Clerel – Montreal Artist Creates Sunny Songs During Dark Times

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Sometimes you hear a voice and feel an immediate connection. And then you get to speak to the artist and discover so many delightful and unexpected things.  I believe that some of the most interesting musicians come from the most unexpected places.

“One really cool thing about what I do coming up in this era of social networks is just being able to realize that you really have the world at your fingertips.  People from anywhere in the world can find something to connect with.” Clerel

Clerel first appeared on my radar as a supporting artist for Mavis Staples (@popmontreal) in 2019 and I was immediately hooked by his soothing voice and tropical vibe.

Born in the coastal town of Douala (Cameroon), he came to the USA to study chemistry and by chance, ended up with a roommate who had a guitar.

“Music was always present and eventually it grew in importance in my day-to-day life.”

Clerel had been singing at school since childhood and describes music as, “something that gave a different colour to my life as a chemistry student.”

After earning his degree, he moved to Montreal where he found work but had no friends or family. He began participating in open mic nights where he improved his skills and people noticed.  Like Bruce Wayne, living with a secret identity, chemistry tech by day and rock star by night, Clerel was finally able to pursue music full time.

Eventually landing a spot on Late Night With Stephen Colbert.

Speaking with Clerel is like slowly sipping a fine cognac, savouring each word as he drops lines that beg to be quoted.

“Today as an artist you gotta be what the time calls for you to be.” C

(Watch the full interview for more words of wisdom and humour)

Collaborating with different artists and art forms, Clerel sings in English and French and was recently featured on rap single “Little Brother” with Milla Thyme.

Does your brain think in English or French? MR

“Both are present. There are some things that I find relatively easier to  visualize and conceptualize in English and others in French and it’s a beautiful thing.”C

“Beauty is universal” C

“It would be interesting to see how we could unify the beauty language.”C

“Music may not be considered as essential as some other industries but the value that I think it brings to the world and entertainment, in general, is undeniable.” C

“During the pandemic, the last few years I realized that the things that gave me the most happiness are the things that gave me the most happiness as a young adult. And that was music and books, so I found myself ordering a ton of it online.  And after all these years it still gives me great joy.  Books and music are essential.”MR

Watch the full interview with Clerel below:

Annette Aghazarian

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