Exploring CHINCHILLA’s journey: From ‘Little Girl Gone’ to ‘Cut You Off’, DDW sits down with the UK’s fierce musical trailblazer.
With a voice that commands attention and lyrics that demand action, CHINCHILLA‘s latest release ‘Cut You Off’ is more than a song – it’s a revolution. The trailblazing artist, who you might know from the likes of “Little Girl Gone“, which incited a TikTok trend of girls showing their “then and now” photos, is not just singing; CHINCHILLA is igniting a fire of empowerment and self-liberation. And we’re here for it.
CHINCHILLA’s bold fusion of raw lyricism and DIY ethos has struck a chord with listeners worldwide, and her approach is refreshingly disruptive. It’s not just her sound that’s turning heads; her fashion sense, an eclectic cocktail of 1970s glam and contemporary audacity, channels icons like Prince and Helena Bonham Carter, making her a visual feast as well.
With ‘Little Girl Gone’ already a battle cry for female empowerment and ‘Cut You Off’ set to follow suit, CHINCHILLA is sculpting a movement. As she gears up to release more soul-stirring tracks, we sit down with the UK’s chart-topping trailblazer to delve into her world of musical rebellion and stylistic boldness.
Tell us about your musical journey and how you got started in the music industry. What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
I always loved huge female voices – they were big role models for me, Janis Joplin, Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé… I loved them. I used to be terrified of performing and really shy… but I was in a band for a while and had a tiny amp and in band practice, the rest of the band would shout at me over the music ‘SING LOUDER’, and I guess I had to learn to sing louder! I just love music, it saves me and it carries me.
What’s the story behind your stage name, CHINCHILLA? How did you come up with it, and what does it mean to you?
It’s in a Beyonce song ‘my texture is the best fur, chinchilla’… and I just always loved the sound of it- then one day I was in the back of a taxi choosing between names and a Nicki Minaj song came on at that very moment which she said ‘chinchilla’ in, it was decided for me by two iconic women I’m completely in awe of.
You mentioned your love for fashion and your unique style. How do you integrate your fashion choices into your music and performances, and what do they represent to you as an artist?
I think with my choice of clothes when I perform, I wear things that quite literally extend my presence. Big shoulders, long talon nails, big hats, platform heels, big silver jewellery… it makes me take up space and makes me feel empowered. I just love shapes and silhouettes and textures. I love mixing styles and being creative with that.
Your previous release, ‘Little Girl Gone,’ received massive recognition and became an anthem for female empowerment. How did it feel to have such a strong impact with that song, and did it influence the creation of ‘Cut You Off’?
‘Little Girl Gone’ changed my life in a way that I will never ever forget. It was so poignant. It made me feel so connected to women and although ‘Cut You Off’ was already mainly written, it made me feel sure that it was the right follow up. I think I feel a lot more responsibility to make music that empowers and supports women, in a nice way. I just love women.
The concept of ‘cutting people off’ is something many people can relate to, yet it’s not always an easy decision. Can you talk about the mental struggle and the journey that led to the creation of ‘Cut You Off’?
I think the reason I wanted to write this song was because I’d actually always been against the idea of cutting people out of your lives, until I understood it. I think the phrase is thrown around quite a lot but some people truly don’t bring positivity to your life, and in fact, actively bring consistent negativity to your life. And we only have one life. I guess I wanted to create a song that empowers and liberates the concept of not having to waste your life putting up with that. It was a tricky song to balance lyrically, I wanted to make sure each lyric was intentional and something that I truly agreed with and hadn’t just added for the sake of a rhyme!
Could you share some insights into your songwriting process? How do you approach turning personal experiences and emotions into lyrics and melodies for CHINCHILLA?
I think the more emotional I am about an experience, the easier lyrics and melodies pour out of me. It has to come out that way… Honestly that’s the best way I can describe it, it’s such an emotional outlet. I know a lot people say it’s therapy, but it’s so true. Music is total magic. I think I sometimes find it easier to work alone or with one other person, because it can be so personal… some writers don’t mind sharing with a room full of people they just met, but honestly I struggle with that. So I think a lot of writing is to do with feeling safe too.
Can you tell us about the experience of topping Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart and becoming the first UK female soloist to achieve this feat with ‘Little Girl Gone’?
I really did thaaaat! Independently!! I really am amazed and mind-blown.
How do you think TikTok is changing and will change the music industry? Is it for the better?
TikTok takes out the middle man of the music industry and at its best allows independent artists to reach masses of people that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I love it for that. Ngl it can definitely play with your head when a song doesn’t do as well on the app but it can be life changing at its best!
CHINCHILLA, your music has garnered a significant following, with nearly 2 million monthly Spotify listeners. How do you plan to engage with your fans and continue to connect with your audience?
I’m just gunna release more and more music and try my absolute hardest to release only quality stuff. It makes me insane how much I obsess over the details of things, and probably drives the people I work with crazy too… but I just always want to make sure everything is perfect… subjectively … to me….. and that’s the best I can do! I want to get more and more inventive in my music and videos and outfits, so I can promise you that.
Outside of your music career as CHINCHILLA, what are some of your other interests and hobbies that help you find balance and inspiration in your life?
I just got a Nintendo switch and I am fully obsessed with animal crossing… does it provide balance and inspiration? Probably not, but it’s a good time in there.
Your music has resonated with a global audience. Can you share any memorable moments or interactions with fans that have had a significant impact on you?
The comment section on my music video makes me tearful. It’s full of the most amazing strongest women. Endless heartbreaking stories, but the comments are all together, like it makes them all stronger because they’re standing together. That’s been the craziest most amazing and simultaneously heart-wrenching thing to witness.
What do you consider to be the proudest or most defining moment in your music career thus far, and why?
I think finally going totally independent and reshaping my life. I split with my management and label and released my first song entirely independently which was ‘Little Girl Gone’, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m really proud of that resilience. I can’t pin that success on anyone else really – that was really me! *wells up*
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on your journey as CHINCHILLA, and how has it impacted your approach to your craft?
To say NO more and just back yourself. It will work out. – that’s something that’s totally useless to hear though unless you’re looking back on something that did work out saying ‘well of course it was going to all work out!’ … I guess I’m still learning huh?
What would you not like to Die Wondering About?
I’ve thought about this for ages and I don’t know, I guess I just want to be around people that I love and animals. And I want to make sure I tell those people that I love them all the time.