Chloë Black is the Australian-French songstress reviving old Hollywood glamour. If you’re not already aware of the genre-defying multilingual vocalist, Schön! is here to put her on your radar. Black is a woman of the world, so it’s no surprise to hear a myriad of cultural and musical influences in the wide-eyed siren’s sound. She splits her time between LA and London but was raised between different countries so considers herself a ‘third culture kid.’ “I picture it like putting a bunch of spices together. It’s easy to label each spice individually. A pinch of salt, a bit of cumin, basil, cayenne pepper…what on earth would we call the result of clashing all of these ingredients together?” she asks. While explaining where she’s from gets exhausting, she’s grateful for the journey: “I crave that nomadic lifestyle. Airplanes often feel more homely to me than destinations.”
Instead of conforming to modern trends and genre conventions, Black’s sound is a “musical collage” of everything she loves. In her latest single, No Regrettes, she opens with wistful vintage vocals, the kind you might expect to hear in a smokey French bar (her jazz-musician father used to bring her along to perform with him in Parisian bars from age three), before seamlessly transitioning into rap, both in English and French. The track’s title references the Edith Piaf classic, Non, je ne regrette rien, but unlike Piaf, Black comes clean about the regrets that have defined her journey as a person and artist. “I wear both my scars and my fuck ups with pride,” she admits. Black doesn’t have many regrets, but reveals she’s still recovering from her most recent one: “I put superglue on my head two days ago because I couldn’t find any wig glue online and, wow, that hurts!”
A jack of all trades, her DIY ethos and unique sound stems from unsuccessful stints working with major labels. Subscribing to their expectations and limitations just wasn’t cutting it so she followed her intuition and took back the reins. “Waiting for people to open doors or make it happen for you is an approach that I’m not sure really works. Life is short and waiting is an awful waste. I’d prefer to bust through the closed doors with an axe like Jack Nicholson in The Shining,” she says.
Entertainers are now having to find creative ways to connect with fans from the comfort of their homes. Many took to Instagram live to host virtual concerts. Black chose to do a weekly cover of a song in a foreign language. She says the concept of “travelling without moving” came to her in a meditation before bed. So far she’s covered songs in Chinese, Greek, Samoan, and her native French. A scroll through the comments shows fans praising her attention to detail and pronunciation, not to mention her enviable selection of outfits. “Hyper femininity and a surreal level of glamour inspire me. I don’t believe in subtlety at all and drag is always a source of inspiration,” she says. “I like to take our bizarre, outdated patriarchal idea of ‘beauty,’ which sadly is so euro-centric and unattainable, and take it to such an extreme that it becomes a kind of parody.”
Black is no stranger to directing and producing her own videos but quarantine has made keeping creative all the more challenging. “I live for challenges. I joked to my team that I’ve been training for this for years in terms of having to do things DIY on an absolute shoestring budget,” she says. “You wouldn’t believe the weird and unglamorous stuff I often do for the sake of my ‘art’.” She’s right—it’s hard to imagine anything unglamorous about the songstress. But her journey has had its fair share of bumps along the way, and if the results are glamorous, it’s only because she’s worked her ass off for it: “Whether I’m sweeping a floor or making a video I always take so much pride in what I’m doing. I’m not into half-assing.” Behind the extravagant gowns and sultry vocals, Black craves the simple joys of life. Post-COVID she’s most looking forward to “platonic physical contact. A visit to the beach would be nice too.” We can certainly relate to that.
Check out Chloë Black’s latest single ‘No Regrettes,’ out now.
This Schön! online exclusive has been produced by