Clairo (real name Claire Elizabeth Cottrill) is an American singer who rose to fame following the release of her 2017 single Pretty Girl. Claire used GarageBand to create the drum-heavy single and recorded its video via her laptop’s webcam. The goofy, low-quality video became a major hit, and at the time of writing, it has over 72 million views.
Clairo’s rise coincided with the global shift to streaming as the preferred mode of listening to music and discovering new artists. She has become a streaming sensation, with her debut studio album, Immunity, earning widespread critical acclaim.
This piece will look at Clairo’s parents, Allie and Geoff Cottrill.
A section of critics questioned Clairo’s rise to fame because she has a ‘connected’ father
Clairo’s rise to fame is quite similar to how many indie artists break out. She recorded a song using readily available equipment, posted it on the internet, and it offered her viral fame. Artists like Billie Eilish found fame and stunning success by recording songs in their bedrooms for the internet.
Such artists led to the creation of a sub-genre of indie music known as bedroom pop. “I put it on YouTube, and then the algorithm just ate it up,” Clairo told The New York Times. The video attracted the attention of major labels, including Capitol, RCA, and Columbia, but none of them signed her. She ended up signing with the FADER label, mostly due to her father’s influence in the music industry.
Geoff Cottrill is a famous marketer who held high-ranking positions at Converse, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble. He was the Vice President at Starbucks Entertainment Hear Music in Seattle. In 2014, Geoff became vice-chair of MusiCares, a philanthropic organization with close ties to the Grammy Awards. Per The New York Times, he used his connections in the music industry to land a recording deal for Clairo.
He contacted Jon Cohen, an executive at the marketing agency behind FADER magazine, who signed Clairo to the FADER label and introduced her to superstar manager Pat Corcoran. Pat eventually signed Clairo to his management company Haight Brand. As a result, student newspapers, message boards, and YouTube videos questioned Clairo’s authenticity.
“At the end of the day, when people say, ‘Oh, she’s an industry plant,’ I’m like, ‘No, I just have representation, like every single other artist you listen to,’” Clairo told The New York Times in retaliation. “I’m not the first person to get a manager.”
Clairo’s father might have played a significant role in accelerating Clairo’s rise, but we shouldn’t forget that she self-engineered her breakout moment. It is inconceivable that Geoff had anything to do with the Pretty Girl hit that introduced Clairo to the world. The goofy dance moves, infectious eye-rolls, fashion transitions, greasy hair, and plastic toy were authentically Clairo’s creation.
Despite the controversy, Clairo has gone on to prove her critics wrong. Her debut album, Immunity, has been an overwhelming success, granting Clairo her first appearances on the Billboard Hit 100 chart.
Clairo’s mother studied graphic design and is a children’s photographer based in Atlanta
Clairo’s mother Allie has taken a back seat in the controversy surrounding Clairo and Geoff. After graduating with a BFA in graphic design from the University of Georgia, Allie worked as a graphic designer and art director.
She gave up art directing to become a full-time children’s fashion photographer. Her Instagram page contains some of her best snaps. Allie also occasionally posts photos of her family.