“Be yourself. If you want a long career and longevity, if you want to matter in three or five years, and you don’t just want to be someone who has fifteen seconds of fame, really appreciate the journey of going after your dreams. It might happen quickly or it might not just know that everyone is different; you have to be you and your journey is not worth the same as mine. Be honest with yourself and true to who you are and not lose sight of that for attention or money.” – Claire Renee with The Caribbean Current.
Claire Renee is a doubtless beauty inside and out, taking the music industry by the reigns and unapologetically doing so with grace and finesse. The aspiring superstar inspires many with her ‘quality over quantity’ soul connecting songs, which hit home at least once to anyone who cares to listen. Truth is, there hasn’t been an instance where listeners have had anything negative to say about the songbird, but is that just all she does, sing?
“I surely never started out life with a mic in my hand – I didn’t have that kind of story – I think that’s what makes me well rounded. I am someone that if I have a will and I know that I can do something, I go for it entirely, and I dedicate everything to ensure that I become the best that I can be.” – Claire Renee exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
In this day and age, like in the business spectrum, one job cannot cut it. Similarly, being an upcoming artist, you have to have something that sets you apart from everyone else, and Claire has all the makings of a success in whatever she does.
Claire as an Artiste
“[Through my music] I am healing, and saying what I need to say whether it’s about me, around me, or something I have noticed that I am inspired by. I think it’s simply a way for me to heal, get my thoughts out and clear my head of any clutter. It is essential for me, and I want it to stay that way. I know that if I’m feeling something I am usually not alone, so if I have written it out and feel like it doesn’t make sense, I just try and stick to it, and continue to craft it and build up the song and make it palatable for the world so that persons can connect, because I feel like music is by far one of the biggest tools you can use to connect with most people and make us realize how similar we are.” – Claire Renee exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
A creative mind is not gifted to many and they may spend years and financial resources in trying to master what comes naturally to Claire Renee. Her EP Let Me GLO is the benchmark to all that is her as a humble character of the arts, who effortlessly adapts to the ebb and flow of hip-hop and jazz melodies amidst thought-provoking lyrics. Listening to Let Me GLO in its entirety, one will hear confirmation of the process of healing – finding the light at the end of the tunnel perhaps. However, Claire refutes predictability in her visuals of the EP revealing that it is in truth and fact about growing up (and actually being willing to grow) and letting go in order to ‘glow’.
“Connection is my most important thing and that’s what really makes it worth it. When somebody is like ‘that got me through this day’, or ‘I went through the same thing and I threw on your song and I feel so much better’; that connection means the world to me, because that means I’m doing my job as an artist and even if it’s one person, I’m content.” – Claire Renee exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
When artists get so involved in the journey of their music rather than the destination of launching an album, the writing of the song comes into play. Claire loves songwriting; she finds when she writes it depicts her mood. She will notice a change in her handwriting even when she jots down her thoughts in the middle of the night or throughout her day. Love So Hard on the EP was particularly difficult for her; many times her emotions engulfed her, as with most of the songs she writes.
“I don’t want to be an artiste that [tells my listeners] you should feel a certain way when listening to my song like some things get people in a certain way and it may not be a way that hits you. So I know for my song ‘Love So Hard’ there are people who say they smile and want to be free when they hear it, and there are some people that say they literally cry to this song because it’s just so honest and open and vulnerable and that is how I feel… I just let people feel what they need to feel and understand it for themselves – it might also hit you at a different time, it might miss them the first time or they get it immediately.” – Claire Renee with The Caribbean Current.
She has gotten a lot of support from her friends and family when it comes to her music career. She hasn’t gotten much criticism from her fans; it has just been an outpouring of love and she isn’t the only one struggling through her twenties.
“It’s nice to know that persons are listening to my music and laughing at it, crying to it and overall connecting with it, so I don’t think anyone has critiqued it in a way that it’s not helpful or negative in any way.” – Claire Renee with The Caribbean Current.
Claire absolutely loves and respects Alicia Keys for her raw talent and realness to the music industry. She also finds favorites in Bilal, Erykah Badu, Billie Holiday, Beyoncé, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Chaka Khan, Brandon Boyd, Justin Nozuka, Solange Knowles, Nas, Lauren Hill and JayZ who held their own. She relates to Janet Jackson for her performances and the fact that, although she is soft-spoken, when she comes on stage she ‘is on fire’.
“I would definitely like to collab with Solange, Justin Nozuka, and Kendrick Lamar in some way, Anderson Paak and a few smaller artistes; those are who I see myself aligning with and it making sense.” – Claire Renee with The Caribbean Current.
She doesn’t ‘box herself in’ as a writer – in that, she tries to branch out and not limit herself to a specific genre of music. She does not make music based on what’s trending; her music comes from an honest place within herself and if it aligns with what’s trending, that then garners more listeners. She writes from her personal experiences from which she learned life lessons. Sometimes she writes based on what comes to mind at the moment. In an instant, she can conceptualize a song about things individuals take for granted, or our emotional/mental health, the list goes on.
Love So Hard catapulted her out of her comfort zone; a change from her recent hip-hop centered EPs and took on a jazz theme focus which she acclimatizes to beautifully. Claire is passionate about her music. She is a trained musician who is influenced by diverse genres like R&B, pop, jazz, and hip-hop which is evident in her EP rhythms. The rasp in her voice as she belts out unfathomable lyrics, and the electric feelings of her captivating and well-conceptualized videos, are lauded by her fans.
“You have the soul of jazz and the grit of hip-hop and it just creates this energy, it feeds me, and I just kind of grew up on that… I think jazz is just a good basis for me, I went to school for jazz, I just can’t help but be a jazz kid.” – Claire Renee with Unpopular Culture.
She has released four projects to date – two being collaborations – and her first project was entitled Dreams and Ambitions, then a collaboration with a friend for Breaking Codes, and of course Let Me GLO. Despite having a rough year – through transitions and life changes – she focused on her mental health and trusting herself thus ‘Dear Me’ was born. Her ‘Love Out Loud’, ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ and ‘Love So Hard’ all came when she moved to LA and they just blossomed into something beautiful.
Even though she had periods between her project releases, she still managed to keep immersed in her music; thus, she collaborated with persons and launched FlyLo Thursdays and Kanye Thursdays to hone her talents. Her challenges usually encompass her dedicating a month to one of her favorite hip-hop producers and she would write or freestyle a piece, mix, produce and get it out every week; this helped her to get content out and get her thoughts out.
“I keep releasing my projects to keep my new energy and keep writing and get better at my craft. After collaborating you start to realize and learn life lessons, so I took a break and wanted to play with different sounds, so while I was doing that I would drop little challenges to keep myself inspired.”
Her newest release, Love Out Loud, is what one can sum up as a musical and visual genius. The last words of Love Out Loud resonate the theme of the song, “I just want to love out loud and be loved in return”, that we as individuals have goals, one of which is the desire for unconditional love. Love Out Loud has a similar beat to her 2014 video Eternal Love of the serenity and comes on the heels of her release of Love So Hard, which also breaks down feelings of having and losing love. She includes her dancing talents rhythmically sighted throughout a three-minute long video, and shots of her with a depicted partner, all showcasing her desire.
While focusing on putting out more visuals for her EP Let Me Glo, she is also working on another EP, which also hits home, in the near future. She, nonetheless, continues to perform in New York and Los Angeles, appearing in different shows, which broadcast her music to the masses. She wants to be able to tour in the future and connect on a wider scope, perform wherever in the world, make a comfortable living, and to be happy and provide for her family.
“I did a lot of reflection and I think I’m where I’m supposed to be because that’s what makes it all worth it. You can look back and know and enjoy these moments. I am here and I’m living it and happy with it and I’m excited to see what’s next.” – Claire Renee with The Caribbean Current.
By Alexandra Daley