Chloe Campbell on Dancehall Reggae And Her New Single, "Sick"
With powerhouse vocals and biting lyrics, it’s clear that Chloe Campbell doesn’t mess around. The 17-year-old songstress grew up in in the Bahamas surrounded by a musical family, who (thankfully) encouraged her to share her talents. With her debut single, “Sick” (listen below), Campbell aims to break free of a bad relationship, and inspire others to express themselves.
Milk caught up with Campbell to discuss “Sick”, performing live, and 90s dancehall reggae. Check the full interview below, and stay tuned for her Friday playlist, coming later this month.
Your single “Sick” is such a great breakup anthem. What was the inspiration for the song?
What really inspired it was the feeling that you get from—it doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, it could be a friend, it could be a whatever—but someone who makes you physically sick from being around them. You know what I mean? It’s a great breakup anthem, but it can also be applied to a friend or any kind of relationship.
How did you get started making music? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Music’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was an amazing entertainer. He really had a huge impact on everybody that he met. He’s incredibly charismatic and super positive; my grandfather was open-minded and loving and embracing. So whenever he would sit down and bring out his guitar and do a sing-a-long, people would really enjoy it. And obviously that made a huge impact on me, as a performer and a person.
In my family everyone was encouraged to share their gifts and talents and do sing-a-longs and all that kind of stuff. Music’s been a part of my life forever. It’s always been a passion of mine, but it’s only been two years or so since I’ve decided and put it out there that this is what I’m going to do with my life. This is what I am meant to do, what I’m put on this earth to do.
You have a really unique sound, do you feel like growing up in the Bahamas influenced that?
Yeah, I was born and raised here in the Bahamas. I’m seventh generation Bahamian. The time I grew up in, 90s dancehall reggae was really popping here. Cutty Ranks, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Shaggy, I grew up on it. That’s what people listen to here. It’s kind of in my veins now, like radioactive exposure. So you’ll definitely hear that in “Sick”, a little bit of the reggae vibe.
The reggae vibe comes through for sure. Have you had a chance to perform “Sick” live yet?
I just did a show at Bardot, in LA, on the 9th of January. It was so much fun—I performed “Sick” and some other original stuff and a few covers. My live performance is something that is extremely important to me. I want to be an amazing live act. I want to have an amazing show, and have people come out and see something they’ve not really seen before, and experience the music in a different way than just listening to it on their phones.
What would you say is the best part of performing and the worst?
Whenever I’m performing I feel like I’m at home. Like the stage is my home, and I’m doing what is in my DNA. So I think that’s the best part of it: being able to do what you love and connect with people in that way. It’s very unique.
The worst part? I don’t know if there’s a worst part, but…I don’t know…maybe not having enough time. [laughs] That would be the only thing, having to end it at some point. But the best part is definitely being able to connect with people.
Totally! What are you working on right now?
I have a lot of promo shows coming up in the next six months, in the Bahamas and in the U.S., promoting “Sick”. And I’m also gonna be in the studio next week coming up with some cool stuff. We’re just going in and working organically. We’re not really going into it saying, “I want to do an album, I want to do an EP,” but seeing what we come up with. I’m really just focusing on recording good music.
Dope. You obviously have a very close connection with “Sick”; do you write all of your songs?
Yeah! So, it’s definitely a mix, but I’m always involved. Like sometimes I get a track that’s already done and I write on top of it. But it’s definitely a mix because I’m open to whatever situation comes up. If someone has a demo that I absolutely love and I just sing the top line—that may happen. But if we start from scratch, that’s cool too, whatever works, whatever’s natural.
Doing it creatively and organically, because that’s when the best stuff is created.
And one last question for you: how do you define success?
I guess there’s the black and white definition: have hits on the radio, be a large touring act. But there’s another part, and that’s being an inspiration to people. And making them, through my music, feel good. Creating amazing music that people love—that’s success for me.
Images via Marc Baptiste and The Huffington Post
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