Living an Electro-Pop Daydream with Lillian, Lead Singer of CUTTS
Lillian Cutts is one-half of the Electro-Pop/Contemporary R&B duo CUTTS. As a child, this Vermont-born singer loved to imagine her future music career, letting her favorite songs sweep her away into her daydreams of being a performer. Today, Cutts exhibits a fun-loving quirkiness and genuine self-assurance that has served to translate her childhood dreams into real life.
Despite her longstanding love for music, it was the recent loss of a loved one that inspired Cutts to go all-in on the pursuit of her musical passion. Cutts found the perfect match for her unique musical style in a close friend she met while attending American University in Washington, D.C., music engineer Peter Bonaventure. Bonaventure has a natural propensity for balancing Cutts’ sensual voice with electro-pop beats, as demonstrated in their first single, “Entertain Me”.
In her exclusive interview with Like A Boss Girls, Lillian Cutts shares her story — including the turning point that changed her career path, how friendship fuels the unbreakable CUTTS dynamic, and talks about the forces that fuel her spirit, both in music and in life.
Introduction by Meredith Reed
Name: Lillian Cutts
Artist name: CUTTS
Currently based in: NYC
Originally from: Vermont
Your superpower: I believe I can fly.
Biggest pet peeve:
When boys leave whiskers in the sink from shaving. Had to call Peter out for that one — he never did it again.
Favorite 90s jam:
“Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, or “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.
What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of music?
I love finding new things to see, getting drinks with friends, reading, writing, and playing with virtual reality.
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you love to splurge on?
I’d probably splurge on a really dope keyboard — like a Rhodes or Wurlitzer that was super classy but also obviously over the top.
What is a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
I’m still learning.
“Put a Spell On You” by Alice Smith, a cover of Nina Simone.
If you could live anywhere else in the world right now, where would it be?
I’d live in Barcelona.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I remember being in the bathtub when I was around four years old or so, making up this random song, and thinking to myself, “Wow, this is so dope.” Also, I remember listening to music in the car and imagining being the person who wrote that song while dramatically looking out the window. I always wanted to be a musician. It’s the dream.
How would you describe CUTTS’ sound?
This is always the hardest question to answer. Every time I feel like we get a good go-to response down, we do a new song that completely throws it off. Honestly, I think it depends on my mood, and what I’m trying to express in that moment or day. It tends to be on the darker and moody side, with some electro-pop/contemporary R&B influences. In general, I think [my sound] could go anywhere at any point.
What are the main themes or topics in CUTTS songs?
Love, loss, women…women, women, women.
As a whole, what is the message you hope to put forth with your music?
Whatever the listener is feeling.
How did you connect with your other band member in CUTTS?
My other band member, Peter, is my best friend. We met in D.C. and started working on music together. The first time around, it didn’t really click and he ended up moving up to NYC. But last August, I lost someone really close to me, and that was a bit of a turning point. She was the first person who really convinced me I could do music. She convinced me that I could drop the security net of a 9-to-5 job and just go for it. When she passed away, I just had to do it.
Peter came and stayed with me for awhile, just being a friend and helping me out. But then we agreed to work on an old song for what was going to be my EP. We finished that song, and then another, and then we realized we created CUTTS. There is no one I’d rather do it with.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Janice Joplin, Jamie XX, James Blake, and Janet Jackson.
How do you feel your music evolved since you first started CUTTS?
I have always liked the weirder, more off-beat stuff. Peter is more of a pop guy. I think we found a common ground that suits us both equally, and people seem to be digging it.
Do you play any instruments, and if so, which ones?
I play piano, produce a little, and I also played the sax back in the day. I should probably pick that back up.
Who writes your songs?
For CUTTS, writing is really collaborative. Peter and I generally start with something one of us created, and then sit down and perfect it together. It’s pretty nice.
What do you do or where do you go when you need to find musical inspiration for CUTTS?
I walk around the city. I like to look at things, read, and just let my mind wander. Or I wait until I hear someone say something that just sticks for some reason.
Where do you see yourself 30 years from now?
Good question. I don’t know exactly. A part of me says I’ll have a really cool wife and maybe some kids and I’ll be chilling in my dope beach house. The other side of me is like, “At the club.”
What is a project you’re currently working on that you are most excited about?
CUTTS is what I’m really pouring everything into right now. We have some really good stuff coming soon. Get on the wagon before it flips.
What stands out as one of your worst/most horrifying performances of all time?
Probably one of the first shows I ever did before CUTTS was real. We didn’t have a sound guy and it was at a restaurant, so it just sounded really bad.
What is one thing that you have accomplished as a musician that you’re most proud of?
Expanding my musical taste by appreciating pop music in the way it deserves to be loved.
Share a story of a time you screwed up in your musical career and how you recovered:
I don’t think this is a direct response to this question, but I’m going with it anyway because it’s a funny story. One time we were on stage and I got really pumped for the drop of this song, so I jumped up, but my foot was on the mic cord, so the mic fell out of my hands. The recovery part was me reacting like a lynx and catching the mic before it hit the ground, but then I was also audibly laughing into the mic during the biggest part of the song.
Are there any resources you have discovered that have been an asset to you as a musician that you’d like to share?
Collaboration! As an artist, you have to help other artists out. Sharing the creativity is what keeps people inspired.
For more on CUTTS —
This interview is part of the Steereo Featured Artist Series. Steereo promotes new music from up-and-coming artists in rideshare vehicles, reaching new listeners and fans as they travel.