From embracing newfound internet virality during the COVID-19 pandemic to headlining tours and earning a VMA for “Best Breakthrough Song,” alternative-pop sweetheart Claire Rosinkranz is taking it all in stride.
Stream: “i’m too pretty for this” – Claire Rosinkranz
Writing is so therapeutic for me — writing about who I am, who I’ve been made to be, and who I’ve been called to be. Just reaffirming my identity in a way.
For Claire Rosinkranz, it’s all about trusting in the process.
After all, the universe works in mysterious ways — one truly never knows where their life will lead. This 18-year-old singer-songwriter had honestly never fathomed that one day she would grow into a beloved musical sensation, with over 1 billion global streams (and counting). Her childhood dreams were instead aimed on becoming a prima ballerina, as she spent countless hours perfecting her technique at her dance studio.
Though, the universe guiding Rosinkranz toward music didn’t come without a basis. Music was an omnipresent element within her household growing up; as she would be warmly welcomed home from dance class by the sounds of her father’s violin compositions and her mother’s piano playing.
Rosinkranz descends from a long line of musicians — her father is a classically trained musician and helps to produce Rosinkranz’s music, while her mother grew up participating in choir and teaches piano. Though, it is not only her immediate family that is well-versed in the musical realm; Rosinkranz’s maternal grandmother composed music for children, while her paternal grandfather was the owner of the first opera house in Iceland, and traveled all over Europe with her opera-singing grandmother. Evidently, Rosinkranz’s bloodline has lived and breathed music. “I made the conscious decision in my brain at 11 that I wanted to pivot toward taking music more seriously — my parents and my family inspired that,” she professes.
And thus, at age 11, Rosinkranz realized that she, too, could pursue a career in music. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic was Rosinkranz’s sign to lose the tutu once and for all, opting to pick up the microphone and guitar in its stead.
As they say, good things come to those who wait, but in Rosinkranz’s case, she didn’t have to wait for very long, as she found viral success almost right out of the gate. After laying down a couple of tracks with the help of her father, Rosinkranz turned to TikTok — a platform lauded for the way it sleuths out the world’s newest musical talent and flings them into the spotlight. The algorithm rapidly found Rosinkranz’s first single, the irresistibly catchy “Backyard Boy,” and launched her into stardom seemingly overnight. “Backyard Boy” exudes effervescence in every sense of the word, telling the tale of a lighthearted encounter with a boy, and all of the possibilities that come hand-in-hand with a fresh flirtation.
Many might assume that the overwhelming virality of “Backyard Boy” stifled the novelty of creating music for Rosinkranz; it has done the complete opposite, fueling her passion for songwriting tenfold.
Rosinkranz has had a whirlwind past two years, releasing a multitude of singles and her debut EP, 6 Of A Billion. The musician’s discography comes packed with youthful energy informed by the singer-songwriter’s quirky-yet-down-to-earth charisma. Each track is imbued with a pure sense of play and experimentation that has quickly become signature to her musical stylings. One can describe her lyricism as equal parts sugar and spice — but as a whole, her songs are definitely all things nice.
Songwriting is a lifeline of sorts for the musician, allowing her to map out her feelings and have some much-needed fun while navigating through what can be tough subject material.
Writing allows her to gain perspective and a momentary escape from the cacophony of thoughts that constantly bombard her brain. “We literally live with ourselves for our entire lives,” Rosinkranz notes, “It’s hard to be looking in the mirror, or living around yourself 24/7 — you can’t get away. Ever.” Luckily, writing is the perfect medium for loosening her brain’s tight grip on reality. Writing is “therapy and it’s free,” Rosinkranz asserts. “I always have journals around me and I can open them up and spill my little heart out.”
Her most recent single, “i’m too pretty for this,” released June 29, 2022, is a prime example of the aforementioned ways Rosinkranz uses songwriting to piece through her experiences. Partially inspired by her first breakup, the tune is a masterclass in cultivating self love. The track features soaring guitar riffs and Rosinkranz’s sharp vocals that call back to pop-punk tracks of the 1990s. Written out of what is typically a space of vulnerability and sorrow, Rosinkranz bounces back at the one who jilted her with fire and confidence, singing “I don’t wanna pull your weight / Want me back but it’s too late / Never falling for a boy like you.”
Rosinkranz made sure to build up ample anticipation for the track for some time before releasing the song in late June. Originally debuting the track on tour, she let the tune simmer in listeners’ minds before giving them the satisfaction of streaming it to their heart’s content. Past comment sections on the musician’s Instagram were full of fans’ comments practically begging the musician to quit teasing them and release the track.
And while social media has provided Rosinkranz with an easy way to connect with fans all over the world, she still has her qualms with keeping up with the fast-paced digital environment. Nowadays, it is easier than ever to lose oneself to the over-saturated landscape of social media; in a world full of shameless-self-promotion, it can be hard to stay afloat and maintain your sense of self-worth among so many other talented creatives who are constantly putting new things out. Rosinkranz inadvertently finds herself comparing herself to others, stressing out over the wild goose chase of trying to catch up with the newest trends that will ultimately end up being passé by the end of the week. For her own peace of mind, the songwriter acknowledges that life working in the music industry is not a race to be run. “You have to remove your subconscious brain and any insecurity. Stand firm and say: ‘This is what I want to do,’” Rosinkranz affirms.
Rosinkranz is already extremely accomplished and full of wisdom that spans far beyond the two years of her professional music career, but this only marks the beginning.
Never once has this singer-songwriter faltered in the determination to do what gives her joy. And with the help of family, trusted friends, and her employment of songwriting as a trusty outlet, this artist is more than equipped to take the world by storm.
Continue reading below to get the full expanse of Rosinkranz’s wisdom, and for exclusive tidbits about all of the exciting things she has planned!
It’s so cool how you can write things down, and make people feel things through the ways that you write things down. You can evoke people’s emotions, and in a way, control the way a human being feels through words that you put in a song.
A CONVERSATION WITH CLAIRE ROSINKRANZ
Atwood Magazine: I want to start off by touching upon what you did before you became a musician — I know that you did a lot of ballet growing up and even planned on pursuing it as a career at one point. How did you decide that ballet wasn't ultimately for you, and what made you pivot to music?
Claire Rosinkranz: I thought I was going to be doing ballet for the rest of my life, but it’s a lot of strain on your body, and it’s a lot of work. Ballet was definitely my first love, my first passion. I had always watched my family work on music and play music around the house; [music] was this little thing in the back of my brain, like, “Oh, that could be an option!” I made the conscious decision in my brain at 11 that I wanted to pivot toward taking music more seriously — my parents and my family inspired that. Eleven is young, but I was thinking about it even then. I always thought I knew what I wanted to do, but then all of a sudden, music kind of came into play. I did both [dance and music] for a little bit. I didn’t stop dancing until the pandemic happened, because I was obviously forced to quit it. It was an easy way out because it was really hard for me to leave it.
That perfectly segues into my next question, which is about collaboration with your family and your music career! From producing with your dad, to having your uncle and cousin involved with your music videos your family has been so supportive and has played a big role within your music career. What is it like having such a supportive and musical family to bounce ideas off of?
Claire Rosinkranz: Honestly, it’s the best. It’s really nice to have people who you know are going to have your back and who you can ask anything. I’m super close with my parents. I talk to them about everything, especially when it comes to music and work. They’re your family, and will definitely give you the truth and their opinion. I know that they know what they’re doing, because they’ve been in the industry longer than me. I really respect what they say. My dad gives me equal respect and doesn’t force any of his opinions. He’s never been like, “I’ve been in the industry longer than you so I know better,” either. It’s really nice to be able to have a conversation with them, and it makes me feel safe. Family has your back.
It definitely gives you that aspect of being grounded within the crazy industry of today. Going off of that, what else helps keep you grounded besides family and having that support system? What do you do for yourself to maintain that peace of mind?
Claire Rosinkranz: I realized that I really need my alone time. I live in California, but more of the beach area, so I am constantly on the beach, constantly at lookout spots. Driving is really nice. There’s a lot of pretty places to go. Even writing on my own is so therapeutic for me. I do write for music, but I also like writing my thoughts and journaling. Recently I’ve started meditating — that’s a new one. It’s actually the best. My brain is so all over the place, it’s so quick and it’s thinking about a billion things at once. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tune in and focus on one thing, so meditating has actually been really great. Other than that, again, just my family and good friends. I have a really, really good friend group and they also make me feel really safe — they’re awesome and super encouraging.
That’s great. Meditation is the stuff.
Claire Rosinkranz: I know! I can actually silence my brain for the first time, I didn’t know if it was possible!
I'm glad that you have that outlet, that's so healthy. So, many people have discovered you and your music from ''Backyard Boy.'' Has your relationship with that song changed since you wrote it? It's your biggest hit to this day, so do you still enjoy playing it or has the novelty worn off?
Claire Rosinkranz: It depends. It’s still fun to play live, because it’s a song that everybody knows. This new energy is brought to it because that song blew up over COVID. It was very much behind the screen, behind closed doors. I didn’t actually see what the whole entire live effect looked like. So playing it live now it has a whole entire new energy to it where I don’t get bored. But when I listen to it, absolutely not. The day I released the song — before anything even happened or it blew up — I didn’t even like it. It’s a good song, but it was my least favorite one on the EP. I dropped it and was already kind of sick of it, because I only listen to my songs when they’re not released to decide which ones I want to release. I’ve basically been done with it ever since I dropped it. But it’s different when you’re playing it live, because you’re hearing people sing it back to you. It’s really fun.
I bet it's really awesome to hear everybody singing back to you. On the topic of social media — a lot of artists have really complicated relationships with it. We live in an age of self promotion and constantly feeling like you have to post. That can definitely affect mental health. How do you navigate through a social media presence as a young person where you're expected to always be like, ''listen to my work''?
Claire Rosinkranz: It kind of fluctuates. Recently, it has been harder. You get so caught up in the fast paced-ness of our generation. Our generation is always on to the next thing, and you constantly feel like you’re behind, which is extremely stressful. I’m always like, “I need to be doing this, I need to be doing that, and they’re doing this and they’re ahead of me.” I get super stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and consumed, which is ridiculous! I’m still figuring out how to navigate it, because it really does fluctuate. Sometimes I’m good, and I don’t care. It’s just really having to realize that we all have our own timing and our own timeline. Things are supposed to happen in the way that they’re supposed to, and not the way that the rest of the generation is working. It’s inspiring to see other creatives do stuff, but at the same time if you get too stuck in it and you’re just scrolling through everybody else’s stuff for too long, you’re just like, “I’m not good enough because I’m not doing this, or I’m not doing that.” We all have our own business. I need to be focusing on what’s best for me and the timing for me — even if it’s going to take a little bit longer, or if I have to do it a little bit differently, because other things might not work for me. It’s still super stressful and I get in my head about it all the time. I find that slowing down helps, I take things into my own hands a little bit and don’t freak out. More opportunities open up, because I’m more aware of what’s going on. But yes, social media is stressful. I just try to stay off of it when I can.
Yeah, you have to strike a healthy balance! Let's switch focus to your new single, ''i'm too pretty for this.'' Congratulations, it's an awesome track. How has reception been to the song so far?
Claire Rosinkranz: Honestly, really good. I wrote that song, and then didn’t record it. I took it on my first tour and everybody responded to it really well live. It was super, super fun to play. So, for the longest time I’ve been teasing it and every time I would post people would comment: “When is ‘i’m too pretty for this’ coming?” And now that it’s finally here, it’s very relieving. The response has been really good, so I’m happy about it.
You should be! You have a lot to be proud of, it's so fun. Where did the inspiration for the track come from?
Claire Rosinkranz: I wrote it after I had my first breakup with my first boyfriend, but it wasn’t even all about him. It probably was the way I was feeling, but sometimes I over exaggerate within my songs. It came from a place of those feelings, and also from other friends’ and my sisters’ experiences. For some reason, a lot of people that I know have been getting cheated on — it’s just horrible. It goes with any shitty situation, but the lyrics are specifically angled at that. It’s an opportunity for people to say “I’m too pretty for this,” and then move on.
It's such a powerful anthem of self love and standing up for yourself. How do you personally cultivate that self love and confidence even when it might not be there? How do you take care of yourself?
Claire Rosinkranz: Just taking a step back sometimes. I really do get overwhelmed with myself. I was talking about this with a friend the other day — we literally live with ourselves for our entire lives. So, it’s hard to be looking in the mirror, or living around yourself 24/7 — you can’t get away. Ever. You get so in your head, and it’s hard to take care of yourself because you just get sick of yourself. I’ve definitely gone through that a little bit recently, so I just had to cut off social media. Being around people is good, but for me personally, I was spreading myself super thin. It’s good to have your alone time. It’s actually so heavily needed for myself, because when I’m constantly around people I’ll be comparing myself to them. So that, and then just writing. Writing is so therapeutic for me — writing about who I am, who I’ve been made to be and who I’ve been called to be. Just reaffirming my identity in a way.
You write a lot about love and the troubles that come with it. Let's chat about the good things in love. What are the telltale signs that you're in a good relationship?
Claire Rosinkranz: Communication is a big part of it; also just them being respectful. It’s probably good if they get along with my family and if my family loves them, because I love my family and they have good judgment. There’s so many little things, but it is really about being able to communicate, being honest with each other, and being with somebody who is encouraging. I have felt in the past that even with career or work stuff — I don’t want to say that people have been jealous or envious — but it has happened a little bit, and vice versa. Just make sure that you have somebody who’s encouraging you, lifting you up, pushing you, helping you grow and not keeping you stagnant. I haven’t been in a toxic relationship, but I have my own things that I feel like I need to work through for me to actually get to a point where I can even be committed to somebody. We’ll see, but that’s what I imagine.
Those are all really wonderful things, and you will get to that point, I'm sure. Let's talk about songwriting — I'm pretty sure it's your favorite since you’ve referenced how much you love it.
Claire Rosinkranz: I am obsessed with writing. I think I started writing songs when I was around 8. I’ve always said 8 but it could have been younger. My mom recently pulled out this paper and it was titled “My Best Song in the World,” and it was horrible! But it was so cute at the same time. I’ve been writing things ever since I was conscious — I love it. It’s therapy and it’s free. I always have journals around me and I can open them up and spill my little heart out. It’s so cool how you can write things down, and make people feel things through the ways that you write things down. You can evoke people’s emotions, and in a way, control the way a human being feels through words that you put in a song. There’s a lot to it, in songwriting you’re writing melodies and rhythms, and it creates so much feeling — It’s super powerful. You can help other people, but it also just helps me and my own personal brain.
Songwriting is just such a powerful tool for both the songwriter and people around to just use and to cope with their everyday experiences.
Claire Rosinkranz: As long as you’re doing it from a good place and not being manipulative!
With music, there's two kinds of pressures: you want to create a good song that people will like so that you can be successful, but also want to create something that will feel authentic to you. What do you do to balance these pressures and keep your passion for creating music alive and not feel like it's something you have to do?
Claire Rosinkranz: I have never really written from a place of needing a hit, which is really good and I feel really lucky. Especially after “Backyard Boy,” a lot of people would ask me: “Do you feel like you have to do better than that song, or match it?” I honestly never felt that way, because when I wrote “Backyard Boy” or any of my other songs, I was just writing from a place of either what I was feeling or something that I thought was a fun idea. If you force it, it’s harder to get a hit song out of it — obviously you want a hit — but if you take pressure off the entire situation, it feels more natural. I’ve never really been in my head about it, it’s just writing what you want to write about. At the end of the day, I write from a place that stems from there, and those songs end up being my favorite songs.
You have a very healthy relationship with your songwriting. And you also have an exciting couple of months coming up. You're playing some festivals and then going on tour with Alec Benjamin! How are you feeling?
Claire Rosinkranz: I’m excited! I’m going to be nervous because I haven’t played my first festival yet, so I haven’t had the fear factor. I play Lollapalooza at the end of this month. Right now it’s just a word in my brain, it’s not real to me yet. But when it becomes reality, I’ll probably be freaking out. I have Lollapalooza, Life is Beautiful, Music Midtown, Austin City Limits and then I have the tour with Alec. I’m also dropping an album — we’re putting that together right now! A lot of stuff has just been in the preparation process, and then we’re going to be able to just go and do it all, which I’m really excited for!
Do you have anything you want to say about the upcoming album?
Claire Rosinkranz: I definitely had more than enough songs to go on it. I’ve been in the process of trying to figure out how many should go on it. They’re very applicable to my life at the time that I wrote them. Sometimes I’ll write from my past experiences or from other people’s perspectives, but these were all things that were going on in my life at the time. That’s really the only thing that ties them together, because it’s so chaotic. I remember what room I was in when I wrote one song. The title of the record came from that idea — you’ll see that later. I just want all of the songs to be out. I’ve been holding on to them for a while, and I love all of them, so I don’t want to get sick of them. But I’m pumped!
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming musicians who are just getting started with their careers?
Claire Rosinkranz: Everybody’s doing it, but posting yourself on social media a ton does help. It’s scary to put yourself out there, it’s literally horrifying. I was so scared to do it for the first time, but I did, and that’s why I am being interviewed right now! Get on TikTok — it’s becoming a little bit oversaturated with everybody doing the whole music promotion thing, but it will work. You have to remove your subconscious brain and any insecurity. Stand firm and say: “This is what I want to do.” If you want it bad enough, you just have to do it. Then just listen to the music that you really like and study those songs. Make what you like and surround yourself with good people. Don’t get caught up in the fast paced generation mindset, because yes, you have to work but you don’t have to be everybody. I’m still figuring it out, but that’s my advice.
That's all very good advice. I always like to end my interviews on a positive note, so what has been giving you joy lately?
Claire Rosinkranz: I’ve been doing a little bit of road tripping with some friends, which is really fun. I finished all my music, so honestly, just spending time with really good people and having really long conversations with them. I’ve been in Oregon and Idaho, and they’re both beautiful states; I’ve been doing a lot of exploring. And again, writing and reading — I’ve been reading so much! Those things are keeping me at peace right now, but they’re also making me ready to get back in the studio. My creativity and energy has been accumulated on this trip, so I’m ready to get home!
Follow up question. Do you have any book recommendations?
Claire Rosinkranz: Yes! Colleen Hoover is an amazing author. I read these a while ago, but It Ends with Us, Reminders of Him, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’m about to write read All the Bright Places. Also The Silent Patient is really good — not by Colleen Hoover. All of those books are so, so, good!
We all have our own business. I need to be focusing on what’s best for me and the timing for me — even if it’s going to take a little bit longer, or if I have to do it a little bit differently.
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📸 © Austin Cieszko
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