Chloe Mitchell found her love for poetry around the age of seven, but she hadn't planned to write contributions for some of music's biggest artists. She's responsible for the poem during the third verse of Kanye West's "Blame Game" and the five pieces of braille poetry on the packaging of Rihanna's ANTI. Now she's stepped out and debuted her own poetry collection, Therapy Sessions, Vol. I. Mitchell explains it as a "medium of self-therapy and love," which she hopes will move others to look inward and discover themselves on a journey of compassion. She's taken her time writing the pieces and emphasizes the importance of having patience and stopping to grab inspiration from her surroundings to foster her creativity.
During a phone conversation last week, The FADER spoke to Chloe Mitchell about what it was like working with Kanye West and Rihanna, how love has shaped her new book, and how she stays so positive.
What topics inspired you in writing this book?
This book is so much about love. I’m just all about love. I'm a very loving individual and my friends and family are very close to me. It’s something that I really cherish whether it’s platonic or intimate. Love is something that you can’t live without. I’ve just gravitated towards doing that and that’s just my strong point along with my weak point. It’s just a beautiful tragedy and to be able to translate that writing has been one of the most therapeutic things that I’ve ever done. It’s amazing what words can do because you can heal people just by talking to them. How you speak to them and what you write down can just really make a large impact.
Had you always been that connected to love?
I’d been writing poetry from such a young age. I was probably like seven years old and that’s how I chose to express through writing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been through some things, I’ve seen some things, and I take my personal accounts and also my friends accounts and I just translate that on paper because it’s a form of therapy for me. I’m not too keen on verbally expressing myself, so if I write it down, then you can feel how I feel. I’m growing and getting into the movement of speaking how I feel, but it’s still a process.
Your poetry is very clear and very authentic. Do you think that's part of what draws others into your work?
Since I was young, I wanted to become a doctor and I wanted to help people. It sounds really cheesy but my mom didn’t force me go through with it. I was taking the right classes and I was pre-med and I had my life on track. I also always had this writing thing that was just for me and my personal pleasure. I have a really hard time expressing how I feel especially when it comes to love and heartbreak. Writing has been a natural thing. It has to come organically. I think people want someone that they feel is relatable. My stories and my poetry and what I say to other people is a testimony of my life. This is seriously like my diary. I felt so vulnerable printing out this book because I’m such a private person and and part of me wants to share my gift with the world and a part of me wants to hide. That’s just how artistry works. I can keep some of that stuff to myself but, it’s beautiful to see that people relate and that they want to share because if I was a shitty writer, people would tell me. That’s enough for me to be an inspiration and to help others.
You also wrote the five poems written in braille on Rihanna’s ANTI Album. Did you come up with the poems based off of what she’d described that she wanted?
Yeah and it was also how I felt as an individual. I think it really just went so well with how she is as an individual and as an artist. It was just one of those things where it worked out perfectly and to be able to see my work it just made sense. We had been emailing back and forth months prior to getting together. We set up a meeting and we met up in New York and it was me, Rihanna, and Roy Nacham, the artist who did the album artwork. We were shooting the breeze, talking shit, and just laughing and connecting energies. We talked about what she wanted and her direction of the album and we just took it from there.
And how did you get the opportunity to work with Kanye West on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy ?
My cousin is Teyana Taylor and at the time she was working on that album with him and she had a few songs on there. My mother passed him the poem and he read it and asked her to email it to him. After that, he was in studio and started reciting it and that’s just how it went. It’s so hallowing to know because it’s Kanye West. He’s a great performer and a great rapper and I think sometimes when you have that much power at that level, they’re so quick to call people crazy. But no, I understand where he’s coming from creative to creative and person to person. I just respect his work so much, so when he decided to do that on his own, I was like, “This is crazy!” I still get goosebumps and I don’t even listen to the song anymore because it’s very personal to me. It’s something very dear and close to my heart because it brings back good memories but also sad ones because I was going through a breakup. It worked out perfectly on that song. It’s amazing how it gelled together. People to this day say, I love that album, that song is my favorite.
What sustains your ultra positive attitude and outlook?
It boils down to who you keep around you and I’m just not for the drama in my life. So, when you put out good energy and you’re not willing to accept negativity or accept drama, it really reflects who you are. It just makes everything ten times better. You are who you keep around.
What are some of your favorite pieces from the book?
There’s one poem called “Return to Sender” and I wrote that to myself. It’s just about being nice to yourself because sometimes you can be hard or mean to yourself. It might not make sense to other people but sometimes you have to remember, you are who you are and you can’t apologize for who you are. We all go through these things. I reread it sometimes and I’m like, “Damn I was kind of hard on myself but I’m going to pick up and keep going.”