris Anthony to infuse the funky bassline onto this track – an element it so desperately needed. "4EVER" also comes with a silly self-shot music video of Clairo and her friends during their time at Syracuse University. It's so cute, it'll melt your heart.
5. "Flaming Hot Cheetos"
A lot of indie music fans had their eyes on Clairo in 2017 because of a certain song that's ranked further down on our list. When "Flaming Hot Cheetos" dropped, it made people realize she wouldn't stay a one-hit-wonder.
This bubbly track, with its adorable melody and dreamy synths, is about one of Clairo's past relationships. "The song was sort of a struggle between one side of me trying to ‘snap out of it,’ and the other side of me still wishing that things were how they used to be," she said in an interview. It's a short but sweet tune, and named "Flaming Hot Cheetos" simply because Cottrill was munching on them when she created the song.
When "Flaming Hot Cheetos" was released, it also came with a dazzling video that saw Clairo drive in a fancy car and hang with a dancing troop of costumed Flaming Hot Cheetos.
Arguably the best track off Clairo's latest album, Sling. On a record full of moody, slow tunes, "Amoeba" is surprisingly groovy. But even with a faster pace, it still retains the deep emotion and soothing feel Clairo is known for.
In an interview, Clairo revealed about the track, "It’s about prioritizing the wrong things. I’d go out on tour and forget to call my family and my friends, forget to eat, then come home and realize my hair’s falling out because I’m not taking care of myself." Amoebas are unicellular organisms, and the noun comes from the greek amoibe which means “change, alteration, exchange.” It's a perfect title for a song all about transforming into something else...something lonely and simple. Loneliness is certainly a major theme of Sling.
Famous Bleachers producer Jack Antonoff helped Clairo with the songs on Sling, and you can hear some trademark sound of his come out within the riffs on "Amoeba." We hope the two artists collaborate again in the future!
This chipper fan favorite off Immunity sees Clairo professing her love to a woman named Sofia. But it's not just one Sofia...“Sofia” is actually about Clairo’s first crushes on women such as director Sofia Coppola and actress Sofia Vergara. In this song, the young artist talks about a period of time where she was discovering her sexuality.
Clairo described “Sofia” as an “empowering” track in an interview with Coup de Main, stating: "It was important to me that “Sofia” was celebratory because it should be celebrated. At the end of the day it’s something that I’m really proud of and I’m really happy that I can look at the world that way – that I can find beauty in women."
Clairo tried to make the lyrics to the song a tad cliché, stating to Beats 1, "I kind of wanted to make the lyrics a little corny, 'I’ll never leave you to the end of time,' 'I’ll love you forever.' Everyone’s done that. To me it’s like I’ve never done that and this is a corny song about a woman, I want to be corny." Despite her best efforts, "Sofia" managed to win several music lovers over, and became her first song to chart on the Billboard 100.
2. "Pretty Girl"
Clairo's breakout song into the mainstream! "Pretty Girl" was originally recorded on GarageBand for a cassette compilation limited to 250 copies. It was made for a small magazine called The Le Sigh. But once Clairo publicly released this track onto the internet in 2017, it exploded in popularity. She even managed to gain 1 million views for the impromptu music video, which she made using her computer's camera in a matter of 30 minutes.
The genius of "Pretty Girl" lies within its duality. On the surface, it sounds like a bright, simple, and cutesy love song. But when you pay closer attention to what Clairo's actually singing and her grim inflections when reciting lyrics like, "I'll lose myself in you," you realize "Pretty Girl" is actually a song about changing your identity in order to please another person. As the song progresses, Clairo asserts her independence – realizing she's better off alone.
"Pretty Girl" was inspired by a flawed relationship Clairo actually had. "The song is about a relationship I had where I felt I needed to be the perfect girl for another person...whether that’s wearing makeup, doing my hair, wearing things they like, or even changing the way I speak/WHEN I speak," she revealed in the YouTube description for the song's music video. "I felt that the only way I could make this video was to have a lot of fun looking disgusting and not caring at all! It's okay to have flaws and it's okay to embrace them and it's okay to be silly and stupid. You all might already know this, but I'm happy that I know this now."
One of those songs you can picture playing at the end of a dramatic movie. We know "Sofia" may be a big favorite off of Immunity. But when it comes to production, the depth of the lyrics, and the raw emotion Clairo puts behind the vocals, we got to give our #1 spot to "Bags."
"Bags" was the turning point of Clairo's career for a variety of reasons. Besides the fact it was the debut single of her first studio album, "Bags" marked a change of sound for the artist. Co-produced by Rostam, the song sheds Clairo's past hazy, lo-fi aesthetic and opts for a sound that is more crisp and focused. It embraces soft guitar, wavy synths, and twinkling piano. It was the first Clairo track that really sounded "polished" and not like it was made in GarageBand.
Another reason why it marked a turning point for Clairo is because it vulnerably discusses Cottril's sexuality. "Bags" is about her first time with a girl, lyrically presenting a narrative where she struggles to tell her lover she’s crushing on them. With the line "I should probably keep it all to myself / Know you'd make fun of me," Clairo also presents a nervous energy about coming out. (Fortunately, things went smoothly when Clairo came out to her family in real life.)
On the track, Clairo revealed to Genius, "I think as a whole it’s just about being comfortable or becoming comfortable in between spaces. Whether that’s relationships or if you relate it to something bigger in your life. It’s definitely about me learning to be comfortable in a place of the unknown and kind of just letting something be, and being okay with not knowing the outcome of something." We'll never forget the great performance Clairo did of this song with Phoebe Bridgers. Also, "Bags" was released in the middle of 2019, and managed to slip into Pitchfork's "The 200 Best Songs of the 2010s" list (at number #123) before the closing of the decade. We know that means as the 2020s progress, Clairo is going to grow and find even more time in the spotlight.
Check out our selection of free stations streaming Clairo music at Live365.com.
Rather listen on our app? Download the Live365 app on iOS or Android. Ready to start your own station? Contact one of our Product Consultants or visit our website today. Keep up with the latest news by following us on Facebook (Live365 (Official) and Live365 Broadcasting) and Twitter (@Live365 and @Broadcast365)!