Too many of us know what it’s like to feel you’re building a relationship with someone, only for that person to burn it all down. Montreal-based folk-pop artist Clare Siobhan offers a clever take on the situation with her new single “I Built a House with an Arsonist.”
“I wrote the song as a playful exploration of bad habits, and my own rose-coloured-glasses, benefit-of-the-doubt tendencies in my personal life,” Clare said. “The whole feeling of the song for me is that sometimes you’re so ready to jump into a new adventure that you don’t stop to consider you might burn a few houses down along the way.”
Clare was conscious of creating a Sara Bareilles-type feel, with heartbeat-reminiscent drums alongside piano and vocal harmonies. Though the song mostly looks on betrayal with humor, it also conveys deep empathy. In fact, when Clare posted a snippet of the unreleased song to TikTok, the reception was overwhelming.
“People really loved the song and were relating it to really challenging situations in their lives: breakups, divorces, difficult relationships, and feelings of personal betrayal from loved ones,” Clare recalled. “What the audience was connecting to was completely different from my own inspiration for the song – I’d written it with a much lighter heart and hadn’t infused any of my own heaviness into the lyrics when I wrote them.”
The TikTok reception ultimately influenced the song in its final form. Clare said it was important to honour the personal stories people had shared with her.
“In the final version, I feel you can hear some of that: the driving drumbeat, the swelling harmonies, the emotion I tried to release in the vocals. I really appreciated the feedback from the audience in those early stages of writing, and it helped breathe new life into the song during the final arrangement.”
The song is the third release from Clare’s forthcoming EP Seek The Sun, following “Flare” and “3/2 (Loves Me).” It’s a compendium in which Clare reflects on her life thus far, meditating on the joys and challenges of her twenties.
Clare Siobhan is a genre-blending East Coast artist with a voice beyond her years. With her distinctive, rich alto voice, she paints pictures of love and loss, hope and fear, stillness and change through her deeply personal and introspective lyrics.
Her single “I Built A House with an Arsonist” is available now.