Pop singer-songwriter Claud is in Texas, where the next day they’ll take the stage at Austin City Limits. Just a few weeks later they’ll travel west for San Francisco’s Outside Lands. These big shows are becoming the norm as the singer builds momentum following the February release of debut album Super Monster (produced by duo Zach & Roger).
“I had never played a festival until like two weeks ago, and now I’ve done like five,” said Claud, whose name is Claud Mintz. “I’m basically a seasoned professional at this point.”
There are so many different types of listeners at festivals, from diehard fans to those discovering someone for the first time. Claud says they have already developed a rhythm for how to handle that mix of the familiar and unfamiliar.
“I know the points in my set where it’s for people who know my music, and I know the other points where I think it could draw anyone in,” they said.
Claud said they were tremendously excitement to make the Outside Lands lineup, but their brother was perhaps even more so.
“My brother told me I was going to have the biggest crowd ever for Outside Lands because he’s bringing 15 people,” Claud said, laughing. “I mean, hope there’s more than 15 people!”
Claud has been writing songs since middle school, but that passion really took off during their time at Syracuse University. In the process of applying for colleges, Claud wasn’t getting in to their top choices of arts and music schools, which led them to start considering other options—in the case of Syracuse, a shift toward the business side of music as opposed to the creative.
“When I got there, I met my friend Josh, who was a producer, and my music had never been produced before,” they said. “So I started sending him songs. It really changed my perspective on myself as an artist.”
That relationship blossomed into house shows and the development of an initial project, Toast. The confidence built from that project led them to drop out of Syracuse in 2019 and pursue music full time. Claud ultimately become the first artist signed to Phoebe Bridgers label, Saddest Factory.
“I love the label group, it’s been such a huge honor,” Claud said.
Along with the Bleachers gigs and the festivals, Claud is also sprinkling in some headline shows. A recent show in New York was an eye-opening experience for the singer, who got a chance to play some new songs.
“It was so shocking; I was, like, ‘How do you guys know these songs?’ Claud said. “Everybody was singing along to these songs that I was playing for the first time and forgot that people had probably heard a bunch of times already.”
Claud said that normally, they would be the kind of artist to be perpetually writing, even without a definitive album in mind. But this tour has become all-consuming and a sole point of emphasis.
“We’re just in a van, and it’s like two months in this van,” they said.
Last year was tough for Claud because a tour opening for Tegan and Sara got shelved due to the pandemic.
“I sent them an e-mail [after the cancelation] telling them I was so bummed, but I think at that time my head wasn’t really thinking much about my ability to tour,” Claud said. “It was more, ‘Oh shit, I hope everyone’s going to be OK.'”
Instead, Claud focused on collaborations, partnering with the likes of Cautious Clay, Remi Wolf and Still Woozy. The patience paid off. The singer is now on the road with Jack Antonoff and Bleachers, the biggest tour on which the singer has ever embarked. The shows have been great, but also stressful because of Claud’s self-described desire to make sure everything is perfect.
“It’s a lot of work because I care so much about it,” they said. “If I didn’t care as much about the performance, or about Bleachers, I wouldn’t be so stressed and overworked. I put that on myself because I just want it to be so good.”
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.