People look to music for connection. When they cannot express themselves, they go to an artist who has already expressed these same feelings in song. Aussie newcomer Clinton Kane is one of these people, a songwriter known for capturing heartbreak in a raw, relatable and distinct way.
On Aug. 20, 2021, however, Kane deviated from his typical breakup song to release “I GUESS I’M IN LOVE,” a love song which has made its way onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart and placed him as the #377 artist in the world as of Sept. 14, according to Spotify.
Kane’s rise to stardom began with the release of his 2021 single “CHICKEN TENDIES,” a song focused not on poultry, but, in his words, “accepting things and relationships I can’t change.”
“CHICKEN TENDIES” provided Kane with his Billboard Hot 100 debut, making it to #11 on the March 6, 2021 chart. The song caught the attention of many students this summer, including junior Sydney Kovak.
Kane’s unique song-naming is at its finest with his Feb. 19, 2021 hit, “CHICKEN TENDIES.” While listeners would expect a title as profound as the song’s lyrics, Kane has admitted to naming the song after screaming the words “chicken tendies” while craving the food in a viral TikTok.
“The first time I’ve ever cried to a song was ‘CHICKEN TENDIES,’[...] other than a worship song,” said Kovak. “It was just the lyrics and how he put so much emotion into it that made me cry.”
Many students, such as senior Luke Tuttle, are drawn to the relatability and personable nature of Kane and other singer-songwriters’ work.
“I would say that singer-songwriters are gaining popularity because of COVID,” said Tuttle. “People had to stay indoors and so they started listening to new music [...] I started listening to [Olivia Rodrigo], and her stuff is great as well. You just venture out and listen to these different songs, and they impact you because they’re going through the same stuff you’re going through. Everyone goes through the same stuff, but they actually write about it and sing about it, so it makes it kind of like a therapy session for you.”
One sign of a good songwriter is helping a listener feel vicariously through a song, and Kane has mastered this art. Although Kane’s experiences differ from those of some students, his honest lyrics remain poignant, connecting to students on a deep, emotional level.
“I wouldn’t say it’s relatable, but it just makes you feel like you were a part of it, and he’s really relational with what he writes,” said Kovak.
Although “I GUESS I’M IN LOVE” goes in a different direction from Kane’s discography, which has previously focused on topics such as heartbreak, anxiety, hopelessness and loss, the song remains true to him and rings even truer with listeners.
“‘I GUESS I’M IN LOVE’ is very similar to his other songs. They’re just written on a different topic,” said Kovak. “The other songs are about how he lost someone, but this one is about how he found someone.”