CLOVER for The Meadow

interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)

interviewee: CLOVER (@cloveronthemic)

CLOVER is a budding indie singer-songwriter who in the last year left NYC and hit the road, busking her way across the US in her Subaru Outback. She is currently spending her time in Ojai, CA before heading back to the Hudson Valley NY area. CLOVER's music brings a unique and refreshing blend of relaxing songwriting set to a carefree jazzy, soulful pop feel.

In CLOVER's latest single, "Sunman" she brings this signature full-body sound to her story about falling in love with someone you didn't expect to. Proving that sometimes powers outside of our control bring us the things and people we need in our lives without us thinking we'd ever had something so great.

t h e   i n t e r v i e w

1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!

Hi there! My name is CLOVER and I’m a singer-songwriter originally from a small river town in NJ. After I graduated from Bard College in 2018, I moved to Brooklyn, NY to pursue my career as another young musician playing in small bars for small audiences for small amounts of money, while also teaching songwriting lessons. When the pandemic hit, my partner and I decided to do the most rational thing, which was to leave our apartment in Brooklyn and drive across the country on a musical tour ride of now 12 states. Along the way we have been busking and safely bringing music and magic to the people during the pandemic. We have played on mountaintops and trailheads, cities and beaches, and even the steps of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. 

2. What genre would you say your music belongs to?

My music is genre-blending. I’d say a crossover between soul, pop, and rock. The most nutritious and delicious dose of indie-pop/soul. 

3. What is the story behind your musical journey?

From the time I was four years old I always gravitated towards music – I was obsessed with the movies The Sound of Music and Annie. I would often dress up as Annie and dance around the house singing the songs. It’s crazy thinking about it now that I’m a music teacher, but when I was five I played piano and sang “Lady Madonna” by The Beatles at my elementary school talent show. After that performance I remember being so overcome with emotion that I ran to my mom and cried – this was the moment I knew I found my “thing.” It made me feel so whole to be able to express myself in that way and bring joy to people through music. When I got to high school, I really started leaning into songwriting. I used it as a method for understanding my emotions and processing complex family dynamics. This is now one of the main ways I express myself and connect with others – as a songwriting teacher.

4. And how has your journey been so far? 

My journey has been everything I could ever want and more. Although it’s difficult and a lot of work being an independent artist, it has allowed me to reimagine what a working musician looks like. Teaching songwriting, making art, creating a Patreon community, and busking all allows me to live the life of a musician full-time while being on the road and traveling.

5. I am in love with your latest, “Sunman”. Tell us what “Sunman” means to you and what your aim was during the making.

Thanks so much! I wrote this song as a gift for my partner Dani’s birthday and honestly had no idea I would record and release it at the time. He was born on the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. He also has the sunniest personality of anyone I’ve ever met – always positive, smiling, and playful! It’s a song about having a healthy, loving, and loud love with a partner who you admire so deeply and not wanting to miss a moment of it.

6. How was the process of the making of the single?

I recorded the song at The Diner Studios in Hoboken, NJ with Evan Dibbs and Carlos Bustillo. I brought in the song as a slower ballad and we happened to have drummer Marco Spodek come in and try a groove over it. This completely changed the trajectory of the song and made it the strong high energy track it is today. We experimented with adding harmonium, an instrument that Dani and I had purchased recently, and it gave the song such a unique and unexpected tone. You can hear the harmonium most prominently in the intro to the music video!

7. Your music video for “Sunman” has me lost for words, it is so blissful! Tell us more about the making and BTS of this MV.

That’s exactly how it’s meant to feel — blissful! At the time of making the video, I was living in an artist community in Upstate NY where I met the creative directors Amrit Matteo Guillin and his husband Quentin Bruno. They really understood me as an artist and were so supportive of the vision. In some ways, the aesthetic of the video created itself. The universe told me what to do and I just listened - here’s what I mean: I was planning on doing a photoshoot for the song and went into Hudson, NY to a thrift store to look for an outfit. It was there that I found the red, orange, and yellow jumpsuit with a 70s vibe. On my way back home I saw an incredible orange chair on the side of the road and I knew I just had to take it. The next day we did a photoshoot and spontaneously ended up shooting the scenes of me on top of the hill with the orange chair for the video. It all flowed so well! The visuals for the scenes in the woods (especially the fairy and sequin looks) can all be accredited to Amrit. He does a lot of work with mirrors in his art and came up with the concept of bringing them into the woods. I’m also wearing most of his clothes in the forest scenes. Although it didn’t make it into the music video, Quentin choreographed a whole dance that some of the other artists living in the community learned the day before the shoot. We had such limited time for shooting everything and probably only 30 minutes when all of the dancers could be there so we were only able to get a few moments with them that worked for the video. Hopefully we will have another chance to do one of Quentin’s dances in another video!

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8. What is your creative process? 

I’m incredibly driven by emotion, so most of the time my creative process involves getting in touch with my feelings through meditation, journaling, hiking and being in nature, or any activity that helps me shed the ego and then taking that clarity (or confusion) and writing about it. I can usually finish a song in 1-2 writing sessions if I’m writing about something I’m feeling emotional about.

9. Who is your musical inspiration? 

Oooo so many inspirational musicians out there. The Lake Street Dive ladies are super talented. Vocally, Rachael Price is a huge inspiration for me. Her power, control, diction, honesty, and experimentation has inspired my vocal path since college. When it comes to songwriting, I love Bridget Kearney’s approach. I am always blown away by her creations. I’m also very much inspired by classics like The Beatles and Carole King and the more contemporary Lianne La Havas. 

10. Any tips for our musicians out here? 

The main piece of advice I have for musicians is to trust your gut and only create things that feel authentic to who you are. There are going to be so many people out there who want to tell you what to do and when you’re first starting out it’s easy to blindly trust what they have to say. In 2018 I was in LA filming for “The Voice.” I was fresh out of college and although I had never watched the show before, it felt like the biggest opportunity for recognition and exposure that I could get. I was there filming for a month, having people tell me what to sing, what to wear, what to talk about. They were telling me who I was as an artist – and that’s totally backward. A few days before the blind auditions I decided that I didn’t want anyone determining who I was as an artist except me, so I flew home. You are human. Flowing, everchanging, and expanding. Your genre may shift, your “brand” may bend, but this should be on your terms. Always.

11. So, what should we expect next, in the near future?

More music! I have 2 songs that have been recorded and will hopefully come out in the next few months. I also plan to release more demos onto SoundCloud so I have a larger catalogue out there!

12. How do we gain access to your music? 

I have music on all streaming platforms, as well as a few music videos on Youtube! You can also come see me play live outdoors as I busk around the country :)