Claud’s music is here to usher you through queer love — and … – The Washington Post

In Claud’s song “Wish You Were Gay,” they sing: “I wish you were gay / So you could just hold me / Call me your babe / Instead of your homie.” The name of the song evokes humor. The content? Crushing loneliness and vulnerability. That breadth encapsulates Claud: smart, witty and always willing to go deep.

The 24-year-old nonbinary artist is committed to telling queer stories. “I feel like just being able to have a platform to put out my music and to just talk about the things I’m going through is enough for me and very fulfilling for me. I hope that it’s reaching people like me,” Claud explained in a recent Zoom interview. “There [are] a lot of breakup albums, and there [are] a lot of love songs. But I think when I see it coming from like my favorite artists, who I know are trans or queer, it just means so much more to me and I can just relate to it on a different level.”

Claud’s sound changed dramatically with their latest album, “Supermodels,” which was released in July. Their previous work incorporated more synth and felt more digitized. Now their songs feel stripped, allowing exposed emotions to be at the forefront of their music. “I used to write very plugged into my laptop and on [music production software] Logic. I used to write as I was producing the song, and they would come at the same time,” explained Claud. “This album was written more on acoustic instruments, like piano and acoustic guitar.”

Keep expecting Claud’s sound to change. The artist, who signed with Phoebe Bridgers’s label Saddest Factory Records in 2020, considers themself to be “a bit of a genre-bender,” who isn’t looking to stay confined within the bounds of a single style of music. The one strand that ties their music together is relatability to an audience that has been historically unrepresented.

Claud writes songs that are hyper-specific. A perfect example is “Tommy,” a techno ballad that laments pining after someone who is longing for another. Claud coos in the song: “You keep the lights down low, keepin’ your eyes closed / But it won’t change the feel of my body / When you say my name, it don’t hold the weight / Like it does when you talk about Tommy.” But behind that almost universal relatability of rejection lies an underbelly of gender dysphoria that is reflected far less often than love.

“Oftentimes when I think a song is too specific and nobody’s going to be able to relate to it, people relate to it the most,” said Claud. “It’s a really nice reminder that nothing can be too specific or too personal because people will understand it and apply it to themselves.”

Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $20-$40.

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