If your music has been described as a cross between George Michael and Lisa Stansfield, you're probably doing something right. Claire Littley, known to many as the beautiful voice on "Fly Me to the Moon," one of the theme songs to the legendary anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, is now branching out from Frank Sinatra covers into her own solo material.
It's paying off so far: her latest single, "Change the Game," is a slice of soul-pop that's open-hearted and soulful, with breathy and sincere vocals that make it clear where the comparisons between Michael and Stansfield are drawn from. It's a sound and style uncommon in today's music landscape, but Littley has deftly tapped into a warm sense of nostalgia in her music.
Full of energy and emotion, the track focuses on diversity, gender and game changers. It's a compassionate hymn for the misunderstood to find inner strength, to be proud, and to accept those differences. As Littley puts it, Change the Game is about those who are “different; the square pins in round holes.”
After taking an extended break from music following the tragic death of her partner, Littley returned last August with a new purpose. "Change the Game" follows earlier singles "Moving Too Fast", "Bye, Bye Girl", "Fly Away" and "Love Will Set You Free"; It's a remarkable consistency in such a short time. A full album is also expected later this year.
To celebrate the release of her new single, we caught up with Littley as part of our popular Get To Know series to find out more about her life and career.
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How did your stage name come about?
Quite simply – it is my “actual” name.
How would you describe your music to your grandma?
Oh this really made me miss my nan. I was right back with her. Nan, if you can hear me, my songs are kind of poppy, soulful, chilled… maybe you heard me working on some of the other jazzy, ballady songs too? I hope you like them. I miss you.
Tell us about some of your tracks; their titles and what is it about?
I've had four releases so far, since last August. I wrote and produced the last two songs by myself – steep learning curves since I had never used Logic Pro up until this point last year.
"Bye Bye Girl" is very well received. It's about bumping into an ex and the shock, the speechlessness you feel — uh, we've all been there. I spent ages getting the drums just right. I even bought a small percussion pad to get closer to the feel I wanted for the drums in the intro – eat your heart gonzo!
"Moving Too Fast" is the latest release that has garnered the most attention so far. It's about slowing down in life and especially in love. This song has been compared more than the others to a mixture of "George Michael x Lisa Stansfield". That's a huge compliment for someone so new to songwriting.
What do you love about your hometown?
London is such a great city. We so often take the familiar for granted. We live a relatively free, privileged life in Britain – it attracts people from all over the world and London is so culturally rich for it.
Career highlight so far?
Every time someone tells me how important one of my songs is to them, or takes a moment to listen to my music, every time someone I respect gives me positive feedback or validation – like this one Articles here – Each of them is a career highlight. I am deeply grateful.
Favorite hobby outside of music?
Before lockdown it would have been bouldering but that has taken a back seat to make room for music. My main job is digital product design; I have always had a passion for art, design and photography.
What's on your dream driver?
I heard I could have the brown M&Ms taken out?!
Dream Music Collaboration?
Around October of last year, I happened to connect on Instagram with a producer/songwriter who has worked with some incredible artists and bands. We've posted quite a bit over the past few months. He is incredibly humble, down to earth, sweet and funny. No ego at all, just a pure love for songwriting and for having a place in other people's lives.
I was more encouraged than he thinks by the little feedback and advice he gave me. There are a few other musicians like this that I am fortunate to have contact with who have been so encouraging and supportive. These are the people I want to make music with.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It's so much easier to look to the future or to the past, but really all we have is today. 10 years from now I still want to enjoy the moment. In addition, I plan to write songs and make music full-time and to lead a contented and fulfilling life.
What's your favorite karaoke song?
I've only sung karaoke a few times so I don't have one!
What's the best advice you've ever received?
It's okay to feel how you feel.
What is one obsession of yours that no one would guess after hearing your music?
I do my 10,000 steps on my Fitbit! Almost every day for years!