Words by Gemma Thomson
Claire’s sound can be described as a mix of ballads and rock songs with a voice that carries the soul of her lyrics, mesmerises listeners and brings life to her words. She has collaborated with local artists Peter Kiemann and Cappo, both producers of Electronic music. Her lyrics and vocals feature in many tracks that are yet to be released in the coming months.
With an album is in the works and scheduled for release in 2018, Canberra Women in Business are excited to showcase the talents of this incredible local artist.
Gemma Thomson caught up with Claire Paton ahead of our CWB Christmas Meet & Mingle this Wednesday.
Gemma: How would you describe your sound?
Claire: My typical gig is very acoustic with a lot of easy listening, mellow songs, but I find I don’t stick to one genre at all with my covers. I love rock and roll, classics, pop, ballads, jazz and blues, soul… I think it’s more the individual songs that I am drawn to regardless of their genre. As far as the music I write, there are some rocky ones, some slow and soft ones, some jazzy ones too. Lately, I’ve been starting to lean more towards mellow, jazzy-sounding guitar work and smooth vocals.
When did you discover a passion for music…?
I know I have always loved music, I remember listening to Van Morrison, Eva Cassidy, Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin, Eric Bibb, Neil Young and so many more as a kid and always felt drawn to the music. I think I started to realise I could sing when I was about 12 or so. I taught myself to play my dad’s old nylon string guitar so I could play around campfires with family and friends. And gradually I just kept playing, without too much drive or planning, and gigs just started popping up every now and again.
What do you love most about performing?
My favourite thing about performing is the people-watching. Reading the crowd and the venue is so important for choosing songs and your delivery of them. I love doing big rocky songs in pubs where everyone is up and dancing and you can see they are having a great time, and I also love seeing individual faces light up when I play a song that is obviously precious to them. Having an entire crowd of people singing along with you is very special too.
How do you deal with stage fright?
When I get nervous it is usually if I am doing lots of new songs that I haven’t ever done before and I start to question how prepared I am – but I always forget about it as soon as I start to play. I think the main thing is to remind myself that the people are there to enjoy the music and the atmosphere, not criticise. There will always be a night every now and again that you play a wrong chord or your voice isn’t working at full capacity, but rather than getting hung up on it I think it’s important to just relax and enjoy it, working the situation as best you can.
You’re an emerging artist; what’s the best career advice you’ve been given to date?
That networking is key. And it is so true – 99% of the gigs and collaborations that have come up for me are because someone knows someone who thinks I would be right for it. It is almost always word of mouth and mutual connections that open the doors.
What made you decide to pursue a career in music?
I just realised how much fun I have doing it. Happiness in your career is a pretty worthwhile pursuit! I am very fortunate to be able to make my passions my paycheck.
Who have you collaborated with recently?
Peter Kiemann (Electronic Dance Music Artist) and my good friend Jem, who goes by “Cappo” (Hip Hip and Rap artist, Electronic Music Producer).
Where can we find your music now?
Live! I am working on lots of singles, covers, and collaborations that will come soon.
Music isn’t your only gig, though. You have a busy life — what else do you do?
I work for my family’s business – Paton Constructions. We specialise in the design and build of energy efficient houses. Dad is the boss-man, my brother is one of our carpenters and I do the accounts.
You also train horses in your spare time, yes?
I have been training pleasure (not racing) horses of my own and horses for clients since I was 13 and I definitely can’t complain about the dollars or the fun it provides.
What are the best and worst things about doing business in Canberra?
The BUSYness of business is the best and the worst aspect. There is so much going on and I guess to make a living in Canberra most people need to be working flat out and it can be hard to find time for everything else. But being busy is better than being bored, and being busy is great if you are stimulated.
How do can people find and book you for events?