Chloe Bailey Says Her Music Is Categorized As R&B Because She’s Black: ‘That’s Just the Way It’s Always Been’

Chloe Bailey Says Her Music Is Categorized As R&B Because She’s Black: ‘That’s Just the Way It’s Always Been’

From Beyoncé‘s Cowboy Carter to Shaboozey‘s “A Bar Song,” 2024 has been a watershed year for Black artists excelling critically and commercially in genres that have traditionally tried to box Black artists out despite having a storied history of Black innovators. Conversations about the blurring of genre lines have dominated the music industry for years, and it’s a sentiment that Grammy-nominated singer-producer Chlöe Bailey is incredibly intimate with.

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“Any music I do will easily and quickly be categorized as R&B because I’m a Black woman,” she told Nylon in her cover story. “If someone who didn’t have my skin tone made the same music, it would be in the pop categories. That’s just the way it’s always been in life.”

As a part of the Chloe x Halle duo — which includes her Little Mermaid-starring younger sister Halle Bailey — Chlöe regularly traversed genres. On the duo’s two Billboard 200-charting Grammy-nominated studio LPs, 2018’s The Kids Are Alright (No. 139) and 2020’s Ungodly Hour (No. 16), the sisters dabbled in soul, electronica, house, hip-hop, alternative rock, contemporary pop, R&B and more. Chloe’s debut solo LP, In Pieces, featured a similar amalgamation of sounds, which helped her reach No. 119 on the all-genre albums chart. Despite releasing several pop-facing tunes, including April’s “Boy Bye,” Chlöe’s awards and chart success have primarily come in the R&B field. Of her five career Grammy nods, just one came from outside of the R&B categories — her 2018 best new artist nod as one-half of Chloe x Halle.

In her Nylon interview, the “Have Mercy” singer named Whitney Houston and Beyoncé as two artists she looks to for inspiration regarding standing firm in genre experimentation, specifically lauding the latter artist’s latest smash album. “That’s why I was really proud of Beyoncé doing Cowboy Carter,” she said, “because Black people originated country music. It’s just showing that possibilities are endless.”

The “Treat Me” singer also finds solace in knowing that her work is often ahead of the curve. “What I kind of love about my art is that it sneaks up on you,” she explained. “When In Pieces came out, not many people really got it. But now a year later, people are like, ‘Oh, it’s genius! It’s beautiful! It’s amazing!’ And if you think about it, that’s how it has been with me and my sister’s previous work as well. No one ever gets it when it first comes out.”

Chlöe is currently gearing up for the release of Trouble In Paradise, her sophomore solo studio album, which is slated to drop “later this summer.” The “Surprise” singer has released a pair of singles this year — “Boy Bye” and the moody R&B banger “FYS” — and she also used her Nylon interview to confirm some of the album’s collaborators, including Halle, Jeremih and Anderson .Paak. In Pieces — which she supported with 25-date North American and European tour — featured collaborations with Chris Brown, Missy Elliott and Future.

Chlöe made her official solo debut with 2021’s “Have Mercy,” a booty-praising hit that reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. To date, Chlöe has wracked up four Hot 100 hits, including “Treat Me” (No. 81), “You & Me” (No. 72, with Gunna) and the 2023 Amazon Music exclusive “Winter Wonderland” (No. 63).

See her cover and photos for Nylon below: