The ethereal voice behind Twenty Committee talks music, inspiration and growing up in the Midlands.
Chloe Rodgers is the youthful face of alt-pop you should already be getting to know. The singer got her start in music biz after accidentally winning Nottingham’s answer to X Factor whilst she was interning at a record label. Unbeknownst to her, her boss had entered her in the competition, but she still charged forth and became an instant fan favourite. When local fame soon followed, a cocktail of live performances and her rising presence on YouTube lead her to producer Anders Källmark – who originally thought her songs were so perfect they had to be covers – and record label Crowds And Power.
Källmark subsequently went on to enlist her as the main vocal force behind Twenty Committee, an everchanging musical collective that hosts a rotating cast of beyond talented songwriters and performers, basically 2020’s answer to beloved ‘80s outfit This Mortal Coil, and the rest is pretty much history…
We’re here today to talk her new track “Faces”, a beautiful ballad tinged with classic orchestral flair and boatloads of ethereality. Rodgers penned the haunting track about one particularly beautiful day she experienced in the past year, using a contrastingly horrendous day that followed to inform a balanced perspective on energy, life and the rawness of human emotion.
Speaking about the new video, creative director Anna Tiani said, “The motive behind creating this ethereal and cinematic music video for ‘Faces’ was to embrace the beauty of nature, passing time and Chloe’s mesmerising voice in order to create an artistic statement that would effortlessly teleport the listener into the contrasting light and dark worlds in which the song lives.”
Catching up with Rodgers below, we delved further into the world of her music, how she pulls together her inspirations, and the impact her hometown has had on her career thusfar. Take a look…
Hi Chloe, how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
Hey how’re you doing! It’s been a bit up and down for me but mostly down to be honest. I was ill with something that may have been the virus (coughing, rattly chest, lost my voice & energy etc) for a good few months starting in March so I was unable to sing for that entire time apart from the odd day here and there where it would temporarily clear up. So I didn’t get much writing done at all and just didn’t have the energy for it. It’s obviously a lot harder to find a job with the current crisis so it’s hard to find time for what I really want to do which is music! But there won’t be any gigs for a long time anyway. Really hope the live music industry survives this.
How did growing up in Nottingham influence you sonically? Who are your musical heroes?
Growing up here has definitely inspired me to want to be alternative. There’s such a varied music scene here and it’s made me want to explore so many different paths of music. So far my releases have been ethereal and cinematic sounding but this isn’t the only sound I want to create in the long run. At the minute I’d say my musical heroes are Radiohead, Whisky Moon Face and Billie Eilish. All completely different artists that inspire me in different ways. I’m always harping on about how beautiful I find Thom Yorke’s lyrics, but with Whisky Moon Face it’s completely different. They make a blend of like Russian folk and french jazz (I think?) with lyrics like “I wish I was the lice in your hair” and “there’s a dead dog in your bed, you can’t sleep in your bed” which is just such a quirky and strange way to say “I really fancy you, come and share my bed if you like!” & I completely adore it. Their singer also does things with her voice that I’ve never heard anywhere else and it’s just so brilliant.
Where are the most unusual places you pull musical inspiration from?
Possibly from dreams. I kept a dream diary through the lockdown as I had such crazy dreams, I’d love to turn them into a concept album or something like that. I also have so many voice notes in my phone where I’ve dreamt of a song and woken up and tried to record the snippets I can remember to turn it into something more, however most of them just sound hilariously bad when I revisit them. I like to write down things that my friends say to incorporate into music too. The line “caught in a dying moment” in faces came from one of my friends that was speaking to me about a similar experience they had.
Congratulations on your new single “Faces” – why is it called that and what is it inspired by?
Thanks so much! Faces felt like a fitting name because it’s in the first line of the song and it is the main part of our body that we use to express emotion. For me, using it in plural for the title encapsulates what the song is about in 1 word. I wrote the first half about a really beautiful day I had where I felt so connected to the universe and people around me and the song got left alone for a good half a year or so. I then experienced a horrendously bad day (that felt like years) where I thought everyone I loved was out to get me. I’ve written another song that goes into more detail about all the crazy things I thought were happening this day that I hope to record at some point.
How does this differ from your debut “A Delphian Lullaby”?
Well “A Delphian Lullaby” is about falling for someone who becomes abusive and then becoming trapped in a toxic relationship, so I guess the only similarities are that it is deeply emotional, uses lots of natural imagery and has a cinematic feel to the sound.
The music video for “Faces” is really haunting and ethereal – where was it shot and what did you want to convey with it?
I can’t take any credit for the music video at all. The ideas and locations were all thought up by Kate Lomas & Anna Tiani from Autonomy and by Jack Davies from Friction Collective. We shot in some lovely places in the Bath/Bristol area. We wanted to convey the passing of time with Bonnie as a sort of younger version of myself and the contrast between the lighter & darker sides of the mind; peace and ease (walking with the flow of the river, running happily in the fields) VS struggle and turmoil (wading against the flow of the river, being lost in the dark, being trapped in the tall grass).
Do you have a favourite lyric – something you think will resonate deeply with your listeners?
It feels a bit presumptuous to assume it would deeply resonate with my listeners but my favourite lyric from Faces is “never been so terrified, never been so scared for my life, as I tiptoe oh so gingerly along the edge of a knife”. I just think that imagery really expresses how truly in danger I believed I was at the time as a result of my own state of mind. I do hope that this would resonate with anyone who has had similar experiences. My favourite lyric from A Delphian Lullaby is “all the stars in the sky gather to watch us fall apart” as I just love the mythological image it conjures in the mind.
Your backstory of accidentally winning Notts X Factor is incredible – do you believe in serendipity, or is music something you would have pursued anyway?
Well I have always wanted to be a singer to the extent that I really don’t have a back up plan. If music doesn’t work out for me then it makes no odds to me what I end up doing for a living really. But without winning Notts Factor I doubt I’d be in the position I’m in now as it’s unlikely that I’d have gained a foothold in the Nottingham music scene or have been discovered by Crowds & Power, and I’m so hopelessly disorganised that it’s really doubtful that I’d have managed to get anything released without them.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
I just want to make people feel something. If I could make people feel the way I feel when I listen to “No Surprises” by Radiohead or “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish, where my heart just swells and I want to hug everyone then I’d be so happy. I always try to put the kind of imagery into my lyrics that I loved analysing when we studied poetry in A-level English so it would be really awesome if anyone took the time to think about those parts of my songs too. I never understood why we never studied song lyrics as a part of learning about poetry.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I have 2 more singles to release in the coming months and videos to work on for those and we’ll work on the album after that. With the pandemic it’s hard to predict what is even going to be possible. Hopefully when the restrictions ease a bit it will give me chance to rehearse with the band to get my set perfected for when the live music industry is resurrected (fingers crossed).