It’s hard to believe that Chloe Moriondo has just turned twenty years old. With the release of their record SUCKERPUNCH this weekend, impressively, the musician now has three studio albums under their belt and two EPs – an almost unimaginable feat for most musicians their age. “I’m really proud of having been able to work on music as long as I have,” they explain. “It’s baffling to me when I realised how much of my teenage years and my really formative, vulnerable years I spent making music.”
At just 11 years old, Moriondo kickstarted their music career in 2014 on YouTube by posting Ukulele song covers. They have since amassed over 3 million subscribers. “The internet can be a terrifying place, but I’m really thankful for the gorgeous community I’ve built over the years,” they say.
What started as social media posts have gone on to become the material for their entirely self-produced 2018 debut album, Rabbit Hearted, and fast-forward to 2022, Moriondo finds themselves included in this year’s Billboard’s prestigious “21 Under 21” list.
With a decade of songwriting experience under their belt already, it’s no surprise that the artist’s sound has transformed countless times through its development. Most recently, they worked with renowned producers Oscar Scheller, known for his tracks with Rina Sawayama and Charli XCX.
“It makes me feel glad to be doing kind of weird and different shit nowadays because some of them [YouTube listeners] have stuck with me the whole time, and I wanna show them that doing weird and different shit is cool and okay,” they explain. “I want people to understand a little bit more about who I am under the Internet face I’ve made for myself.”
Moriondo’s latest offering is a far cry from the soft ukulele strums of their YouTube content and is perhaps their most singular body of work to date. SUCKERPUNCH is a high-voltage hop between music approaches, mashing hyper-pop, pop-punk and drum-and-bass influences: “I feel like I’ve shape-shifted so many times in the past five or six years, and I don’t mind it. I think it’s fun and exciting to change.”
I feel like I’ve shape-shifted so many times in the past five or six years, and I don’t mind it. I think it’s fun and exciting to change.
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SUCKERPUNCH leads with ‘Popstar’, an energetic homage to pop queens that soundtracked Moriondo’s youth and formed her earliest influences, such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. “Piece of me like britney, get christina dirrty, big celebrity, baby i’m a popstar” she sings. Moriondo also cites Kesha and BRICKS cover star Ashnikko as influences, the latter they supported on tour last year. “I’m obsessed with Ash, she’s so cool. Opening for her shows was a dream and she is genuinely one of the realist and kindest artists I’ve met, they’re very humble and down to earth. She’s incredible and I’m really inspired by her sound,” they gush.
Packed with catchy can’t-get-the-words-out-of-your-head anthems, the album rides through the highs and lows of growing up in equal measure. “I’m really growing and learning more about myself; what it means to be a girl growing up into the music industry and what it means to be a girl who wants to be a pop star.” Amongst Moriondo’s new pumped-up sound, the entire record is littered with potent truths about the complexities of self-image, power and our fascination with fame.
“I was going through my final years of teenage girlhood while making this album, so I feel self-image couldn’t not be a part of it. Teenage years are some of the most emotional years in everyone’s lives, but then it just keeps going and you have to eventually come to terms with your emotions, and it’s hard.”
SUCKERPUNCH might yell about the cynical soul-baring toxicity of fame and the vulnerabilities of fragility, but it’s far from self-deprecating. It’s a champagne-popping hypnotic party exploding with fast-shifting feverish beats and tempos. To put it simply, it’s bop after absolute bop. “There’s definitely a part of my personality that loves being able to share these vulnerable parts of my life and make them watchable and enjoyable and danceable.”
On ‘Cdbaby<3’ Moriondo offers up a more delicate side, channelling the frustration and pain of unrequited love. The same can be heard on the album’s final track ‘Cry’: “It was definitely a really therapeutic song for me and helps me come to terms with some things,” they share. “Crying is a thing that I’m still kind of nervous about as sometimes I’m just so sick of crying because I do it so much. ‘Cry’ is very much a frustration song for sure about how much of my life is taken over by vulnerability.”
It’s this honesty and vulnerability that makes Moriondo so incredibly special to work with. While vocal about wanting to solidify themselves as a renowned popstar, dreaming to play the biggest venues imaginable, they’re still incredibly modest – passionate about the importance of kindness and looking after your mental health. “I think everyone could benefit from just being nicer to themselves, past, present, and future. It’s hard. It’s incredibly hard, and I fall very victim to just beating myself up, like literally beating the shit outta myself for being a teenager and for being a girl and for being a human.”
They continue: “People do that in so many different ways and don’t even realise it until they feel like garbage just because of what they’ve been telling themselves. It’s undeserved. I really hope humanity can move more towards gentleness.”
As we discuss being kind to ourselves, I was curious as to why Moriondo released a full-length album mere months after dropping their second EP Puppy Luv and a mere 17 months after previous album Blood Bunny,which, upon reflection, sounds incredibly stressful and hectic.Upon meeting Moriondo for the first time, I realised how busy and potentially gruelling their schedule is. The Detroit native turns up to our cover story shoot in Brixton fresh-faced from headlining their Heaven show the night before. We only have a very brief four hours to shoot before they catch a train to play Leeds festival, then head to Reading straight afterwards.
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I think everyone could benefit from just being nicer to themselves, past, present, and future.
To my surprise, the short time frame between the two releases is less about ‘being a girl boss’ or a workaholic, but rather a sense of sincere excitement to get it out to their audience. “I was making this sick, fun new pop album that I could not wait to share with the world and was just itching and busting at the seams to try and release,” they tease.
Gruelling schedules maybe, but for Moriondo it’s 100% worth it: “Sometimes you wish you could lay down for like a while and not have to think about the job that you have, which is basically being a product. When you put it like that, it sounds miserable, but it isn’t. I love this job.”
Upon ending our call, we discussed our hopes for the future to which they replied, “I want people to be inspired to be themselves.” One thing about Chloe Morionodo is clear – they are an inspiration for young people not only looking to carve their own path, but also for those wanting to unapologetically change direction; speed ahead and go down whatever road they please.
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