Interview: Clare Bowditch
Clare Bowditch was so believable in her portrayal of musician Rosanna Harding on channel 10's Offspring, that she was nominated in the best new female talent category at the 2012 Logies. In retrospect, the emotional performance wasn’t such a stretch for the performer. Bowditch has long held a reputation for wearing her heart on her sleeve, with her somewhat autobiographical lyrics encompassing seven albums and numerous tours both nationally and internationally.
While it's the subject of her latest tour, Winter Secrets, that has allowed Makers an opportunity to sit down with the inspiring creative between stints recording inside “an ABC Tardis”. We’ll happily confess that it is her juggling of several careers including singer, songwriter, actress, public speaker and entrepreneurial powerhouse that had us really intrigued.
Clare appears to have achieved both professional and personal accolades without sacrificing her private life or living under the constant spotlight of public scrutiny.
The musician won the Best Female ARIA Award in 2006, has had Top Ten albums. She was named Rolling Stone's Woman of the Year for her contributions to Culture, YEN Young Woman of the Year, and toured all over with the likes of Leonard Cohen, who famously “proposed” to her backstage. All of this while raising three children with her husband and recording partner, Marty Brown.
It’s very rare to find a performer who is happy to share their knowledge of the ins and outs of the Australian music industry while also giving insight as to how to live a profitable yet creatively satisfying life.
These subjects were just two of the driving forces that lead Clare to create her online mentoring program, Big Hearted Business, in 2013.
“Like all multi-passionate people,” the bubbly performer explains during our mid-week chat, “I’ve been trying to find a place of dynamic equilibrium, which means that I can actually take care of myself while taking on my various creative pursuits, my family, my business and so on”.
Displaying a level of self-disclosure that has become increasingly rare in our age of overly hyped, mass media celebrity, she continues.
Clare: “When I saw people that were good at it [managing their careers] I started picking up on things and had the urge to pass it [the knowledge] on. I could see the usefulness, the joy the connectivity that comes from understanding creativity.”
Since founding the program (made possible with a successful crowd funding campaign), Clare has helped produce a series of conferences and online “inspiration bombs” designed to teach both business and creativity.
Clare: “We work with people who get that you can have a successful business and still contribute to the community, culture and social enterprise".
Although the performer is the first to admit that finding balance is still a constant struggle, and one of the factors that inspired her to start Big Hearted Business, she is also fostering creativity through her annual Winter Secrets tour. Giving one local musician in each state the unique opportunity to perform during the concert and be in the running to win a $1000 cash prize.
Clare: “I was the person in the audience for so many years who sat there and thought, ‘I know I’ve got something to give creatively’, but I didn’t think it would be possible to make a living from it. In the meantime I was writing songs and hoping that I would have the chance to perform them in front of people one day: for me, Winter Secrets, is about giving someone who has the guts and the talent the chance to just see what it feels like to be up there.”
Earlier this year Bowditch posted an update on her Facebook page explaining that she didn’t think it would be possible to run Winter Secrets in 2014.
While this was disappointing news to fans, it’s fair to say that Clare was left feeling the most disheartened of all. She explains to Makers that her busy schedule and the launch into an “album phase” were contributing factors in her decision to cancel the tour that had been running annually since 2010.
Clare: “We were thinking of launching back into an album phase now, but I thought, no, I’m going to [tour] even if it was a smaller than what we’d usually do. I needed to get out on the road and actually see the people that I’ll be writing the album for, before I get the gumption to go ahead and write it. A lot of what I write about is formed by the conversations I have with the strangers who are my audience.”
Clare: “After [Winter Secrets] I’ll be finishing writing an album and I think we’re going to record next year. I’ll be dabbling in writing while continuing with Big Hearted Business, and next year I’ll hopefully record, release and tour. But we’ll see how we go.”
After wondering aloud how the performer manages to successfully keep all of her balls in the air, Clare can’t help but confide, “I have to tell you something funny. I was listening to a few of the new demos the other day and almost all of the songs had the word ‘tired’ in them. That was one of the themes that I was picking up on but it definitely won’t be an album about being tired. I’ll have to find something else."