Even if you don’t yet know Swedish musician and songwriter Clara Mae by name, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with her work. Her career has been peppered with high profile collaborations alongside the likes of Tiesto, David Guetta, and of course most recently on KREAM’s “Taped Up Heart.”
Now, Clara Mae has finally struck out on her own. Her debut EP Sorry For Writing All the Songs About You is a deeply personal glimpse into a tumultuous relationship. After years of working behind the scenes, Clara Mae is ready to be seen and known by her listeners.
You have said before that it is important to you that your listeners relate to the lyrics in your music. What themes do you think you touch on that your listeners would find most relatable? It’s truly amazing to hear that people relate to my music and lyrics, it makes me so incredibly happy – storytelling plays a big part in all of my songs. I definitely think my fans relate to my heartbreak and breakup lyrics (because that is what I mostly write about, but also to the feeling of comparing yourself to others and just trying to love yourself the way you are. My first single “I’m Not Her” talks a lot about that and I’ve read so many comments and DMs from people relating to that song.
You’ve contributed to a ton of music by top artists such as David Guetta, Tiesto, and KREAM. How does your solo sound differ? I always want to tell a story and say something that I can really stand behind in my songs. However, when I write for other artists I have to change my mindset a little bit – sometimes they want something easier, or more chanty and not so complicated (especially DJ’s). I tend to be really descriptive in my lyrics, so it can be a challenge but it’s also refreshing sometimes.
How was the process of writing your own music in relation to working on someone else’s? When I write for myself I’m usually in a session with another producer and topliner. We talk about life and I tell them what I have experienced, my old relationships, my current relationship, my family, childhood, etc. It can be scary sometimes, especially if I’m working with someone I haven’t met before, telling a stranger such personal things. It’s like a therapy session, you have to look deep inside yourself and be super honest – but to get those really good songs and relatable lyrics it’s important to search deep inside yourself. When I’m in a session with another artist I’m that other topliner in the room, asking about that person’s life and trying to make something out of it. It’s like a puzzle, and together we put all the pieces together.
Your debut EP Sorry For Writing All These Songs About You chronicles a turbulent relationship. Jake Miller is featured on one of those tracks, is the album about him? Or just about relationships in general? Yes, I did write the whole EP about Jake Miller! I mean why wouldn’t I? (laughs) But no, jokes aside the EP is about things I’ve experienced and stages I’ve gone through in old relationships.
Falling in love and feeling like there’s nothing that could ever tear you apart (“Us”)… getting dumped and then having someone send you mixed emotions (“Rooftop”), comparing yourself to an ex’s new flame (“I’m Not Her”)… running into your ex after a long time and admitting to yourself that you’re not 100% over him (“I Forgot”)… being in a great relationship, but feeling bored and looking back and reminiscing on the drama of the last one (“Better Me Better You”)… and last but not least, realizing that I had to write about these experiences to get over them (“Sorry for Writing All the Songs About You”).
What is it like working with Jake? Is it more harmonious since you know each other so well? The truth is I didn’t know Jake before we collaborated, but we were looking for a male vocalist for “Better Me Better You” and came across his stuff and thought he was the perfect match. I instantly loved his voice and reached out to see if he was interested – and he was! He did an excellent job with the song and I think our voices match perfectly. It was really fun working with him, we had great chemistry and felt relaxed with each other from the beginning.
What was it like working with such an iconic group such as KREAM? Who is your top choice to work with next? I loved working with my Norwegian neighbors KREAM! They’re the sweetest guys and super talented. I wrote “Taped Up Heart” in Stockholm with two other songwriters and we sent my vocals on top of a piano to KREAM and they crafted the production. I loved what they did with it and it’s still one of my favorite songs to date.
There are a lot of people that I’d like to work with!. Clean Bandit, ZEDD, Marshmello and Calvin Harris would definitely be on that list.
Your fan base is growing so rapidly, what is it like to see people all over the world loving your music and finding themselves in your songs? It’s amazing to see how fast and far music can spread today, it’s a crazy feeling! I’ve read comments from a young boy in India relating to one of my songs and standing up to his bullies, a girl from China saying she was listening to “I’m Not Her” to get over her ex, a 12-year-old girl from Nashville sending me a cover of her singing ”Sorry for Writing All the Songs About You” and yesterday I saw this video of a guy from the Denver pole dancing to ”I Forgot”. I LOVE IT! I get so many of these comments and get so happily overwhelmed reading them and watching their covers of my songs. It’s really why I do this in the end.
Who is one artist you fangirl over? I’m a huge Robyn fan. I think her electronic sound was really before her time and most of the songs she released years ago still sound super fresh today.
What gives you the most inspiration for your songs? Definitely my own life, the things that I’ve experienced and feelings that I’ve felt. But I’m also a daydreamer, I zone out all the time and love to go out for long walks while listening to music. I pretend I’m someone else for a while, making up fantasies in my head. So that’s also very helpful when I write, I have a good imagination. I also watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, which both play a big part in my songwriting.
Favorite place in Sweden? I live pretty close to one of the castles here in Stockholm called Drottningholm. I like to go there to walk my dog Bruce or to have a picnic with my boyfriend – that place just makes me so happy and relaxed. It’s a huge garden where you can walk around for hours without getting bored, there’s so much to look at and there’s so much history. Plus they have the best ice cream place too!