Claire Gohst was 18 and living in Singapore when she left school to pursue music full-time. She started out playing the violin and singing with different bands, but it wasn’t long before she made the decision to move to Boston and form the indie rock project Paper Citizen. And her 2016 debut EP, Postcards in Transit, uses deep-seated songwriting to shine a light on the emotion and uncertainty that come with unfamiliar experiences. After moving to a new country to pursue a lifelong dream, Gohst was more than qualified to unpack the sensitive material.
But despite the challenges that come with that kind of journey, she was able to seamlessly acclimate to the city, and her reverie for Boston’s temperament and local sound developed immediately.
Gohst’s first local concert was Boston Calling in 2013. It was there she saw Andrew Bird, one of her favorite musicians. “He was performing solo and used a lot of loops to build his arrangements. He played guitar and violin, while also singing and whistling,” she tells us. “I was really inspired by his level of musicianship – and how he was so cool and calm on stage.”
She continues to draw from that experience, and other musical influences like Wilco and St. Vincent, to build the multi-layered melodies that she’s creating with Paper Citizen.
In the beginning, Gohst was working with a band to arrange her music, and she then would record it on her own at a local studio. It wasn’t until last year that she began collaborating with her friend and engineer, Colin Fleming, who co-produced her latest EP Distraction, an album recorded at a combination of Q Division and Herd, in addition to Gohst’s home studio.
“We still managed the project independently, capturing and designing sounds to color the arrangement,” she tells us. “And we worked on a shared vision, which drew a lot of influence from rock records of the late 90s.”
Gohst's work is being recognized as some of the area's best, and it's earning her critical praise. In 2016 she was voted Deli Magazine’s “New England Emerging Artist of the Month”, and in 2017 she received a New England Music Awards nomination for New Act of the Year. But for her, the biggest reward has been connecting to people through music.
When asked what her future plans are, she tells us that she’s focused on growth. “I’m evolving as I continue to write and produce these songs, and so all I know is that there’s more on its way.”
The Boston Music Awards recently selected Paper Citizen to be a part of the 617Sessions, a program that recognizes Boston-based artists who are making great contributions to the local scene, and rewards them with a day of studio recording.
Visit 617Sessions.com to learn more.