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Clairo: The Lo-Fi Pop Star on the Rise

Full Name: Claire Cottrill
Stage Name: Clairo
Born: August 18, 1998 in Carlisle, Massachusetts
Age: 25
Genres: Bedroom Pop, Indie Pop, Lo-fi
First Single: "Pretty Girl" (2017)
First EP: diary 001 (2018)
First Album: Immunity (2019)
Record Label: Fader Label
Social Media: Facebook

Clairo is an American singer-songwriter from Carlisle, Massachusetts who burst onto the music scene in 2017 at age 18. With her hazy, melancholy brand of "bedroom pop," she has become one of the most prominent voices defining the musical tastes of Gen Z. In just a few short years, Clairo has skyrocketed from viral internet sensation to indie pop stardom. This is the story of Claire Cottrill, the creative force behind the Clairo persona.

Small Town Beginnings

Claire Cottrill was born on August 18, 1998 and grew up in the quiet Boston suburb of Carlisle, Massachusetts. Her father worked in marketing while her stay-at-home mom cared for Claire and her younger brother. By all accounts, she had an ordinary American upbringing.

As a child, Claire dabbled in theater and singing lessons, performing in local productions. However she struggled to break out of her shell due to insecurities over her looks and weight. Turning to the internet for comfort, she began making and posting videos on YouTube during her teenage years.

Finding Her Voice on YouTube

In 2013 at age 14, Claire launched a YouTube channel under her own name, sharing covers of popular songs. While the videos only got a modest number of views, the experience allowed her to practice singing and open up through the lens of a camera.

Claire‘s big break came in 2017 when she was 19 years old. After a few failed attempts producing more polished pop tracks, she decided to get back to basics. The result was "Pretty Girl"—a stripped down, slightly satirical ode to teenage girlhood recorded simply on her Macbook webcam. Claire‘s unfiltered lyrics and intimate production touched a nerve, with the video amassing over 40 million views. Almost overnight, her channel exploded and "Clairo," her musical alter-ego, was born.

Crafting Her Bedroom Pop Sound

Buoyed by the success of "Pretty Girl," Clairo began honing her musical point-of-view. She coined the term "bedroom pop" to describe her style—hazy, lo-fi indie pop that sounded like it was recorded in her bedroom. Which makes sense, because it literally was!

Clairo‘s debut single established the sonic template she would follow on subsequent songs like "Flamin‘ Hot Cheetos" and "4EVER." Muted hip-hop inspired beats, airy background vocals, and layered synth textures provide the atmospheric backdrop to her intimate lyrics. Her vocal delivery is relaxed and conversational, drawing listeners into her private world.

Inside ‘Diary 001‘ and ‘Immunity‘

After signing to the Fader record label in 2018, Clairo released her first EP diary 001 compiling her earlier singles into one cohesive artistic statement. Songs like "Bags" and "Hello" expanded her bedroom pop palette with jazz-inflected guitar and even more experimental production. diary 001 earned Clairo a passionate Gen Z following captivated by her relatable lyrics and hazy soundscapes.

In 2019, Clairo broke out to the mainstream with her debut album Immunity, debuting at number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. The record weaves layered instrumentals and pitch-shifted vocals around vulnerable lyrical themes. Clairo explores heartbreak on the torch song "Sofia" and grapples with identity on "North." For fans, Immunity feels like reading the private diary of your cool older sister – at times joyous, at times painful, but always emotionally resonant.

Her Meteoromic Rise

Clairo‘s rise from small town teenager to globally recognized pop artist happened remarkably fast. She has headlined sold-out North American and European tours and made history as the youngest artist to perform at Coachella before releasing a debut album. Singles like "Pretty Girl," "Bags," and "Sofia" have each earned over 100 million streams on Spotify.

Clairo‘s cultural impact was cemented when she performed "Sofia" at the 2021 Grammy Awards, becoming the youngest artist ever to grace the Grammy stage. Each accolade reaffirms Clairo as the voice of her generation. Not bad for someone who just a few years ago was uploading videos from her childhood bedroom.

Why Fans Love Clairo

As a longtime Clairo fan myself, I think there are a few key reasons she has developed such a passionate fanbase:

Raw Emotional Lyrics: Clairo sings about universal experiences like relationships, heartbreak, and self-doubt in a poetic, diary-like way. Her lyrics feel raw, honest and intimate.

Dreamy Minimalist Production: The hazy, chilled-out quality of her music creates an immersive atmosphere to get lost in. Clairo does so much with so little.

Relatability: Her lyrics vividly capture the highs and lows of being a young person navigating life in the 21st century. Millennial and Gen Z listeners connect deeply to her message.

Trendsetter: Clairo pioneered the "bedroom pop" genre which has influenced the styles of artists like Conan Gray and Girl in Red. She carved out a unique lane.

Crossover Appeal: While beloved in the indie scene, Clairo‘s superb pop sensibilities give her the versatility to crossover into the mainstream. She defies categorization.

The Future of Clairo

At just 25 years old, Clairo still has so much left to accomplish. She has mentioned aspirations to launch her own record label and mentor developing artists. I also hope she continues to explore her production skills and collaborate with more big names. Most importantly, I cannot wait for more new music from Clairo herself! If the first era is any indication, the future is blindingly bright for pop‘s reigning bedroom pop princess.