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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

Interview with Claire Anne Taylor

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Claire Anne Taylor plays the Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club on Saturday

Voice from the Forest

Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club | Saturday 2 Feb | 6.30pm | $20

Tasmanian songstress Claire Anne Taylor has just released her second album All the Words, a soulful masterpiece. Recorded in a wooden cabin in the Huon Valley, it has all the hallmarks of her own forest birth. She performs at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services on Saturday.

Tell me about your new album All the Words. What was the feel you were going for?

I wanted to create an album that was honest and understated and that’s why I made the decision to record it in my home in Tasmania, where I feel most at ease and most like myself.  Recording it in a wooden cabin in Tasmania’s Huon Valley also helped to add a warmth and earthiness to the production. The album is predominantly a soul record, with a deliberate choice of horns, keys, and strings to give it that classic, timeless feel. 

Tell me about Pick Your Bones and the barroom brawl it tells a story of.

A few years ago I had a brief, unpleasant experience doing some work in a bar and I was horrified to find myself the target of some horrendous, threatening comments from some of the patrons there. I would love to elaborate on the sorts of comments I received but they are far too offensive to be included here. My experience got me thinking about what many female bar workers (and I’m sure male bar workers) must be subjected to on a daily basis in this kind of environment and it inspired me to write a female character who was ballsy and unafraid to stand up for herself. I can think of many songs about men who have barroom brawls but I don’t know of any that portray the woman as the strong, gutsy character in the story so I felt it was a character that I needed to write. 

How integral was your childhood and your sense of nature a part of your work? How do you think it shaped you?

I am the youngest of six and we were all born in a barn out in the bush in Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest. My siblings and I spent most of our childhood playing barefoot in the bush, building cubbies made of ferns, and climbing trees. Growing up with all that space and freedom certainly brought out a lot of creativity in us and I think it allowed us to let our imaginations run wild. I really believe that my songwriting and my music owe a lot to the space I had to express myself in my childhood and undoubtedly to the love and encouragement I received from my parents.  

What is the key, do you think, to taking an audience on an emotional journey?

I think listeners can tell when you are being sincere and when you’re not and I think that emotional connection from an audience comes when there is that trust between the artist and the audience. For me, the times when I connect to my audience the most and when I take them on an emotional journey are the times when I am being myself. 

What do you love most about performing?

I love the way that it allows you to connect with other people, strangers even, and for a moment we can get to the heart of what’s important. It’s the human connection that I love the most. 

Has how you approach a live show changed over time?

I think the more you play in front of people the more comfortable you become. My experience of playing shows has taught me to be myself on stage and to be vulnerable with my audience. Sometimes I share things that are deeply personal with complete strangers and I believe that this honesty is really important, especially in the modern world we live in where social media often encourage people to present the best side of themselves. 

What should we expect from your Mullum show?

Coming back to play in Mullum feels like a homecoming of sorts because I lived in the area for a few years and I got to know and love the community there. I guess you can expect me to be bloody happy to be back in one of my favourite communities, so there will be a lot of joy in the room. Mostly, I’m just so looking forward to sharing the songs from my new album and catching up with some beautiful folks in the area. 

Claire Anne Taylor plays the Mullumbimby Ex-Services on Saturday at 6.30pm with Ash Bell & Sara Tindley as support.

Tix at mullumexservices.com.au.

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