“I’m Trying to Come Out from Within”: Forest Claudette Channels Vulnerability & Queer Identity into “Kobe Beef”

Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia
Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia
Australian alt-R&B artist Forest Claudette channels their vulnerability in their latest single “Kobe Beef,” a stunningly hypnotic meditation on their queer identity and internal truth with captivating, dynamic visuals to match.
Stream: “Kobe Beef” – Forest Claudette




‘Kobe Beef’ is the first song about being non-binary, and it’s really picking all of these moments of turbulence within myself and trying to capture the highs and the lows and all the questioning that goes on into figuring out something like that. Ultimately, it’s a celebration.

Fresh off the heels of their critically acclaimed EP Everything Was Green, Australian alt-R&B artist Forest Claudette unveils their latest soulful single, “Kobe Beef.” A vulnerable and hypnotic meditation on their queer identity and internal truth, the single flawlessly showcases Claudette’s stunning lyricism and multifaceted approach to production and sound.

Kobe Beef - Forest Claudette
Kobe Beef – Forest Claudette
I be missing me like
My shadow’s on cp time 
Whatchu see ain’t what you get 
Can’t break this breath I breathe I 
Been scuba diving through realities 
Who you hiding , who you’d rather be 
Why the heck you bringing
up my Kobe beef
Told you that when
I was drunk at seventeen 

Don’t you know it gets better
if you set it free

I was being paperback 
You taught me that 

With each release, Claudette constructs a dynamic narrative of both their life and artistic journey. Unsurprisingly Claudette’s dynamic sound, which many dub as nothing short of hypnotic, is a result of years of creative development and self-discovery.

Raised by a musical family in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia, Claudette’s high school years were spent perfecting their craft. After submitting a song to an annual high school music contest held by triple j, they earned an interview and a spin on the station, which soon landed them a record deal.

Our introduction to Claudette, the 2022 single (and Atwood Editor’s Pick) “Creaming Soda,” was spawned from the imposter syndrome they felt from entering the music industry at such a young age. These themes of self-doubt and loss further molded their debut EP The Year of February — a masterful display of sonic agility that cemented Claudette as an artist to watch.




Their subsequent EP Everything Was Green, which was released in 2023, earned Claudette two ARIA awards, including Best Soul / R&B Release for their self-described “ethical f**&boy’s anthem,” “Mess Around” with EARTHGANG. From here, Claudette’s life has been a whirlwind. From headlining shows across Australia to performing at major festivals, their electric journey is a direct reflection of their art: energizing, engaging, and ever-expanding. 

Their latest single only further builds upon this journey. Their latest single following a genre-bending cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Can’t Stop,” “Kobe Beef” is a soulfully layered melody that details Claudette’s non-binary identity. A monumental progression in vulnerability, given this song marks the first creative interpretation of their queer experience, Claudette describes the project as an incredibly reflective experience.

I’m  cool with the automatic 
Whipping to my mother planet 
Cool with the damages I’m bound
to get from cameras flashing 

Flew in on ruby slips
a little gift I got in Kansas 

Jupiter never banished me 
My ID been on thin ice 
(Cracking I’m crying)
That skinny dip fit me right 
(Fact is I’m flyin’)
Fact is I’m finely 
Done with fitting my genes 
Fact is I’m wild 
Fact is I’m free 
Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia
Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia



I’m really trying to come out from within… there’s this character selection, and to me all those characters are a sort of fantasy. It’s all these promises of different roles in society.

“‘Kobe Beef’ is the first song I’ve ever written about being non binary,” Claudette shares.

“It’s centered around the questions and conversations I had to have with myself before I could feel comfortable and safe to make this project. Like, ‘Why share so much? Why expose yourself? Can’t some things be private? Why is it so important to speak about?’

The accompanying music video, directed by Quinn Cavin, provides a stunning visual showcase of fashion and aesthetics through which Claudette muses over and discovers his most honest, authentic self.

Atwood Magazine sat down with Forest Claudette to discuss their latest single and their dynamic creative process, as well as what’s on the horizon.

All this pretty cash look gas on me 
But I don’t really feel anything 
I’m getting used to gasoline 
I’m getting used to gasoline 
I’m  cool with the automatic 
Whipping to my mother planet 
Cool with the damages I’m bound
to get from cameras flashing 

Flew in on ruby slips
a little gift I got in Kansas 

Jupiter never banished me

— —

:: stream/purchase Kobe Beef here ::
:: connect with Forest Claudette here ::
Stream: “Kobe Beef” – Forest Claudette



A CONVERSATION WITH FOREST CLAUDETTE

Kobe Beef - Forest Claudette

Atwood Magazine: I wanted to start by saying Happy New Year! 2023 seemed like a huge year of growth for you artistically. What were the highs and lows, or what stood out to you most last year?

Forest Claudette: Last year was a blur. It still feels like it’s kind of last year. I feel like this year started in December, like everything was kind of mixed. But last year was full of so many highs. Playing my headline shows, tours, and being taken aback at people being so excited and feeling so connected to the music that I made. It’s a feeling that I had hoped to experience for a really long time, when I was waiting to put out music. And that was really, really beautiful. Shout out to fans. 

But really, the impact of having people sing your lyrics back at you is something that is so singular. And to hear people’s stories of how different things that impacted them in their own lives and in a specific context is a really, really powerful thing. It definitely motivates me to stay as connected to myself and trust that I’m telling things that are worthwhile. So that was definitely, definitely part of the highs.

That also leads into the next question. You’ve described your previous EP, Everything’s Green, as a sort of transition period. I find that pieces of work about those periods are so interesting, because we have such a different relationship with our emotions once we’re living them, as opposed to when we’re on the other side, or past them. So, now that this body of work is out there, and people are engaging and resonating with it, has your relationship with the music changed?

Forest Claudette: That’s an awesome question. It is definitely changing. And I think especially because that project is almost entirely written about 2022 and so many other things were happening that I didn’t feel comfortable talking about yet, like what’s coming next. It felt really monumental. And at the time it was absolutely the most of myself that I could put out, and I was expanding the concept of this spectrum that I want to occupy with different sounds and different contexts of music, like with more pop stuff or things like mess around.

Like the song “Poor Boy,” it’s a bit more, I guess, alternative for lack of a better term. And now I look at all that stuff and it feels very safe and very sweet. Yeah, I feel like I’ve grown a lot. I’m like, oh, my youngest son, come here you cubo, you didn’t know anything. Yeah, it was very sweet.



That's good. That's nice. And also when you’re talking about the creative process, as you're looking at your former self and you're like ‘Oh you had no idea this is all that this would grow into,’ how has that relationship to genre and genre bending grown and changed?

Forest Claudette: It’s been a really exciting process. I feel like I have at least a few touchstones of the core of what I occupy as far as the sonic spectrum. But the more music that I listen to, the more I’m excited and encouraged to explore and expand. I think of people like Omar Apollo – I was such a huge fan of his last album – and the way that [the album] was just like, I’m here, but then I’m also over here, and then actually I’m over here now. That felt like such a journey to me and it all made sense.

And then at a point I was like, ‘Oh, it’s actually really weird that you went over there and it felt authentic.’ I feel like I got a better picture of him and what he’s influenced by from listening to that whole project, so I feel inspired to show more of myself through that sort of spectrum.

You recently released a cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' “Can’t Stop.” Speaking of finding your own sonic spectrum, can you walk us through the process of how you made such an iconic song like that your own?

Forest Claudette: It was really fun – I’ve never had an opportunity before this to really attack and play with someone else’s song. Everything has been so focused on ‘gotta make more music… what’s your sound… what are you doing with this…’ It was really fun to sit down with my good friend Alex – he’s like a producer that’s been on the last two EPs – and just play around with this song that we both know and have loved at different points in our lives. We were so hyped. Like, we had to get approval from the band because it wasn’t just like a cover it was a medley, and to know that like they’ve heard this and gave it the seal of approval felt amazing. 

It’s cool to think that in my own heart I know that I have a sound. I know when something sounds more like me, or if I don’t really care about this part of the song let me chop that, let me bring something over here, let me try and give it a sort of new structure. It was really fun and then a little bit scary. I was like, some of these fans are gonna be mad. Lo and behold there were a couple people who were like ‘nah.’ But still yeah it was a really fun process I’m very grateful that I got to do that.



Are there any other artists or even songs that you'd love to get your hands on and attack & play in the future?

Forest Claudette: I was thinking about this the other day. I was talking to my brother, he’s always saying he wants me to cover more hip-hop and wants me to rap. He’s like, “If you cover this Anderson .Paak song it would be insane.” I don’t disagree. I would love to cover something by Anderson .Paak because his grooves are insane. But I’ve covered songs by Brittany Howard and Alabama Shakes in my sets before. I have an incredibly soft spot for her so maybe more of her work would be nice.

So back to your original music. Can you tell us about your new single ‘Kobe Beef’?

Forest Claudette: “Kobe Beef,” yes. “Kobe Beef” is the first song that I have written about being non-binary, which is monumental for me. It was like this huge emotional block that I had over the past year when I was really focused on trying to establish what’s coming up next, and coming to terms with my identity. But doing that to the point where I felt like I had enough authority over it, and the validity as a voice in that space to talk to my own experience.

It was a really interesting and difficult time – a lot of self-reflection, a lot of self-doubt, a lot self-doubt, and a lot of fear about sharing something that personal, but ultimately I feel like I always landed in this place where I realized this has to be worth it because it’s true. It’s how I feel and it has to be valid because of those reasons as well. I hold a lot of value on the truth, I feel like that makes it special in its own little way. And I’m not special so I know there are other people that must be experiencing these same things too. Even if you’re in your infancy of figuring out who you are, that could be your whole journey. 

“Kobe Beef” is the first song about that, and it’s really picking all of these moments of turbulence within myself and trying to capture the highs and the lows and all the questioning that goes on into figuring out something like that. But ultimately, it’s la celebration.

Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia
Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia



Can you talk about the visuals associated with this single and what story they’re telling? I’ve noticed a few thematic similarities with your previous projects, and you tend to work with the same group of people, so it feels like you’re building a sort of narrative as an artist, whether on purpose or accidentally.

Forest Claudette: I’m really glad you feel that way. I was a little bit stressed, I felt like everything was changing. The story for me in the visuals is really about identity and the role of how we see ourselves and, maybe more importantly, what is promised by looking a certain way and feeling like “Oh if I look this way, then maybe I’ll be treated this way, or people will see me this way, or maybe I’ll feel more like this.” While all of that makes sense, I’ve been really trying to focus on the idea of knowing who I am and feeling who I am and letting all of that stuff– all of my outward appearances– come from that, and maybe not always feel the pressure to be as beautiful as this, or as glammed up as that, or as subdued as this, you know?

What I mean is I’m really trying to come out from within. In the beginning of the video there’s this character selection, and to me all those characters are a sort of fantasy. I could be like this, and maybe that would allow me to be like that, or I could be like this. It’s all these promises of different roles in society.

You've alluded to an ominous ‘what's next’ throughout this. Is the sentiment you just described a sort of focal point in ‘what’s next,’ or whatever’s coming in the future?

Forest Claudette: Yeah, this is definitely a focal point of what’s next. This feeling, this coming into myself, it’s something that I felt overwhelmingly took up a lot of my brain space over the last year and a half, two years. It’s taken this much time to really process it and to feel safe and comfortable and talk to everyone that I need to talk to, to feel ready to share this side of myself. So I’m very excited for what is next. It will definitely have things surrounding my queer identity.

Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia
Forest Claudette © Lissyelle Laricchia



It’s taken this much time to really process it and to feel safe and comfortable and talk to everyone that I need to talk to, to feel ready to share this side of myself.

And I have to ask, what are you looking most forward to in 2024? You don't have to be specific in the ‘what's next,’ it could just be a milestone for you want to accomplish, or outside of music, even.

Forest Claudette: Well, I mean I’m moving to LA. That’s really a really exciting thing. I’ve got friends over here, family friends, and obviously my team’s out here that’s going to be amazing. I have some shows out here so I’m very excited to play some music to people around the U.S., and you know maybe playing some other places. I think the live side, sharing this music that I’ve been working on, is going to be very very special. I think this will be the most that I feel connected to everyone since the start.

I have this optional question. I always want to ask people what's something that they wish they were asked, or want to talk about, in interviews. I feel like there’s so many moving parts, it’s so easy to miss something.

Forest Claudette: I think it’s cool for people to know how much goes into maintaining yourself, or how much work goes into being able to perform live, and how much it takes to organize everything that is digital and unprocessed yet this live setting. I think people don’t know. People are like, “Oh, cool, And now it’s live.” And you’re like, “No, that was nuts. This is insane. Like, look at this work.” That can be something. I’m not sure, but this has been wonderful.

— —

:: stream/purchase Kobe Beef here ::
:: connect with Forest Claudette here ::
Stream: “Kobe Beef” – Forest Claudette

— — — —

Kobe Beef - Forest Claudette

Connect to Forest Claudette on
Facebook, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Lissyelle Laricchia

:: Stream Forest Claudette ::



More from Nic Nichols
Premiere: Queer Alt-Rock Band LEONE Show Their Full Hand in Sophomore EP ‘GTFOH’
'GTFOH,' on the whole, is a reclamation of an authentic sort of...
Read More