Once In A Generation Talent CHINCHILLA

It’s funny the way life works, isn’t it? Once you stop caring about what people think, you will feel happier, more content, and more inspired without any unnecessary outside noise. Some artistry can’t be trapped in the music industry’s validation and ever-changing trends. London-based record-breaking artist CHINCHILLA stepped away from corporation standards and chose the lane of unapologetic, authentic individualism. 

Last year, after she split with her record label and management, CHINCHILLA began to flourish into a once-in-a-generation vocal powerhouse. She is tapping into icon status with her undeniable talent and DIY-inspired fashion sense. 

CHINCHILLA’s first independent release, ‘Little Girl Gone,’ catapulted to the top of the US Billboard charts, and she became the first female soloist in the Billboard Emerging Artists chart’s six-year history to debut at No. 1. ‘Little Girl Gone’ is a liberating anthem, grunge, scream-you- lungs-out firecracker. The gripping chorus sings as follows:

“Say that again, I didn’t quite hear ya

Messed with the wrong bitch in the wrong era”

Initially inspired by the Burlesque movie soundtrack, CHINCHILLA has grown into a confident artist with a life-altering fire inside of her, lighting up our personal life soundtracks. 

Ahead of her forthcoming Secret Garden party performance on the 20th-23rd of July, CHINCHILLA speaks to Noctis about ‘finding creativity through aesthetic empowering.’ She also gives us crucial ingredients for the original CHINCHILLA recipe and explains how Beyonce and Nicki Minaj christened her. 

How is your day-to-day life looking like these days?

Pretty hectic, over the last few months my world has totally flipped upside down… at the moment I’m working on the next few upcoming releases, as well as trying to balance everything else that’s come off the back of my most recent single!

You have an incredible, once in a generation voice. Do you remember when you discovered it?

Daaayyuum, thank you so much! When the Burlesque movie came out that was a pretty pivotal moment vocally for me. I listened to the soundtrack back to back on one holiday, and by the time I was home, it was like my balls had dropped! I guess I just matured vocally, and it lit a fire in me.

How did you come up with your stage name?

It’s in a Beyonce lyric and Beyonce is a huge inspiration to me… ‘my texture is the best fur, chinchilla’. I was then choosing between a few names when a Nicki Minaj song came on the radio where she said it too- so between Nicki and Beyonce they pretty much christened me.

In 2019, you released your debut single ‘Elements.’ Could you navigate us through your journey until today? 

It feels like it’s been a long old road… but I guess it hasn’t been all that long. I split with my record label and management last year and chose to go it independently. I think I reached a point last year where I just stopped wanting/needing the music industry’s approval, and it massively worked in my favour!

Could you pin point some obstacles that you had to overcome to get where you are today?

Last year was a really rough one for me. It was horrible. People always say ‘everything happens for a reason’ but it’s difficult to see that when you’re in the thick of it. I feel like I really had to go through everything last year to make me who I am now, and I feel like I’m growing and finding myself more than ever before now.

On the other side, what were some milestones and pinch-me-moments? 

Supporting Sting on tour was massive for me, a really surreal moment, I remember FaceTiming my mum afterwards and she said my pupils were enormous – I was so full of adrenaline. Also, this whole couple of months has just been completely mind-blowing, I keep thinking I’m asleep and someone’s about to wake me up. Still can’t believe it.

Congratulations on the well deserved success of your mega-hit, ‘Little Girl Gone,’ could you talk us through the inspiration behind this track?

I’d been people pleasing and biting my tongue for too long and I’d just had enough… sometimes you really just need to vent and this song was that amplified. It’s no wonder that so many women everywhere resonate with the message.

What were the recording sessions like? Did you have any idea then the song has the power to blow up as much as it did?

The song came about over the course of a few writing sessions, I knew I loved it and didn’t want to rush it and actually, the chorus that’s there now was a last-minute addition to the song. As soon as it was finished I knew the song was special… You can never predict how well a song will do, but I just loved it and wanted it to do well so much. It was my first ever fully independent release too, so my expectations were nowhere near this. 

How was the shooting of the music video? 

It was chaotic but a lot of fun. I funded the whole video myself and worked with a team of such passionate people who were willing to work for a low fee, and I think that vibe really creates such an amazing atmosphere in the room. Everyone was there for fun or because they believe in my project etc, it just felt good, you know?

How did the collaboration with Ron on ‘Chalk Outlines’ come about?

Me and Ren have known each other for a while, we used to be on the same management and grew a real bond. He’s my musical sibling. I think we’re different but really complement each other in music and performance, and people seem to really resonate with that. 

With each performance, each appearance, you’re becoming more and more of a style icon. How would you describe your style and where do you get your inspiration from?

What an iconic thing to say… I think I just get excited by textures and colours – I lie in bed thinking about outfit pairings and colour coordination, I just love getting creative with it. The more unexpected the better. And I could imagine things that I couldn’t find for sale anywhere, and I couldn’t afford to have them made… so I just started making my own stuff. Hats, coats, etc- glue guns became my best friend. I get my inspiration from all sorts – the mad hatter, the artful dodger, steampunk, Willy Wonka, Effy from The Hunger Games, Helena Bonham Carter, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Rihanna… I love characters and I love people doing something different, and I just love how I feel when I’m dressed up. I find creativity through aesthetic empowering. 

Scrolling through your Instagram, you have worn a number of magnificent hats. Would you say that is the cherry on top of a signature CHINCHILLA look?

I would definitely say that yes, I have a hat-head what can I say… Give me a hat, platform boots, long nails, and bulky silver jewellery, and I’m good to go. The Chinchilla recipe. 

You’re performing at this year’s Secret Garden Party Festival, can you tease what fans can expect?

HIGH energy always, and full band arrangements… and big vocal moments… I can’t wait to get there. 

What do you have planned for the rest of the year? 

I have a lot planned, but I’m keeping those cards close to my chest for now… expect lots of new music though!

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Words: Karolina Kramplova