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Chelsea Cutler on “Weaving Joy” Into Her Sophomore Album When I Close My Eyes

The singer-songwriter on her writing process and finding inspiration

Chelsea Cutler Interview
Photo by Lauren Tepfer, Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    “I’m the kind of person that’s always acted on emotion more than rationality,” Chelsea Cutler, wrapped in a cozy gray hoodie, is telling Consequence by Zoom.

    She’s in a hotel room after a long day of travel, the latest of many in her string of shows with Quinn XCII, and is in the midst of endorsing Taylor Jenkins Reid’s buzzy novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

    “I think as you start growing up, you realize acting on emotion isn’t always the best thing. Then I read this book and was like, never mind — emotions are great.”

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    Cutler is 24 years old, and her career thus far is proof of the idea that emotions are great — they’ve certainly been instrumental to the process of creating the songs that have drawn in so many listeners. Her debut album, How to Be Human, was released in early 2020. Her sophomore record, When I Close My Eyes, has now arrived — and if there was any pressure around releasing her follow-up, she’s not feeling it.

    “There were no expectations for a release date, so we just made music that we liked,” she explains. “At the end of eighteen months of quarantining, there was an album.”

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    Cutler is part of an unofficial cohort of sorts of bedroom-pop peers: her frequent collaborators include Jeremy Zucker (who she partnered with for two EPs), recent tourmate Quinn XCII, emotional balladeer Alexander23, and producer and DJ Ayokay.

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