“If it fucks up then at least the one thing I can’t hate is myself for not trying”.
The limelight isn’t everybody’s friend. After a rough round with Chlöe Howl, it certainly wasn’t looking for her friendship.
Rewind back to 2013 and Londoner Chlöe Howl would be the face of every website on the music blogosphere; her own ‘steak and kidney pop’ brand led her the way to becoming the young UK popstar the nation was looking for. Many back and forth disagreements with her at-the-time label Columbia and she was eventually let go to do her own thing, carrying her Brit nomination and BBC Sound Of accolades on her shoulder.
Howl says it was a struggle being signed at such an early age. “I became a bit lost and I was young,” she says, “it was a lot to go through in such a short period of time and I don’t think that I was ready as I hadn’t developed myself as a person, or as an artist”. Though this could often bring a musician down, she jests at the thought of being able to regain some of her teenage years back and figuring out what she wanted to do for herself.
Now 22, Howl is maturing as each day goes by, and so is her music. “When I wrote the first bunch of songs that everyone’s heard I was a bit of an indie kid… Nowadays I’m spending a lot of time in the ‘pop world’, my tastes have become a lot more pop and I started going out a lot more and loving the new music I was hearing.” The change in sound felt essential in progression to Howl’s career, but she reassures in saying it wasn’t planned at all. “When you grow up everything you create and everything you do is naturally going to lose that innocence it carries; that childlike-attitude youth you had to it before”.
A mere five years into her career and the realisations are already pouring out from Howl about her experiences within the industry. Having learnt an awful lot over the years, working with an abundance of writers and taking up opportunities – such as featuring in Kick Ass 2’s motion picture soundtrack – she began to harness it all and use it for herself on her new venture.
Comeback single Magnetic, the first taste of new material since 2014, showcases to the public, and the label that let her down, that she’s still got it. “When I played it to my family they started crying, I was like, ‘what is going on with this song?’” After the unusually long absence, starting from the ground up was the only option for the direction of Howl’s music, and whilst a super pop anthem could’ve done the trick, she opted for the subtler approach that’d catch the ear more than anything. “I wanted to reintroduce myself and I think it kind of fit the tone as it’s definitely a departure from what I’ve been doing before.”
Being independent means Howl is doing everything for herself; from composing and staging her entire headline show at London’s The Waiting Room to promoting her music and getting her name out there once again. “This time around I was like, ‘I’m going to do everything my way because at least if it’s my way and it fucks up it was my fault and not anybody else’s’.”
The much-needed time off has left Howl refreshed and anticipated for the rebirth of her career. What she doesn’t need is anymore faith in herself, because it was always there from day one. Something says she’s not holding back this time around, “If it fucks up then at least the one thing I can’t hate is myself for not trying. I’m feeling positive about it”. The positive energy radiates through the music, this is a sparkling new Chlöe Howl the world hasn’t seen before, but they’re about to fall utterly in love with.
Words by Jordan White