Chlöe Bailey—normally one half of the pop duo she shares with her sister, Halle Bailey—flexed her solo muscles Sunday night, when she performed her new single “Have Mercy” at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards. In an athletic dance routine paired with the 23-year-old’s signature power vocals, she proved the argument her sister began when she introduced Chlöe ahead of the show: “This year, [my sister] has stepped into her own artistry, sharing a message of self-expression and self-love. And I am so, so, so proud of her.”
But even if you’re not blood relatives of the Atlana-born artist, it was hard not to feel proud as she pivoted on the stage and unleashed a blood-curdling scream—one so intense it seemed to rise from the heels of her Barbie-pink platform heels up through her blonde locs. It seemed fitting of both a singer claiming her own space and also a woman alive in America in 2021. Truly, we can all relate.
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Chlöe only recently announced the upcoming release of her solo album, which features a track list she says she narrowed down from 50 songs. She’s been working on the pop project since late 2019, and says it is around 90-percent finished. “My sister went to London to film her movie [the upcoming live-action version of The Little Mermaid] for seven or eight months, and it was so hard being without her,” she told Billboard. “That is when I started creating my project.” She calls the process of writing and recording the album “the most liberated and happy that I have felt.”
We could spend the next few hours rating the best moments in Chlöe’s “Have Mercy” performance—the time she brought a man to his knees with one clawed hand to his cheek is certainly up there—but, with so much more of her music to come, we’ll have plenty more moments to keep us raving.
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