Claire Ridgely Sings About the Duality of 'California' Dreams: Premiere

Claire Ridgely
Nat Carson

Claire Ridgely

Claire Ridgely has only been to California twice, but those travels, and her own aspirations, fuel the Montreal singer songwriter's second single, "California," premiering exclusively below with its accompanying animated video.

"This song is about my idealization of the Los Angeles lifestyle and dreaming about the wonders this place could do for me as a musician -- I fuel all my hopes and dreams, sunny California," Ridgely tells Billboard. "It seems like this beacon of hope and of light for artists, but at the same time I wanted to write about the bittersweetness as well, where maybe a lot of artists fall short or get swallowed up and get lost along the way. 'California' is about deciding to follow your heart regardless of a fear of falling short of your dreams."

Ridgely certainly knows about that duality. Her first trip to Los Angeles was for The Voice; "I made it through a couple of the auditions round until I was cut, but it was a wonderful experience." The next time out Ridgely -- best-known for her features on electronic songs by producers such as Robotaki, Said the Sky and Pat Lok -- was to play a live show with Robotaki to recreate their single "Ghostboy."

"California" follows Ridgely's debut solo single "Days Under the Sun," which came out in September. The new track was produced by the Montreal duo Pops & Poolboy. "After a dinner party and a couple drinks, the three of us went back to the studio to jam," recalls Ridgely, who was born in Seattle and raised in Virginia before moving to Montreal to attend McGill University. "We didn’t have a particular plan or inspiration in mind but we were all in the right headspace to come up with something good. Pops was riffing on the guitar and I was humming different melodies until I came up with the one that stuck. Poolboy was building the beat in Cubase. I put lyrics to the melody and we recorded a scratch version of the song, which, to our surprise, makes up most of the final version of the tune. I tried re-recording the chorus a different day but the energy just wasn’t the same - the original take of 'California' was something genuine."

Ridgely's goals from here are simple, including a couple more singles and possibly an EP before the fall of 2019. "I'd eventually like to release a full album but for now I'm going a song at a time," she says. "I think just growing, becoming bigger and getting more fans -- people who really enjoy my music and await my music -- is what I want most. I'm just hoping that opportunities will come by and I'll be able to make it to the next level."