Claire Ridgely Turns Trauma Into Empowerment With “Can We Be Friends?”

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“I had escaped a threatening interaction with an older man on my way home from school as a child and that experience stuck with me all of these years,” Claire Ridgely told American Songwriter. “I wrote this song as a way to heal.”

That song is Ridgely’s new single “Can We Be Friends?” which dropped on Friday. Ridgely, a Seattle native who’s currently based out of Montreal, explained how she was able to turn a traumatic childhood experience into such a groovy track.

“It’s a song that you can really dance to,” she said. “It feels so good to be able to dance to something that was once traumatic and heavy. I co-wrote this song with my friend — and talented musician — Oren. He asked me if there was anything in my childhood that stood out, any memories that came to mind, while we were brainstorming the lyrics for this song and this was the story that came to mind first. I didn’t realize how much of a part of me this story was until that happened. I wanted to write about this subject as a way to give that experience new meaning and take power back. While the man in my childhood tried to remove my power, writing this song was therapeutic and allowed me to control the narrative and give me back my voice.”

The song itself is a glossy pop number that has an indie hue to it, and at times can even sound modern country-esque. While the song shies away from a strong melody, the slick production and driving bass line make it textbook dance-y. Especially when Ridgely’s smooth harmonies come in on the chorus, the tune feels like a perfect pairing for a sunset convertible ride. 

“I want people to take away the message of healing old wounds by finding ways to allow them to be a part of your story, but not your whole story,” Ridgely said. “There’s also a message in there about listening to your own intuition and letting it guide you, just trusting yourself. I hope that listeners will also understand that writing and performing this song was my way of working through this scary experience, and that can look different for everyone. It’s super important to pay attention to your stories and find your own ways to make more peace with them.”

Listen to Claire Ridgely’s new single “Can We Be Friends?” below:

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