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How Clairo Turned A Viral Bedroom Video Into A Successful Music Career

Clairo outside the World Cafe Performance studio at WXPN in Philadelphia. (Galea McGregor/WXPN)
Clairo outside the World Cafe Performance studio at WXPN in Philadelphia. (Galea McGregor/WXPN)

"When you become something on the internet and not something in real life," Clairo explains, "It's this very strange cognitive dissonance where you're like, 'Well, is something actually happening, or am I dreaming that people know who I am?' "

Clairo wasn't dreaming. She started college shortly after uploading a song called "Pretty Girl" to YouTube — that same week, her bedroom music video reached a million views. Today, it has over 40 million views, and she's launched an entire music career from her viral success. She's appeared on late night television stages, played Coachella and is going on tour with Tame Impala in 2020. Clairo even produced her debut full-length album, Immunity, with a little help from Rostam Batmanglij.

We'll talk about how the former Vampire Weekend member reached out to Clairo on Instagram after hearing her 2017 song, "Flaming Hot Cheetos," how "Sinking" is a sexy song about rheumatoid arthritis ("Which is hilarious," she adds) and how she keeps up with her fans in relation to her rapidly rising profile. Hear the conversation in the player above, starting off with a live in-studio performance of "Bags."

Copyright NPR 2020.

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