Interview: Claire Cottrill

Claire Cottrill is a freshly 17-year-old musician hailing from just outside Boston. Though she is relatively young, Claire consistently creates lyrics that reveal a surprising amount of maturity and self-awareness- the perfect contrast with her airy, girlish vocals. This week, I had the opportunity to (Facebook) chat with Claire about her MTV debut, Frankie Cosmos, and our shared love for fashion.

Sophia: Happy late birthday! A lot of your music has to do with your thoughts and feelings about growing up. How do you feel your music has grown and matured as you have?

Claire: Thank you! I started writing music when I first started to enter obstacles that come with becoming a teenager- I think at first a lot of my lyrics were super general. I wasn’t comfortable putting myself “out there” yet because I wasn’t confident with my feelings! As I got older I think I’ve been able to express myself better through music and lyrics.

S: Yeah, you can definitely see that through your lyrics I think. So I actually found your page on MTV with one of your songs from when you were 14. How did that all happen?

C: When I was 13 and first picking up guitar, I decided to start making YouTube videos! I’d post them on Facebook and they ended up getting really good feedback! Somehow between mutual friends, a person who worked at MTV saw the video. MTV was already working on trying to find singers on the internet, as they knew that most singers are on the internet and not auditioning for TV talent shows. My video was used in the meeting about online talent- and I got a call soon after! I went to a studio in New York City later on and recorded that song! It was all so crazy and I still can’t believe it happened. The internet is a super powerful place!

S: Wow that is so incredible! How do you feel that your feature on MTV helped get your music to where it is today?

C: I think that was the point when I first started to feel like I was doing something right with music- finally something I really loved and something I worked really hard at was paying off! I was starting gain a bit more confidence, and even though not much happened with MTV after that, it was still such an incredible learning experience!

S: Your song on the MTV page is definitely more bright and pop-y than what you make now. How did you start to develop your own style from that point on?

C: As I got older, my influences changed a ton. I finally started to grasp my own music taste, and I wanted to translate that into my own stuff. Bands like Beat Happening and Frankie Cosmos were definitely the most influential for me when starting to write music. I’m STILL working on creating my own style! I have no idea what I’m doing, hahaha.

S: It’s funny you say Frankie Cosmos is one of your influences, because I was going to say- and forgive me for this being weird- that your style reminds me of a cross between Frankie’s instrumentals and a more girlish, low-fi version of Norah Jones’s vocals. Who would you say are some of your other influences?

C: Haha that’s awesome! I love Norah Jones. I think my other influences are probably Alex G, Jeffrey Lewis, and Cat Power!

S: You recently played a show with Porches and Frankie Cosmos at the Cambridge Elks Lodge. How was that?

C: Ahh that was so incredible! I’ve loved them for so long, and it was so amazing to hang out with them/play with them. They’re the nicest people ever.

S: What’re some other bands that you’d like to play with in the future?

C: Definitely Angel Olsen or Fraternal Twin! They’re both so incredible, being able to play with them would be amazing.

S: Speaking of the future, even though you’re just entering your junior year, have you started thinking about what you might want to do after high school?

C: Yes definitely! I’m looking at colleges right now that are in New York or Philadelphia. After college, I really want to work for a magazine like i-D or Dazed and Confused! Being able to mix music with fashion and culture would be the ultimate dream job.

S: You say you’re into fashion, and I noticed on your Instagram you had pictures from the Opening Ceremony and Prabal Gurung shows back in February. Were you at New York Fashion Week?

C: Yeah I did! It was crazy to be able to go. Fashion is super important to me and I’ve always been interested in it even as a kid! Seeing those shows and being able to take it all in was such a cool experience.

S: Ahhh that’s amazing! How did you get in?

C: My dad works for Converse! He gets to do crazy cool stuff all the time, but this was one of the first times I was ever brought along!

S: Wow, I am crying with jealousy. Were those the only shows you went to?

C: Yeah pretty much! I went to Tim Coppens, it was so beautiful.

S: So, my final question: What role do you see music playing in your life in the future?

C: Music’s always going to be present in my life, I don’t think I’ll ever stop making music! It’s the most important thing to me. I think that even if later on in my life I work in a place where music might not be as important, or if being a musician doesn’t work out, I’ll still always be able to go back to it.


Sophia’s Instagram 

Claire’s Bandcamp