If singing for hard rocking Sister Shotgun wasn’t demanding enough Chloe Ozwell is also beginning to carve out a name for herself as a model. While having more than one string to your bow is always a good thing it’s clear where Chloe’s priorities lie. She chatted to Gary Trueman about the origins of her singing career, why she’s cautious when booking photo shoots and who she’d most like to duet with.
What are your early recollections of singing and how did you get into it?
“This is a long story. I started singing when I was about seven. My parents figured out it was a bit of a talent of mine, little girls in their bedroom singing and dancing. So I started doing vocal lessons and I started off as a classical singer and was classically trained. I went down that route for a little bit then as I got older I progressed to doing musical theatre and did my first year of college studying musical theatre. I realised I couldn’t dance very well and decided to just take music. Up until I was about 18 I thought I would be a pop singer even though I was listening to rock and metal, I personally didn’t feel I had the voice to front a rock band. But one day I just sat myself in my kitchen and decided I wanted to try it. I wanted to join a band and see how it goes. I got on a website called join my band years ago and managed to find a pop punk band and was with them for about two years. It didn’t really work out because I’d joined an existing band and we weren’t writing anything new. So I left and one of my friends had just joined a new band that had started up and they had started it as a covers band and were looking for a singer. I auditioned and everything just clicked from there and then we started writing.”
Who were your early vocal influences. Who were the people you first started looking up to as vocalists?
“Going way back my earliest influence was Elton John. My dad was such a huge fan and he’s a pianist and he’s always playing Elton John on the piano. I grew up listening to Elton John and admiring his song writing and his singing. Another one was Freddie Mercury and agin my dad is a massive Queen fan. That man is the ultimate front man and the ultimate singer. I don’t think anyone could ever touch how amazing he was. David Bowie as well, again I grew up with a lot of Bowie and his vocal style intrigued me. It’s so different to everything else that was out there at the time. Nowadays I’m listening to Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage and Escape The Fate, Craig Mabbitt, a bit of Maria Brink from In This Moment. Also a little bit of Lzzy Hale, I get that comparison quite a bit.”
Now you’re in Sister Shotgun. How did you all get together?
“It came off the back of the band that I joined that was going to be a covers band. The first practice in, instead of going to do the covers we decided to sit down and write a song. The first song we ever wrote was a song called Dirty Mind and we still play it in the set today.”
You have a new album coming out soon. How does it differ from your earlier stuff?
“This time around the material has got heavier, not to a point where it’s unrecognisable as us and our sound though. I feel there’s a massive level of maturity from Devour to the new album and the material we’re writing now. I think a lot of that has come from the new members joining. From Devour the only remaining members are me and Niall so we were a completely different band with completely different influences then. This time we have three fresh faces with three fresh minds all pulling influences from different places. We have added a lot of newer elements and I think it’s a hell of a lot more grown up. It’s still got that Sister Shotgun feel to it but with a newer twist.”
Presumably you’re going to be looking to hit the road and do a lot of touring on the back of this album?
“Definitely. We’re looking at international touring, but there will be some UK dates as well. We’ve still to sit down with our label and decide where we’ll be touring but it will be including a lot of US dates and European dates along with the UK dates. It’s all very exciting.”
Moving on to a different aspect of your life now, you got in to modelling recently. Did that happen through being in the band or did it happen independently of it?
“It happened kind of through the band. I had an idea many years ago to try to put together a calendar of female musicians in our community. I met a photographer that kind of got me in to modelling through that and he said to come and do some individual shots. I decided to do one shoot to see how it goes because I didn’t really feel that comfortable in front of a camera even when we were shooting band stuff. It took a lot for me to get my posing right. I saw the shots and thought actually I can do this so we started to do more shoots together and then I started working with more photographers and it grew from there.”
There’s the obvious glamourous side to modelling but there can be a dark side too. Have you had any not so good experiences as a model?
“I’m very fortunate to work with professional people but I am an overly cautious person. Before I will consider working with anyone I’ll look in to who they’ve shot with and look in to all aspects of their work and try to decide whether it’s a safe place to put myself in. I have heard horror stories from friends of mine who are models and have had the horrible pervy photographer. Luckily everyone I’ve worked with so far has been a true professional. I’m lucky to have worked with some amazing photographers.”
Are you conscious with being in a band as well that you have to be careful with your image as a model because of the crossover aspect?
“Ever since I started to do modelling I’ve laid down ground rules to photographers that I’m in a band and I’ll only go so far. I’m not going to compromise my image with the band because they are my first priority and I would never want to do anything that would make them uncomfortable. I want people to look up to me as a strong woman who models and that’s really cool. For me there’s a limit and I’ve always been conscious to stay within that. Modelling is a bit of fun and I’m lucky to have taken it as far as I have.”
What’s the best and worst of you?
“I’m very persistent and tenacious and I’ll stop at nothing to become successful in music. I’m one track minded and focused. I’m also one of the messiest people you will ever meet in your entire life. I figured out it’s a creative thing. Every musician I’ve ever met is so messy it’s untrue.”
If you could turn back time is there anything in your past you would change?
“I’m a great believer in fate and the fact that everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t made a certain choice when I made it I might not be at the point I’m at now. I wouldn’t change a thing. At the end of the day my choices have taken me to this point and if I change something I might not be as happy and I’m quite happy with my life choices.”
If you had a chance to pick one person to duet with on stage, anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
“Don’t do this to me, there are so many people. Top of the list would have to be Freddie Mercury. I’d also love to duet with Corey Taylor. His voice is so versatile. I think we’d click really well vocally.”
Interview and Photos by Gary Trueman