10 Things We Love About: Chloe Bodur
As she unveils the first single 'Come With Me' since her last EP MAVI, Chloe Bodur is finding new avenues for her self-expression as she delves into a deeper exploration of the divine feminine. As she touches into a range of musical styles such as bossanova, jazz and R&B, Chloe is finding her unique way to stand out from the crowd. Recently, we were able to catch up with her to find out a little more about her and where she's leading with her musical success.
We love that you’re doing lyrical breakdown videos for a selection of your songs.
What made you want to show us the deeper meaning behind your tracks and why should we tune in?
Meaningful lyrics are really important to me and writing them is probably my favorite thing about making music. There’s always such a story behind my lyrics - I wanted to give people the full inspiration behind my songs so they could maybe understand me and my writing a little bit better. I also just wanted to stroke my own ego and show off my pen game in detail!
We love that you wear your heart on your sleeve.
Do you find it difficult to write about the hardships that you’ve been through? Would you say that it’s freeing in some way?
No, I actually find it very easy to write about hardships surprisingly. I find it much easier to write dark or sad songs than I do happy ones - probably because I find a lot of ‘happy’ music cheesy and tend to be more inspired by slow, moody songs most of the time. Artists like Nick Hakim, you know? It's definitely freeing and I don't find it hard opening up about my personal experiences because I’m generally a bit of an oversharer but the hard bit is people in your life hearing the words and feeling personally attacked. But that's the reality of being close to an artist really; you're going to end up being a muse in one way or another whether you like it or not.
We love that you fall under a range of genres within your music.
Why do you dislike being labelled as neo-soul?
I love old neo-soul like D’angelo, Erykah Badu, Omar etc but I’ve heard a lot of shit new bands on the UK live circuit call themselves 'neo-soul' just because they do too many stabs in their set and play a nord. It became a label I very much wanted to avoid because it got a bad reputation on the live circuit. Like, you’d say ‘neo-soul band’ and at least 4 people in the room would roll their eyes. I also think it isn’t wide enough of a label for the variety of music that I make. I think alt-R&B and psychedelic soul are a bit more ambiguous as genre-tags and there's a bit more wiggle room to get creative with production within those labels - so I prefer to be labeled as that.
We love that you perform with a live band.
Would you say that having a live band alongside allows you to be more expressive?
100%. It means that no two shows that we do are ever the same. It means that we can adapt what we play to exactly what the audience and us are feeling at the time, moment to moment we can communicate with each other and adjust it all as we please. I think it makes for a much better live experience than just singing along with a backing track. I’ve never done that before. To me, that’s just like doing karaoke and isn’t really a proper live performance. In other genres like rap etcetera obviously it works - but when you’ve got mainly live instruments on the track I think it's always best to perform with a live band.
We love that you draw influences from a range of musical legends.
Who would you say has influenced you the most for your next musical era?
Solange and Sault.
We love that you represent your heritage within your music.
How does your Sri-Lankan and Turkish background play a part within your aesthetic?
I felt kind of shit about my appearance growing up and I think a lot of that was rooted in my ethnic background and experiences with racism. I didn’t see women that looked like me, from my background being represented as desirable in the Western media and I think that can really affect young people's perceptions of themselves. Representation is so important and I think it greatly affects how we view and value ourselves. To me it's important that I don’t hide behind being ‘ethnically ambiguous’ and that I claim my south-Asian and Middle Eastern-ness fully so that young people from my community can look at me and go ‘oh she's doing that, so I can do it too!’ or just know that there's no limit to what they can do creatively. I just want to break down as many doors for the future generations as I can really because I feel like I didn’t really have that growing up. I want to show the beauty and strength of people from my background because I think we’re very unique and have a special energy that's yet to be explored.
We love that you work on your dad’s ice-cream van whilst continuing to do music.
What would you have been doing if music wasn’t an option?
I think I’d be trying to make it as a screenplay writer. I love movies so that's what I’d be pursuing whilst probably still working in the ice cream van haha.
We love that you’re always exploring new avenues within your musical venture.
How will your newer music differ from what you’ve previously released?
This EP is the first time I’ve had my full band and my cousin JD. Reid create music together. So basically everyone I usually collaborate with separately - I managed to get in the room together for the first time to make this project and that's resulted in probably the most accurate representation of my music and style to date. I wanted to do it sooner but because of the pandemic we couldn’t all be in the room until now. MAVI (my last EP) for example was made by just me and my cousin - because we were in a family bubble. So this new EP has much more of a ‘band’ sound than the last project - as its 80% live band recordings rather than electronic production. The drums especially are very different on this project as it's my drummer Jono or guitarist (who also plays drums occasionally) Malte playing on most of the tracks, rather than programming the drums. I like that raw, live feel and texture the live drums give the songs.
We love that your music is relentless and raw.
How do you want us to feel with your new release?
We love that you’ve grown into a confident and unapologetic young woman.
What’s something you would tell 10-year-old Chloe?
Aw, this got me a bit emosh. I’d tell her thank you for going to the piano, drama and dance classes on the weekends, and listening to the music teachers talking about harmonies at school - because the passion she had for the arts at 10 (and all the hours she put into it) has made my life much easier as an artist now in my 20’s haha. I’d tell her she’s a talented and beautiful little girl and I’d want to tell her that pretty much all of her dreams come true in the end but that would take all of the fun out of it, wouldn’t it? So I’d just tell her to keep going!
Watch the visuals for Chloe Bodur's new single 'Come With Me' here!