Okay, look, we first want to start off by saying if you aren’t already listening to Forest Claudette, you are really missing out. The singer-songwriter has already found their voice, especially with their sophomore EP, Everything Was Green. Which as Claudette says, “Maps a cycle of thoughts and life that I’ve been experiencing since 2019: Heartbreak, freedom, excess, gratitude, awareness and, finally, tracing most issues back to systemic injustice.” So who wouldn’t fall in love with an EP all about the artist’s life? We just couldn’t help it. Prior to that release, we got one of our favorite tracks, ‘Creaming Soda,’ which you probably have heard from the singer before.
However, we can’t get too deep into their past as we need to about Everything Was Green, but can’t do it as good as the artist themselves, so why not let them tell you about it? So please check out our interview down below with the singer, in which you can learn about them finding their voice, gender identity, ‘Two Years,’ as well as collabs they hope for.
Your music has been compared to the likes of Frank Ocean and Maxwell. How would you describe your sound and how do you strive to create a unique sound that sets you apart from other artists?
I stopped trying to establish a sound like others. I do what feels good and create music and sounds that are authentic to me. I create my own space by listening to myself.
As a non-binary artist, would you say your gender identity influences your music and artistic expression? If so, do you feel that it adds a special perspective to your work?
Yes! How I am and how I present myself to the world affects how and what I write about. Perspective is the thing I latched onto because with the perspective I felt before and after identifying as non-binary. I was trying to consider what it feels like to listen to my music being anybody. For the most part, I am trying to keep my music gender-neutral. I like the idea of everyone being able to sing my songs and think of who they love or miss.
Every artist has their way of doing things, how do you approach translating your emotions and experiences into the masterpieces you create?
Most of my ideas start with me and a guitar. If I’m feeling a lot of things, I might write something down with words from my brain. Often my brain processes things in words since I am an inner monologue person. If I am feeling big emotions, it will just come out since I need to do something with it, whether it’s positive or negative. I approach my songwriting from a lyrical perspective and melodies. Sometimes when I am alone and a little high, I will sit with my guitar and sometimes sing.
We are obsessed with ‘Two Years’ and the smoothness of your vocals! What was the initial idea behind the song and did it differ from the final product?
I was on my guitar, and it was so slow. It almost sounded like a country tune (laughing). I knew it was a song I wanted to write because it was the last thing I wanted to say about my last relationship, on how it ended and the way it did. It was a pivotal point for me on how to listen to myself more, and trust that making decisions (for me) was the right thing because I’ve always been a people pleaser. It was a cool session. I was working with Gabe Reali and Jahs (producer Jason Hahs). Gabe is a wonderful writer, someone to bounce things off of, and be there emotionally while I was working through that stuff. Gabs was willing to create that narrative with me and figure out what I needed to say. It was a cool session since I cried a little bit.
How long did it take you to put ‘Two Years’ together? Do you have a favorite moment from the recordings?
My favorite part in the recording itself, not the songwriting, is the split harmony that comes in on second pre-chorus. I love how it fleshes out and falls. It captures the feelings of different thoughts I’ve had and the way that they all fall and come together. I wrote the initial voice memo during the second half of 2021, and then the writing session in the next year
So you said ‘Two Years’ is about you learning to grapple with life. What’s something you wish you knew when you first started to really navigate through life, and what’s something you have learned at your current age?
I wish I knew how to listen to yourself and articulating that. I’ve struggled with the idea of conflict and the idea of people being upset by what I think or feel -especially how I feel about something. I can feel however I want to, and it is up to me to communicate with other people so they know what’s going on. If I had learned that when I was younger, I would have spared myself and some other people. Now, it is like ‘keep talking to people’ and make sure everyone understands how you feel.
Your upcoming EP looks so beautiful, green really is your color. If you could describe the color of ‘Two Years’ what would it be?
It would be a soft purple or lavender. It’s like shimmery bits, not solid (waving hand motion). It is like a curtain. It’s a very personal song that has life and vibrance- just like the way it moves in the production. It’s somber, loving, and emotional. It’s the color I associate it with.
We got an early listen to your upcoming EP Everything Was Green, and we have to say it is filled with bops. Your listeners have heard a couple of tracks off the EP already, so besides those, which track are you most excited for people to check out?
That’s tough because I’m proud of everything on this project. I want people to listen to different things for different reasons. Violence is going to be the main focus coming out with the EP. That is the song I am the most proud of because I have been trying to write about black experience and what it feels like. I’ve been trying to capture it for so long. Every angle I took just did not feel right. So, I am very proud of how we held that sound. It was important and made a bit of a revelation. For me, when I am making that music and talking about that subject matter, it’s important to feel held (hugs himself). That way it does not feel like you are being bombarded with pain. There is something like Pool Boy, which I am so proud of because it sounds sick. I feel like it’s a nice flow state that I have been trying to access. The way that the verse flows holds this little narrative. Check out the EP! I’m proud of it
We are already imagining which artists you should collab with, like tobi lou on ‘Hi Ves Teeth,’ (he really fits the vibes of that track). If you could imagine anyone jumping on one of the tracks from Everything Was Green, which tracks would it be, and who would have a feature?
I would have Little Simz jump on ‘Violence’ because she speaks to that experience so perfectly. It would be cool to break it up and get into the details. I’m painting a very broad picture, and then she can come into that and cut it up very fine. There’s so many people. I would work with Tyler (the Creator) because he is a cool producer. Having Slowthai on Poolboy would be a perfect vibe. I actually have some other songs for Slowthai, but we will get to that (laughs). Obviously, it is cool to fantasize about everyone, but having EarthGang on Mess Around is unreal. I forget sometimes because people look at me and are like “is that EarthGang on your track?”. When they do, I am like ‘oh fuck that is EarthGang on my track! That’s me!’
Now, we know an EP is on the way, what else can we expect from Forest Claudette for the remainder of 2023?
Some shows! I am trying to connect with people and experience that. I was playing some shows back home, and it has been amazing to feel peoples energy and attention knowing that they have connected with what I have said, but from their own perspective and experiences. I think that’s so cool. I don’t know who I was talking to about this, but I got this idea that once you’ve released the music it’s not really yours. It’s like you made it but people will take from it what they will, and that is so special. I know I have those experiences myself.
Raise your hand if you also want to hear Forest Claudette perform Everything Was Green live. Speaking of Everything Was Green, which track off of it was your favorite? How did you like our interview with the star? Let us know in the comments down below, on Twitter @thehoneypop, and don’t forget to talk to us over on Facebook and Instagram!
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