Cleo Handler brings hope in her latest album “Gold”

LA Music Review | Art, stories and advice

Honest and empowering!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Photo by Katia Koziara

Hi Cleo Handler, welcome to LA Music Review! Tell us a little bit about you and your music.

Hi! I’m Cleo Handler, an LA-native, a longtime lyricist in the Advanced BMI Songwriting Workshop in NY, and an award-winning indie filmmaker. I spent the past decade in Brooklyn but recorded “Gold” when I returned to LA with Claire Morison at Wild Horizon Studios in Hollywood. A bunch of excellent LA-based artists worked on it, including Sarsten Noice (bass) and Mike DeLuccia (drums), and the videos were all filmed in Angelino Heights.

Musically, I drew inspiration from beloved artists like Liz Phair and Wet Leg, nodding to the strength and snark of Olivia Rodrigo and Hole. Visually, the videos explore nostalgic, reflective, and playful themes using a “home movie” palette.

Start streaming “Gold” here:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Congrats on the release! What was your inspiration when you were writing this project?

Photo by Katia Koziara

Released on March 03, 2023. “Gold” is about what we can gain when everything is lost. The raw production, honest storytelling, and deeply personal lyrics explore the loss of love, community, reality, and even your idea of yourself. But, hopefully, it’s also kind of fun. And oh, right—it’s a breakup album.

This album and accompanying videos were born after an extreme rollercoaster of a sudden breakup with my long-term (musician) partner. Focusing on writing was the only thing that kept me afloat, and the overpowering urge to channel my music kept me going. It became a compulsion, and I held on for dear life, singing and strumming, even when my voice cracked and my fingers bled.

What is your vision for this song?

These songs are about empowerment, self-actualization, and finding a reason to go on —and the courage to hope, sing, even laugh—in the darkest times.

What is your favorite part of this body of work?

I absolutely loved making this project with Claire Morison and was so excited to work with the incredible local musicians she connected me with. But my absolute favorite art of the project is the lyric videos. I’m very proud of them. They added a lot to the music.

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