Britain’s new megababe Chlöe Howl is what we call a proper popstar. Showing some real chops at only 18, the mouthy redhead is not afraid to tell it how it is by mixing soulful melodies with edgy lyrics. Putting an old keyboard under the hands of little 13-year old Chlöe was probably the best idea her parents ever had. Howl came bounding out of the blocks earlier this year with her EP “Rumour” and now her snappy single “No Strings” is the perfect calling card for the mouthy girl from London’s suburbs. Full of cockiness a la Kate Nash and Lily Allen she may be creating songs with mass-appeal, but she her infectious pop goes so easy on the ears that you have to sing along to. Yet for all the praise and triumph, she’s no brat and got witty with us when we asked her questions about being Chlöe Howl.
When did you know music was for you?
I’ve been singing since I was super tiny and always loved music. But I never really thought of it as something I could actually pursue. I wanted to be an author because I loved making up stories. Then when I was about 13, my mum’s mate handed me down this keyboard, and that’s when I started to actually think about writing songs and realised I could tell stories through them – which was way more fun.
What do you like about current music?
I think it’s in a place where people are exposed to such a huge range of music so easily, whether it’s on the radio, on TV, or online. Because everything’s so accessible these days! You log onto Twitter, and something’s trending, or you accidentally stumble onto something on Soundcloud. It gives you the opportunity to explore a lot of different types of music, and be more open minded to stuff you may not usually like. I think that’s reflected in how today’s artists are influenced.
What’s your favourite festival?
Before this year, I’d only ever really been to Reading festival twice with friends. And now, I’ve had the chance to go to Glastonbury and it BLEW MY TINY MIND. It’s so big and there’s so much going on! I don’t even think I got to see a quarter of it! I feel bad for all the smaller festivals I’ve been to since then, because my expectations have been massively raised since the 16-yr-old Strongbow-fuelled Reading days.
What do you like to wear to perform in?
My main rule on stage is ‘don’t get sweat patches – you’re a lady’. So if I wear a T-shirt it has to be loose fitting, and if it’s tight-fitting, it has to be sleeveless. Haha. I jump around too much for embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions! Recently I’ve been lucky and been able to wear shorts a lot on stage, due to the glorrrrrious weather. I normally pair one item that’s a bit more colourful than my usual attire with black. Sometimes I bust the sequins out – If I’m in a good mood.
What’s your staple outfit off duty?
Generally, I don’t wear a lot of bright colours or patterns. I’m very picky when it comes to prints! Though I recently bought this amazing oversized printed T-shirt from you guys. I tend to wear a lot of basics that have an interesting cut or feature to them. Essentially, the only thing that stays constant with my outfit, day to day, without fail, is my DMs. I’m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, and I think my scuffed up collection of DMs suit me perfectly. Love them.
Any guilty fashion pleasures?
I wore fishnets the other day. I could see the scepticism in everyone’s eyes, but I felt like ‘The Worst Witch’ and it was fabulous. They were these amazing House Of Holland double layer ones. I think they’re making a comeback now anyway so maybe that’s not so guilty…
What are you up to you when you’re not doing anything musical?
Not a whole lot… I haven’t moved up to London yet so I still live around all my friends. We’ve all just turned 18 so I won’t lie to you – there’s the occasional (ahem) night out. I’m kept quite busy these days, but when I do have a day off it’s nice to do nothing with cool people.
People have associated you with ‘teen angst’ and ‘Lily Allen’ – how do you feel about that?
I feel like I wouldn’t get the Lily Allen thing if it wasn’t for the English accent, which 100% came from the fact that, despite my efforts, I cannot do an American accent AT ALL! So singing in my own accent was the only way. And lyrically, the frankness can be attributed more to Amy Winehouse’s early stuff which was on repeat in my dad’s car when I was younger.. Teen angst!? I love that! I am an angsty teenager so it’s unavoidable for my songs not to sound like that too! I’m just writing exactly what is going on with me and my peers, and angst just happens to be a part of that.
Is Howl your real name – it’s so cool!?
It was my real… Twitter name! Haha. Add another E, L, and S in there and yes it’s my actual, home-grown, surname.
How would you describe No Strings and what can we expect for your forthcoming debut album?
I wrote No Strings after being at one of those awful, suburban, birthday parties in a village hall when I was like 16/17. I had this sobering moment where I stepped back from it all and observed all the tipsy teenagers hooking up and thought it was a bit weird and wanted to write about it. I just thought it was an interesting relationship, that was very prominent amongst my peers and hadn’t really been addressed. I haven’t sugar coated anything cos it is not a sugary experience. To be honest I didn’t really even think about it, I just wrote what happens. As for my album, it’s written! There’s some less gossipy tracks, and there’s some more laidback tracks, but really it’s just a collection of songs that document my experiences as a teenager the past few years. I’m excited about it!
Keep your eyes peeled for Chloe’s new video due out on Monday and her next single will go online in November. Wanna see her live? Chloe’s next show will be on the 21st of November in London – buy tickets here.