Touring her homeland and sharing her debut album with fans was as much a delight for Clare Bowen as it was for her fans – she has always been the very best kind of storyteller.
The Australian actress and musician began accumulating her devoted fan base via her early appearances on iconic Aussie TV shows such as Home and Away and All Saints. Yet we all now know her best thanks to her long-running role as Scarlett O’Connor on the hit country music drama series Nashville, which recently wrapped after six seasons.
Starring alongside Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, Clare’s role as Scarlett saw her character dream of becoming a performer and then launch a professional music career. Along the way, she suffered from heartbreak, addiction and a miscarriage, but always managed to get back on her feet.
Thanks to this dramatic turn on the small screen, Clare quickly became an international fan favourite – not just as Scarlett, but as herself, a performer who knows how to spin a compelling tale and draw in an audience.
The 34 year old is now a popular singer songwriter who released her highly anticipated self-titled debut album ahead of embarking on a special Australian tour in Sept and October then continued on to tour the UK.
She quipped the album was a self-titled affair, in part, because she “didn’t know what else to call it”. But the Australian singer also wanted to make sure that the album was seen as wholly her own, separate from the country starlet she played on the show Nashville.
“It’s me stepping into the world of music in a totally different way than I have before: as myself,” explains Bowen, “I played a country music artist on a television show for six years. So, I had to make sure that, when I released my own album, that it wasn’t someone else’s voice.
“I’m definitely not Scarlett O’Connor,” Bowen laughs. “We shared a body for a long time, so it’s weird that she’s gone quiet now. She was so much fun to play, and we share a face and a moral compass, but we’re very different people.”
Bowen worked on the album, and its songs, over the course of five years. The hectic Nashville schedule – not just filming, but recording and touring under the Nashville banner – meant Bowen could only spend time on her music between breaks. Spanning years, these periods meant she could find her musical identity – “my own voice, my own sound, get to know myself better as a person” – away from her onscreen doppelganger.
With all of these different outlets in her arts arsenal for storytelling it is safe to say that no matter how Clare chooses to speak to us, we are always ready to listen.
When she appeared on Mamamia pop culture podcast The Recap, Clare regaled listeners with tales of how she made the jump from smalltown Aussie girl to Hollywood actress. She admitted on the show that she had never really sung on a scale quite like this before she set foot on the Nashville set, even though she is classically trained in operetta, which she studied from age four. She was actually about to quit showbiz and head back to her parent’s home in rural Australia, until Cate Blanchett herself stepped in and encouraged her to go to Los Angeles.
“Scarlett is a little part of my heart and will always be there,” she said of her time on the hit show.
…read the rest of the story in Issue 91.