Born and raised in Exeter, Devon, singer-songwriter Clara Bond offers a fresh take on the UK country-pop scene. Since the release of her ‘Out of Towners’ EP, Bond has been working toward her new release ‘Crown’. This new EP exemplifies an increasingly brave direction in her sound; both in pushing the boundaries of production and songwriting.
Her more mature and sophisticated approach to music has not gone unnoticed; even before its release, ‘Crown’ earned 5 stars from Maverick Magazine and ‘Does Your Girlfriend Know You’re Single’ was spotlit by Country Hits Radio as Baylen Leonard’s ‘Country Champion’.
Bond has spent time on the festival circuit — including C2C:Country 2 Country — and supporting the likes of Newton Faulkner, Lindsay Ell, Joey Landreth and Wildwood Kin. Before the release of the first single from ‘Crown’ in May, Bond performed her first headline London show, where she was able to demonstrate the captivating live performing ability that earned her a nomination for ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ in the British Country Music Awards.
How do you feel your music has evolved from “Out Of Towners” to “Crown”?
I’ve grown up a hell of a lot since I wrote those first songs for ‘Out of Towners.’ The subject matter has changed quite a lot because there are things that happen to you as you grow up as a woman that you want to write about and sometimes they’re not necessarily shiny, happy topics — but that’s life — and I’ve learned to embrace that and not be afraid to write about the flaws in growing up. Production-wise it’s just a whole other level but you’re going to have to listen to find out.
How difficult is it to perform songs so close to your own heart like “Baby You’ve Been On My Mind”?
It’s actually a really nice feeling when I’m performing it on stage, for songs like that I go into my own little world because I have to. A producer once said to me during a vocal recording session, unless you’re thinking about the person the song’s written about while you’re singing it, then the song makes no sense. So for those more intimate songs that aren’t necessarily the bops from the set, I try and go into my own little world and think about the person, so I really enjoy that part of it.
Read your post about the stresses of scheduling a show at “The Courtyard” while being an independent artist. There must be a number of known and unknown factors challenging an indie artist that fans aren’t aware of. How best can we support indie artists?
There are certainly a huge amount of things that occur when planning an event that we don’t necessarily want to share with the attendees because we don’t want to stress them out about the gig or we don’t want to add any drama to the gig, obviously money comes into that factor quite heavily as much as we don’t want it to, the practicality side of putting together a show is the most frustrating and boring part as an artist, especially when all you want is to get on stage and sing those songs.
The best way to support live artists is just to show up to the shows, buy the tickets, buy the merchandise, buy the physical CDs at those shows. A lot of people take live music for granted but we really shouldn’t because it’s such a wonderful thing.
Favorite venue to play to date?
It has to be The Courtyard. I think it’s going to fast become a lot of indie artists favourite venue. The people that run it are an absolute dream, I’ve never really experienced anything like it — they were so supportive. Obviously it was the location of my first headline show so it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart, it was such an amazing evening.
Can you tell us about some up-and-coming artists who may not already be on our playlists?
It depends what level you deem up and coming, but there are a few artists on my radar at the moment that I’m obsessed with — Caleb Hawley (I’m not sure he necessarily counts as up and coming), I’ve always been a big believer in Lisa Wright and Daisy Clark, who both supported me at my headline gig, both amazing voices.
Favorite song of one of these artists to cover?
I’ve actually done it — ‘In the End’ by Lisa Wright — I covered it for our ‘I’ll Cover You’ live, which was a writing round where we all covered each others songs, Liv Austen, Kaity Rae, Lisa Wright and I.
Which female artists from the 1990s have been most influential on your music?
Obviously Britney was my life, ‘Baby One More Time’ was the first single I’ve ever owned. I remember my brother bought it for me. I thought how CDs worked was as an artist released more singles, they immediately went on the CD and I was sadly disappointed when I found out that was not the case.
Who would be your dream duet partner?
I’d love to do a song with Caleb Hawley, I’d love to write a song with him. You should check out his song, ‘Time is Gold.’
Pre performance rituals?
Well just a couple of things I do for my vocal health, I don’t eat for a couple of hours beforehand, I don’t drink fizzy drinks beforehand or any alcohol. This is a very new thing for me — let’s just say I’ve learned my lesson.
Post show routines?
The fattiest most disgusting food I can find at midnight. After my Courtyard gig, the band and I walked about an hour round London trying to find a kebab shop that was open, and couldn’t find one. We all split off and broke up the team to go to our respective McDonalds — it was an absolutely tragic end to the night.
Favorite things to do/pass time while traveling on tour?
I’m trying to be better on my phone and not just mindlessly go on it and scroll. This sounds like the nerdiest thing in the world but I’ve recently started doing Arrowwords. I think my mum bought me one for Christmas in my stocking and I found it and now I’m absolutely obsessed.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing or performing?
At the moment I am renovating my flat so I’m absolutely obsessed with interior design at the moment. I’m actually really enjoying that process and even in my down time keep my brain creative.
What question do you wish someone would ask you?
I wish people would ask me more questions about my involvement in the writing and production process. I’ve only recently realised that if someone likes one of my songs they automatically assume that all the good ideas in my songs were put forward by the men I wrote the songs with. I wish people wouldn’t assume that it’s other people, it’s my own vision and I have so much creative control. It’s my baby and I work with so many incredible people but at the end of the day it’s my vision.