Music, motherhood and memoirs with Clare Bowditch

Australian music legend Clare Bowditch will be gracing the Cardinia Cultural Centre stage with her band on Friday 15 June.

By Kyra Gillespie

Australian music legend Clare Bowditch will be gracing the Cardinia Cultural Centre stage with her band on Friday 15 June.

The iconic singer revealed she will be testing out never-before-heard material from her eighth album, which she has just finished recording.

“It’s been a very long time since I played in Pakenham so I’m really excited to be coming back with the band,” Clare said.

“This is more like a pre-tour; I’ve just finished recording album eight and want to come down to try out the new songs with an audience that has been so supportive of us for so long.“

Bowditch is an ARIA Award-winning singer, songwriter, speaker, writer, creative-business mentor and former broadcaster on Melbourne’s ABC radio 774.

She’s also appeared as Rosanna Harding on the hit Channel Ten show Offspring.

She’s had top ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year, Yen Young Woman of the Year, co-written with Gotye, toured with Leonard Cohen, written for Harpers Bazaar and the Drum, and played in every venue, festival and truck stop in Australia at least two hundred times each.

On top of all that she is a mother of three – an experience that will be the central theme of the upcoming album.

“I believe working parenthood deserves its own set of songs. The album explores true stories about real love and real families.

“I’ve worked enough jobs in my time – from a bake house, to a call centre in Footscray and many more – all to make a living while making music and with children in the mix.

“I confess with no shame that as a working mother with multiple concurrent careers, completing this project very nearly broke me. Nothing shits me more than the idea that dreams come easy.”

The down-to-earth musician is best known for her honest and hilarious storytelling flair.

“The best thing I can do as storyteller in this world is find humorous ways to tell the truth.

“My husband Marty is also my producer. The songs are so honest I can’t believe he still talks to me,” she added with a laugh.

On top of the upcoming album, Clare has also just signed her first book deal with publishing house Allen & Unwin.

“It’s a memoir, but it’s also a call to arms to women everywhere, to start talking about the things we never talk about but should.

“I want to open up the conversation on why women put so much pressure on themselves, and the ubiquitous anxieties that all of us harbour but don’t quite know how to talk about.

“When I turned 21 I promised myself I would one day write the book that I’m writing now. I figured that now that I’m 40, and old, there’s no better time to do it.”

Known for her outspoken views on gender equality, particularly in the music industry, Bowditch’s upcoming memoir will cover her early years in the Melbourne scene.

“Some pretty exceptional things have happened since I started in the industry in terms of the conversation about equality. Soon we’ll have the first ever Australian Women in Music Awards which is very exciting.

“For anyone who is asking why this is needed, just have a look at the winners over the last 20 years. The majority of awarded songwriters in Australia are still men and that’s not because men are better at writing songs.

“We need to have more non-defensive and open conversations about how we can support girls to express who they are.”

Growing up in Sandringham and working at the local surf shop, Bowditch said she was not ‘allowed’ to surf and was told by the teenage boys that she “was a lesbian and should get back on the shore and make them a Milo.”

“When I started making music there was no place for a woman like me; I didn’t fit the ideal, I started in the industry with a six-month-old and I didn’t fit commercial radio standards.

“Thanks to stations like Triple J and artists like John Butler who support independent musicians I didn’t have to go through record companies to make a career out of music.

“I’ve always been talking about this stuff because I don’t see the point in having a platform and not using it speak about things that are important.”

One of the biggest hallmarks of Bowditch’s career is her theory that everyone and anyone can sing.

Her Sing-Song Showtime workshops are proof of this theory.

“Everyone can sing – sorry it’s the truth. If you can talk you can sing.

“I’ve spent the last decade of my working career proving this to audiences: whether it’s in the Opera House, or the community hall, when we stand together in a group, we can sing. And when we sing, really sing, we feel most ourselves.

“To me singing is a really easy thing, but I realised a lot of people stop themselves because they believe they are not good enough.

“Just this weekend I did a workshop with 100 people – one completely deaf person with a cochlear implant, a brain cancer survivor, a mentally disabled woman – a lot of people with stories and the belief that they couldn’t sing. By 4.30pm that day all 100 of us put on a concert for family and friends. It’s an extraordinary process.”

Bowditch’s album and memoir are set to be released late next year.

Tickets to her upcoming show at the Cardinia Cultural Centre on Friday 15 June can be purchased via the Cultural Centre’s website.