Clea Anaïs’ compositions center on two things: their multifaceted artistic sensibility, and an emotional intelligence as sharp as a shard of bright-coloured crystal. Clea is a multiethnic artist, raised in Canada by a Mauritian dancer and a British painter.
Clea has toured in Canada, Japan, Europe, the UK, the USA, and New Zealand. Their session work spans many genres, having worked with Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire) on his project Music for Heart and Breath, attending residencies at the Banff Centre, and recording with Clea has shared the stage with groups including members of Broken Social Scene, Dan Mangan, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cold Specks, City and Colour, and Of Montreal to name a few. Much of this has happened with Clea’s collaborative band RALEIGH, who won alternative album of the year in the 2018 YYC Music Awards.
Now undertaking new music on her own, her debut solo album “Circle Zero” recalls the genre defying production and inimitable vocals of Lana del Rey, grounded in the nostalgic groove and lush pop stylings of Beach House and Japanese Breakfast. Clea’s first two self-released singles garnered 7k views each on YouTube, with Hazy Days spending multiple weeks on CBC Radio 3’s top 10 playlist. Clea creates art that moves in interesting ways; throughout there are moments that are vulnerable and these moments move you because they are some special combo of being listenable, evoking memory, and feeling new.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
The thing I love most about being an artist is connecting with others. I have had people come up to me after a show to tell me I really turned around their day, or explain they were going through a hard time, and disconnecting while experiencing the music helped them feel better. I am usually moved to write songs about moments I have found impactful, and this means there is an opportunity to act as a conduit for other people to connect and experience the lyrics and sonic soundscape I have created in a way that is meaningful to them also. It is a beautiful thing to be able to share!
Do you enjoy recording and production?
Recording and production is actually my favorite part of creating music. I am honestly a bit of a wallflower, and the studio is a safe space where anything can be possible. It is like being in a sonic playground, and it is magical if you work with the right people who are open to experimentation and having a fun time with the process.
Do you have advice for would-be artists or songwriters wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to not worry and just have fun. If I am completely honest, the odds of making it off your first track/record are pretty slim, so just focus on having a good time, don’t be overly critical of yourself, and take care of the people you are working with because those relationships are actually what matters the most.
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Who would you like most to collaborate with?
I am a big fan of David Longstreth’s writing, from the Dirty Projectors. I would feel intimidated, but it would be awesome to workshop ideas with him or to just chill and grab a coffee.
What is your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song to perform from my record Circle Zero is the first track titled “Decisive and Divine”. The vocal is the perfect amount of croony but challenging, compared to some of the other vocals I have written in my head, which then end up being ridiculous translated into a live set. To support this new record on tour I have learned to play bass, and this track has a grooving bass part! The rest of the band always has fun with this one, so it’s a winner for the whole crew.
If you were talking to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give?
I would tell myself that there is space for me in whatever career or scene I want to be a part of, regardless of how I look, my cultural background, the sex I was born into, or the negative pressure I experienced from those around me. I would tell myself to take greater chances and to forge my own path, confident in being able to do it on my own merit, because if someone else has done it then I can too.
What is the most useless talent you have?
The most useless talent I currently have is that I trained to be a commercial pilot and graduated into a recession right after the pandemic started. Possibly the worst career pivot choice ever. Feel free to laugh about that one…
What do you think the greatest invention has been?
I saw a video the other day of a snowball being rolled down a hill until it had reshaped itself into a wheel, and I gotta say my mind was blown. Beyond the wheel… the invention of written languages and its impact on sharing ideas or momentous breakthroughs like the Rosetta Stone.
What is your secret guilty pleasure binge worthy TV show?
“Love is Blind” because it is such a hilarious examination of humans in such a genuine and beautifully flawed state, also when you compare the show from country to country you get to observe cultural differences which are fascinating.
You are a new addition to a crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would choose to be a dual colored crayon, that was a royal blue and fuschia swirl.
What would be the ideal food to have cooked for you on a date night?
Vegetarian Pad Thai … but with a sunflower butter sauce.
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