“They say you’re always chasing it, and realistically I don’t think I’m ever gonna be like ‘I made it.’ When I can nail the balance of being happy and releasing music that, to me, would be the ultimate goal. Which I haven’t done yet, but I’m hopefully on my way.”
And CXLOE is.
Real name Chloe Papandrea, CXLOE already has over 22 million streams, been featured on prominent playlists such as New Music Friday on Spotify and A-List Pop on Apple Music, and her writing credits include working with Ross Golan (Ariana Grande), Justin Tranter (Julia Michaels) and The Futuristics (Selena Gomez). Her debut single “Tough Love” came out in 2017 and since then has released a steady surge of successful singles, such as “Devil You Don’t” and “Between Our Hearts” with electronic trio Cheat Codes, released earlier in 2020.
The Sydney, Australia native changed her given name so slightly so that she can turn off her artistry when she wants to. An alter ego of sorts, CXLOE is the more dramatized version of the understated Chloe, complete with costumes, makeup and special lighting. “I wanted to keep [Chloe] close to me but also add a bit of a twist to it so I can switch off from having it be every aspect of my life.” she said. “It can get quite overwhelming, and it’s hard putting yourself out there all the time.”
The dark pop songstress’ journey began with her posting covers on YouTube as a teenager before taking her first venture overseas after graduating high school. She arrived in Los Angeles at 18 to follow her dreams, but was unfortunately met with a difficult start. “It was hard getting in any writing sessions because I wasn’t anyone and no one knew who I was. No one wanted to write with me,” she says. Eventually, after flying back and forth between the U.S. and Australia, and with much perseverance, she finally found her management team and label.
Fast forward to 2019 and CXLOE is the opener for Maroon 5’s Australian leg of their Red Pills Blues tour. “I just blinked and it was over,” she said about the shows. “It was such an out-of-body experience. I tried to be as present as I could, but it was just so much like ‘what is happening!?’ It was the first arena tour I’ve ever done and the scale of it was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. But it was so much fun and the boys were so sweet, they made it a really enjoyable time for me. I had the time of my life.”
Now, as 2020 comes to a close, CXLOE, 26, is running at full speed. She released Heavy, a 6-track EP in October. Her specialty of dark synth beats are paired with equally dark subject matters from addiction to bipolar mood swings and self-sabotage. One of the album’s most notable songs is “12 Steps,” a reference to the 12 step program used in Alcoholics Anonymous. This is CXLOE’s way of delivering a message about a personal matter. “Addiction runs in my family and I’ve always wanted to tell my story in a way that felt comfortable to me and those around me. The song mirrors the steps of the program through the eyes of a toxic relationship. I’ve spent time over the years becoming familiar with the program and think it is as important to treat unhealthy, toxic relationships with the same attention. Whether the addiction is to alcohol, food, shopping or a person, it all comes back to pain. And that’s something I can relate to. Seeking something or someone to mask pain.”
And addressing mental health issues, CXLOE has made starting the hard conversations her mission. “For as long as I can I’m going to keep trying to get that conversation going. Because it’s way more normal and it’s happening more than we think, which is scary.”
The hard topics addressed on Heavy are part of the reason so many of her fans love her. Many people have reached out to her to thank her for singing about such taboo subjects, which she plans to continue singing about, with the goal of making these subjects less taboo, specifically in the music industry.
She also wants the music industry to evolve into one that’s much friendlier for artists. Citing her own journey as one that was “tough” and full of her chasing the wrong things, she wants independent artists or artists on the rise to not feel like they have to sell their souls, that they can find success without being tied to a label. “When I started trying to make music, all I wanted was a record deal because that’s all I heard about, but I wish that I didn’t have that headspace then. I’m so happy for the people I know starting out now because there are other options and it’s really exciting to watch. I hope the climate keeps changing and evolving for the better.”
As far as herself, CXLOE hopes her future looks a little more domestic. She wants to get married and have a family, as well as a piece of music. “I don’t know how long I can be doing the artist thing for but I hope that I do it long enough where I feel fulfilled and that I’ve done what I needed to do. I hope music is still a part of my life but I hope that I’m just happy, content and healthy. It’s pretty cliche, but that’s all I really want.”