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May 6, 2021

Interview with Claire Anne Taylor

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Claire Anne Taylor is at Mullum Music Festival

Claire Anne Taylor

Mullum Music Festival  |  14-17 Nov

Claire Anne Taylor is a force of nature.  Born in Tasmania’s ancient Tarkine rainforest into her father’s hands in the family barn, her music comes growling from the floorboards, right into the centre of your being. She’s one of the featured artists at Mullum Music Fest this year!

What is the most creative time for you Claire? Are you a morning person, late night inspirations?

I am definitely not a morning person. I have always been a night owl. Often I will go to sleep at night and I will have lines running around my head and I will have to grab my phone to record an idea before it’s gone. I love it when late night inspiration hits.

Your music has such a strong feeling of nature in it, like feeling earth between your toes. How important is your own connection to the natural world and how does it find its way into your music?

Well if I had to to name the one place that brings me the greatest joy offstage it would be my veggie garden. When I’m at home, on my days off, I spend hours working in the garden. Or I should really say playing in the garden because it feels more like play than work. The garden is the place that allows me to get grounded again and it transforms my mind to a state of calm and ease. I grew up in the bush in Tasmania with parents who were mad about gardening and now, at 70 years of age, they still are! I now live on a bush property of my own and I have become just as mad about growing vegetables as they are. Spending time growing food and being surrounded by the bush around me just feels so right to me. It feels like home. I have always drawn inspiration for my music from the natural world around me and I often feel most compelled to write when I am home in that environment.

I love the Drunken Choir – what is it about drunk people singing in pubs ?

As a singer, I often get people come up to me after shows and tell me about their own personal experiences with singing and it’s astounding how many times people tell me that they don’t sing anymore because somebody told them that they have an awful voice. Often they tell me that they don’t sing at all, not even when they are by themselves, because they believe their voice isn’t good enough to sing. I think that’s the saddest thing to hear. Singing brings me so much joy and I feel like it is one of those pure and simple pleasures in life that nobody should be able to take away from you. So I wrote the song ‘Drunken Choir’ for anyone who feels they don’t have a good voice because I figure that a drunken choir is often the point of the night where people are singing at their worst but they are also free of some of the self-criticism that comes with a sober mind. It’s really a song about singing loud and unapologetically, despite your fears and insecurities and it’s about singing to bring comfort throughout those tough times in life.

Hold Me Darling is so beautiful…what was that song about for you when you wrote it?

I remember waking up from a dream in the middle of the night with the chorus for ‘Hold, Me Darling’ in my head. I scrambled for my phone and managed to record it in the most groggy and sleep-riddled voice. It’s pretty hilarious to listen back to actually, but the bones of it are there in that first dodgy phone recording. The rest of the song took shape when I was awake. I guess it is about a timeless kind of love shared between two people. A great deal of inspiration for the song came from observing the love between my parents.

There’s also a sense of darkness and forbidding in your work. I love that. Is that the lot of a good soulful folk singer?

Many folk songwriters aren’t afraid to delve into the darker side of life and to tackle the tougher topics. There’s also a feeling I hear in the voices of many soul singers of a sadness, a longing. I feel like I relate to the worlds of folk and soul music for these reasons. I am intrigued by death and loss and the way that we manage to get through these pivotal moments in our lives and I think that often comes out in my songwriting.

Do you collect stories? What do you notice as you go through your day? Is that important ? The other day I saw this young homeless bloke carrying a dying old ginger cat and I burst into tears! I had this sudden idea that he was really sensitive. I mean what homeless people have cats? I did make up the narrative to go around that… Do you do that too? See beginnings of something and then complete the narrative?

Most definitely! I think most songwriters are story collectors. I am constantly on the hunt for ideas or lines in a conversation. I think creative people tend to be highly sensitive and empathetic individuals, well at least I am. Basically I am a big ball of nerves rolling around waiting to feel something just so I can use it in a song. Haha.

Well apparently I make people cry a lot (I’m a real bitch like that), so I think you can expect tears. I also feel more comfortable in my skin than I have ever been so you can expect nothing but honesty and openness from me. I am also hoping to share some new songs that I have been working on that I have never played to a live audience before, so perhaps you will get a taste of things to come.

Claire Anne Taylor plays Mullum Music Festival 14-17 Nov. For program and ticket enquires go to mullummusicfestival.com

Claire Anne Taylor is a force of nature.  Born in Tasmania’s ancient Tarkine rainforest into her father’s hands in the family barn, her music comes growling from the floorboards, right into the centre of your being. She’s one of the featured artists at Mullum Music Fest this year!

What is the most creative time for you Claire? Are you a morning person, late night inspirations?

I am definitely not a morning person. I have always been a night owl. Often I will go to sleep at night and I will have lines running around my head and I will have to grab my phone to record an idea before it’s gone. I love it when late night inspiration hits.

Your music has such a strong feeling of nature in it, like feeling earth between your toes. How important is your own connection to the natural world and how does it find its way into your music?

Well if I had to to name the one place that brings me the greatest joy offstage it would be my veggie garden. When I’m at home, on my days off, I spend hours working in the garden. Or I should really say playing in the garden because it feels more like play than work. The garden is the place that allows me to get grounded again and it transforms my mind to a state of calm and ease. I grew up in the bush in Tasmania with parents who were mad about gardening and now, at 70 years of age, they still are! I now live on a bush property of my own and I have become just as mad about growing vegetables as they are. Spending time growing food and being surrounded by the bush around me just feels so right to me. It feels like home. I have always drawn inspiration for my music from the natural world around me and I often feel most compelled to write when I am home in that environment.

I love the Drunken Choir – what is it about drunk people singing in pubs ?

As a singer, I often get people come up to me after shows and tell me about their own personal experiences with singing and it’s astounding how many times people tell me that they don’t sing anymore because somebody told them that they have an awful voice. Often they tell me that they don’t sing at all, not even when they are by themselves, because they believe their voice isn’t good enough to sing. I think that’s the saddest thing to hear. Singing brings me so much joy and I feel like it is one of those pure and simple pleasures in life that nobody should be able to take away from you. So I wrote the song ‘Drunken Choir’ for anyone who feels they don’t have a good voice because I figure that a drunken choir is often the point of the night where people are singing at their worst but they are also free of some of the self-criticism that comes with a sober mind. It’s really a song about singing loud and unapologetically, despite your fears and insecurities and it’s about singing to bring comfort throughout those tough times in life.

Hold Me Darling is so beautiful…what was that song about for you when you wrote it?

I remember waking up from a dream in the middle of the night with the chorus for ‘Hold, Me Darling’ in my head. I scrambled for my phone and managed to record it in the most groggy and sleep-riddled voice. It’s pretty hilarious to listen back to actually, but the bones of it are there in that first dodgy phone recording. The rest of the song took shape when I was awake. I guess it is about a timeless kind of love shared between two people. A great deal of inspiration for the song came from observing the love between my parents.

There’s also a sense of darkness and forbidding in your work. I love that. Is that the lot of a good soulful folk singer?

Many folk songwriters aren’t afraid to delve into the darker side of life and to tackle the tougher topics. There’s also a feeling I hear in the voices of many soul singers of a sadness, a longing. I feel like I relate to the worlds of folk and soul music for these reasons. I am intrigued by death and loss and the way that we manage to get through these pivotal moments in our lives and I think that often comes out in my songwriting.

Do you collect stories? What do you notice as you go through your day? Is that important ? The other day I saw this young homeless bloke carrying a dying old ginger cat and I burst into tears! I had this sudden idea that he was really sensitive. I mean what homeless people have cats? I did make up the narrative to go around that… Do you do that too? See beginnings of something and then complete the narrative?

Most definitely! I think most songwriters are story collectors. I am constantly on the hunt for ideas or lines in a conversation. I think creative people tend to be highly sensitive and empathetic individuals, well at least I am. Basically I am a big ball of nerves rolling around waiting to feel something just so I can use it in a song. Haha.

Well apparently I make people cry a lot (I’m a real bitch like that), so I think you can expect tears. I also feel more comfortable in my skin than I have ever been so you can expect nothing but honesty and openness from me. I am also hoping to share some new songs that I have been working on that I have never played to a live audience before, so perhaps you will get a taste of things to come.

Claire Anne Taylor plays Mullum Music Festival 14-17 Nov. For program and ticket enquires go to mullummusicfestival.com


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