“Think Billie Eilish meets folk” – an interview with Clara McHugh


Picture the scene – a forest, pitch black, and there is an ethereal voice floating to you, singing about love, whilst you sip on a White Russian. That was the scenario occurring when I was first introduced to Clara McHugh at 2000trees, and she was exactly the cleansing performance I needed after the madness of Frank Turner earlier in the day. As soon as she brought her friend out to play bass on stage, I was sold. I knew I just had to find out more about her, and I was lucky enough to have the chance to ask her a few questions.

So, if you want to tell me a little bit about yourself! 

I am… What age am I? I’m 19! I forgot as I’ve only just turned it, yeah I’m only 19, I’m a wee baby. Basically, I started music when I was 16, I released a song on Facebook called ‘The Rush’ that basically went viral overnight and I wasn’t planning on doing music – I wanted to be a vet man like I wanted to save animals and shit  – What a plot twist that you’re now here at 2000trees,  yeah here I am at 2000trees.

Basically, that happened then overnight, and it made me think about what I wanted to do more in the future and I thought why not do a job that’s a hobby and get paid for it! I’ve just been writing and stuff since, and now I go to uni in Brighton, that’s the reason I have this gig and I’ve just been playing gigs since.

Not far from Southampton then!

Is it? I don’t know the Coast at all – is it close? I’m not gigging too much around there, I’m mostly just writing and recording but as far as festivals this summer I’ve done Glastonbury, Barn on the Farm, here at 2000trees then the Great Escape in Brighton.

Wow, that is a good repertoire to have at 19 years old. 

Yeah, definitely.

So you write all your own songs and you have your bassist who just performed with you? 

Yeah, so basically when I moved to Brighton you’re kind of like told like ahh try out your style with a band so I did and it went kind of Indie Rock – I don’t know why it ever went there but we pulled it back and me and Ollie, who is the bassist, get on really well so he came over to my house and I played him this new song and he was like ‘wait a minute’ and just started playing bass over it, and I just thought it was fucking sexy, so now we’ve got a few songs we play together – just guitar and bass. But really, I’m working on finding myself at the moment, the style and way I want to produce things and release them as well – yeah it’s all in the pipeline.

So are you working towards releasing more stuff?

Yeah, I already have stuff on Spotify but I am working towards releasing new stuff in a kind of different style – think Billie Eilish meets folk, that’s what we’ll say.

Oh, my curiosity is peaked – well whatever you release I am with you because that set was really amazing. Definitely one to watch! 

Check out the video below to get a taster of some of the talent Clara Mchugh has to offer.


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