In recent months, Chloe Flower has had many accomplishments to toast: the release of her debut album, a fashion week performance with Prabal Gurung and an onstage performance with Meek Mill. And, thanks to an ongoing partnership with Krug Champagne, she’s well equipped to celebrate.
The classical pianist and composer recently debuted two new compositions for the Champagne brand, with six intimate live performances at Brooklyn performance venue National Sawdust. It was her first time performing back-to-back since before the pandemic — and brought her full circle, since her last in-person performance was for a Krug event in Palm Beach in February 2020.
Krug reached out to Flower this past spring about another collaboration, this time having her compose scores inspired by the characteristics of two different champagnes. The tracks will be released digitally on Nov. 5.
“The thing about music and taste is I already know how connected they are — how powerful music can be in enhancing taste when you’re eating or drinking,” she says. “So I was excited to do this project. And as a female composer, there’s, like, no female composers out there. I think less than 1 percent of all orchestra music that is programmed is written by a female.”
The songs in the series were inspired by Krug 2008 and Krug Grande Cuvée 164th Edition. For 2008, Flower tapped into a classically elegant sound; for the Grande Cuvée, she went bigger and bolder.
“The 2008, because it’s one single year, I made it more of a chamber music piece or a smaller ensemble, and the Grande Cuvée, because it’s a much bigger, fuller body Champagne, I added all the horns and a full symphonic sound,” she says. “It’s a firework song.”
Flower is solidifying her cross-genre versatility, whether it’s taking a classical approach for a collaboration with a heritage brand like Krug or playing at the Grammys with Cardi B in 2019. This past weekend, Flower accompanied Meek Mill onstage at Madison Square Gardens; afterward, the rapper gifted her a grand piano wrapped in a print of his album cover art, created by renowned contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abney.
Fashion is a central element of her performance. For Flower’s Madison Garden appearance, she wore Alexander McQueen; for her self-taped Instagram videos, she dons equally dramatic looks from Celine, Roberto Cavalli and Balmain. “Because my music doesn’t have lyrics, it’s important for me to use fashion and to use the visual element as part of the performance,” Flower says. “The outfit is there to complement the music. I think that makes the performance more fun — it’s another dimension I can add to the experience for the audience.” (Her instrument is also a statement piece; she plays at home on a mirrored grand piano on loan from The Liberace Foundation.)
Flower recently collaborated with Prabal Gurung, performing live during his runway show in September, and she has an upcoming collaboration is with Dionne Warwick; the singer recorded lyrics over a track from her latest album. Next year will bring the release of a few more singles, and a Christmas album — a lifelong dream for the pianist.
“The piano is a very solitary instrument. I’ve always been alone in a practice room, and we don’t play with orchestras unless we’re performing. And so it’s always just me, alone, all the time,” she says. “And so it’s fun for me to collaborate, whether it’s with friends or other artists.”
She released her debut album, the eponymously titled “Chloe Flower,” this past summer. The album includes a cover of Billie Eilish hit “Bad Guy” alongside more traditional compositions — some layered with hip-hop beats — and several tracks that feature spoken word by Deepak Chopra. Flower notes that she was surprised by the range of those listening to the album.
“Hip-hop people will be like, ‘Oh, I love “Get What U Get,” or “No Limit.”‘ And then other people will love the solo piano works,” she says. “And that’s the point of the album, to have an instrumental album that is not considered stuffy-classical but is for everyone.”
The 36-year-old performer, who trained at the Juilliard School, was signed by the producer Babyface early in her career after meeting him at a concert. She credits the producer for helping her hone a musical style that meshed her classical training with the aesthetic and packaging of pop music.
“He taught me everything I know; he taught me how to produce my own beats. He taught me about different sounds and he taught me about writing style. All of that helps contribute to making my music more accessible, more pop — and not just in a visual way, but in a structural way, too,” she says.
“I want people to listen to my piano music and be like, that sounds like Chloe Flower — rather than when they listen to classical on the radio, they don’t know who’s playing or what’s playing. I wanted to have a sound that was unique to myself.”
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