23 Jan Collette McLafferty Resurfaces with Stunning, New ‘Oceans’ Cover and Video
by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
Collette McLafferty is blessed with the kind of vocal range and rockstar power that most singers work decades to achieve. She hasn’t lost one iota of talent since the early 2000s, when her indie-rock band edibleRed gigged on the regular — at one point earning an MTV “Buzzworthy” mention — with bright, high-energy songs like like “At Hello” and “Sugar and Spring,” and a stunning, slowed-down cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”
But the last nine years — including and prior to Covid — have been the toughest yet, between the rock siren’s notorious $10 million lawsuit for fronting a P!nk cover band, the onset of the pandemic, and life in general. While life’s challenges have fueled her desire to combat ageism, advocate for Britney Spears’ freedom and against frivolous lawsuits, and pen a salacious, eye-opening memoir, her own music has taken a bit of a backseat.
Not anymore. Collette’s new cover of Pearl Jam’s “Oceans,” accompanied by a video of a mermaid (Victoria Persephone) navigating the murky ocean waters, is possibly her most enchanting collaboration yet, and truly showcases the beauty, scope, and timelessness of her voice.
[SEE RELATED: COLLETTE MCLAFFERTY FINDS HER MOST POWERFUL VOICE IN THE WAKE OF $10 MILLION PINK COVER BAND LAWSUIT]
“When Victoria approached me to sing on this, I felt I could reintroduce myself to the music world,” says Collette. “I got to tap into my classical training and use a part of my voice that was dormant in my earlier work.”
If you listen closely to the lyrics while watching the mermaid weaving through rock and coral, you might think the song is autobiographical, about Collette navigating her way through treacherous obstacles back into her songwriting career. But perhaps a more fitting takeaway is this: You are not at the end of the road if you are a woman in her 40s or 50s, trying to get ahead in your career. You can still empower and inspire others and mesmerize listeners.
We recently caught up with Collette to talk about the song, the video, and how she is resurfacing in music, while defying ageism that’s notorious in the music industry:
Rockmommy: It’s so good to hear your voice, singing. Where have you been the last few years?
Collette McLafferty: Thank you! I’ve been active over the years as a studio singer mostly, providing ghost vocals and the occasional feature on EDM and house music tracks. I was understandably burnt out after the lawsuit and media circus, so I went underground for a while.
In 2020 I took a break from music and pursued other interests. At the start of the pandemic, I befriended some YouTube creators who were covering Britney Spears’ conservatorship case. Because of my own experiences with corruption in the media, legal system, and music industry I took a strong interest. I went to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles every few weeks to document the activists and legal professionals who challenged the case. I watched #freebritney go from a small group of dismissed protesters to a worldwide human rights movement.
I’m in the New York Times documentary “Controlling Britney Spears” for a hot second standing behind Britney’s lawyer Mathew Rosengart! This was the main focus of my life for close to a year.
Rockmommy: We can’t stop watching the “Oceans” video. When did you decide to do this cover and why?
Collette McLafferty: I have my friend Victoria Persephone and her YouTube channel “Trésor De La Mer” to thank for that. Victoria is a professional mermaid. She makes videos swimming in exotic locations and has an extensive merchandise line of underwater fantasy prints. She asked me if I would consider singing a rendition of the song for her channel. When I heard the song, I had to say yes!
I loved the way it turned out, so I decided to release it as a single. It felt like a good way to reintroduce myself to the music world.
Rockmommy: Tell us about the gorgeous mermaid artwork, too!
Collette McLafferty: In addition to the video, Victoria is also the mermaid on the cover art for “Oceans.” I took a still of Victoria in the “Oceans” video and played around in Canva to create the visual used for the single. Distrokid (which is distributing “Oceans”) provided some tools to further expand on it. During my time off from the music industry I dabbled in graphic design. I’m just as proud of the cover art as the recording. It’s amazing what we can do online these days!
Rockmommy: One of my favorite covers of all time is edibleRed’s “Hey Ya!” — any edibleRed reunions in the future?
Collette McLafferty: Thank you, I love a slowed-down cover song. “Hey Ya!” will always be near and dear to my heart. edibleRed briefly reunited in 2019 on the TruTV show “It’s Personal with Amy Hoggart” after a ten-year hiatus. In February of 2020 we played our first live show at The Parkside Lounge. It was a blast. We talked about getting the band back together, but we all know what happened next. Everything shut down. I left New York City after 26 years. My hope is that we can work virtually and put out at least a song or two. The one thing about edibleRed… that band will never die. It always finds a way to live on.
Rockmommy: Will we see more singles or an album soon?
Collette McLafferty: It’s no secret I have had an album in the can for years. It’s ninety percent done. I’ve decided to ditch any hope of finishing it as a whole project. I’m going to release singles. I’m taking it slow, baby steps. I have additionally recorded a handful of collaborations, but they are all still in production. Some very interesting artists slid into my DMs over the last year, so I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.