Chloe Star Releases New Single “Wasted Youth,” Shining A Punk-Infused Light on Her Past

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Photo Credit: Andrew Donovan Valdivia

Rising alt-pop icon Chloe Star has released yet another powerful single that expresses her unapologetic vulnerability and rebellious healing. Incorporating stronger pop punk elements into this new track, her latest single “Wasted Youth” serves as an electrifying sneak peek at the rock and roll style of Star’s upcoming EP. Along with it’s highly impactful sound, “Wasted Youth” also carries with it a profound story. Written about Star’s struggles with addiction as well as the three months she spent at a youth wilderness program as a teenager, “Wasted Youth” shines light on the negative impact of these programs as well as the obstacles that Star overcame during her teenage years. Through cathartic vocals and in-your-face musicality, Star continues to create music that conveys her unique artistic expression. “Wasted Youth” portrays Star opening up in a way that listeners have yet to see, and through these new depths Star continues to both inspire and excite listeners. Star recently sat down with Melodic Mag to talk about the story behind “Wasted Youth” as well as the recent music video to her single “Happy Place.”

Thank you so much for taking the time! How has the year been for you so far?
So far, the year has been so busy. Things have just been great. I’m working on this EP, I had a show last month, I’m dropping a single next week and a music video for my song “Happy Place.” There’s just a lot going on and I’m having so much fun with all of it. 

That’s awesome! “Happy Place” is the end to this trilogy of singles that you had, along with “Fool” and “Found My Peace”. The music videos all tie in together and tell a story. With this new music video, what do you hope to convey?
For the “Happy Place” music video it’s the closing chapter of the other two music videos. It carries on with the idea of the pool scene that happened in the other two videos. It shows the hard shit that I went through being in these relationships, but then it shows how I have found my happy place and how I’ve gone through all these different situations throughout the one main situation that I was in. It shows how I handled everything and that I’m finally in my happy place. I feel like we did get that message across, especially in the video, which I’m really excited about. 

Did you have one solid idea for all the music videos, or did you think of them one at a time? How was that planned out in terms of the story?
When we were doing the first music video, it wasn’t all planned out. When we had the meeting for “Fool” and we shot it, somebody was like, ‘Yo, we should actually turn this into a three-piece movie.” It all just played out the way it was supposed to, and everything just happened organically. 

“Wasted Youth,” the new single coming out, has a different sound compared to your previous trilogy of singles; it’s definitely more rock and roll. What inspired that change in sound?
Recently, I feel like I’ve been in an experimental place with my sound. I’ve also just accepted that as human beings, we’re going to constantly evolve and grow, so I feel like allowing my music to do that as well aligns with me as a creative person. I don’t want to be stuck in a box when it comes to my sound. While writing “Wasted Youth,” I had said I wanted heavy live drums and guitars. Those are the two key instruments that I just want going throughout the entire song. Then one thing just led to another. I feel like if I were to ask myself what my sound is, it would be that. If I didn’t allow that push for myself, then I feel like I wouldn’t have fully discovered this new area of me, sonically. 

You had said in the past that the upcoming project was going to be very punk sounding with a lot of those heavy guitar and drum influences. Is that still the plan for the upcoming project?
It definitely is. There are a few songs that are super heavy, punk, rock and roll vibes and then there’s a more chill one. I don’t want to talk too much about it, but musically I’ve just never felt more like myself. There are heavy drums, heavy guitar and a lot of aggressive vocal moments too. 

I’m very excited to see what you come out with in that sense. Who are some punk or rock artists that influence you when it comes to your own punk rock sound?
In today’s music, YUNGBLUD is a huge inspiration. I love how he’s very out there and doesn’t give a fuck when it comes to his writing and his sound. Vocally, he has a lot of character in his performance which I love Machine Gun Kelly too. His music is just amazing. One night in the studio, we were even talking about The Cure and how they write slow songs. A punk ballad is so different in comparison to a ballad on a piano, you know? I really like that crossover or balance of what you can do when you are making pop punk music. We were talking about Incubus, too, and how Incubus and The Cure both write music. I would say that’s kind of the vibe I’m on right now. And The Kooks, too.

You’ve said “Wasted Youth” is about your time spent at a youth wilderness program for three months when you were 16. What ultimately made you decide to write a song about this?
I have been wanting to write a song about that experience forever. It was just never the right time. And I don’t think I was fully ready to have this open conversation with people on such a level. I feel like with where I’m at in my life right now, the timing has just never been better, and I think it needs to be talked about. So far, with the past month or so of me talking about it, I’ve come across so many other people that have had and gone through the same experience. It’s great to get connected and hear other people’s stories with their experience going through one of these programs. 

You’ve gotten to connect with fans on social media through your ‘wasted youth confessions,’ where you talk more about this experience and struggles you’ve faced in your youth. What pushed you to open yourself up in that sense?
I think people would understand the song a lot more by fully diving into the experience. Right now I’m given the opportunity to share that journey that I was on, and I think being open and vulnerable is so important. Especially with being a creative person and having a body of work that is that vulnerable. I want to follow it up with what actually happened and share that and be as honest as possible. Even in those videos I’m blatantly saying I was doing cocaine at 15, you know? I’m not really holding anything back, and I’ve gotten a pretty good response from people. People are mailing me letters about their life, and I think it’s a beautiful thing. Other people are now getting open and vulnerable with what they went through, and I think it’s just so cool to experience. 

Did you expect that kind of reaction from fans?
I did not. I was nervous to even put it out there, really. I didn’t want people to think that I was playing the victim, because that’s never been the case. I actually had a lot of people message me when I was going live on TikTok talking about it, saying ‘I’m so sorry that happened to you’ and I felt like I kept having to say, ‘Yo, there’s no need for remorse.’ I’m not looking for someone to tell me what a horrible thing it was that I went through. That whole experience shaped me and put me where I am today. Now I can say I’m grateful that all of that happened. But I was thinking the song could go a few different ways, especially with my family. This isn’t just to fans; my family is seeing this and even that was a little nerve-wracking because that was a traumatic experience for my family as well.

I’m glad you mentioned that aspect. It’s like when people write a song about a breakup and it’s about a specific person who might listen to it. It’s one thing to release a song to fans, but to release a song talking about your struggles that your family might see, I imagine that’s a whole other level of terrifying.
Yeah, definitely. It’s also a little awkward. I had posted this TikTok maybe a month ago or so of me sharing my experience at the wilderness program and my mom had texted me and said everyone thought she was a bad person. I was like, ‘Don’t be reading the comments, mom. I know the truth here. I’m just explaining the situation.’ I had to go back on TikTok and make another video and explain that my mom’s not the bad person here. If it weren’t for my mom, I’d be dead. My mom did everything that she could to try and save her daughter’s life. So there’s been moments like that where I have to explain to my mom that we know the truth of what went on and I’m going to continue to carry this message and carry the strength that she had. Sometimes it’s going to be misunderstood by people and that’s where I’m going to come in and say ‘Nope, y’all are wrong.’ 

That’s good you had that support and had someone like your mom who had your back through that whole experience. Going off of that, I know you’ve talked about how your childhood was split between LA and your reservation in San Bernardino and that music was always something that was encouraged in your culture. As you were going through these struggles in your younger teen years, what did music and your community provide for you during that time?
Music provided understanding. I felt heard. I felt like if I listened to a song, it brought me back to life and it gave me some sort of purpose. Being Native American, we’re very big on storytelling through music. I feel like I’ve always been pulled towards songs that are more storytelling rather than random songs that are just being written about nothing. We write songs so people can relate and connect. I feel less alone, everyone else feels less alone and we all feel understood. That was kind of the experience I was having when I was going through those times. Music just made me feel like a part of something. 

When you were writing “Wasted Youth,” what was on your mind?
When I was writing the song, I was definitely thinking about the age of 16 and everything that went on that year for me. I also had to explain to everyone that was in the room what had happened, so it definitely put me back into that place. That was a very emotional time for me. Obviously I’m in such a different place now, but damn I went through it. I was able to reflect, and I don’t do much reflecting about that time just because it is such a sensitive moment. It was definitely emotional, and even with the release and all I’ve been doing with the release, it’s like I’m constantly thinking about that experience.

What advice do you have for people – perhaps even younger listeners – who have gone through the same things you have?
Be as open, honest and vulnerable as you’re capable of being, because you could really impact somebody else just by sharing your experience. You don’t know who you could be helping. Take advantage of your pain. I try to be optimistic when things get hard. I always say that once I’m through the hard part, it’s going to be great. So really own your faults and just share it with as many people as possible, especially with these programs. There’s some programs out there that that need to be shut down, and if that’s the case I speak up about it. Because I’m grateful that I made it out of that program, but there’s also a lot of kids that didn’t. It needs to be talked about and not shoved under the rug. 

What do you hope people can gain from “Wasted Youth”?
I hope people take from the song that even if you feel like you’ve wasted your youth, there’s still so much more life to live. Another reason that I felt the need to write something like this was because I felt like I’ve missed so much of my childhood. I didn’t go to prom. I didn’t go to a normal high school. I didn’t get a normal high school experience with all these little things that now, as an adult, feel so important. My sister’s five years younger than me, and I felt like I got to live my life vicariously through her experience through high school and college. But I hope people can realize that they don’t have to dwell on things they think were wasted or missed out on. I get the opportunity to live today, and if all those things didn’t happen when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t be here even getting to experience this. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk today Chloe!
Of course, dude!

Keep up with Chloe Star: Instagram // TikTok // Spotify // YouTube

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