Chloe George, the Bay Area-born and LA-based artist known for her vulnerable and relatable lyrics, is back with more music — leaving us wondering again if she crawled into our brains for songwriting inspiration.
"In the past year, I realized how scared I was of true connection with other people. And how all of the music I was writing was either from a perspective of fear or surrendering," George says.
Her EP Penny, which dropped last week, is an honest window into the turbulent mind of a 20-something navigating relationships, both with others and, most importantly, with herself. The album, George says, is all about her "process in trying to allow real love into [her] life."
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From insecurity and doubt to sexual exploration and intimacy, George's profound ability to imbue her songs with empathetic and discerning observations of the awkward, and at times, disappointing realities of young romance separates her talent from an unyielding herd of contemporary pop artists.
The seven-track project, produced by Rob Bisel, is ultimately a sign that George is more than just another fleeting soundbite on TikTok. The EP's titular song, "Penny," with clear vocal inspiration from producer Bisel's frequent partner SZA, is a significant step away from her bedroom pop single “ghost town (voice memo)” — a cover of Kanye West’s “Ghost Town” that hit 45 million streams after it went viral on TikTok — and evidence of sonic experimentation. George's exploration, both musically and personally, is an exciting taste of what's to come in her career.
Check out Chloe George's track-by-track breakdown of Penny below.
Runaway Blue is a song that came to me in two different parts. I wrote the first part "Runaway" at a time when I felt like I was only interested in connecting with people who were emotionally distant — almost as a way to outrun my fear of commitment. And the second part "Blue" came to me months later when I had felt this defense mechanism slowly fade away, and it scared the shit out of me.
"Sunny D" comes from a place of self-doubt and self-discovery. It’s from a time in my life when I felt like I was learning a lot about my sexuality, and, at the same time, was feeling like I didn’t know enough about myself in relationship settings to explore new connections. The lyric that repeats at the end of the song explains it best: “It’s just easy to run/ I don’t know who I am and I’m sorry.”
"Sunday" is a snapshot of the most anxious I have ever felt in a relationship. It is from a space of insecurity and miscommunication, not feeling comfortable enough with someone to say how much I needed from them, and ultimately, being confused and upset because I constantly wasn’t getting the safety and assurance I needed. It’s about feeling stuck in a relationship that doesn’t feel secure to me because of how much I loved this person — and knowing that I didn’t want to leave.
"Beam Interlude" is actually a tiny idea I wrote about someone that is very special to me. I was taking space from this person but still felt an insane pull to them. It came from wondering if they felt the same thing. If I am thinking this many beautiful thoughts about them, I wonder if they would know? Thinking about my love for someone as a signal beaming from me to them and wondering if that is powerful enough to bring us back into each others' lives. I posted the idea on TikTok and later decided it was a perfect bridge for my EP. When I produced it with my friend Yakob, we kept the exact audio from the TikTok video and built the end from there.
"Drink It Up"
I wrote the first verse of "Drink It Up" a little over a year ago. I had the first half of the song for a while and didn’t get the outro/ second half until exactly a year later with my friend Jason Suwito. The song is about surrender and just taking the good, allowing love in my life and taking everything for what it is without letting fear or doubt in. It’s about a person who truly makes my life better and just being grateful for that.
I wrote the first verse lyrics to "Penny" randomly at a time when I was feeling completely lost. I was at a gas station and saw a penny on the ground. I noticed myself wanting to find a sign that I was doing okay in life through literally anything. When I came back to the idea a couple of weeks later, it felt like this was my plea for getting back to myself. "Help me clean my mind up" became the guiding light for my first EP. It's so special to me — a reminder that beautiful new beginnings can come from anything at any time.
"There You Are"
"'There You Are" is an extremely special song to me. It's about falling in love with someone you feel like you've known before. And in that process finding pieces of yourself you hadn't realized you were missing. The feeling of clarity around a new connection and my own identity. To me, this song is a postcard from a moment of pure peace in my life and trust in whatever my future looks like.
Photography: Jade Sadler