For alternative-indie rock lovers, Claud is a rising star in the genre that all should pay more attention to. Being the first artist to sign under Phoebe Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory in 2020, the singer has become an overnight sensation, even gaining the attention of other stars such as Taylor Swift and Paul Rudd.
Writing from their bedroom in Chicago, Claud released their first single in 2018, titled “Onetwothree.”A song about feeling trapped inside your head, it was a hint of what was to come on their first EP later that year, “Toast - EP.”With thoughts about love, queerness and identity, the singer began growing a following, which would continue to follow suit in the coming years.
The 2019 song, “Wish You Were Gay” solidified Claud as a valid proponent in the alternative-indie scene, wishing that the people they sought romantically felt the same way back, a universal feeling anyone can relate to. Singing, “I wish you were gay so you could hold me / Call me your babe instead of your homie,” the tone of disappointment and frustration became a staple for the singer.
In an interview with The Harvard Crimson, Claud talked about the intentions behind their songwriting, using a straightforward approach to connect to a wider audience. They said, “In a way, that makes it more accessible to people who aren't English majors. They sometimes just want to hear what I'm feeling.”
With an anticipated buildup to their first project, Claud dropped “Sideline Star,” an eight-track debut that perfectly encapsulated the online generation, addressing topics such as heartbreak, technology and a lack of connection. With a mature outlook on society, it felt like the singer channeled the feelings of most 20-somethings.
Releasing an array of singles in 2020, including “Seven Days a Week (Demo),” “My Body” and “Wish U Were…,” Claud released their sophomore follow-up, called “Super Monster.” With over 13 songs, the singer collaborated with new writers and artists such as Melanie Faye on “That’s Mr. B*tch To You,” Shelly on “Falling With The Rain” and Nick Hakim on "Ana.”
Reliant on synths and futuristic production, the singer grabbed the attention of the alternative band Bleachers and later opened for the band on its 2021 tour. Claud also landed their own headlining tour, which gave them the opportunity to reimagine their songs to a live audience after a year of shutdown.
Talking about the touring process, Claud said, “Sometimes I have to find ways around or find alternate ways or just sacrifice parts of (my songs) for the live show to make it more epic of an experience. My mind goes wild over the endless possibilities of what the song could turn into live.”
After coming home from touring with major artists, Claud used the time to reinvent their sound, evident on their only single from 2022, “Go Home!.” Yet, this led them to create their third album, “Supermodels,” a detour from their previous sound.
It’s clear on songs like “A Good Thing,” which could fit into the opening scenes of a coming-of-age film, as well as on “Wet,” ideal for a midnight drive, that Claud had expanded their musical abilities and lyricism. The new record even led to them working with Paul Rudd on the music video for “A Good Thing” after meeting at Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” this summer, proving the mass appeal the singer has.
Since its release, Claud has dropped another single, “To Be Yours,” which has amassed over four million streams on Spotify. They also have announced a tour since their third album’s release, which started Sept. 5 in Wisconsin, and will end in California Oct. 20.
Basically, if you’re looking for a new soundtrack for the hardships of your 20s, Claud is the artist to listen to. Not only do they sing from a different perspective as a queer person, but they also tie relatable experiences into their music, making it a universal listen for anyone.
Listen to more of Claud here.