“There is nothing more intimate than giving everything that you are to somebody you love,” says singer-songwriter Andrea Clute. Her latest track, “Red Light,” zeroes in on her long-term relationship, simultaneously depicting emotional vulnerability, confidence, and the importance of sustained passion.
“I’ve been with the same person for a few years now. [When the song was written] we had been together for five years so the lyrics ‘even after five years, this is all I want dear’ literally means that no matter how much time passes, my love for this person is endless,” the Vancouver-based musician tells Audiofemme.
Growing up in the High School Musical-obsessed world of the late ’00s, it’s no surprise that Clute used music and performance as an outlet growing up. A self-confessed Belieber, the 23-year-old had her sights set on honing her craft, experimenting with atmospheric sounds and cinematic elements. “I’ve been learning how to write [songs] through trial and error and learning how to sing better by practicing every day and learning new techniques,” she says. “This is the only thing I ever want to do. Of course there are moments where I’m like, I don’t know if I can do this, this is not a stable path. But then I think, screw it! Just go for it and make the best of it.”
Through a combination of gaining more confidence with each single and the general increase in more time spent at home (courtesy of the pandemic), Clute has become more and more involved in the production process. “I was in a rush before, but this period has encouraged me to enjoy my time now,” Clute explains. “With my music, I’ve taken it one day at a time rather than thinking months in advance. I know COVID is stressful, and it has certainly taken its toll on me, but it has also made me appreciate life more and the process of making music is more fun now.”
Music runs strong within her family – her brother Chris Clute creates his own electronic pop, typified by tracks such as “Darkest Hour” and “Special To Me.” Naming her as one of his inspirations for 2020, the two share a supportive relationship which has led to a number of collaborations. “I was definitely inspired by Chris because he was already ahead of me in making music. I was always in awe as to how he came up with all those ideas,” Andrea Clute says. “When we do come together we always show each other the new songs that we made and share ideas. We have a couple songs together that we’ve written and I hope that we can write more together – it’s really interesting to see how we write differently and have different styles.”
Having a support base of like-minded friends, family, and collaborators has helped Clute push herself in more musical ways than she ever thought possible. Canadian production duo Sound of Kalima worked with Clute on “Red Light,” and she says her encounter with them helped demystify music production. “I’ve had more input on beats and I just feel more involved and more connected to the music that we’re making,” she says.
This connection shows in the final product – “Red Light” is markedly different from the singer’s past work. Previously released racks such as “Haunted” and “Xoxo” have a more upbeat pop feel, demonstrating the ways Clute experiments with her expression. With “Red Light,” she manipulates space, letting the lyrics breathe with each chord as the melody washes over the listener. Clute’s latest single opens the door to a new side of her personality, a harbinger of continued evolution as Clute enters into the alt-R&B realm.
“Red Light” begins with a melodic introduction that conveys an off-kilter feel before a sensual beat comes in – the effect is similar to waking up from a dream – and Clute begins to narrate intimate scenes from her relationship. Airy flutes, angelic harp, and sinewy guitar samples drift in and out of the production, cementing the track’s meditative, dreamy feeling.
Though “Red Light” can be taken as a quintessential slow jam, with Clute consumed by the emotions she’s experiencing and the vulnerability that loss of control brings, she embeds dual meaning into the lyrics, using physical descriptions to convey emotional feelings and thought processes. “The lyrics sound pretty physical, but the imagery is more spiritual,” Clute points out. “When I say ‘Imma take it all off for ya’ it can mean I’m going to take off my clothes, but in my head it stands for me wanting to be my true self. Everything has a deeper meaning in this song.”
By the close of “Red Light,” Clute repeats the line “I just wanna love you,” conveying a poignant, visceral yearning. The soul connection Clute seeks may be expressed by the physicality between she and her partner, but their bond seemingly goes much deeper, making “Red Light” a compelling study of human desire in the emerging singer’s catalogue.
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