Meet Claire Littley, the rising pop star with a powerful voice and emotive lyrics. Hailing from London, UK, Littley first gained recognition with her debut single “Hurt Me Once” and has since released 7 songs in 15 months, culminating in the release of her forthcoming EP. Her music blends elements of pop, rock, and R&B, creating a sound that is all her own and is characterised by her emotive performances and candidly authentic lyrics.
Speaking to Wonderland, Littley credits her love of classic Motown and Philly artists, as well as citing contemporary influences like Sno Aalegra as key influences on her sound. She also discussed her approach to writing and recording, often starting with a mood or a single word and building from there. Littley’s latest single “I Don’t Like the Rain” was inspired by the metaphor of rain and sun for the changes we experience in life. Keep an eye out for this rising star – she’s sure to leave her mark on the music industry.
Head below to find out more…
Hi Claire, how are you doing?
Well… I kinda have that feeling you get on a first date, or meeting a possible-new-friend for the first time… You know?
Let’s just say I’m excited to be speaking with you! ‘Ello 🙂
How did you first become interested in music?
I’ve always been a late starter in everything! If you know a little of my backstory I was singing a long way back. Around that time I lost my partner in a horrible accident. There’s been a long break. I haven’t been involved with music at all until the last couple of years. That’s when I ventured into seeing if I could write my own music. Fast-forward to now – I’ve worked super hard, released 7 songs in 15 months and have just finished writing, producing and mixing my first EP!AND here I am talking to you. How wonderful is that?!
Can you tell us a bit about your musical influences and inspirations?
I love all those super soulful classic Motown / Philly artists… Dionne Warwick, Aretha, Stevie, Luther, Alex O’Neal, then there’s Sade, Amy, plus many more contemporary artists like Sno Aalegra… the list is endless isn’t it? So many amazing influences.
How do you approach writing and recording your songs, and what do you hope to convey to your listeners?
Unplanned, I’ve tried different approaches with each song. My mood at that moment, or maybe I’ve picked up a book, opened it up and chosen a word from the page. Earlier this year I was asked to write a song for a podcast – my song “Change The Game” was the result. That was a great challenge for me and it worked really well for the Podcast.
Then, of course, feeling and connection are everything – from the lyrics I write, through to the emotion I convey with my voice. Will the listener feel something? Will they feel emotionally connected through my music? If they are and I have touched or moved them in some way then that becomes really meaningful in my life.
What has been the most rewarding part of your musical journey so far?
Every single person I have reached through my music and every single message I receive feels meaningful and rewarding. Also there’s the recognition that comes via some very credible music industry folk, like yourselves, who have taken an interest in what I’m doing. That’s incredibly rewarding too.
What inspired the song “I Don’t Like the Rain”?
Love and loss are the hardest things we have to learn as humans. They both go hand in hand. Each is integral to life process and our personal growth.
I’ve used the metaphor of rain and sun for the changes we experience in our lives – sometimes difficult and sometimes wonderful times. We wouldn’t know the sweetness and warmth of the sun if we didn’t feel the cold rain. The message in the song is that even when life is difficult there is hope for better times.
What was the songwriting process like for this track?
I was playing with a few keyboard chords and vocals … it had actually been raining in London last Summer ’21 for 3 weeks non-stop, so that was where my lyric came from – I was a little frustrated with the weather lol. So I just sang ‘ I don’t like the rain’… I tend to then work out a bit of structure for the chorus and verse with a vocal line idea for both. It becomes an iterative process. I work as a Product Designer by day, so a lot of the processes we employ in design I use within music. I always go back periodically after many many iterations to check the original sketch / idea for the song to make sure I haven’t lost the initial vibe and feeling.
Can you tell us a bit about the production and recording of the song?
I use a little Maschine Mikro to start all my songs. I love it for making beats and quick ideas. I’ll intermittently be working on the vocals, putting down a guide vocal, add instrumentation around it, then progress forward. Last stages I move into Logic Pro for the final production, mix and mastering. I find the first part – the initial songwriting – is much more creative and generates a lot of energy. The production and mixing stage becomes more meticulous and actually drains a lot of my energy I find. But it’s great to have been able to learn all of this and understand how all these things come together.
What do you hope listeners will take away from “I Don’t Like the Rain”?
We’ve had and still are having a few really tough years globally, from Covid and beyond. I hope listeners hear the message of holding out through difficult times till better days come along. As I said before, I think it’s helpful to try to keep in mind that we need to ‘feel it all’ to appreciate better times and to be truly alive.
How does this song fit into your overall body of work?
It’s the 7th single I’ve written, produced and released since August ’21 and the first song released from my forthcoming 5 track EP – coming next January 2023.
I really put a focus on trying to get my drums tight and have programmed the drums in all of my songs until this release. I had the great fortune of meeting an amazing drummer earlier this year – Gail James. She has played drums on ‘I Don’t Like The Rain’ and the other tracks on the EP.
How have your experiences and emotions influenced the lyrics and sound of the song?
Every single experience we have in our lives is part of us isn’t it? So everything we express, if we are really able to be in touch with our own feelings, will come through and resonate with others I believe.
What do you want fans to know about your music and upcoming work?
I wasn’t doing anything music-related for a really long time. That has made me a little sad and regretful at times. I didn’t know I could write my own music until two years ago and I’ve learnt and personally achieved so much since then. I truly hope this is inspirational for others. If there’s ‘this thing’ you’d like to do, or you feel passionate about something – give it a go! Be prepared to make time, to learn, learn, learn, work hard and you never know what might happen.
Lastly, what do you hope to achieve with your music in the future?
So, January – first EP…. Now I have enough songs for a set, I’m looking forward to doing some live performances. I’m planning on pulling some musicians together and doing a showcase or two.
Then, let’s see where we are 🙂