Anxiety, Innocence, and Vulnerability: An Interview with Chloe Moriondo

Chloe Moriondo © Kris Herrmann
Rising singer/songwriter Chloe Moriondo talks to us about the tools she uses to overcome anxiety, the ins and outs of her new songs “Kindergarten” and “Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb”, and the inspirations driving her forward this year.
“Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb” – Chloe Moriondo




Music is definitely an escape for me. I’ve always turned to music as something to drown out everything else.

Authenticity and vulnerability are second nature to Chloe Moriondo. The seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter from Detroit burst onto the music scene in 2018 with her debut album Rabbit Hearted., attracting millions of fans with her personal, emotional lyrics and her acoustic, sweet ukulele-centered sound. Moriondo’s recent signing to major label affiliate Public Consumption (Elektra Music Group / Warner Music Group) promises to help bring her music to millions more listeners this year, and her first two singles of 2020 are proof that her buzz has nowhere to go but up: The Robin Skinner (Cavetown)-produced “Kindergarten” and the electrifying, heavier “Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb” find Chloe Moriondo’s artistry growing at an exponential pace as she embraces her full range of emotion alongside an increasingly ambitious, exciting sonic spectrum.

Kindergarten - Chloe Moriondo

Kindergarten – Chloe Moriondo

“I’ve always been a pretty passionate person, and I’ve consistently cared about music, art, and the environment my whole life, but I think the past few years of being exposed to so many new things and going through so many changes have made me care about a lot more,” Moriondo says, speaking to Atwood Magazine. “It’s usually really easy for me to write honestly because I normally do it alone! I sit in my bed and play on whatever instrument I want to write on and strum and hum until something sticks in me. Then I’m usually able to connect that sound and melody to a feeling, and then to lyrics.”

Though released just a month apart, “Kindergarten” and “Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb” (or “GASO” for short) could not sound more different from one another. What binds them together is Moriondo’s gorgeous raw vocals and her undeniable sincerity: She buries a little part of her soul in every song she writes, making track after track a moving and meaningful listening experience.



On “Kindergarten,” we are brought back to the innocent world of childhood crushes. Produced by Robiin Skinner (AKA Cavetown), the acoustic track showcases Moriondo’s stunning ability to transform the pure and simple into the one-of-a-kind.

“I wanted to make something to hum when you just cannot forget about someone,” Moriondo explains. Armed with her signature ukulele, the artist weaves an organic tale of like liking someone, taking her audience on a nostalgic trip down memory lane full of familiar scholastic scenes:

Would you like to share your lunch with me?
I’d surely be delighted to be
the one you give the last Oreo to

If that’s alright with you
Do you wanna sit next to me on the bus home?
I told my mom not to pick me up today
I hope that that’s okay
‘Cause this kindergarten crush
has got my stomach all twisted

You’re sweeter than sugar, lover I’m addicted
My brain is doing bunny loops, I’m a disaster
Everything you do just makes my heart beat faster

“I love this song’s innocence and unapologetic embrace of vulnerability. It’s like a diary,” Moriondo shares.




Meanwhile, the artist’s follow-up is a sign of tremendous sonic development from an adventurous teenage spirit. “Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb” tackles the difficult subject of mental illness with the help of engaging confessional lyrics and Moriondo’s first swing at the electric guitar.

“I wasn’t super interested in incorporating electric into my music until I started to grow after Rabbit Hearted.,” Moriondo explains. “I definitely want to keep working more with electric guitar in my music and branch off of solely ukulele, because it was really fun for me!” Her heaviest work yet (interestingly contrasted with the levity of “Kindergarten”), “GASO” is an incredibly deep dive into the artist’s own struggles with anxiety and depression; against a feverish overdriven backdrop, the artist’s vocals ring out full of feeling:

All of the time I’m thinking ’bout things too much
And then I end up out of touch,
and feel a lot less real than before

I speak a lot of words but tend to say a lot less
I’m just a fucking mess and I will shut my bedroom door
And as I iron out my brain to speak to ice cream stains
I’ll stare at the ceiling stars and ponder why life’s so hard
Locking the door, I will talk to my floor, and I’ll say
Oh, my friend, I’m not sure what to do
To get out of this goo, that I absorb
How to stop myself? Hell, if I know
As above, so below, I’m my own damn spirit orb




At just seventeen, Chloe Moriondo stands out for her unparalleled ability to convey intimate emotions through catchy, charming music.

Atwood Magazine spoke to the rising artist about the tools she uses to overcome anxiety, the ins and outs of her new songs, and the inspirations driving her forward this year.

I think I would just remind anyone who’s struggling to be patient with yourself and learn what is helpful for you and what isn’t. Mindfulness is definitely important, as cheesy as it sounds!

Chloe Moriondo © Kris Herrmann

Chloe Moriondo © Kris Herrmann



 A CONVERSATION WITH CHLOE MORIONDO

Atwood Magazine: Hey Chloe, thank you so much for your time! For starters, how do you feel you've grown as an artist since you released Rabbit Hearted?

Chloe Moriondo: Of course, thank you! I feel like I’ve matured a lot as an artist and as a person since Rabbit Hearted. I made that album when I was 15, so I definitely was going through a lot of changes already just because of my age and where my life was at that time. Things were a little simpler and softer for me when I made Rabbit Hearted, I think, and now I think I’ve branched out a bit more.

Two years out, what is your relationship like with the songs off your debut album? Has it changed over time?

Moriondo: Definitely! I loved making Rabbit Hearted and the album is really near and dear to my heart, but I also made it two years ago, which I guess is a big amount of time for change when you’re a teenager. Listening to it for me is a reminder of how little I knew about making music then but also a reminder of how far I’ve come since then and how much more I want to grow and create. It inspires me and also kind of makes me cringe.

Youre now seventeen: What are the things you care about today, that you perhaps didnt care or even think about 2-3 years ago? What are your challenges now?

Moriondo: I’ve always been a pretty passionate person, and I’ve consistently cared about music, art, and the environment my whole life, but I think the past few years of being exposed to so many new things and going through so many changes have made me care about a lot more which in turn makes my challenges a lot broader. I’m a lot more educated in general now than I was when I was 15, so though I don’t really care about a lot of the petty stuff I’d cry about in my songs anymore, I also have a lot bigger stuff to cry about now!



An intimate and genuine outpouring of honesty, Kindergartenis a powerful comeback and a stunning major label introduction! What inspired this song?

Moriondo: Thank you! When I wrote the song I definitely wanted a story to accompany it, and I didn’t just want it to be a normal kid crush love song. I wanted to make something to hum when you just cannot forget about someone. When I brought it to my friend Robin Skinner/Cavetown who produced it, we created a slow ballad-type vibe and put a beat on it that really tied it together.

What was it about a school kid crush” song that appealed to you – ie, how does this song move you especially?

Moriondo: I love this song’s innocence and unapologetic embrace of vulnerability. It’s like a diary.

What was the experience of writing it, for you? How did you get yourself into that frame of mind?

Moriondo: It’s usually really easy for me to write honestly because I normally do it alone! I sit in my bed and play on whatever instrument I want to write on and strum and hum until something sticks in me. Then I’m usually able to connect that sound and melody to a feeling, and then to lyrics. This one definitely felt like a diary entry from when I was little and flowed out of me really naturally.



This brings us to Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb,” which is your first offering with electric guitar. I guess the obvious question is, when did you pick up the electric guitar and what is it about this song that warranted the electric guitar over the uke? Part of me feels like this song needed the guitar just to help you let it all out,” so to speak – like, you needed that energy to overhaul the emotion pent up inside.

Moriondo: I’ve always had a few electric guitars at home since my brothers liked to play when they were in high school, but I wasn’t super interested in incorporating electric into my music until I started to grow after Rabbit Hearted. Once the idea was in my head, I couldn’t get it out, so I decided to write a song for mushrooms and toads to mosh to. I definitely want to keep working more with electric guitar in my music and branch off of solely ukulele because it was really fun for me!



Both GASO” and Kindergarten” grow bigger sonically over time until they take seem to take up the whole room. What was the experience like of creating such expansive music, for you? Does that change the game” as far as your own musical prospects and possibilities are concerned?

Moriondo: It was really overwhelming in a positive way to hear my own music sound that full at first. I’ve always been such a sucker for a song that you can close your eyes and just go somewhere else to, and when I first felt that way about Kindergarten and then GASO it made me really happy. I want to keep making more music that could take up rooms.

I speak a lot of words, but tend to say a lot less; Im just a fucking mess, and I will shut my bedroom door,” you sing in the first verse. Id love for you to talk more about the feelings of restlessness and angst we feel in this song; youve mentioned how its about dealing with mental illness in high school, and the ways you cope. What has your personal experience been like, if you dont mind me asking?

Moriondo: I’ve dealt with mental illness from elementary school through middle school, and it’s always been pretty normal for me. When middle school and high school came around though, things got a little more complicated and I started isolating myself a lot more because talking to people got harder. I felt like when I got anxious or wanted to impress people I’d just babble whatever the hell was on my mind when really I didn’t feel the need to say anything at all. Being in my bedroom has always been my comfort place, where I don’t need to talk.

Being in my bedroom has always been my comfort place, where I don’t need to talk.

Chloe Moriondo © Kris Herrmann

Chloe Moriondo © Kris Herrmann



In what ways is music an escape for you?

Moriondo: Music is definitely an escape for me. I’ve always turned to music as something to drown out everything else, which is common I think for a lot of artists and people who are passionate about it. I listen to music whenever I can. Going to a public high school that’s relatively large also is pretty overstimulating to me at times, so it helps to be able to put headphones on and not have to hear the sound of grades 10-12!

Can you also speak directly to the ways in which you cope? What are the tools youve found to help you get through the day?

Moriondo: I mentioned before that I wear headphones at school, and I pretty much wear them everywhere else too since I like to be able to noise cancel whenever I need to. I also go to therapy and have been for years, which I’m lucky to be able to continue to benefit from even now. Another way for me to quickly feel okay is to hang out with my dog Sammy or any animal I can pet and be close to.

Most of the time I’m scooping mud and digging graves
In the salt water caves and overgrown hospitals, the like
Stumble on the way to tell the frogs
and toadstools about how I hate this body

And they’ll say, oh they’ll say
We would like to help you,
but it seems your living in dreams, come back to reality

I’ll cry wait and I will wake up late again
And in the morning once more, I will speak to the floor and I’ll say
Oh, my friend, I’m not sure what to do
To get out of this goo, that I absorb
How to stop myself? Hell, if I know
As above so below, I’m my own damn spirit orb
As above so below, I’m my own damn spirit orb
Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb - Chloe Moriondo

Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb – Chloe Moriondo



Do you have any message for those of us who may be struggling with mental health dealings of our own?

Moriondo: I think I would just remind anyone who’s struggling to be patient with yourself and learn what is helpful for you and what isn’t. Mindfulness is definitely important, as cheesy as it sounds!

How do you feel you pushed yourself in new ways while making your most recent music? What does it show that you perhaps hadn’t shown in the past?

Moriondo: I’ve definitely been experimenting with my sound in my most recent music, especially including different instruments and working with different producers. I’m really used to working alone and working very non-technically, if that makes any sense, so there’s a lot for me to learn and experience. It’s a big world and I’m really excited to explore it.

Youre heading on a ton of exciting tours this year, from your Cavetown support now to Girl in Red later in 2020 and surely more to come. What is the touring experience like for you, and what are your relationships like with these artists youre touring with?

Moriondo: Touring still feels really new to me since I’m still just almost finished with my senior year of high school and I’m really used to living with my family in suburban Michigan. It’s definitely a weird change, but it’s really exciting and feels a lot less scary when I get to tour with amazing artists who are also close friends like Cavetown. I love being able to play and see actual people really sing my songs, and it gets me so soft and happy. I feel like a weepy baby for at least a minute after every show.



Lastly, who are you listening to right now, that youd recommend to our readers?

Moriondo: Hayley Williams, Phoebe Bridgers, and Destroy Boys are super cool and I’ve been listening to them a lot recently!

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Ghost Adventure Spirit Orb - Chloe Moriondo

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com