Chloe Jacobson is a talented singer-songwriter who writes infectious and soulful folk-pop songs. Her 2016 single "National News" is a perfect showcase for what Jacobson does best and bodes well for future releases. Hot off her Middle of the Map 2017 performance, we are excited to share an interview with the artist about her recent work and her book, music and movie recommendations.
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?
I’m Chloe, hello! I’m 21 and I live in Kansas City. I’m a singer and a songwriter. I moved here from San Jose, CA, about six years ago and lived most of my life in the Bay Area and in southern California. Some of the most important years have been here, though. I’ve been working a bunch of odd jobs lately, nannying and such. Whatever is flexible enough so I can still work on music.
Talk about your most recent single, "National News." Where was it recorded? What did you learn from recording this song that you'll take to future projects?
I self-recorded "National News" at JTL Group in Grandview. I can walk there from my house, it rocks. Jared Logan is a good buddy of mine and has always been really generous to me with his space. It’s like a little oasis. I started writing "National News" when I was in Nashville for a project a couple of years ago. It was at Blackbird Studios in the hallway, in front of the bathroom. I wrote part of the first verse and forgot about it. I think that was almost three years ago actually. It was a song that I would work on or just think about when I was taking a break from something else. There was a point last year when I was writing a lot and recording more. All just demos. I started recording "National News" as a demo that I could stick on Soundcloud. Some friends that also work at JTL helped me polish up the mix and I used LANDR to master it. I think I felt like the song had to be something else or the production needed to be at another place before I could put it in a real marketplace. It probably would have stayed on Soundcloud forever had I not received a few great pieces of advice which encouraged me otherwise. Also one of my best friends is a yoga instructor and she wanted to put it on a Spotify playlist for her classes (LOL). If I learned anything from the whole experience, it’s that I make a lot of arbitrary rules for myself. I’ve always pictured making a record or releasing music as being this romantic, grandiose flourish. I guess nothing makes it that, you just have to decide that it is.
When did you start writing songs?
I think I starting writing songs when I was in junior high. They all came from poems. I would just play my nylon string Spanish guitar that I got in 3rd grade and sing. I didn’t try to make it anything, I just remember it feeling good. I didn’t really try until I was maybe a junior in high school. Voice memos are my best friend. It all began with voice memos that I recorded while I was driving around or awkwardly in a corner where no one could hear me singing gibberish into my phone. Yes, I know that is almost directly a Taylor Swift quote, but oh well. There was always music around me as a kid.
Who were your earliest influences?
Neither one of my parents are musicians but they both had music they really loved and shared with me. My mom loves classic rock like Queen and Heart and Zeppelin. She always talked about David Bowie and Flock of Seagulls. I have an Irish claddagh ring that she found on the ground at an X concert when she was my age. My parents were both obsessed with U2. My dad definitely went through a Johnny Cash phase and it was played at all times.
I’ve always been obsessed with Feist. I think like everyone my age, I discovered her because of the iPod nano commercial. She was one the first artists that I can remember really, really gripping me. The Reminder has been on loop for the last 10 years. And it’s the fact that she made the whole record in a pretty house in the French countryside. It was kind of this haphazard process that was also completely intentional. It embodies everything that compels me into art in general. It made me want to make music that was vivid and visceral. I was also a big fan of Suzanne Vega, the Cranberries, the Beach Boys. I loved the Killers and the White Stripes and the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. I went through a phase where I listened to a lot of orchestral rock and classical composers. I used to watch Soul Train reruns on TV. I’ve always loved jazz. I used to have to sit at the back of the classroom and listen to jazz compilation CD’s in headphones because I couldn’t focus in class. I was kind of all over the place, music- taste- wise and otherwise.
How has your songwriting grown in terms of collaborations with other artists?
I’ve gotten to do a lot of writing for other artists in the last couple of years. It’s been super fun. There has been a lot of pop artists, some R&B. I got to write on Crystal Rose’s song “Come Alive”. She’s such an incredible vocalist and so ridiculously hard working. She is the most rewarding kind of artist to work with. It’s the greatest feeling to pour your soul into something that is actually being used and played live. I’m lucky to have a lot of really talented producers as friends. I have a couple different collaborations that are being released this year. I did a feature on an EDM track with the group Pop Culture. The song is called “Million Miles”. I’m working on a record with Jared Logan, who I mentioned before. His background as a producer is really broad.
What we’re making is kind of like soul, alternative- pop. It’s some of my favorite music I’ve ever worked on. It’s very equally balanced between the two of us. I’ve always wished I was in a band. What me and Jared are doing kind of settles that. I much prefer to do things with other people than by myself. I think a huge part of making a record of any kind is the people that you’re with. I hope I get to do it for the rest of my life.
Chloe's recommendations from the Johnson County Public Library recommendations:
The Reminder by Feist
Enchanted April (film)
Law & Order SVU box sets <3 <3 <3
Girlboss by Sofia Amoruso
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty
Amelie (film) I have been listening to the soundtrack for years and I have never actually watched this movie. I’m also recommending it to myself.
OK Computer by Radiohead
Stand By Me (film)