Clairo; Has it Been Ten Years?

The ten-year success story of a Massachusetts girl who recorded a song for YouTube one morning without even getting out of bed says everything about what the entertainment industry worldwide has become. It’s much different than it used to be, when you needed a record label and a contract to get any real attention. Riding the YouTube magic carpet, artists like Claire Cottrill, known professionally as “Clairo,” have made enormous strides!

Clairo at The Roxy

About four years ago Clairo showed up out of nowhere on my Facebook feed. I remember! Curiously I clicked. My inner artist-critic self-started. Sometimes I know, and it’s not that hard. I can see through piles of clutter being sloppily laid out as art. I can see talent. Here some was! And I don’t remember who posted that original link for me, but I wasn’t the only one who clicked on it. The innocent, cute image of this girl propped up in her bed caught the attention of millions! Clairo says she recorded the track “using the resources around me which were pretty shitty. I used a little keyboard that I had and I was really into ’80s pop music – my mom is obsessed with it — so it kind of inspired me to do something like that.”

Clairo began recording covers at the age of 13. She posted this video just before her 19th birthday (though she looks about 12!).

The video went quickly to a million views in 2017.

Now it’s up to 78-million! The video created a whirlwind!

Clairo made her TV debut  performing “I Wouldn’t Ask You” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in September 2019, before performing “Bags” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show a few days later. In December 2019, Clairo won Pop Artist of the Year at the 2019 Boston Music Awards for the second consecutive year, as well as Album of the Year for Immunity. “Bags” was included in over 15 critics’ lists ranking the year’s top songs including Pitchfork‘s and Paste‘s lists of best songs of the decade.

Clairo recalled the ShinsWincing the Night Away was “the first album I really completely geeked out over” crediting it as her inspiration to make music. Based on the fact many around her told her a career in music was unlikely she did not consider it a likely prospect and said musically she “kind of did whatever I wanted”

Today, a college student with a K-mart keyboard who doesn’t even believe she can compete just may get noticed, maybe at the most unlikely time. Today, Claire Cottrill doesn’t have to answer to any boy (or girl), doesn’t have to “shut up when you want me to!” She’s been criticized for benefiting from having a well-known marketing industry father, but to my ears Clairo is as genuine as it gets.

Keep on pluckin’ my comrades! You’ll get there! 🙂


Mark Urso

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