Your new album left me feeling like I could take on the world. What inspires you to write this music?

I’m a big believer that if I’m going to do this job then I need to write songs that make a difference to people. Not songs that are filled with what I call ‘plastic music’, or just noise for the sake of noise. I want music that says something.

Why do you think we don’t see more of that attitude in chart music?

Because it’s safe. I think if you don’t write music that is going to move anyone to tears or challenge someone to change something in their life then it is more comfortable for people to listen to. Once they’ve had one hit then they know that formula works, so they just keep churning out that type of music. But I like to be a bit different. I think it’s good to be yourself; this is what I was given so this is what I work with.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a singer-songwriter?

I went to the cinema to see Sister Act 2 when I was nine. I sat in there with my dad and there’s a scene where two girls are singing ‘His eyes on the sparrow’ and I had to remind myself to breathe. That music just did something to me. It was then that I thought: “I want to do that. I want to make other people feel that amazing.”

How did people react when you said so young that you wanted to be a singer?

Oh I just didn’t tell them. I kept it a secret for a long, long time. When I was a kid and then a teenager I really struggled with low self-confidence. I had no self-esteem whatsoever and honestly, I didn’t think I was good enough to give music a go. So I hid that dream away, thinking people would just laugh at it. It wasn’t until my late teens or early 20s that I brought that out of the box and thought: “Actually I think it’s God who has put that on my heart so I have to do something with it.”

When did you come to faith?

I was 15. I think that’s the reason I don’t have such low self-esteem now. Before meeting Jesus I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who to turn to but meeting Jesus – well, it doesn’t make everything perfect – but knowing deep down in your very core that you are loved by him; that changes everything.

How do you compare your experience of growing up to this generation?

I think teenagers in this generation have it even harder than we did because they’ve got social media to contend with. I made all my mistakes and went through all my embarrassing image phases off camera and without social media. But now so many kids are taught to earn their self-worth from what they look like in their profile pictures. We need to just say to them that they are beautiful anyway, even in their ugliest moments, even when their behaviour is the worst. Even when they think there is no going back and they’ve stuffed up more than they can ever be forgiven for. They need to know then that they are still loved. It’s very easy to say to a teenager when they are being lovely: “I love you and you’re wonderful.” But actually, they need to know that they are always loved, even in the times when they are out of control.

What role do you think the Church has in that?

I think the Church has a big role to play as community. Otherwise for this generation their main source of socialising is on a screen where people put their perfect lives up. We need to provide people who are real. People who welcome these kids in whatever shape they come or whatever they come along with. We need to be a Church that says: “you are welcome”.

What would you say to teenage you?

I would say: “God is real. Jesus loves you and his healing power is transformational.” But it’s taking that in. I don’t think any of us take it in fully. Every single year I look back and think I’m closer to Jesus than I have ever been before. But maybe next year I might understand him a little bit more. We’ve always got stuff to learn and we’ve always got ways we can improve. I think that is the beauty of being a Christian. It’s not like you can wave a magic wand and instantly you are fixed or perfect. We are work in progress. I think that is a theme in my music. Just people learning that no matter what they are going through, they can do it. They can get through this with God.

Chloe’s album launched on 30th September. Check it out on her website.

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