Keeping it real in our City

​Truth teller: Clare Bowditch



You know how rock-stars are supposed to be all, y’know, aloof and out-of-reach? Yeah, well, no one told Clare Bowditch. Clare, you see, has a way of connecting with people – a way of talking their language and speaking a universal truth. It’s cool, and it works, and it’s why we love her. It’s also the reason she’s a successful radio host, speaker, writer, actor and creative-business mentor – as well as an ARIA-winning songwriter.

Clare’s music tells the story of her journey; her eighth album, which she’s finished writing and is now in the process of recording, reflects where she’s at right now. And not just where she’s at: this album will speak to so many of us – particularly the mums trying to find their unique groove on the harsh domestic landscape. (Hello!)

“This album tells the story that I don’t often hear in pop music,” Clare tells me. “It asks, how do we be ourselves and at the same time live our domestic existence? Who are we when our lives are as busy as they are?

“I’m an artist – many albums into my career, and still working – but with a family and a really long-term relationship. We always hear about the start of relationships and we hear about the end of relationships, but I wanted to tell the story from the middle.

“What I’m coming up with is just real life. My dog is out the back, chewing on something that heh shouldn’t be chewing on while in the meantime we’re trying to have this conversation.,” she continues, laughing.

“That’s where the songs are at, in a way. They’re about the contradictions; the shame that we feel for our foibles and yet the courage to continue being ourselves in the world.”

Clare tells me the story behind one song that is particularly poignant: “One of the new songs is called Let’s Go to Bed, and it’s about this tiredness that we feel.

“We reach this point in our relationships and our lives where we think things are going to get easier and instead they keep getting more complicated. How can we dance to that theme? How can we make joy to that theme?

“In this song, the husband’s solution is to say, ‘Stop your whingeing, let’s go to bed; let’s remember who we were when we fell in love.’”

Through her music, Clare Bowditch has always spoken to people, but now – as a radio presenter on ABC Victoria – she’s doing that quite literally.

“I’m talking to bloody fascinating people every afternoon for two hours on talk-back. People tell the truth on talk-back radio. You can’t see their face, so they tell you what they’re feeling.

“I’m always trying to give voice to feelings. I think I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking that I feel too much, and that there’s something wrong with feeling too much. I think many of us feel that way, but this has really opened my mind up about all the different things that go on with human beings.”

One of the most honest voices in Australian music, Clare Bowditch is back in WA for the Fremantle Arts Festival on November 5. She can’t wait, and neither can we.

“Music is always the number one of my passions; it’s always the place where I’m working hardest to tell the truth.

“I’m coming with a new set of players that Perth won’t have seen me play with before: one is Andre Warhurst and the other is Xani from a band called the Twoks. We’ll be trying out new songs, and old songs, and new variations on old songs.

“That connection at a live show is so important to me. I hope that every time I do a show that people come out going, ‘I wasn’t expecting that, that was one of the best nights of my life, I met amazing people in that audience, I took a risk being there.’

“We’re always trying to give people a chance to laugh, enjoy themselves and sing along, and that’s what our show in Perth will be.”

You can get tickets for Clare’s show at the Fremantle Arts Festival at http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=65251  

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