WORDS MAISIE DANIELS & LUCA MITCHELL - PHOTOGRAPHY EVA PENTEL - FASHION MAISIE DANIELS - HMUA EMILIE LOUIZIDES
British singer-songwriter Chlöe Howl comes at us with her newly dropped single 'Millionaire' a song that is everything she embodies - it’s empowering, energetic and enlightening. When first meeting Chlöe, she instantly comes across as a captivating character, (not only for her distinct, cat-like features) but for the honesty and charm, she exudes. She is an educated artist in her own field, whether that’s knowing when to take time away, or when and how to be outspoken about oppressions and injustices that may occur through using her voice in a way that leaves you with a feeling of self-love and control over your own life. She has it all.
F Word got to sit down with Chlöe and dig a little deeper into some of these issues, along with much more, including topics of friendship, family, and feminism.
Luca Mitchell: Hey Chlöe, you’re originally from Berkshire, right? How was it growing up there? Chlöe Howl: It was alright. I have a big family - five sisters - so even though the area was pretty dead and there wasn’t much to do, it always felt like a party cos’ there’s just so bloody many of us.
L.M: Can you tell us about music’s part in your life growing up? C.H: My dad has always been a huge music fan, to the point of obsession. But his taste is pretty obscure at times. He definitely introduced me into appreciating and discovering music in your own individual way. His relationship with his collection definitely coloured my childhood, meticulously coming up with complications for road trips, specific to the route or destination, etc. He’s a big “dance like nobody’s watching” kinda guy too, which is totally my mood these days. My sisters are also massive dancers and are loud AF, so we always play bangers in the kitchen and scream them at the top of our lungs and dance together. A family of exhibitionists to be honest.
L.M: What are the highlights of your music career so far? C.H: There’s been so many! Being nominated for a Brit was obviously pretty alright and playing certain festivals. But I didn’t take a lot of it in when I was younger, it was all such a whirlwind. I think being so hands-on now, and doing things myself, and putting it all together from scratch has been the most fun and rewarding experience for me.
L.M: Who inspires you in the industry and why? C.H: My friends to be honest. I am surrounded by such smart, creative, innovative, kind and funny people. I get all my fire to go out and get what I want, from them.
Chlöe wears puffa jacket URBAN OUTFITTERS; cropped top AMERICAN APPAREL; necklace CULT OF YOUTH; trousers PAIGE
Maisie Daniels: And outside of the music industry, who would you say are your biggest inspirations? C.H: There are so many as well. At the minute I am a huge fan of Chidera Eggerue AKA The Slumflower. She is a massive influence on my daily thinking and social education. She is a HUGE advocate for self-love, setting personal boundaries and being independent. Just watching her radiate on Instagram brightens my entire day and has me demanding more for me constantly.
L.M: You took three years out before your return to music, how was time away for you? C.H: I never went to Uni. I went straight into working in music from the age of 16. So when all my friends were doing Freshers Week, and getting to know themselves, I was on tour, running a business and releasing tunes. I needed that time to be a teenager. So when I left Sony I spent a solid 6 months just acting my age. Going out. Getting my heart broken. Learning to be the bad bitch I’d always pretended I was through my music. I didn’t have any time to get to know myself at all, and I needed that time to discover what it is I wanted and needed moving forward.
M.D: Do you think it is important to detach yourself sometimes and start afresh? C.H: Of course! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, especially in music. We’re all constantly evolving and changing as human beings anyway - the ever transitioning state of the music industry is another layer on top of that! You need to take time out to clear your head and figure out your path away from any external factors for sure. It’s so easy to be clouded and confused by everything else that’s going on - it’s a sensory overload. I’m all about stepping back and recharging your batteries.
L.M: We love your new single Millionaire, can you take us through what the song is all about? C.H: It’s about just owning your power. Knowing that you are a motherfucking gift and whoever gets to date you should know that too, and behave as such.
Chlöe wears jacket MAISIE JANE; cropped top AMERICAN APPAREL; necklace CULT OF YOUTH; trousers ELLESSE
L.M: Can you tell us about your beautifully shameless approach to female empowerment? C.H: I just believe that we, women, femmes, are taught our whole lives to compromise. To be of service. Not to demand too much for ourselves and to question the spaces we fill - I call bullshit! We are taught that we are not whole until we have found love/a man/romance. But really, the only constant thing we have in life is ourselves so the more time spent loving, nurturing and dating yourself the better. I believe that if anyone or anything forces you to compromise your own progress, your boundaries, or your relationship with yourself, then it has to go. “In a world that profits off of your self-doubt - loving yourself is a revolutionary act”
M.D: AMEN to that! What does feminism mean to you? C.H: Feminism to me means a more inclusive, diverse and progressive world. Where everyone is allowed to be their whole true selves without fear of violence or systemic oppression.
L.M: How much does the concept of gender come into your music? C.H: For me, it’s more about being aware of the messages I am perpetuating through my music. If a young person sang these lyrics at the top of their lungs, what ideology would they be contributing to? I think that more than ever we have to be mindful of the messages we are portraying through our art, and how they could condition the younger generation.
M.D: I think that is commendable that you’re using your voice to speak out about your (and I quote) “hopes for the music industry to have its #MeToo moment.” Can you go into detail a bit more surrounding your views on this? C.H: I’m just sick and tired of abusers being protected and victims not being heard and supported. The music industry will be a tough one to bring to light because everyone is operating their own mini business with a completely different team to the next person. So there is one big “Weinstein”-esque figure that all the rumours revolve around, often it’s unique to each team. So no one is talking about it. I think a conversation needs to be had about the power imbalance in music and the deep-rooted misogyny. Once we began to unpack those, we can begin to truly create a safe space for those who have fallen victim to it.
Chlöe wears jumpsuit and t-shirt AMERICAN APPAREL; shoes DR. MARTENS
L.M: Let’s do a quick-fire round. Favourite female idol? C.H: My friends
L.M: A food you hate, and a food you love? C.H: I hate no food. I love Pho.
L.M: Life without music would be...? C.H: Passionless
L.M: Place you would love to visit? C.H: Sri Lanka
L.M: The most beautiful thing about youth is...?
C.H: That you grow
Chlöe wears top UMBRO; trousers WOOD WOOD
L.M: Two words to sum you up? C.H: Show off
L.M: We have heard a story about the ‘o’ in your name, could you shed some light on this? C.H: My Mum and Dad put the umlaut over the wrong letter. It’s meant to be over the E. Really confuses Germans when I visit.
M.D: That’s amazing- laughs. So, what’s next for Chlöe Howl? C.H: I have more music coming out further into the year and hopefully some live dates!
L.M: We can’t wait to hear it! So, finally, what is your favourite F- word?
Watch Chlöe Howl's 'Millionaire'