If there’s one certainty in Chlöe Bailey’s life these days, it’s that the 24-year-old is perpetually booked and blessedly busy. Having solidified her bona fide solo artist status with the 2021 release of her chart-topping first single “Have Mercy,” she’s now guest starring in the show Swarm, just released her deeply personal debut solo album In Pieces, has a starring role in the upcoming movie Praise This, and is about to kick off a solo headline tour. As Cosmopolitan’s first-ever digital cover star, Chlöe is the most vulnerable she’s ever been, opening up about sharing some of the most delicate pieces of herself, navigating the spotlight for the first time without the security blanket of her best friend and baby sister, finding time for self-care and more.
On the rawness and vulnerability to the tracks on her new album, In Pieces: “Those moments where I’ve been scared to articulate what I feel inside, I put it into the music. Now people get to hear my innermost thoughts within these songs, which are all the moments where I’ve been scared to speak up or explain how I feel. There were moments I was heartbroken, not only through romantic relationships but friendships, family, and people I thought I could trust. In Pieces is about how we put ourselves back together after feeling like the world breaks you down. It’s therapeutic knowing that people who inspired some of these songs will hear them. It gives me my power back.
On making music and the liberating power of expressing herself: “I make music for people who are great at acting like everything’s okay when it’s not, and they’re afraid to tell somebody. I’m used to people-pleasing, putting my feelings on the back burner, and being the bigger person. Now I’m learning to just be. It’s been freeing. I’ve grown and evolved so much the past three years, which were the hardest of my life. I had to experience those hard moments so I could create this body of work.”
On how she and sister Halle continue to support each other: “She shows up for me in every way. We’re constantly on FaceTime, texting, and sending each other funny memes to lift each other up in this lifestyle and this world that can sometimes feel suffocating. I’m proud of us—what we’re doing together and separately. We’re still attached at the hip, but I think neither of us really knew who the other was without the other one.”
On establishing herself outside of the partnership with Halle: “I’ve had to learn who I am individually. We both had separation anxiety when she traveled to London to film The Little Mermaid. It was really scary for both of us because she’s my other half. Halle always says that I play a mother role. It’s funny, when we look at baby pictures, even though I was just 2 years old, I was the one feeding her with her bottle, rocking her in her chair, burping her—as young as I was. Even up until now, she’s like my little baby.”
On what it has been like to transition from child star to a full-grown woman while in the spotlight: “Because it’s all I’ve known, the transition has felt like every other girl my age and how they’ve grown up. I can’t be selfish and say, ‘Oh, but mine’s under a microscope’—that’s the case for every young Black woman. All of us have to deal with growing up under a microscope and being ridiculed no matter what we do. I don’t single myself out. It just seems like it’s happening a lot to me because I’m on a public forum as a Black woman. So it doesn’t feel different. All of us are going through this.”
On the type of woman she wants to be: “Glitz and glam isn’t everything. I want my soul to be happy too. I’m molding myself to be like my godmom and Halle. My godmom’s heart is really pure, and she’s so selfless, loving, and smart.”
On whether she’s taken a moment to relish in all her success: “I’m trying every day to take it all in because I know I’ll never get this moment again.”
[Photo Credit: Marcus Cooper for Cosmopolitan]
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