Today under the Spotlight – Clare Follett. An east coast musician, Clare chats with us about her newest release Now and how music became her passion. Check out our conversation right here.
Welcome, Clare! Thank you for joining us today. Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Thanks for having me on! I’m a singer/songwriter/producer based in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I released my sophomore album, “Reclamation” in October 2020 and just dropped the song “Now” as the latest single.
Did you know instinctively in childhood that you were meant to have a career in music?
I was raised in a family where music was very much at the forefront. My parents put me in lessons for various instruments like violin, piano, and trombone when I was young, but I really started to take music seriously at age 11 when I got my first guitar and began writing songs.
From your music, many artists come to mind on some of the flavors. However, I want to hear straight from you what influences are infusing into your work?
My parents love Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Toto, and the like, so those were my earliest influences. As I approached my teens I really gravitated towards pop-punk music like Paramore, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Marianas Trench. Now I listen to a lot of softer, folkier music like Phoebe Bridgers and Sara Bareilles, but my more “technical” music brain loves artists like Thundercat and Vulfpeck. I’ve had many music taste phases and they all bleed into what I write!
You are described as a quadruple threat. From writing, instrumentals, singing, and producing you are an entire force all on your own. What is your favorite part of the album creation process out of these things? Which is the hardest?
I am a producer through and through. I absolutely love taking songs from a low-quality voice memo on my phone to full-scale production. Writing the songs can be difficult I find, especially when I’m in a good headspace. I need drama and hardship in my life to find inspiration for songs. Kind of annoying!
You have opened yourself up to some of your new music. Steering away from your previous independent process. What has sharing your work in the early stages taught you?
I am still very much a control freak when it comes to my music. On my first album, I play almost everything myself and no one hears any of the songs until they were complete. On “Reclamation,” I knew I wanted to bring in some other musicians to work on it with me. Sometimes I got really stressed out if they played parts that were a little different from the parts I had done in the demos, but after sitting with their recordings I always realized that their additions were what made the songs really come to life.
Your instrumental repertoire is huge. How many total do you play? Any you still want to learn?
I play bass (electric and upright), guitar, piano, and trombone. I am really hoping I one day find the time to learn to play drums!
Are there any plans to make a music video for your latest single “Now”?
Not at the moment!
How does this new single show a fresh side of your creative energy? Is it alluding to a new upcoming project?
This is a track from my last album, “Reclamation.” “Reclamation” is very different from my first album, “Neck Deep,” as I learned a little farther into the rock genre. I took a lot of creative risks that I wouldn’t have on my “Neck Deep.” While you’d be hard-pressed to find a technical flaw on my “Neck Deep,” I really wanted to make “Reclamation” sound human. The subtle imperfections really add to the rawness of the album, especially on the very emotionally vulnerable “Now.”
Most Canadian musicians tend to relocate to Toronto or Vancouver for their music. What secrets do you know about the music scene in your hometown of St. John’s?
Music is such an integral part of the culture here in St. John’s that it’s almost difficult not involving yourself in the music scene in one way or another. There’s live music being played every single night by some of the most skilled musicians you’ll ever come across.
Female producers are rare in the music industry. Especially coming in at such a young age as yourself. What advantages do you think you bring to the table? You have a completely different perspective from the average producer.
Being a woman (particularly a young woman) certainly poses a challenge when it comes to producing. Since women are raised to “smile and nod” and do what they’re told, taking on a leadership role and becoming the boss of a recording session can be scary. That being said, I have a passion for producing that runs so deep that I don’t even care! It was definitely difficult to break out of my shell at first, but now I feel I’ve finally come into my own as a producer. Since I have a different worldview than men do, I will of course make music that sounds different from the music that men make. The rarity of female producers makes our music unique and helps it stand out.
Arguably, your music began from covers on Youtube. Notably Marianas Trench covers. It’s been a couple of years since one has been posted. I bet the hustle of self-produced music is busy. Do you feel you’ve moved on from covers?
Covers are really fun and a great production exercise for when I’m wanting to learn how to make new and different sounds, so I certainly come back to them. However, I generally find producing original music to be more rewarding because I have so much room to be creative.
Bars and gigs are opening up again. How excited are you about that? Any nervousness about returning to live shows?
We’ve been lucky here in Newfoundland and our downtown scene has been essentially back to normal (with a lower capacity and masks) for quite some time now. I’m playing more shows now than I ever have been since acoustic performers are what most venues are looking for right now. I am admittedly more nervous in big crowds than I used to be, though. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to exist around other people!
What lessons do they not tell you about the music industry that you wish you had known?
Music does not market itself, and marketing it on your own is hard! I’ve been fortunate enough to build a great team of people who know how to make things happen for me and my success is certainly due in part to them.
If you had a second life, and you had to have a career aside from music, what would you want to be?
I love math! I’m currently pursuing a conjoint bachelor’s degree in music and business administration and I love getting to put my numbers brain to work in my business courses. I think accounting might be fun for me. That seems like a complete 180 from what I do, but I love it!
Thank you for joining us today. To send us off would you like to give a shout-out to a small business, organization or charity you feel really needs it right now?
The Planned Parenthood in Newfoundland does really important work! You can donate to them here: https://www.plannedparenthoodnlshc.com/donate.html
Spotlight – Clare Follett is a wrap. Thanks to Clare for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Now – Right now!
Keep up with Clare right here
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