Turning up with another showstopping visual, rising R&B star Forest Claudette [He/They] shares the music video for their buzzing single “Mess Around,” a collaboration with hip-hop duo EARTHGANG via Warner Records. As always, the Grey Ghost-directed clip finds Forest in their own lane. Decked out in a dapper forest green ‘fit, they not only croon into the microphone, but Claudette's extra arms hold down the beat on the drum kit and other hands pull magic from the Wurlitzer. It serves as a perfectly slick and showstopping companion to the old-school-infused bop. “Mess Around” arrived as the Australian-American crooner’s first new release since dropping 2022’s acclaimed The Year of February EP. The track has just begun to gain traction at streaming platforms. In addition to plugs from the likes of Rated R&B, Australia’s The Music attested, “’Mess Around’ is slinky, sexy, and perfectly executed by Claudette whose smooth voice makes you feel some type of way in this single.” The slinky, after-hours anthem kicks off with a deep groove. “If I could mess around and see you, I would,” Claudette sings over the woozy, multi-layered production, adding: “But the exit’s on the way and the writing’s on the wall.” The addictive chorus showcases the breakout artist’s full range and boasts a mesmerizing synth flute hook, which lends “Mess Around” a care-free, throwback feel. Apart from a series of acoustic releases, “Mess Around” is Claudette’s first new song since dropping his debut EP, The Year of February, in 2022. That offering featured acclaimed singles like “Creaming Soda” and “Hologram,” where Claudette wonders if They deserve the spotlight he has craved his whole life. Matters of the heart were also front and center on The Year of February. “Gone Without a Trace” and “Goodbye” comprise the heartbreak section of the EP with the latter making a lasting impression. “You didn’t like the way I said goodbye, that’s because I didn’t want to say it,” They sing on the chorus—evoking an often felt, but rarely uttered breakup sentiment. The truth is Claudette has always had an ear for incredible hooks—and a voice to deliver them. Born in the Dandenong Ranges of Victoria, Australia, the newcomer also spent time in the US throughout his formative years. Captivated by singer-songwriters like Frank Ocean and Moses Sumney, he honed his craft at an alternative high school and wrote his first song at 15. Soon afterward, Claudette caught the attention of national radio station triple j, which led to co-writing sessions with other artists and songwriters. Now, with “Mess Around,” Claudette takes it up a notch with a smoldering single that is destined to make a mark on the R&B scene and beyond.
ABOUT FOREST CLAUDETTE: Forest Claudette’s music is a comfort for the restless mind. The 23-year-old powers through life’s growing pains with diaristic songwriting—using their thoughtful take on alternative R&B and pop to confront their place in this world. Claudette’s debut single “Creaming Soda” is, consequently, a stirring glimpse into their most intimate thoughts. Over a woozy blend of bleary soul, glowing pop, and bruising rap sounds, they lay themself bare—showing off a winning personality while detailing their insecurities, too. Claudette’s upcoming EP is filled with songs that represent their “soft feelings,” he says, channelling a lifetime of overthinking into a sense of self-discovery. After growing up in a small town in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia, and spending time exploring soul artists in the US, Claudette attended an experiential-learning-focused high school where they spent years trying to perfect their craft. They took piano, guitar, and vocal lessons, but they soon realized that nobody could teach them how to write a song that told their story—so they began to work hard on their own. When triple j held an annual music contest for high school students, they submitted a song, which earned them an impromptu interview and a spin on the radio station. “Creaming Soda” is a product of years of experimenting after that early success. It’s the sound of an artist who, after a long period of searching, has found their sweet spot. “When I was 16, I had some pretty big ideas and I didn’t know how they would come into fruition,” they says. “All that shit happened.”