Cowgirl Clue

Published in Issue 21
Photos by Jaxon Whittington
Interview by Erika Houle

Imagine Tinkerbell among the ranks of the World Rodeo and you’ll get a sense of how Cowgirl Clue finds her sparkle. In the Texas-born musician and visual artist’s pop plot-twist—all high- vibration bass and whimsical, dizzying beats—Southern charm is not lost, but met with a dash of punk. A sprinkle of acid house. You might call it, as she suggests, “y’allternative.” When she’s not busy writing the soundtrack for your next astral projection, you canfindherplaying“ChickenShit bingo” at her favorite hometown saloon. A roaring engine is her love language. Her uniform gives her wings. When I ask her what every cowgirl needs? “A little pixie dust.”

Finding her footing building DJ sets in her teens, Cowgirl Clue began performing at parties across the country and spent her downtime in her bedroom experimenting with GarageBand. Her early influences include Lil’ Kim, Gwen Stefani, and Richard David James. It’s easy to see how these artists have shaped her personal style, too, in her self-designed merch line, Clue Wear. Since learning to play real instruments and writing and recording her own music, she says she “doesn’t take things too seriously,” only working on projects that come naturally to her. “I would describe it like painting a picture,” she says, “and letting the brush guide your hand.”

Erika Houle: Is there a place that really fuels you to write?
Cowgirl Clue: My bedroom is where I feel the most natural with writing.

What everyday sounds do you find the most satisfying?
Cicadas, engines revving, and windchimes.

Which of your songs are you most deeply attached to?
I will always hold a special place for “A Figure 8.” It allowed me to discover a new door within my musical capabilities and it’s still fresh to me for that reason.

How do you overcome hurdles when making music?
Go on a night drive, smell a flower, listen to old demos.

Best song to play with the windows rolled down?
“Someday” by Sugar Ray.

Best song to play while getting ready to go out?
“Got Your Number” by Nadia Oh.

Best song to play when you miss someone?
“Time Marches On” by Tracy Lawrence.

Best song to play when you’re falling in love?
“Cherry” by The Jive Bombers.

Your ideal outfit for a tea party?
Lace arm warmers, bold lip liner, an 80s prom dress, and an eye patch.

How has your sense of style evolved?
I try to imagine getting dressed more like “playing dress- up” which helps me be more carefree about getting ready. Like when I was a child, I would let my imagination roam free when the dress up trunk was unlocked. It’s all about first instinct and building off of that. I love mixing pieces that normally would be at a costume shop or in a dusty vintage store with something new.

Is there an item of clothing or an accessory you couldn’t live without?
A bomb manicure, something lucky like a charm or gemstone and a sexy pair of boots.

Who were your earliest style icons?
Nina Hagen, André 3000, Ida Kno from Glass Candy, Taylor Swift (2006 era).

If you could choose, what would Cowgirl Clue fans be called?
Faeries *with a hint of a southern drawl*.

How does a “faerie” differ from a “fairy”?
In my eyes, a faerie is a reincarnation of a fairy from a previous life, so they have more of an old soul, while a fairy is a little more twee.

When was the first time you encountered a faerie?
My neighbors had a little wishing well in their small backyard and I swear I saw something sparkle and flicker at the bottom of the well, that same day I found a four leaf clover nearby.

Do you have a favorite fairy tale?
The Tooth Fairy is a favorite for sure, I like to imagine the tooth fairy as looking a little twisted. And if Howl’s Moving Castle is considered a fairy tale, that would be one of my favorites too.

What fragrances do faeries wear?
Sweet Grass and Dragon’s Blood.

Can anyone befriend a faerie?
Definitely.

If you could have one magical power, what would it be?
I would want to bring back all the animals and plants that have gone extinct, or have teleporting abilities and gift my powers to honorable faeries.

What was the last thing you tried for the first time?
I got to pet a dalmatian recently.

Your Spotify bio mentions your “obsession with suburban fantasy.” What does that mean?
I think there is this unspoken aura or mystical trance that’s present when you’re in the South, or like, middle America. The beauty, the wonders, and the suburban locals that experienced some strange phenomenon near their homes type of trance. I’ve always been enchanted by these places or stories. It’s like you live this simple lifestyle but there’s something more to it that can’t really be put on a plate, from Roswell’s UFO crash site, to fireflies glowing, to that one haunted Victorian house on the hilltop, to the Marfa mystery lights…it’s all very intriguing to me.

What makes someone a cowgirl?
Taking life by the reins.