Coming off of a brief hiatus, Arcane is happy to present: Chloe Lilac. Raised in New York City, this Brooklyn native has become one of the most sought out alternative acts we’ve seen in a while. It seems the stripped down and laid back vibes Lilac offers in her music is just what we’ve needed in the industry.
Although she’s only been around for a year, her transparent lyrics and intimate performances has attracted a cult following (whom she calls “Flowers”).
Whether this is your first time hearing about Ms. Lilac, or you’re a self-proclaimed “Flower”, I think you will enjoy this insightful interview talking about everything from her influencers and street performing in New York City, to the release of her first song and being on tour!
Enjoy the interview!
Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: Hey! My name’s Chloe Lilac, I’m a singer/songwriter/producer from Brooklyn, New York.
Q: Your music is generally Pop (specifically Alternative & Bedroom Pop (Lo-fi)) – I’m curious as to who you listened to growing up? Who are some current artists you’ve been listening to?
A: Oh man, I listen to all types of stuff.
Growing up I mainly listened to Frank Zappa and The Talking Heads, ironically enough I wasn’t really allowed to listen to pop music. Now, I listen to a lot of A Tribe Called Quest, Samm Henshaw, Mac Ayres, Mac Miller, Mac Demarco (many Macs), Lana Del Rey, Childish Gambino, Tyler, the Creator, Ski Mask, Car Seat Headrest and Hiatus Kaiyote.
Q: Did you always know that you would take on music professionally, or was there a specific moment that it all just … clicked?
A: That’s a great question! It’s been the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, and ever since I can remember I’ve been writing songs. I’ve always had an insatiable drive to do music. I don’t think I’d be able to do anything else.
Q: Once you decided to become an artist, how did you go about it? (Did you begin by songwriting/producing/performing/etc?)
A: I’ve been writing songs my entire life, and performing in bands ever since I was 8 years old. I began by producing my own songs when I was 10 on Garageband. Then when I was 13, a friend told me to check out this website, SoundCloud, it’s been history ever since.
Q: I know for a short time you busked (performing outside) , was it ever intimidating – especially living somewhere like New York City? Where did you get the confidence to do that?
A: Again, I was desperate to succeed in music and I had no idea how to infiltrate the music scene. I have the outrageous privilege of growing up/living in New York City, so my impulsive 13 year old brain concluded that the best way to go about getting exposure was to busk. I was never scared, I was honestly just so desperate for success that nothing mattered.
Q: After a short time busking, you were introduced to a producer named Bobby Yewah – how was it meeting for the first time? How has he helped you musically?
A: I LOVE BOBBY!! That’s the MAN. He took me under his wing and taught me so much about myself, confidence, and music. I’d come in with a song written, play it for him on the piano, he’d produce it out in like 2 hours (so talented) and then we’d watch Netflix and eat Wendy’s. He taught me how to be a recording artist. Not every take has to be perfect. Having fun in the studio and talking about real shit is important. Music is about connection. He also taught me that working with a producer is a collaboration. The song is both of yours.
Q: Early last year, you released your first song “Reckless”, what was that experience like?
A: I was at a really interesting time in my life. I was being really reckless (hence the name) at the time and was really finding myself as a young woman. I wanted to write about how much of a mess I was. Being a kid in New York, you grow up faster than a lot of other places. It was the first song I had ever professionally recorded, and I was so nervous the whole time. Bobby calmed me down and was super patient.
Q: Once the recording process was completed, how did you feel listening to it as a whole? Were you nervous about releasing it?
A: I cried when I first listened to it. I couldn’t believe it was me. I honestly wasn’t that nervous, I was excited to see the reaction online.
Q: Do you ever get nervous when you release new material?
A: OH YEAH. Definitely, especially when it’s a song about a specific person.
Q: What type of advice could you give aspiring artists (specifically musicians) when it comes to debuting?
A: Just put it out there, take a deep breath and let it rock. Don’t try to control the outcome. Surrender to the process and everything will follow.
Q: Almost a year to your debut, you released your fourth song, “Your Worst” which has accumulated over 10,000 plays (on Soundcloud alone). Can you briefly explain what the song is about?
A: It was about this guy that I really liked, that I’d on and off talked to for a pretty long time. We always ended up hating each other, then half a year to a year later we’d always end up back where we started. It had been a vicious cycle for a while. We were at the not talking phase and I missed him, so this was how I coped with it.
Q: What (or who) exactly influences you to write and how do you maintain creativity?
A: All my songs are about real shit. That’s why I get nervous about releasing them. Childish Gambino is my biggest inspiration, as well as Lana Del Rey.
Q: Shortly after Your Worst, you released, what can be called your signature song, “Stolen Liquor” – which was praised by sources like Nylon Magazine. Did you ever expect this song to catch on so quickly and reach as many people as it did?
A: Oh my gosh no – I screamed when I saw Nylon picked it up! That was crazy, Nylon is such an iconic magazine. Shook can’t even begin to describe how I felt. I would’ve never thought it would reach that many people in such a short time. It was really really cool.
Q: When you perform, does it ever overwhelm/encourage you to see just how many people enjoy your music? Where do you think you would be most shocked to learn you had fans? … Do you happen have a name (or any ideas) for your supporters yet?
A: I always get surprised when people like my music. I’m so in my head about it that when people tell me they like it, it takes me off guard (in the best way). I’m honestly always shocked to hear I have fans. It brings me so much joy. I have no idea what I’d call them, maybe flowers?
Q14: Speaking of performances, you are about to head on tour with alternative pop/rock singer Sasha Sloan for a few shows, are you excited? How did you guys even connect?
A: I’M SO EXCITED!!! I opened for Rejjie Snow recently, and then she reached out to my manager about me opening for her. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
Q: Should the crowd be prepared to sing along to your latest hit single “Summer” while you’re on stage? What can we expect from your set?
A: Just good vibes and fun. I want people to feel comfortable dancing and feel at home! When I’m performing it should be a safe space for expression, I want everyone to leave with a smile on their faces knowing they had a good time.
Q: After the tour, should we be waiting for a Chloe Lilac project, and maybe even a tour/mini tour of your own by 2019? Are there any places/events you would like to perform in the future?
A: I just finished my EP, so hopefully it’ll come out soon! Camp Flog Gnaw is a festival I’ve always wanted to perform at. The Bowery Ballroom is a dream of mine to sell out and play. Also Madison Square Garden, but that’s a little more long term! I’d also love to go to London and Paris and do a couple shows there.
Q: For a new artist, you have accomplished quite a bit, from countless stellar performances to acknowledgement from established sources in the industry – I’m curious as to what some of your goals (whether work related or personal) for the rest of the year are?
A: Thank you! I want to make good music, help out other artists and connect with as many people as possible, as well as build up my fan base and start my album. Also, perform a LOT. In terms of my personal life, try to be the best person I can be and the best friend I can be.
Q: Because you are such a consistent artist, and seem very hard-working, how do you spend your free time? What advice can you give other creatives about balancing a work and personal life?
A: I’m still figuring out the balance, honestly. I have an amazing group of friends that I love so much. My advice is: try to find like minded, supportive, creative people. Personally, I’ve found being sober or if not keeping it in strict moderation has helped me a lot with keeping my work life/priorities on track and keeping my drive up.
Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your supporters?
A: Thank you all so much! Really, I’m incredibly grateful. Don’t hesitate to reach out! Big love to all of you and new music is on the way!
If you enjoyed this interview and would like to hear the songs featured throughout the interview you can choose from the selection below: