Interview with honest songwriter & singer Clara Mae

Image credit: Jonathan Perlmann

A songwriter, singer, artist, and fellow empath, Clara Mae may just be the act that you have been searching for if you are looking for earnest lyrics glazed with alt-pop textures. Releasing the lyric video & single ‘Crash’ via Universal Music Sweden this past Friday, the video currently sits over 14 000 views since it has gone public on her YouTube channel. Clara Mae liberates her listeners from their relationship anxieties and inhibitions, with this lyrically open track. Many a time, we always hold back from sharing our feelings with the ones we desire and end up hurting ourselves through the process. Clara Mae shares that she would rather feel the hurt, than always wonder what if? The singer is definitely bold with honesty and it’s delightful.

We chatted with the delightfully sincere songwriter Clara Mae.

Stream / Download ‘Crash’

Please describe your sound for us.

Many people will probably say my sound is typical Swedish pop. I was heavily inspired by Robyn when I was younger. But throughout the years and growing with my music I have experimented with more organic sounds and productions. And I think I finally found my home. The lyrics have always been such an essential part of what I do, but I’ve also missed singing, like really singing. Not the quiet pop whispery singing, that’s what you will hear from me in the future. More organic sounds, descriptive lyrics as I’m singing my heart out.

How did it all start for you?

For me, there has never been anything else. Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to pursue my musical ambitions. Music gives me meaning and takes me through so many tough stages in life. I actually started just by writing for other artists, because I didn’t know where I belonged at that time and what type of music I wanted to create. But then one day we wrote ‘I’m Not Her’ and I immediately felt,  “I can’t give this song away”. So that’s where it all started for me as an artist not only as a writer.

Which three artists would you say made you want to create your own music?

I grew up during the ‘90s, so I listened to a lot of Robyn, The script, Michelle Branch etc. But country music was also a big part of my teenage years. I loved the storytelling lyrics. So I would say it’s a mix between those pop artists and country artists like Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and Lady A.

 This song talks about taking risks when it comes to matters of the heart. What is the bravest thing you have done so far?

That’s a tough one. When it comes to matters of the heart, I would say allowing myself to fall in love again. And to let go of the hurt and insecurities I got from my last relationship was the toughest part. But I’m glad I did it because today I’m happier than ever with someone else. 

What is your go-to gear/equipment when creating?

My computer, my phone and my complicated romantic mind haha. That’s literally all I use.

What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.

Mostly my own life experiences, I want to write about things I can relate to. But sometimes I have to bend my stories a little bit cause otherwise there wouldn’t be much to write about after a while. So then, I can get inspiration from books and sometimes movies. But I always make sure I can relate to it in one way or another.

‘Crash’ was written by multiple writers, including yourself. Can you please describe the writing process of this track?

We wrote ‘Crash’ at a small camp that was arranged for me last October. It was such a cosy place to be hanging out and writing songs.

‘Crash’ was the second song we wrote; the first one we wrote was good but not great, so I think all of us felt like we needed to beat it. So writing ‘Crash’ was a relief for all of us. We started just talking about the concept and discussing the fact how scary it can be to jump into something new when you have been hurt in the past. But all of us agreed that none of us would go back and change anything because the experience and memories were worth the hurt. So that’s how the concept of the song came to be. We started with the chorus and tried out different melodies, and we fell in love with the epic feeling we had when singing it. This song kind of just wrote itself, that usually happens when everyone in the room feels it. 

What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?

Indie music and organic music definitely don’t get enough attention. I think the hip-hop genre,  and EDM is getting a lot of attention and has been for a long time. And in Sweden, it’s almost only Swedish music that gets all the support and attention. 

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?

Holly Humberstone is amazing, I’m obsessed. I also love Lany.

What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a performer? As an attendee?

I think I would have to say performing at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles back in 2019. That was a special night for me, my biggest show over there. The sound was amazing and everything just worked out perfectly. And that made it possible for me to just enjoy everything and just be in that moment. It was a perfect night.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

You can expect some new material that is different from what you heard me do before. Organic songs, a mix of pop and country music. I’ve worked so hard on all of these songs, they all have a special place in my heart. And of course hopefully a tour not that far away in the future.

Famous last words?

If you lose someone but find yourself. You won.

Crash’ features on the Spotify playlist POP_GRØUND

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